I just got back from the comdex computer show in fun-filled Las Vegas, and I thought I might share a few observations with you. As always, the show featured some exciting new gizmos. The coolest: one that used voice recognition to retrieve stock quotes. On the James Bond front, I saw a laptop that used fingerprint-recognition technology instead of a password to gain access. I also noted a huge focus on handheld devices and applications.
But many vendors I spoke to placed heavy emphasis on services and support. As we have been saying for quite a while, it's not about the boxes or the chips anymore. Vendors are working to put together services and packages to suit the needs of their various customers. And small businesses are certainly getting their fair share. Since you probably don't need the fastest or biggest new tech, the focus on service and support should work to your advantage.
I also wanted to use this space to thank the many readers who responded to a recent Editor's Note, in which I reported that the vast majority of small businesses still do not have Web sites. I definitely struck a nerve. In all the years I have been an editor this is the most mail I have received on any one topic. It seems that many of our readers currently don't have Web sites, or at least understand why so many small businesses are not yet e-enabled.
We want you to know that we don't just ask for your opinions and then ignore them. We are currently planning to do a feature article on everything you need to know to get a Web site up and running -- without spending a fortune. The article will also include information on why you may or may not need a site at this time. We haven't scheduled the piece yet but I will let you know what month to expect it. And please keep your comments coming. We do read them, and what we learn from them helps us decide what topics to cover in future issues. You can e-mail your letters to email@example.com.