• Employing Cloud Solutions in Small Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Dec 06, 2013

    No matter the industry, when your home is your office, you’re often an IT professional too! Our recent survey shows that, from saving time and money to utilizing new technologies to streamlining operations, employing cloud solutions greatly benefits small businesses.

    Almost all small businesses are actually using the cloud in some capacity, but nearly half of our respondents thought they were working without it. So it’s no surprise that 8 out of 10 respondents admitted they aren’t using the cloud to its full potential.

    One of the best ways to employ the cloud at your small business is with automatic online backup.

    If you’re already using Carbonite, you know the cloud is brings benefits with automatic, offsite backup. But did you know that with our Anytime, Anywhere Access feature, the cloud can do even more? From anytime, anywhere access, to restoring lost or deleted files, the cloud acts as an amazing personal assistant whose got your back(up).

    Check out this infographic to learn more about work from home trends, visit our Small Business Hub for articles about efficiency and productivity.

  • What Can the Cloud Do for Your Business?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jul 19, 2013

    From driving revenue to increasing productivity to analyzing big data, it’s clear that the cloud is really changing the ways small businesses operate! But with all this potential, some businesses are still unsure about transitioning to the cloud. That’s understandable, because with new technologies emerging every day, it can be hard to identify the useful tools in a sea of fleeting fads.

    You’ve got a lot on your plate, so let us help you cut through the cloud clutter. Here are a few ways the cloud can help you streamline business practices:

    Data Recovery: Having a business continuity and disaster recovery plan is essential for every small business, and the cloud makes it easy. After a data disaster, the cloud can help you quickly retrieve and restore any lost information – and getting back up and running as quickly as possible makes all the difference for SMBs.

    Cost Savings: Peace of mind is priceless, but we know that business owners have budgets. Fortunately, the cloud is inexpensive to implement, so you can operate efficiently without breaking the bank.

    Scalability: As a business grows, so do your data needs. The cloud is versatile enough to scale with your business, allowing you to quickly and easily make changes to you storage capacity.

    When you migrate tasks to the cloud, you can rest assured knowing your business can stay on track no matter what’s going on in the office!

  • Celebrate National Small Business Week!

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 20, 2013

    Small businesses are the backbone of America – and during National Small Business week, we’re celebrating these great companies!

    Just a few years ago, in 2005, Carbonite was a small start-up founded by Dave Friend after his daughter’s term paper was lost in a computer crash. Now, we’re a public company with almost 500 employees! But we still have that start-up spirit, and Dave Friend is always looking for ways to reach, empower and advise entrepreneurs − which is why he launched the Friends with Friend series!

    Check out what Dave has to say about Carbonite’s beginnings and the factors he considers critical to small business growth and success.

    If you have questions for Dave, you can submit them here. He may have the answer for you in an upcoming webisode!

  • Top Ten Reasons to Bring Summer Fridays to Your Office

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 14, 2013

    If you’re one of the lucky 12% of US workers enjoying Summer Fridays – congratulations! If not, we bet this e-card from someecards surely resonates.

    summer-fridays-ecard

    So let Carbonite, the Official Sponsor of Summer Fridays, help you explain to your boss why you deserve a few extra weekend hours now through Labor Day weekend. Just share the following list with your supervisor and you could be enjoying a change of scenery come Friday afternoon!

    Top Ten Reasons to Bring Summer Fridays to Our Office

    10. Spending some time in the sun is the best way to get the Vitamin D I need to stay healthy (i.e., Summer Fridays prevent sick days on Monday).

    9. 12% of U.S. workers already enjoy Summer Fridays. Let’s join the cool crowd!

    8. With Currents, I can send a file for to any of my collaborators to review and edit no matter where we are.

    7. Flexible schedules can increase retention and engagement.

    6. It would be awesome to have another reason to tweet about how amazing my workplace is.

    5. I can avoid burnout if we conduct our meetings via Google Hangout.

    4. The air conditioning is making the office a bit too cold for my liking.

    3. I recently heard that treats baked on a Friday afternoon taste best when shared with the boss on Monday morning.

    2. Happy employees are productive employees. And my cube-mates and were just talking about how we’re happiest by the pool.

    1. With my Carbonite Mobile app, my backed up files are accessible anytime, anywhere!

    If you really want to drive it home, make sure to create your own Summer Fridays request letter on our Facebook page. After being presented with a tailored letter and this list of reasons why Summer Fridays should be instituted in every office, your boss may even want to join you at the beach this Friday afternoon!

  • Cloud Services and the Home Office Work-Life Balance [INFOGRAPHIC]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 24, 2013

    Finding a work/life balance is hard. And for small business owners who work from home, there are even more challenges!  In fact, a new survey by Wakefield Research for Carbonite found that nearly half of home-based business owners feel it’s more stressful working for themselves. And this infographic shows us why…

    home-office-work-life-balance-infographic-stressors

    From hiding in the bathroom to finishing a project to missing happy hour with friends, small business owners working from home often play hooky from life in order to take care of business. It’s not ideal, but it is understandable, since these leaders are striving to manage everything from time constraints to data loss.

    home-office-work-life-balance-infographic-stressors

    But business owners aren’t the only ones affected by the challenges of home offices. As they turn the kitchen table into a video conference table, tensions can arise at home as their partners start to feel the weight of the stress. The top reasons couples argue include: work cluttering other parts of the house (32%), working late takes away from family time (31%), and the inability to separate personal life from professional life (30%).

    Despite the challenges, working from home can reduce overhead costs and encourage productivity, especially for small businesses that employ cloud services in their home office.

    The cloud may not be able to quiet your toddler’s tantrum while you’re on a client call, but backup certainly comes in handy if your kids accidentally delete an important file from your desktop while you’re squatting in the basement trying work in peace!

  • Currents Keeps You Working Even When You Are Out of Office

    by Lynnette Nolan | Feb 15, 2013
    If you find yourself home sick this winter, it's easy to stay connected to the office – and your important files. Even if you've left your computer on your desk the night before, you still have access to 30 days of your most recent files with Currents. So now you can keep things moving at work while you recover at home. 

    When you download the Currents app on all the devices you work on, you can automatically access your most important files no matter where you are, or what gadget you have with you. Plus, if you're already under the weather, you can eliminate the headache of trying to keep track of multiple emails back and forth to yourself and your team as you work on documents that require attention from each of you. With Currents, you can edit, comment and share with your collaborators within the app. And if you or one of your coworkers makes a bad, cough-syrup induced edit, you're covered because Currents keeps all your versions and allows you to easily revert back.

    Here are a few ways Currents can help you tackle work while you battle that bug that keeps making its way around your office:
    • If your account manager is out for a day, but her laptop isn't with her, no worries! You can share files with her via the Currents interface on PC, Mac, iOS and Android platforms.
    • You don’t even have to know if your coworker is a Currents user – simply enter her email address, specify her access control level and send the brief you need her to approve.
    • If she is not already a Currents user, she can still view the file you've sent. She'll also receive an email to sign up with Currents for free. Once she's a user too, she'll gain access to the editing and collaboration features.
    If you are working on something with multiple stakeholders, you can share a file with all of them. Plus, sharing a file automatically moves it to the top of everyone's file list – and the top of their mind!

    When you're under deadline, Currents makes working from wherever you are easier. Even if you're under the weather.
  • Five Tips for Small Businesses to Stay Ahead: #5

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 16, 2012

    Carbonite SVP of Cloud Backup Pete Lamson is sharing his top five tips for busy professionals to stay connected with their industry in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. You can check out previous tips here:

    Tip #1: Check out a webinar

    Tip #2: Attend an industry event

    Tip #3: Connect with your community

    Tip #4: Step up your social networking

    Tip #5: Scan industry news

     

    Take a few minutes a day to browse industry news from your favorite media outlets. Some publications produce newsletters that can be emailed to you daily or weekly. You don’t have to read every word every day, but you may find that you enjoy having something to read that’s related to your profession when you find yourself waiting in line, on public transportation or early for a meeting. I subscribe to emails from a range of sources, such as SMBNation and SearchSMBStorage and follow blogs including New York Times’ You’re the Boss and SmallBizTrends.

    These tips are just a few ways you can stay connected to other professionals in your field. If you’re interested in how technology can help your small business, start a free 30-day trial, visit www.carbonite.com, call the Carbonite business team at 1-855-CARB-BIZ (1-855-227-2249) or email business@carbonite.com for a no-cost consultation on backing up your business. Use code ENTWEEK to get two free bonus months when you purchase a subscription to Carbonite Business (Offer expires November 30, 2012).

  • Five Tips for Small Businesses to Stay Ahead: #3

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 14, 2012

    Carbonite SVP of Cloud Backup Pete Lamson is sharing his top five tips for busy professionals to stay connected with their industry in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. You can check out previous tips here:

    Tip #1: Check out a webinar

    Tip #2: Attend an industry event

    Tip #3: Connect with your community

    Getting involved with an organization like your local chamber of commerce or small business council can offer many benefits. Becoming an advocate for your business community will allow you to work with influential business leaders and play a role in local economic development. Community organizations often put on educational events for members, which can include panels, roundtables and networking nights.

    Use code ENTWEEK to get two free bonus months when you purchase a subscription to Carbonite Business (Offer expires November 30, 2012).

  • Five Tips for Small Businesses to Stay Ahead: #2

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 13, 2012

    Carbonite SVP of Cloud Backup Pete Lamson is sharing his top five tips for busy professionals to stay connected with their industry in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. You can check out

    Tip #1: Check out a webinar

    Tip #2: Attend an industry event

     

    If you’re looking to actually leave your office, industry events are a great place to learn from and network with others in your field. You can find listings for upcoming events in a variety of places, including professional association websites, media outlets, and event directories that let you search by keyword and location, like Eventbrite. You may find it valuable to attend both industry-specific events (for fields such as accounting, real estate, law or IT) and broader business events, such as the NY Business Expo — where Carbonite will be presenting on November 15 — or Entrepreneur Week.

    Use code ENTWEEK to get two free bonus months when you purchase a subscription to Carbonite Business (Offer expires November 30, 2012).

  • Five Tips for Small Businesses to Stay Ahead: #1

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 12, 2012

    As SVP of Cloud Backup at Carbonite, I spend a lot of time speaking to small businesses about the challenges they are facing. The one that I hear over and over again is that there’s just not enough time to get everything done. While I can help ensure small businesses are able to back up their data without having to take any time away from their work, nothing can add hours to the day (though I’m sure it’s being worked on in some lab right now!)

    When you’re running your own business, it can seem like you don’t have time to catch your breath, much less take the time for professional development. But one of the responsibilities of leading a business is keeping up to date with the newest trends and developments in your industry. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, I’ve compiled five tips that will help busy leaders stay connected to their industry. I’ll share one each day this week:

    Tip #1: Check out a webinar

    Webinars are a great way to learn about best practices, new solutions and trends without ever having to leave your desk. No matter your interest, there’s probably a webinar for you. Look for free live webinars that allow participants to ask the panelists questions after the information is presented. Carbonite has an ongoing educational webinar series that covers such topics as disaster preparedness, backing up in a HIPAA-compliant office and end-of-year planning.

    These tips are just a few ways you can stay connected to other professionals in your field. If you’re interested in how technology can help your small business, start a free 30-day trial, visit www.carbonite.com, call the Carbonite business team at 1-855-CARB-BIZ or email business@carbonite.com for a no-cost consultation on backing up your business. Use code ENTWEEK to get two free bonus months when you purchase a subscription to Carbonite Business (Offer expire November 30, 2012).

  • The Buzz Over Big Data: Thoughts from Dave Friend

    by Lynnette Nolan | Oct 30, 2012

    I presented last week at Xconomy's BIG DATA Forum.  It wasn't until after I accepted that I realized I didn't know what the term big data actually means.  So I turned to Wikipedia to find out.  According to Wikipedia, "The term big data is a buzzword, and is frequently misused to mean any form of large-scale data or information processing."  Well, that explains why I was invited to speak.  "Large-scale data" is Carbonite in a nutshell.  I wouldn't use the term "big data" for Carbonite.  We're more like "Extremely Large Data" or "gigundous amounts of data."

    Big data is far from a new idea, of course.  Regression analysis, one of the first mathematical treatments of data sets, was described by the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in the early 1800s.  Back in the early 1990s, I was CEO of a company in Cambridge called Pilot Software and we did what at that time was called Data Mining.  Our flagship product was a multidimensional database that was especially good at slicing and dicing very large transactional databases looking for patterns and anomalies.  It was used by companies like McDonald's and JCPenney to uncover nuggets of useful management information in the vast quantities transactional data produced by their cash registers.  There are many other buzzwords that have come and gone as well, including business intelligence, data analytics, decision support, data dredging and so on.

    So I had to ask myself, what's makes big data different from the "data mining" I was doing more than a decade ago.  As far as I can tell, it's mostly a matter of quantity, with data now coming from all kinds of devices and places, not just cash registers.

    So, just why does big data warrant a new buzzword?  I can think of three reasons: 1) it's probably harder to raise venture capital for a data mining company these days, 2) maybe it helps IT professionals justify bigger budgets, and 3) of course, how could you organize a successful conference without a new buzzword? ;)

    Personally, I appreciate that Google can use big data to serve up an ad for something I might actually find interesting or that Netflix knows that I might prefer Steven Hawking to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But I'd be cautious about all the hype about big data because it's is no substitute for judgment.  Judgment is actually the ultimate form of big data.  You are taking a lifetime of experiences and applying them in a very sophisticated way to predict what's going to happen in the future.  For example, with all the data that's available in the financial markets, with computers making millisecond high velocity trades, MIT-trained physicists and mathematicians laboring away in the bowels of Goldman Sachs,  there is still no way to replace a Peter Lynch or a Warren Buffet.

    The stuff we do with computers is trivial by comparison.  This morning when I was eating breakfast, my cat leapt a good six feet from the sink to the table and landed perfectly right between my newspaper and the cereal bowl.  I thought, wow, now that's big data at work.  Think of the accumulated experience and judgment that it took to pull that off.  Think of the enormous quantity of visual data, the 3D image processing, the billions of neurons, the precise muscle control, the knowledge that if you land on the newspaper it's going to slide, and the knowledge that if you land on my cereal bowl you're going to get whacked.  That's big data and it's humbling.

    So that brought me back to what was I doing talking about big data? Is Carbonite really big data or just ‘a lot of data'?  Well, according to another definition I found on the web, "Big data involves the extraction of useful insight from volumes of data so large that traditional database tools cannot handle the workload."   Well, we would certainly qualify on to "too large for traditional database" front.  In fact, we get over 300 million new files every day.  And we add around a petabyte of storage every couple of weeks.  I doubt that very many companies in New England have more data than Carbonite. 

    But as for the "insights," well, the whole idea in backup is you have this sacred trust with your customers that you're not supposed to know anything about them. And you're certainly not supposed to be able to glean any kind of insights from the contents of their computers.   To break that sacred trust would probably spell doom in our business.  We spend tens of millions a year on advertising to create a trusted brand.  What does "trusted" brand mean?  It means your data is private. Confidential. Secure.  Nobody gets to look at it for any reason.  We bend over backwards to encrypt at every step of the process.  There are zero unencrypted customer files in our data centers.  We hire white-hat hackers to try to compromise our security.  We have PhDs on our team whose sole job is to prevent people from extracting insights from our customer's data.  So just what do we do with all that data?  We store it and give it back to our customers when they want it.  That's it.

    The one thing we may have in common with big data is that it takes very specialized technology just to deal with the volumes.  Commercial databases and file systems aren't designed to work at this scale.  I remember when we were first starting out we stored backed up files using Window's NTFS file system.  When we got to about 500 million files, things got trickier.  So we called Microsoft and they asked "How many files do you have?"  We told them "about 500 million."  There was a good 10 seconds of silence on the other end of the line.   "Uh, NTFS wasn't really designed to handle that many files."  Since then we have backed up over 200 billion files and keeping track of all of them and insuring that none of them are corrupted takes very specialized technology.  Especially when you consider that it has to be done very inexpensively because we offer unlimited backup for $59 per year.

    And all this new data comes salted with some interesting new privacy issues.  While we most definitely don't want to know anything about the data on our customers' computers, we do know some things that help us provide a better service WITHOUT violating the sacred trust between us and our users.  For example, we can suggest tips and user hints based on the type of computer or mobile devices our customers are using Carbonite with.

    But, as I think about big data on whole, one concern is that even data that is innocuous by social media or credit card company standards, tilts the playing field away from the inpidual.  For example, if I am shopping for a flight, it's easy for a travel site to figure out how badly I need to go on a certain day and price my ticket accordingly.  Think about it.  If you're on a plane with 200 other passengers, how many do you think paid the same price that you paid?  It's the same with hotel rooms, or any number of other services.   The problem is the systems know more about you than you probably want them to know, and that could put you potentially at a disadvantage.

    Something else to consider is the potential for prying.  In most countries, we assume our governments are benign, that the magazines we read, the books we take from the library, the causes we support, the purchases we make, even the places we visit, will not be used by some government to persecute us in the future.  It doesn't even have to be a government – when you apply for a home mortgage for example, and you're denied, do you really always know the whole truth about why?  It's all in your big data, but that doesn't mean the data is correct and it doesn't mean that you will ever know what's really there.

    For those of you whose businesses are based on big data, I urge you to use caution when dealing with privacy issues.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant."  I think that may apply to businesses as well.

  • National Small Business Week = Tips and a Special Offer

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 22, 2012

    Did you know that this is National Small Business Week? At Carbonite, we’re always impressed by the hard work and amazing accomplishments of our nation’s small businesses, and we are excited to have the opportunity to recognize them small businesses for their positive impact on the lives of their customers, their employees and the economy.

    Carbonite CEO David Friend, an entrepreneur at heart who has founded six companies, offers the following tips for helping small businesses best leverage online services:

    1. Social media platforms connect you with your customers.  Whether it’s Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest, it’s important to leverage social media channels to connect with your customers.  These channels may be one of the quickest ways to let your customers know about your offerings and to remind them of your services. 
    2. Listen with your eyes.  The internet has given consumers a new way to voice their opinions: sharing recommendations and reviews via a multitude of online review sites.  Look at these sites regularly to see what customers are saying about you and set up feeds and alerts where possible so you have real-time updates. Use this as an opportunity to respond to criticism and accept compliments from customers. 
    3. You’ve got mail.  In today’s fast-paced times, consumers may prefer to fire off an email asking you a question. Try to answer emails quickly, which will show the customer that you care about them and that you are able to help them with any issues. A quick response can improve overall customer satisfaction. 
    4. Beware of data thieves.  With more business conducted online than ever before, cyber security should be top of mind. To protect your data do not open suspicious emails, use strong passwords, and also make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware signature database is up to date.
    5. Make sure you’re protected.  Results from a recent study by Carbonite revealed small businesses have big gaps in their data backup plans – putting them at risk for losing valuable information in the instance of power outage, hard drive failure, or even a virus. Online (cloud) backup from Carbonite offers an affordable, more reliable way for small to medium sized businesses to back up their valuable data.

    AND, we’re offering a special discount on Carbonite Business products to help small business owners protect their valuable data. Now, through May 31, we’re offering 3 free bonus months with new Carbonite Business plan subscriptions.

    To take advantage of this special offer, enter the code SMBWEEK at time of purchase. Small businesses can call 1-877-334-7621 or email businesssales@carbonite.com for additional details.

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs: Make Mistakes, Move Fast, Recover and Learn

    by Lynnette Nolan | Mar 01, 2012
    Of all the lessons I’ve learned in business, rule #5 from my personal 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs - Make mistakes, move fast, recover and learn - should apply to everyone from the CEO on down.  But it doesn’t mean that we should strive for mistakes.  It means is that you have complete tolerance for good bets that go wrong.  There’s a big difference between mistakes that are the result of incompetence and mistakes that are the result of a carefully considered risk that goes sour.   

    Let me give you an example.  Suppose an engineering team releases a product that turns out to have an obvious security flaw that causes huge harm to the company’s reputation.  It turns out that nobody had performed adequate testing.  That’s simple incompetence and somebody clearly really messed up.   On the other hand, let’s say that in order to beat a competitor to market, an engineering team takes some shortcuts to get a new product out the door in half the time that they had originally estimated.  Nevertheless, the product flops.  It would be easy to say in retrospect, “You should have done more market research, more testing, more focus groups, etc.” but those processes would have delayed the product to the point where it would have surely flopped.  The bottom line: you took a chance, and you failed.   Now, you need to figure out why you failed so your next chance unfolds differently.  What could have been done differently that would have made the outcome more favorable?  How will you apply what you learned to the next product?  And, is it too late to go back and fix what went wrong and try again?   

    In a fast moving industry, you can’t eliminate risk.  Trying to eliminate risk is like driving by looking in the rear view mirror – as long as the road is straight, it works fine. 

    -Dave Friend, Carbonite CEO

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs: Hire People Who Know More Than You Do

    by Lynnette Nolan | Feb 23, 2012
    It’s National Entrepreneurship Week in the U.S., and in honor of the celebration I’d like to continue on with my 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs and talk about Rule #6, “Grow your team. Hire people who know more than you do.”

    The idea of hiring people who know more than you do seems obvious and most CEOs don’t have a problem with it. No CEO is going to turn down an opportunity to hire a really great engineer, for example. But often it’s a different story when it comes to senior management, the people who report directly to the CEO. Really smart and competent people in these positions can be threatening to some CEOs, and rightly so. Nearly anyone in a senior management position thinks about where they go next in their careers, and the answer often is “I’d like to be a CEO myself someday. Most CEOs came up through the management ranks themselves and were once VPs of Marketing, Engineering, Finance, etc., so they know what it’s like. CEOs with even the slightest insecurity (and most of us have some) may be uncomfortable hiring someone who could potentially turn out to be smarter and more competent than they are.

    So sometimes a really great hire is passed over with the rationalization that “s/he’s too aggressive, won’t fit in, will threaten other members of the team, has too many opinions, is arrogant, etc. Often these rationalizations are simply the result of the CEO’s own insecurities. My solution to banishing such rationalizations is to try to honestly work myself out of a job. It probably won’t come to that, of course, because in reality CEOs rarely get fired for hiring great teams.

    I’d like to think that most of my VPs are smart enough that they could step into my job if necessary, and do a pretty good job of it. In fact, this helps make my job gets easier and more fun. I can tell you that it’s great to be able to go away for a couple of weeks knowing that the company will run just as well without me as it does when I am there. To use a baseball analogy, the coach doesn’t need to be able to play shortstop, or first base, or outfield. He just needs a strategy for the team and know how to hire the players who can execute on that strategy.

    When you have a team that knows more than your do, every day can be a great learning experience. My VPs know more about marketing, engineering, operations, finance, and so forth, than I do, and consequently every day I learn from them. Strategy discussions among my team are as intense and exhausting as a late night college debate. This makes coming to work fun and exhilarating and we are stronger together as a team.

    If you’re a CEO or aspire to be one, you’ll never stop needing to learn. How will you learn unless every member of your team knows more than you do?


    -Dave Friend, Carbonite CEO

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs: Be Transparent

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jan 04, 2012

    In November I posted 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs, my list of the top 10 lessons I’ve learned in business. I’ve since began exploring each of my rules a bit further, sharing with you the experiences behind the rules. This week I’d like to share a story about Rule #7, “Be transparent. The more people know, the better.”

    When I was in my 20s, I had a short stint working as an arms control researcher at the Pentagon. It was all top-secret stuff requiring many levels of security clearances. One aspect of top-secret security is the so-called “need to know” rule. Regardless of someone’s security clearance level, if they don’t need to know something, you don’t tell them; and the fewer people who know anything, the better.

    In such an environment, the first thing you think of when you meet someone is, “what does he know that I don’t know and he’s not telling?” Information quickly becomes a currency that buys you favors, power, and prestige. The pervasive secrecy makes for an excruciating working experience. At least that’s the way I felt about it, being near the bottom of the totem pole. I resolved that if I were ever in a situation where I could set the rules for transparency, it would be the opposite of my experience in the government.

    In business, the idea of “need to know,” exists only in the narrowest circumstances, such as compensation and personnel records. Otherwise, my recommendation is always to be completely open with people about what’s going on. That doesn’t mean cc’ing the entire company on emails or holding large meetings, though. If employees have enough on their plates, they won’t seek out unnecessary information because they simply won’t have the time. If I am on the cc list for something that I don’t have time for, I simply ask politely to be removed from future communication. That’s better than just deleting the mail, or blocking it, because it also sends a not-so-subtle message about too much email. On the other hand, if someone requests to be copied on email, I’m generally happy to oblige, but if I don’t see the relevance, I’ll wonder if the individual needs to have their deliverables tightened up.

    The only exception to my “open book” policy is where information could leak out and be damaging to the company. For example, my company is now public and if our financial results leaked out before our quarterly earnings release, we could be in big trouble. Similarly, I’m sure that our competitors would love to see our strategic plan and product roadmap, so the fewer people who have their hands on such documents; the less likely they are to leak out. But as far as people inside the company knowing what is going on and what our plans are, we discuss those things openly all the time.

    -Dave Friend, Carbonite CEO

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs: Be Respectful and Thankful

    by Lynnette Nolan | Dec 06, 2011

    A few weeks ago I posted 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs, a list of the top 10 lessons I’ve learned in business that have led to success. This week, I’d like to talk about my Rule #8, “Be respectful and thankful. People do things because they want to, not because they have to. Set a good example.”

    Most successful entrepreneurs are pretty smart people. But it’s amazing how illogical and tone deaf some people can be when it comes to motivating people. We’ve all read stories about certain CEOs who are famous for the abusive and humiliating ways that they treat employees, vendors, and sometimes even customers.

    I was having lunch with an investment banker friend recently who had just come from a meeting with the young CEO of an extremely successful company. He told me that, “The worst thing about my job is that I have to deal with some of the most arrogant people in the world. Just because this guy is fabulously rich, he thinks it’s fun to make everyone else grovel. You come away hoping the worst for him.”

    Now, that left me thinking what has this CEO accomplished by treating his banker this way? How does it advance his business and even his own self-interests?

    The CEO sets the tone for the company. If he or she is rude, dismissive, and arrogant to the company’s employees, they in turn will start to act the same way to their subordinates, and so on down the line. The result will be a poisonous company culture that people will tolerate maybe only so long as everyone is making a lot of money. The minute there is a rough patch, people will pack it in quickly.

    However, a CEO who listens attentively and is genuinely interested in what others have to say, will send signals to the VPs that it’s fine to argue, fine to be passionate, and fine to disagree, so long as it is all done in the spirit of common good and common courtesy. The CEO should hold managers to high standards of performance, but I don’t believe that behavior like humiliating a VP in front of his peers accomplishes anything positive, other than perhaps to make that CEO feel better.

    The CEO is the one who can create a culture that makes everyone proud of their company and happy to come to work in the morning and put their shoulders to the wheel. And little gestures from the CEO can go a long way. I keep a box on my desk with note cards, envelopes, and stamps. When an employee does something that is above and beyond the call of duty, I’ll often take a minute and send them a hand-written thank you note. Sometimes, years later, I’ll still see those notes pinned up in their cubes.

    -Dave Friend, Carbonite CEO

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs: Stay Humble, Success is Fleeting

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 22, 2011

    Last week I posted 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs, a list of the top 10 lessons I’ve learned in business that have led to success. In the weeks to come I’ll elaborate further, providing an in-depth look at several of these key learnings from my own experiences as an entrepreneur.

    Working backwards on my list, I’d like to talk about #9, “Stay humble, success is fleeting.”   

    When I was starting my entrepreneurial career in Boston, the biggest and most successful tech company in New England was Digital Equipment Corp, or DEC, which later became a part of Compaq and then Hewlett-Packard.  It was the world’s largest mini-computer manufacturer with revenues of over $14 billion.  In 1986, Fortune Magazine proclaimed DEC CEO Ken Olsen “America’s most successful entrepreneur.”  Famously (though somewhat taken out of context perhaps), Olsen stated , “The personal computer will fall flat on its face in business.”  By 1992, DEC was a shadow of its former self, and in July 1992, Olsen resigned.  Olsen, once one of the giants of the computer industry, was ridiculed for completely missing the PC revolution.  

    Just remember, today’s heroes may be tomorrow’s goats.  One thing I can say about Olsen is that nobody gloated over his downfall because, true to his New England roots, he remained a modest man; he did not indulge in fancy trappings or bling and never seemed to boast of his wealth. This isn’t something you can necessarily say for all titans of industry, but it is a good lesson for all of us when we’re on the way up.  


    -Dave Friend, Carbonite CEO
  • Carbonite Celebrates the Small Business Owner

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 16, 2011

    At Carbonite, we understand that small business means large responsibility. Small business owners must simultaneously manage multiple roles to allow innovative ideas to come to life, and their job is never done. For that reason Carbonite celebrates small business heroes this month.

    Recently we conducted a study and found that many small business owners do much more than just run the business. They also manage their companies’ technology and data backup needs:

    • More than 60% of small business owners make new software or technology purchase decisions
    • 52% of small business owners are responsible for backing up their business’ data
    • 40% of small business owners spend at least 52 hours per year on backing up

    There isn’t enough time in a day, so why waste an entire work week backing up business data? Automatic cloud solutions like Carbonite Business ease everyday workloads and keep important digital data safe from disaster, letting small business owners focus on what matters most - running their business.

    So while small businesses prepare for a busy Small Business Saturday on November 26, Carbonite is offering a limited time offer on Carbonite Business to honor them for the work they do.

    From Wednesday, November 16 through Wednesday, November 30, get 3 additional months of Carbonite Business free, with your subscription when you start a free trial or buy. You man the register; we’ll guard your data.

    Try it first by starting a free trial with offer code: SHOPSMB
    Buy now with offer code: BUYSMB

  • 10 Rules for Entrepreneurs

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 14, 2011

    Carbonite is my sixth company since getting out of college in 1969.  I am frequently asked to talk about the lessons I’ve learned that have lead to a string of successful businesses.  Since this week marks Global Entrepreneurship Week, it seems a good time to share my top-10 list, and over the coming weeks, I’ll elaborate on some of these points.   

    Dave’s 10 rules for Entrepreneurs

    1. Know where you are.  Know where you’re going.  Execute your plans.
    2. It’s always about the product.   Our products must delight every day.  
    3. Service matters more than sales. Do whatever it takes to make customers happy.  Apologize when we screw up.
    4. Measure everything.   Fix what’s broken.  Juice what’s working.  
    5. Make mistakes.  Move fast, recover, learn.
    6. Grow your team.  Hire people who know more than you do.  
    7. Be transparent.  The more people know, the better.   
    8. Be respectful and thankful.  People do things because they want to, not because they have to.  Set a good example.
    9. Stay humble.  Success is fleeting.  
    10. Enjoy the moment.  Stop to savor achievements. 

    I’m going to start with the last point, “Enjoy the Moment,” because Carbonite recently went public – an achievement reached by only a tiny percentage of startups.  If ever there was a moment to enjoy, this would sure rank up there.  I got to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ exchange, go outside into Times Square and see myself and the Carbonite logo on the 60-foot-high jumbotron, and watch the ticker as the first public shares of Carbonite were traded.  

    Here’s the challenge:  We still have a company to run.  We still have competitors chasing after us.  We still have schedules to hit, milestones to achieve, engineering projects to complete on time, data centers to keep running, and on and on.  An IPO doesn’t change any of that.  Since doing all those things well is what got us to the point of an IPO in the first place, it’s pretty hard to stop worrying about them for even a minute.  

    But life is short.  Even though an IPO is just a waypoint on the journey, I have to remember that there are 300 other employees here for whom this is a proud moment.  So I did take a breath, and thought about the fact that just a few years ago Carbonite was just an idea we were tossing around on a warm summer day.  The curse of being an entrepreneur is that the challenges never let up, but if you can’t stop and enjoy the successes along the way, you’re going to turn into a grouchy old scrooge.  Who would want to work for someone who never seems to get enjoyment out of his work and achievements?   So my advice is:  stop to savor the moment.  It will recharge your batteries for the next round of challenges and it will make you more fun to be around.


    - Dave Friend, Carbonite Chairman & CEO

  • 5 Tips from a Serial Entrepreneur

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 19, 2011

    In honor of Small Business week, I wanted to share a few insights that I believe will help any entrepreneur get their new business off to a good start.

    Tip 1: Write the advertisement first

    Writing a long business plan is relatively easy. Creating an effective pitch deck is a lot harder. Writing the ad for your company is harder still. But it’s the first thing you should do. Pretend you’re pitching your product on a billboard. What would you say? What visual would you pick? The exercise of writing your ad forces you to think about the problem that you’re solving, who you’re selling to, and how you are going to explain your value proposition in just a few words. If you can’t write a compelling ad for your business, there’s no point in creating a business plan. Nobody will sit still long enough to read it.

    Tip 2: Pick a Name

    Try your best to pick a name that reflects what you do, is memorable, and is easy to spell. Names like Facebook, SpeedDate, and Twitter, all give you a clue about what the company does. Another consideration should be finding a name that someone can spell when they hear it spoken. For brands like Nexxo, xRos, Pyxis, and Psystar, you’d be hard pressed to guess the spelling if you heard the word. So why make finding your company any harder than it needs to be? And finally, you have to be able to register or buy the URL. Be prepared to pay the squatter.

    Tip 3: Don’t focus on your financials

    Just about everyone who’s starting a business creates detailed financial forecasts – P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow. For the most part, in the very early days these are pie-in-the-sky numbers and all look the same, with huge numbers 4 or 5 years out. What’s really important is unit economics. Instead, focus on the economics of a single average customer. Let’s take the example of a cell phone carrier. The whole business boils down to four simple metrics: 1) how much it is going to cost you to acquire an average customer, 2) how much revenue (and gross margin) will the customer bring in each year, and 3) how long will you keep each customer. Break these down to prove out your assumptions. For example if you bring in customers by advertising on TV, 1) how many ad dollars will it take to get someone to your web site or to your store, 2) how many potential customers will try your product, 3) how many potential customers will become repeat customers, and so forth.

    Tip 4: Don’t bother with the elaborate business plan. All you need is a pitch deck.

    This document will make or break your fund raising. Don’t start with a lot of company background or backstories. Jump right into the business: here’s what we’re going to sell, here’s why we think people will buy it, here’s how much it will cost to make, here’s why it’s different, and here’s why we think it will be big. Present any evidence you have that people will actually buy whatever it is that you’re proposing to make. If you still have their interest, talk about your team and their ability to execute, and other background materials. The point is, don’t try to set the stage. Just jump right into selling your idea.

    Tip 5: Check your ego at the door.

    Prepare for multiple rejections. Typically, investors will look for reasons NOT to invest, including the following: You probably can’t design it; if you can you won’t know how to manufacture it; you won’t be able to reach your potential customers; they won’t buy it anyway; you probably don’t know how to run a company; your team doesn’t have the experience; and whatever it is, Microsoft or Google will probably give it away for free anyway. Just be prepared to pitch, pitch, pitch. You only need one person to believe.

    Dave
    CEO, Carbonite