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McGraw-Hill’s publisher, Terry McGraw, revealed on Tuesday’s CNBC that the rumors of the Apple tablet are true and that 95% of their publications are ready for it. (See end of the video below.) Apple's CEO Steve Jobs today will stand up to introduce one of the most anticipated technology revelations in years. That bit of techie news will affect franchisees and small business investors. Here's why.
Five years ago I predicted the power of social media for franchise and small business owners. With help, I launched the beginnings of Blue MauMau a year later. I built a highly interactive Blue MauMau platform to take advantage of the technology of the day, a Rolls Royce of such platforms. At that time, few in our industry knew much about social media. One kind of social media had just a handful of franchise-related sites --"blogs." I also tweaked the old journalism model by having readers contribute and discuss what they saw. In turn, that was leveraged with investigative journalism to sort through front line information.
2010 will see the acceleration of the next revolution: mobile social media.
Already the marketing departments of franchising firms have been hard at work designing mobile social media that can engage customers. Those are applications like the one designed to allow a user to make a Dunkin’ run. When they get the urge, they can take doughnut orders on the run via a sent out invitation for others in the office.
My, what some people will do to earn social brownie points.
Franchise and small business buyers are a little more conservative than consumers. Eventually they too will not be able to resist tapping into information and news wherever they are. And Blue MauMau will be there. After all, its franchise news is already made available on cell phones via mobile.bluemaumau.org.
But readers and business investors will want more.
Mr. McGraw says that Apple's Tablet will use the newly upgraded iPhone 4.0 operating system, also to be revealed Wednesday. That's good news. Mobile technology is about to take a jump from tiny cell phone screens to tablets, giving a much needed boost to accessing books, magazines and even one’s buddies on the go.
One of the problems we have had before is that buyers and small business entrepreneurs have tended to act as lone rangers. And despite what Hollywood says, the Lone Ranger without Tonto and others is a very easy individual to pick off for those who want the little money he has.
Banding together in a sort of interactive school to learn, compare notes and challenge each other on investments is turning out to be an incredibly powerful tool in making informed decisions.
Imagine this: You are looking for the right business. Through online social networking, you easily find people who also are looking for the right business. You form a virtual small business investors board to evaluate opportunities. First, to narrow your search, you electronically circle certain franchises in Robert Bond's book, Top 100 Franchises, that has been downloaded into your Tablet. You circle what businesses look particularly promising to you. You highlight questions that begin to emerge. Your fellow sojourners do too. They see your circles, highlights and remarks. You see theirs. They challenge your thinking. You challenge theirs. You interact through comments, post news links, photos, take videos via your iPhone of a shop tour you took, and even publish financial spread sheets of shop profits that are gleaned from owner interviews. One of your online investment learning buddies was a chief financial officer. He creates an earnings template that you use. Add charts, graphs and maps. In essence, you have the power to share notes. At a click of a hyperlink that you put there, you are taken to a much larger online area of forums, blogs and shared libraries in a closed self-selected or a public group of your choosing on Blue MauMau. When a seller tells you something, you can have a real-time chat with one of your buddies. You can also post a running blog of your journey where experts and franchisees join in to help point you in the right direction.
Now imagine doing that with six friends over a franchise disclosure document for a particular brand. Or sharing notes with fellow franchisees about a new vendor. See where I'm going? These are social media tools that help investors to be better informed and to better get around obfuscation.
The techies out there immediately understand what is in the works -- things like Google Wave and other collaborative platforms.
There is a negative side to social media that is also unleashed, the power to gripe, snark and commiserate together in forum remarks. But those criticisms are badges of honor for a good social media site. They are the hallmarks that tell modern readers the information is authentic. Free flowing. Not just company propaganda. And that dirty laundry about a network is informative in its own right, even if a forum poster's perception of a situation may be wrong.
These are just a few of the things that are rushing our way. As an online publisher to small business owners, that's my vision. The Internet's social media tools, and now mobile technology, will help this interactive trend to grow.
The information and social media revolution will continue. Apple has invited journalists to see it nudged just a bit more into the future at the 10am PST event on January 27, 2010 in San Francisco.