Newsclips Featured

9:56am EDT July 22, 2002

Don’t touch that dial

Public-TV honcho Jerry Wareham, GM of Cleveland’s WVIZ, got a pointed reminder recently of the level of local enthusiasm for one venerable business show. After addressing the Cleveland Rotary Club, Wareham asked for questions. One elderly gentleman proceeded to bitterly denounce him for fiddling with the Friday-evening time slot for Louis Ruckeyser’s “Wall Street Week.”

Now we know why nobody buys online

While the majority of small and medium-sized businesses now have some form of Internet connectivity — 61 percent for those with two to 99 employees and 82 percent for those with between 100 and 499 — far fewer are connected to customers via the Net. A study by the Boston-based Yankee Group’s Small & Medium Business Communications group found that fewer than one-third of such businesses are connected to customers in that manner.

Just hope it’s not you

“If you and your employees don’t like turning up for work on Monday,” says HR consultant Robert Searson, “I guarantee you it’s not because of the work. It’s the people, the stress from a few bad people.”

And they don’t steal office supplies, either

Do you need to watch your back with your employees? The Ethics Resource Center reports that 56 percent of employees admit to lying to supervisors and 41 percent to falsifying records and reports. Of course, they just might be fibbing to the survey-takers, too.

But are the ice cubes Perrier?

In the never-ending hunt to retain highly-sought-after computer programmers, Cole National Corp. may have hit a new high water mark among local companies in providing pampering touches. Outside HR professionals report that the company has established a 24-hour concierge service at its new Twinsburg location to handle such mundane tasks as dry-cleaning runs for valued employees. An in-house manicurist is also available to smooth out the rough edges for the keyboard-banging set.

Anyone have a picture of Cindy Crawford?

Forget about fixing up your company’s lobby, and devote the resources to improving your Web site. At least, that’s the suggestion of Joel Rube, “Web evangelist” for the Northeast Ohio regional office of Boston-based IT giant Keane. These days, he says, “when people judge you, they don’t walk into your lobby, they go to your Web site. So that first page has to look gorgeous.”

A boss is a boss is a boss

“More than anything else, humans are good at surviving,” management consultant Pete McVoy recently told a John Carroll University Private Sector workshop. “I can work for Attila the Hun — just give them what they want.” Which got us to thinking: Might he perhaps have been thinking of his one-time boss, Blue Cross & Blue Shield’s hard-charging Jack Burry?

They still should have asked

Was that a link to SBN we recently spotted on the navigation bar of the popular Bloomberg News Web site (www.bloomberg.com)? It refers the curious to “Small Business News.” On closer inspection, it proved merely to launch a browser to a thusly-named subcategory of Bloomberg news and information about that sector of the economy. Besides, we’re now calling ourselves SBN.

Who are these guys?

We were surprised when recently we stumbled over an entry in the Cleveland phone directory for a Cleveland Publishers Association. Why had we never heard of such an august group? We are, after all, wizened veterans in the local publishing industry. Could it be that they’re having a private party without us? A quick phone call, however, yielded the answer. It’s not really a trade group of publishers, but a buying co-operative organized by an obscure ad agency. Phew ...

Ups and Downs

Downs to TRW. The company’s about-face, the decision not use LucasVarity’s CEO Victor Rice in some meaningful role, has soured auto industry experts and securities analysts. It was a gutsy move, and it certainly won’t make the next acquisition any easier.

Ups to AT&T, which will charge consumers a monthly minimum whether they make long distance calls or not. It’s a meaningful move to rates that are actually based on cost. If they send us a check for $75 to switch, we might even consider it.

Ups to BioMEMS. The new statewide consortium, which includes the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, the Ohio State University, the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati, will develop the next generation of microscopic devices. With such big names working on such a promising project, we just hope their egos don’t get in the way.

Downs to Ameritech. Its planned merger with CBC hasn’t made the former Baby Bell as strong — or diversified — as was hoped. The telecom giant was forced to cut its wireless services as part of the deal, leaving fewer ways to gain ground on other regional phone companies. The call goes out again.

Ups to Charge Development Co. Plans to convert a vacant Ohio City factory into upscale apartments will eliminate a longstanding eyesore and hopes to expand the downtown renaissance west of the river. Unfortunately, drawing residents to Ohio City instead of downtown will be easier said than done.