Thursday, December 21, 2006

 

The True Art of Networking

Working the Room and Attracting New Business

On December 6th, NYSIA (New York Software Industry Association) hosted a very successful SIG (Special Interest Group) meeting on self marketing and networking strategies at CRESA Partners' New York City offices, hosted and moderated by Sherri Sklar of Sherri Sklar Strategies, LLC. The presenter, Andrea Nierenberg, CEO, The Nierenberg Group had prepared a hands-on networking workshop. Attendees were invited to a pot luck style event where learning and practicing went hand-in-hand. Over 40 people followed the call and enjoyed the evening.

The True Art of Networking

Have you ever wondered how some people possess the type of skills that make them shine and stand out in a crowd? They are able to walk into a room, create a presence, make connections and persuade the client or prospect in a way like no other. What are the tactics and strategies of networking that cause the client or prospect to stand up and take note or to become engaged whether at a social function or business meeting.

After moving to New York, where Andrea Nierenberg knew no one, she networked her way to 1,500 new business contacts. Now, based on the principles she learned, Andrea speaks to businesses around the world about why networking is the most powerful business development tool you can have. What's the secret? It comes from a simple strategy of finding out how to be a giver through networking.

How many trade shows or business events have you noticed people only focusing on their own personal gain from meeting new people? What Andrea will show you is how to visualize ways to make a positive first impression that has the potential to turn into lifelong business relationships. In this session, the whole focus will be on the opportunity to deepen the share of the wallet by understanding and implementing the techniques of networking and how to connect, engage and interact with our clients and prospects to create and win more business in a positive relationship building way.

Wall Street Journal's "Networking Success Story"

The Wall Street Journal called Andrea Nierenberg a "networking success story." She is a master at helping companies build their businesses by improving employee and client relationships. Andrea's training methods all focus on one principle: take care of your business relationships, and your business will prosper. With a 25-year sales and marketing background, Andrea heads The Nierenberg Group, a business consulting firm based in New York. Her company works with the world's leading businesses, such as Citigroup, Time Inc., TIAA-CREF, Food Network, Lehman Brothers, Omnicom, Coach, and Tiffany. Andrea's book, Nonstop Networking: How To Improve Your Life, Luck and Career, is used by companies as a business development "textbook" and is a top seller at Amazon.com. Her next book, Million Dollar Networking: The Sure Way to Find, Grow and Keep Your Business, will be released in the fall of 2005. Andrea was honored by Office Depot and the National Association for Female Executives as Business Woman of the Year. She also received a Silver Apple Award from the Direct Marketing Association of New York for her long-time service.

Former Dale Carnegie Training Instructor

Prior to establishing The Nierenberg Group, Andrea was publisher and sales director of Target Marketing Magazine, and taught Dale Carnegie courses for 14 years. She has taught her business development courses to undergraduate and MBA students at the nation's top educational institutions, including the University of Chicago, Baruch College, and New York University. A native of Illinois and a long-time resident of New York City, Andrea graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Business and Psychology.

Harvard MBA Moderator

Sherri Sklar Strategies, LLC is a sales, marketing and business development consulting firm that delivers measurable results from assessment, proven strategies, and excellence in execution. Sherri Sklar has built a star track record in helping organizations (including CRESA Partners) obtain exceptional results. Over the last 20 years, she has enabled organizations to make dramatic turnarounds, helping under-performing divisions achieve significant growth in the most difficult of marketplace conditions. Ms. Sklar has helped organizations in marketing strategy and execution, sales strategy, sales execution and performance, business development strategy, channel management, and communication skills training. A frequent presenter at seminars and conferences, Ms. Sklar practices and teaches 'peak performance delivery', a proprietary technique Ms. Sklar employs to help clients achieve optimal results. Ms. Sklar received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University.

Monday, December 18, 2006

 

Web 2.0 Search iBreakfast Report

Event Report

CRESA Partners recently hosted the December 6th iBreakfast panel discussion of Web 2.0 Search featuring presentations by Kayak, TV Eyes, myTriggers and FAST. If you had to describe the next world of search it would have eyes, ears, a brain, doggedness and a way to travel by canoe, or make that Kayak.

TV Eyes' Video Search

Founder David Ives described how TV Eyes does video search by using its ears. TV Eyes listens to the audio track in a video, turns it into text and then indexes the results. This door-opening technology makes it possible for videos to tag themselves, generate transcripts and get translated into other languages. So yes, you really could listen in on Al Jazeera and find out what fair and balanced means in another language.

TV Eyes' spoken word indexing of video content is based on what's actually said within a video. The business model is to generate revenue from displaying ads linked to and alongside video content when and where relevant. (There are a number of emerging competitors in this space, including Critical Mention and Scanscout.)

Kayak Travel Search

Kayak, as its name sort of suggests, is about travel, not just camping but real travel. Formed by ex-Orbitz and other online travel company executives, the site not only delivers hotel and flight information in a travel meta-search engine, but also gives feedback from actual travelers. Kayak.com's deep relationships into travel provider websites enables the site to deliver more specific results. New features allows user to "pin" a result, sending it to the top of a page and retaining a preference.

myTriggers Shopping Search

myTriggers is a shopping engine that turns pay-per-click on its ear by taking a cut of its partner's sales. Thus, the results are as honest as the
affiliated deals they have which now number over 100 million products. The most interesting part is that the listing directly reflects vendor inventory and links directly to the vendors' checkout system. Some audience members feared this structure would deprive the vendor of ad revenue. But in fact, once a shopper lands on the shopping cart page and has their wallet open, ready to buy, that is the ideal place to ask: what else would they like to buy?

MyTriggers.com natural shopping search features no paid advertisements. The business model is to collect fees from etailers based on click-through conversion sales. This avoids many of the click-fraud issues inherent in paid search sites. MyTriggers.com was launched on Black Friday 2006 by Glenn Myers, formerly CEO of SKYT and RRRR.

FAST Enterprise Search

FAST is an enterprise search engine which helps companies integrate their own intelligence with the way the world looks in, from behind the firewall. Aside from making the companies' own digital assets intelligently searchable, FAST is also able to make sense of who is looking in, and help viewers get to the information the company wants them to have. Artificial intelligence and a host sophisticated technologies take search to a whole new place with these techniques.

FAST Enterprise Search is a public company founded in 1997, with 750 employees. Matching customers/employeees to communities of content and commerce, FAST features a "learning algorithm" that learns user's preferences with experience, using a semantic network. Clients include MTV, Comcast, Softbank, Zibb (B2B search). FAST's R&D group is based in Oslo, Norway.

Friday, December 08, 2006

 

PixFusion Expands Team and Opens Florida Offices

Three executives join New York team, four members to head Florida operations

PixFusion LLC (http://www.pixfusion.com/), creator of personalized, branded video products, has expanded its management team, hiring three executives in New York and added four managers to run new offices operating out of Palm Beach and Cooper City, Florida.

Ex-DigiKidz, Inc. CEO Joins Team

Marlo Gold, formerly chief executive officer of DigiKidz, Inc., has joined the company as general manager of PixFusion Florida and will oversee the team including; Mark Bender and Scott Aschbrenner, product development co-directors and David Gold, director of business development. In New York, Urmalena Gomes has been named marketing director; Erik Slavin director of content development; and Laura Perrotta director of content production.
“All of our new management talent bring great experience and expertise to the PixFusion team,” said Marc E. Jaffe, CEO of PixFusion. “With this significant increase in personnel and geographic reach, we’re looking forward to dramatic growth in the next six to twelve months.”

Palm Beach & Cooper City, Florida Operations

Marlo Gold, who will oversee the overall Florida operations and have marketing and strategic planning responsibilities, has extensive expertise with brand product licensing. In 2004, she co-founded DigiKidz, Inc. with David Gold and served as its CEO and President. David Gold, PixFusion’s director of business development in Florida, will focus on building significant new distribution channels and overseeing critical strategic retail and online sales relationships.
Aschbrenner and Bender, product development co-directors, join PixFusion from DigiKidz as well. At DigiKidz Bender was in charge of development of the company’s DVD personalization method and story enhancement design and was responsible for creation and fulfillment of licensed character personalized DVD products. Aschbrenner has a background in animation and music production as well as scripting and production management.

Ex-All Kinds of Minds, Disney Features, American Film Institue Team Members

Gomes joins PixFusion from New York based All Kinds of Minds, an institute that translates the latest research on how children learn into programs, products, and services to help students improve performance and become more successful learners. She managed a comprehensive direct consumer marketing and online program. Her primary PixFusion responsibilities will be creating and implementing marketing plans to drive consumer sales, coordinating all direct to consumer online and offline campaigns, and overseeing public relations, promotion, DRTV, and advertising.

Perrotta will be responsible for collaborating with internal business, sales and marketing departments to develop licensed properties and create production strategies for personalized children's products. She will also deal with external licensors, agencies and third party vendors to ensure the product's brand and quality integrity. Perrotta brings 15 years of animation production management experience at such companies as Disney Features and TV Animation and Warner Bros. TV Animation and most recently has worked on Academy Award nominated features such as the Twentieth Century Fox animated feature "Ice Age."

Slavin will oversee the production of PixFusion content for traditional and new media, creating new technologies and markets for PixFusion's personalization system. A former Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute, he is a founding member and Creative Director of the non-profit RIPFEST collaborative Film Project.

iParenting Media Award Recipient

PixFusion LLC (http://www.pixfusion.com/), established in 2001 with offices in both New York City and Florida, creates personalized branded video products and services and uses its patented technology to automate the production of its finished products. PixFusion, recently awarded an iParenting Media Award, has proprietary content agreements and is continuing to expand its distribution networks to offer its personalized products direct to consumers and through retailers, manufacturers and other indirect channels. The company has commercialized children video products through its Kideo brand (http://www.kideo.com/), a successful enterprise selling DVD videos to parents and grandparents of children ages one to seven. Kideo’s existing content is licensed from some of the most prominent and respected pre-school brands including Dora the Explorer and Arthur. In addition to its consumer entertainment division, PixFusion has also entered into several licenses of its proprietary intellectual property platform based on the strength of its long standing patent portfolio.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

CRESA Partners International Reaches Ireland

CRESA Partners' international partner, Atisreal, has recently acquired Harrington Bannon, an Irish real estate firm, to create Atisreal Ireland.

Premier Brand and Clientele

Harrington Bannon, a property consulting business and one of the premier brands in Ireland, is a recognized player in corporate real estate services in Ireland. The Dublin-based company was founded some 30 years ago and generated in excess of 5 million euros in transactions in 2005. Harrington Bannon operates in investment property, office leasing, consulting, appraisal/valuation and property management and has 20+ employees. The company's clients include BNP Paribas, Amgen, IBM, Ericsson, Aon, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s and EMC².

Initial Foray into Ireland

This operation represents Atisreal’s first acquisition in Ireland. Alain Béchade, Vice Chairman of Atisreal, explains: “The Irish market is strategic particularly with regards to international investment. In terms of Corporate Real Estate, this market is also an important link between North American companies and Europe. It is an extremely buoyant domestic market and Irish investors are active in both the UK and continental European markets.”

Continued European Expansion

This acquisition reinforces Atisreal’s European network and its leadership in corporate property services in the euro zone. In addition to Ireland, Atisreal is already present in France, Belgium,
Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, UK, Italy (since November 2005), and in the USA. Atisreal's goals are to continue expanding and become the market leader in Ireland in corporate real estate services.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

Web 2.0 Video iBreakfast Report

Event Report

CRESA Partners recently hosted the November 8th iBreakfast, which captured the rich, emerging field of Web 2.0 video. What makes this field different from streaming of old, is that it has taken on a whole new dimension of user interactivity. This varies by vendor but clearly, the success of YouTube, has informed every company, whether they were aiming at consumers or business: the user or viewer is part of the equation.

Vidavee Presentation

Vidavee cofounder, Tom Gilley, who began as an early Apple employee and among the creators of QuickTime, noted that YouTube taught everyone that using open source tools, hiding complexity and enabling all video sources to be uploaded and be viewed, was critical. That, and spending a fortune in bandwidth with no remuneration until the lucky moment when a company like Google acquires you.

Most video companies have a different view, vidavee, wants to offer, technically, what YouTube offers but for the purposes of business and corporations distributing their content either on their sites, syndicating them to their partners adding to. Typically, customers pay and both companies share ad revenue - the system even helps determine where best to place the ads.

Whiteblox & BrightCove Presentations

Whiteblox and BrightCove offer much the same thing although BrightCove, with the pedigree of Jeremy Allaire of ColdFusion and Flash fame, has had a lot of attention. They offer a free or paid service, depending on who wants to own the revenue and control the flow of ads. Whiteblox is only about being paid but it offers various social features like chat. BrightCove, which was predicated on the idea that it could make anyone or any company a video broadcaster never quite got the idea of user uploading junk and then aggregating a huge audience. But they are now working on that.

PalTalk Presentation

PalTalk is all about videochat. With several million users, CEO Joel Smernoff site has quietly become a meeting place for viewers who just chatter and stare. But the system is well hosted, self-policing and quite viable. A good example of the "Wisdom of crowds" ethos not merely to rate but to keep the site clean.

Motionbox Presentation

The Wow factor of the iBreakfast probably went to Motionbox.com, which wants to be a better YouTube as well as useful corporate delivery mechanism of video. The rave factor is that the co-founder, Douglas Warshaw is both a former TV talent exec, as well as a hands-on Avid editor, who figured that people want to edit intuitively and just get out the highlights. Same for the viewer. So their tools enable uploaders to simply highlight what they like in their under 100MB video clips and the systems expertly complies them into a succint video: no time code, not cuts and cueing up and so on.

Based on the enthusiasm for this event it is clear that the standard website of tomorrow will have plenty of video for all kinds of things, customer service, explaining products and even taking feedback. Whether this eclipses TV, as we know (unlikely) or expands it in whole other way (more likely) is the subject of the upcoming Web 2.0 NY Conference in February.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

 

Third Quarter 2006 Market Overview

Tenant’s Viewpoint

Over the past twenty years, Midtown rental rates in NYC have fluctuated within a fairly well defined range; not exceeding asking rents in the $80's/rsf nor falling below a range in the low $40's/rsf. Current asking rental rates are surpassing even the highs of early 2001, with non-trophy Midtown "Class A" buildings asking rents beginning in the $70's/rsf and exceeding $130/rsf in the "trophy" class. The reality of triple digit rental rates should cause alarm for service industry providers that want to be positioned in "Class A" Midtown properties, as costs become prohibitively high. Low margin businesses will feel the greatest impact if real estate prices continue to escalate at 10% - 15% per annum.

Market Overview

The demand for office space in Manhattan continues across all submarkets. The Downtown submarket has seen increases in asking prices in excess of 30% for "Class A" space over the past year. Such an increase is indicative both of a lag in that submarket and decisions by landlords to raise rents as vacancies drop in a hot Midtown submarket. In Midtown, landlords continue to aggressively raise asking rents, as reflected by 10% - 15% increases in most submarkets in the past twelve months. Trophy buildings are now commanding starting rents above $130/rentable square foot ("rsf"), and buildings outside of the Plaza District, such as One Bryant Park (42nd Street & Sixth Avenue), are beginning transactions at $100/rsf. There are no signs that market will ease in the near future.

Trends & Stats

Midtown
Average asking rents rose $3.64/rsf from the second quarter to $63.41/rsf for "Class A" space. Asking rents rose $1.36/rsf to $41.52/rsf for "Class B" space. Respectively these represent one-year increases of 13.1% and 9.6% for "Class A & B" average asking rents.
Vacancy rates dropped during the last quarter 0.4 points to 5.5% for "Class A" space and decreased 1.0 points to 4.9% for "Class B" space. "Class A" net absorption for the third quarter was 909,997 rsf and "Class B" net absorption was 558,608 rsf.

Midtown South ("Class A&B")
During the third quarter, average asking rents rose $0.86 from the previous quarter to $39.25. This represents an increase of 12% over the past 12 months. Net absorption for the third quarter was 259,197 rsf. Vacancy rates dropped 0.3 points from the previous quarter to 5.2% and availability for the last reported quarter was 7.6%.

Downtown
Since 3Q05, asking rents have risen $11.15/rsf to $44.80/rsf for a 33% increase in "Class A" asking rental rates. Over the same period, "Class B" asking rents rose $2.56/rsf to $32.13/rsf for "Class B" space. Since the 2nd quarter this represents increases of $3.25/rsf in "Class A" and $1.40/rsf in "Class B". "Class A" vacancy rates rose by 1.1% from the second quarter 2006 to 11.6% and "Class B" decreased 1.5% to 10.5%. The increase in the vacancy rate was due to a large block of space coming onto the market. Space availability at the close of the third quarter were 11.2% and 12.3% for "Class A & B" respectively.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

 

PixFusion takes 7,400 RSF at 390 Park Avenue South

CRESA Partners has negotiated a short-term lease providing PixFusion LLC with 7,400 rentable square feet ("rsf") at 390 Park Avenue South in Manhattan. PixFusion, a provider of personalized video technology, is relocating from 535 West 34th Street and will occupy its new headquarters immediately.

Venture Capital Funded

PixFusion, which raised $4.2 million in venture capital funding earlier this year, needed additional space to grow, and the office they selected perfectly matched their short-term requirements. PixFusion LLC (http://www.pixfusion.com/), established in 2001 and based in New York City, creates personalized branded video products and services and uses its patented technology to automate the production of its finished products. PixFusion has proprietary content agreements and is continuing to expand its distribution networks to offer its personalized products direct to consumers and through retailers, manufacturers and other indirect channels.

Children's Video Products Featuring Dora the Explorer & Arthur

The company has commercialized children video products through its Kideo brand (http://www.kideo.com/), a successful enterprise selling DVD videos to parents and grandparents of children ages one to seven. Kideo’s existing content is licensed from some of the most prominent and respected pre-school brands including Dora the Explorer and Arthur. In addition to its consumer entertainment division, PixFusion has also entered into several licenses of its proprietary intellectual property platform based on the strength of its long standing patent portfolio.

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