Stories by Linda Stuart

Book Review: Who's on First?

In the customer-centric world of the Internet, the key to success is knowing who your customers are and what they want -- a tall order for any organization, but doubly so when the relationship with customers is primarily a virtual one. E-businesses are under enormous pressure to customize the Web experience for each consumer, using a personal touch to offer choices targeted specifically at him or her.

Two-for-One Deal

Preparing for the busy holiday selling season is a huge challenge for retailers every year. It involves anticipating what customers will want, picking the right merchandise to serve their needs and ensuring all hands are on deck to deliver the goods. Add the need to update your on-line shopping channel to reflect this holiday season's offerings, and you've got a formidable task on your hands.

Winning Customers the EPod Way

To say Geoff Clendenning is entrepreneurial by nature -- as his corporate biography does -- really is an understatement. With three start-up companies already under his belt, the youthful co-founder and CEO of EPod Corp. is garnering clients and venture capital as he rapidly builds up his on-line marketing business.

Virtual Voyageur

You can't get much more "old world economy" than Hudson's Bay Co. The 330-year-old company's name is synonymous with a group of adventurers who explored and settled vast chunks of northern and central Canada, as they sought to chart the elusive Northwest Passage and to expand fur trading routes around Hudson's Bay in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

Opinion: Editor's Note

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say when most people think of Internet start-ups they usually visualize fresh-faced twenty- or thirtysomethings running the show. Photos of young dot-com CEOs continually grace the pages of Canada's business magazines and dailies. In fact, you'll find such a photo as part of our profile of Geoff Clendenning, the youthful CEO of EPod Corp. Clendenning started down the entrepreneurial path as soon as he left university, founding a couple of technology start-ups before meeting fellow ePod co-founder Jeff Ungar, a computer whiz who graduated from the University of Waterloo at the age of 19.

Working at Web Speed

In the new economy, it has become all too common for retailers to slap up a Web site, take an initial stab at supporting on-line ordering and then spend the next few weeks correcting the mistakes they've made. Last year's holiday season generated numerous tales of product delivery problems, lost orders and consumer frustration.

Exchanging Ideas

Online exchanges. Business-to-business portals. Trading hubs. Trading networks. E-marketplaces.

Is CRM a High Priority?

When companies began to set up on-line versions of themselves, they created alternate delivery channels to their customers, steering them away from face-to-face contact. In doing so, many companies have lost mind-share with customers, and in some cases lost their patronage to more Web-savvy competitors.

Plugged In

Adding a new twist to Web site personalization, Vancouver's Jones Soda has started producing custom-label pop bottles for its on-line consumers. What started out as a label competition -- where consumers submitted photos in the hopes they would be featured on Jones Soda bottles -- quickly turned into an e-commerce opportunity. Jones Soda realized the potential market when more than 40,000 photos were submitted to its label competition and more than 43,000 consumers logged onto to request personalized bottles.


FORECASTING THE FUTURE A team of scientists and engineers at a Columbus, Ohio, research institute has compiled a list of the most strategic technological trends that will shape business and the world over the next 20 years. While some may want more crystal-ball gazing as much as another Y2K incident, they may want to consider the purpose behind the educated guesses. "It is our responsibility to provide thought leadership which will indicate to the public the most prominent technology of the day," says Stephen Millett, thought leader and manager of the 71-year-old non-profit Battelle Memorial Institute. High-power energy packages: Developments such as highly advanced batteries, inexpensive fuel cells and micro electrical generators will make many products and appliances highly mobile. Decentralized power sources will be extensive, affordable and environmentally clean. These new, high-powered distributed energy systems will provide back-up if not primary energy sources for appliances, homes and vehicles. In the transition to fuel cells, we will see further improvements in batteries and small generators fuelled by natural gas. Intelligent goods and appliances: Advances in quantum computing will lead to smaller, more powerful computers and electronics that will add amazing intelligence to appliances and other products. These products will likely include telephones with extensive phone directories, intelligent food packaging that tells your oven how to cook the food, refrigerators that help make out your shopping list and tell you where to get the best prices, and maybe even a toaster that won't burn your toast. Nanomachines: Microscopic machines, measured in atoms rather than millimetres, will revolutionize several industries and perform a wide range of jobs from heating homes to curing cancer. The medical industry may benefit the most from nanomachines by 2020. Nanomachines could deliver drugs to highly localized places in the body, clean arteries and repair the heart, brain and other organs without surgery. Super senses: One of the hot technologies today is virtual reality. In 20 years, we will be marvelling over enhanced reality." Using sensors and electronic or genetic technology, we will be able to hear better or see further in the dark. -- Liam Lahey

Meeting the CEO's Expectations

The role of business strategist is not a new one to the CIO. Many CIOs have become adept at applying their new people skills and entrepreneurial spirit to their IT initiatives. And with the burgeoning electronic economy, CIOs may have the edge over other executives in their organizations when it comes to leading their companies' business strategies toward the online Mecca.

Trendline: The Skinny on the Future of Networking

Imagine a world where a malfunctioning dishwasher is able to call the manufacturer to be serviced remotely, or where your lawn sprinkler system can check Environment Canada's Web site for the chance of precipitation before turning itself on.