Daily Links for October 16th through October 22nd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Ultimate Gadget Decision Flowchart [PIC] – Should get the new [insert gadget here] or not? [Note: A handy guide for gadget enthusiasts. But be honest with yourself, you're probably going to buy the thing anyway. It's so shiny!]
  • Remodeling Magazine: Home remodeling, kitchen and bath design … – Looks like the return on home improvements is suffering as much as the real estate market.
  • A Random Search Search for Excellence Why “great company” research delivers fables and not facts – Many believe that we can learn how to be great by studying greatness. But what is great performance? It turns out that we typically measure the wrong thing and set the bar far too low. Consequently, researchers who think they are studying successful companies are usually studying the winners of a random walk. What does this mean for the soundness of some of the most popular and influential management research? The bottom line: you can’t trust it.
  • What carries you up will also bring you down — cdixon.org – chris dixon’s blog – In every case you can find the one sentence or paragraph that describes their unique business model advantage. It could be their unique distribution system or the retailing model. It’s the factor that accounts for their success. It turns out the factor that explains their success at the beginning is what accounts for their failure later.
  • Amazon offers same-day delivery to select cities | Webware – CNET – Amazon customers placing deliveries within the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Seattle, as well as "some surrounding areas," will now be able to receive shipments on the same day they place an order. The service will be coming to Chicago, Indianapolis, and Phoenix "in the coming months."

    Amazon said "thousands of items" are available now to customers living in those cities. The new option, called Local Express Delivery, will have varied pricing that depends on the type of product purchased. Amazon Prime members–customers who pay $79 per year to receive unlimited two-day shipping from the online retailer–will need to pay $5.99 per item for the service.

  • Invest in Collaborative Tools, Get More Than Double Return, Study Says – While the study shows that companies investing in top-of-the-range telepresence and telephony systems get the most return, even organizations deploying just basic collaborative tools (like IM and web conferencing) reap a return on collaborative investment of over two times. The study suggests this is because teams using collaborative tools can benefit from a network effect — the more users on a network, the more value is realized from it.
  • No-contract $30 / $45 Straight Talk wireless plans storm Walmart – Remember when TracFone horrified the world with its Straight Talk phone selection back in July? Clearly the suits in Bentonville weren't so scared, as now Walmart is latching on to that very plan and claiming it as its own. In over 3,200 of the outfit's retail stores across America, consumers will be able to snag an admittedly pathetic cellie and a rather decent calling plan for just $30 a month. Three Hamiltons gets you 1,000 voice minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile web access, not to mention nationwide coverage and free 411 calls. If that's not quite enough, a $45 per month option provides unlimited everything (voice / SMS / mobile web). Of course, the price of using an antediluvian LG 220, LG Slider 290 or Samsung 451 can't be measured in mere dollars, but hey, humiliation's only temporary — right?

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