Technology

1
Jul

7 Ways I.T. Professionals (and Others at Large) Can Protect their Ideas from Pirates

Eyitayo Ogunyemi
@eyitayolaw

Years ago, people suffered from the menace of high robbery incidence, but these days, theft of intellectual materials is more rampant. There is therefore a need for owners of creative works to know how they can protect their works from intellectual thieves (otherwise known as pirates).
Before more, let me establish one fact straight away- an idea is worthless until expressed in a tangible form. That is why this article focuses on what you should take cognizance of in the process of turning your idea to a finished worked.
I pitched on I.T. professionals in this article because theirs is the most difficult to handle. For one, the internet is the most unregulated society and that is where I.T. professionals showcase their works. Secondly, when those works get copied by pirates, millions are lost.
I do not guarantee that your work will not be pirated if you follow the suggestions in this article, but I assure that you will be placed in a better position to establish your ownership and defend your claims against any pirate.
Briefly stated below are seven things you can do to establish the ownership of your works and thereby prevent them from being pirated:
1. If you are a software developer or you are into programming and coding, embed your name in computer codes that you generate so that if you need to prove ownership, you are not left stammering.

2. Keep the master copy (initial design) of your work. If you have a lawyer, seek his or her counsel for safe custody.

3. If you have support team that is working with you on the task of creating the work, ensure that they sign an agreement which recognizes you or your company as the owner of the work to be invented. Truth be told, it is easier to get your support team to sign such agreement at an early stage than when your work starts to attract millions of hard currencies.

4. Ensure that your support team signs confidentiality agreement so that they are under legal obligation to keep your apparatus secret especially when they choose to move on.

5. When you launch your invented work, remember to mention that the work is your copyright. Simple way to do this is to use the symbol “©” with your name or that of your company and the year the work was invented. For example “©Eyitayo Ogunyemi 2017”.

6. Register your ownership of the work with relevant government agency. While this is not what primarily gives you ownership right, it gives a better assurance that the work is yours.

7. Imprint your trademark in the finished work. This makes it easier to establish your ownership in case of dispute. Remember however to first register your trademark with the relevant government agency.
After you have established your ownership of the work following the highlighted steps, you can give license to people to use the work in exchange for a token or even figure out other ways to generate money from the use of the work.
Most importantly, do not release your work to the public without first protecting your ownership of it one way or the other.

29
Dec

3 Quick Tips to Measure ROI (Return on Investments) on Marketing Campaigns

These are quick tips to ensuring the money spent marketing your product translates to profit. After doing your homework expending time and detail to your design, using iconic graphics and styles, designing eye-catching suite of marketing materials, including advertising, direct marketing, and state of the art embellishments on branding, how you measure the effect of your hard work to your profits is key to making any progress related to your marketing expertise. How do you measure where each of your marketing Naira should be optimally spent to realize the highest return on investment from any given budget?

“Hilton Worldwide relies on technology to support its most critical marketing spend decisions across brands, portfolio and media types”

Martin Stolfa VP, Commercial Services Analytics Hilton Worldwide

Optimizing your marketing mix requires a predictive, dynamic and holistic approach to planning with analytics. However, if you are an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and don’t have money to purchase elaborate analytics platforms, what you need to do is devise a full proof strategy that-

· Mirror real life scenarios and answer your ‘what if’ questions.

· Maximize your marketing budget to better invest every Naira.

· Eliminate cumbersome guesswork to connect marketing spend to revenue.

To achieve this, these tips are keys to ensuring the job is well done.

1. Social Media– Use social media platforms to deduce your brand perception metrics including awareness, familiarity, favorability and purchase intent. Social media gives you the platform to immediately measure, it gives you real-time reporting and flexibility in selecting KPIs {Key Performance Indicators}, provides a custom view to evaluate and optimize results at each phase of the campaign.

Example-you can set up a short survey on product awareness on your product on twitter for free. Google analytics can also help and it is free to a measure.

2. Codes- Include codes that define the specific medium so you can actually measure the specific channel the campaign was received.

Example- For each promo advert you post on any medium, say a BRT bus, or UNILAG Cafetaria, ask that customers reference that to get some discount or voucher, etc.

3. Improve engagement through Play : Games, Trivias, etc- Find fun ways to engage your target audience outside of selling products to them, then get the opportunity to use survey monkey to get your analysis on engagement.

28
Dec

Affordable Alternative to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to communicate with customers. As you may know however, simply blind copying a very large number of recipients is not allowed by most email services (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Even if you are sending emails directly from your server, you will realize that sending bulk mail directly will lead to your messages ending up in the spam folder of your contacts.

In the light of this, mailing list services such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc. were created. These services provide easy ways to send newsletters in a reliable way (that is,  without ending up in the Spam folder). Most of them also have a free plan that enables you to send messages to a limited number of contact at a limited frequency.

However, as your contact list or email frequency increases, you may discover that these newsletter services may become rather pricey. Also, with the high exchange rate and the limitations many banks have now placed on naira denominated debit cards for dollar purchases, paying for your newsletter subscriptions can become a heavy burden. 

Therefore, it is important to creatively explore alternative avenues for email marketing without having to break the bank. One such way is a combination of Amazon SES and a self hosted newsletter application such as PHPList.

Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure that Amazon.com developed to serve its own customer base. More information about the service can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/ses/.

PHPList is a self-hosted email marketing application that helps you send bulk email, manage subscribers, plus other functions etc. It is a very robust and popular email marketing application.

The idea is to set up PHPList on your server and configure it to send email through Amazon SES.

Let us look at how cost effective this combination is. For illustration, if we have a contact list of 5,000 recipients and are going to use Mailchimp to send newsletters to this list regularly, the cost will be $50 per month! (MailChimp’s pay as you go option is not worth considering as it is only for infrequent email sending and hence not cost effective).

For Amazon SES, email messages are charged at $0.10 per 1,000. The cost will be just about $0.50 per email blast. Assuming two newsletters per week i.e. 8 newsletters per month, this will cost just about $4.0! That is a difference of $46, compared to Mailchimp! Also, the great thing about Amazon SES is that it is postpaid! You only pay for emails you send. If you do not send any email in a month, you will not be charged. However, with services such as Mailchimp, you are charged automatically every month regardless of if you use the service or not.

What you will need:

  1. Your own hosting account. You need to have hosting that supports PHP and MySQL/MariaDB. Most Linux hosts (which are the most popular) support these requirements. You will need to install PHPList on this account. If you are not a tech savvy person, you might need to find someone who can assist you with the installation. Also, many hosts provide one-click installers to help you with the installation.

  2. An Amazon web services account. You can easily create one here: https://portal.aws.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/registration/index.html?nc2=h_ct

Instructions on how to configure PHPList to work with Amazon SES can be found here: https://readmode.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/amazon-ses-with-phplist/ . I advise that either you or your consultant reference that page during the setup process.

Thanks for reading!

3
Nov

Start Smart Series – Part 1 From Business Plan to Business Day 1

by Tubosun Aliu

For an aspiring entrepreneur, one challenge in the journey to starting your first business is the
question, “Where do I begin?”
There are no simple answers to this seemingly simple question, as starting from the very beginning is
the only way. There are no shortcuts on this entrepreneurial journey and you have to spend time,
intellectual resources and perhaps tap into your social capital to get started.
However, in order to make this journey easier, the important question that an entrepreneur needs to
constantly ask himself/herself is “Why am I doing this?”
Starting and owning a business takes a lot of time and energy, and can be physically, emotionally and
psychologically challenging. You might have to spend hours studying and researching, finding the right
location, technology, people, and working out your strategy, marketing plan, operational plans, etc.
This would eventually take its toll on you and you will most likely get to that point where you ask
yourself, “Why am I doing this again?”
Having an answer to the question of “why” is one of the things that would keep you going and push
you beyond that critical point when your momentum seems to be failing. When you successfully cross
this line of doubt, you become almost unstoppable!
The question then is to define what is important to you and the motive behind your wanting to start a
business. Yes, a lot of folks will say “of course, it’s to make money”, and I agree that making money in
business is very important and making profit is extremely critical. But the fact of the matter is that
there are a million and one ways to make money and a million and one businesses that you can do to
help you achieve that purpose, but you chose this particular business! So why this business and not
another?
The “why” behind your business is the motivation that keeps you going. This might be expressed in a
mission statement or might just be a strong conviction of how you believe you can bring about
positive change in the society, or improve the quality of lives of your target customers or even
employees.
Whether it’s a slogan or your core mission statement, this will be your strength on your journey and
ultimately continue to keep you fired up!