[Hidden-tech] HT cited in US Chamber publication

A - Z International az at a-zinternational.com
Tue Feb 15 17:36:16 EST 2005

Hi all,

Pleased to alert you to another article on Hidden-Tech that I wrote for the 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce online magazine for members. Some of you are 
quoted below.


Amy Zuckerman
Hidden-Tech founder, co-chair

The Rise of the Virtual Company:  How Technology Is Changing the Workplace

Throughout the United States, millions of entrepreneurs have ditched 
traditional day jobs and are working in places as unlikely as Prescott, 
Arizona; Devils Lake, North Dakota; and Amherst, Massachusetts, from their 
homes or small offices, hidden from sight and from government statisticians.

These are the virtual companies that economist George Gilder described in 
his writings 30 years ago, and this author dubbed "hidden tech" 
entrepreneurs who generally work alone and boost their business efforts 
through advanced technology. When they need help, they hire subcontractors 
or form business alliances rather than bring in employees to work in-house 
with them.

Hidden tech, virtual company entrepreneurs may appear small in terms of 
office space, but their outreach is often impressive. Some hidden tech 
proprietors have earnings to match. Clients may include Fortune 100 
companies. And there are hidden techies who enjoy international reputations 
in their fields of expertise, according to the report Leveraging the Hidden 
Tech Economy for Economic Development and to Build Social Capital (Amy 
Zuckerman and Mike Levin, Northeast Utilities, 2004).

You don't have to be a techie to operate a hidden tech company. Membership 
in the growing Hidden-Tech organization-a national networking organization 
in western Massachusetts-boasts everyone from animators and sound experts 
to management consultants, jewelry manufacturers, software developers, and 
marketing and public relations specialists. What matters is your mind-set, 
your operating style, and the fact that you use advanced technology to 
operate your company.

As glorious as it is to leave office politics behind, many issues arise 
when you operate on your own, often in remote settings far from your 
market. Hidden techies have traded office politics for isolation. 
Generating clients and customers means being creative marketers and 
constantly doing the fast-shuffle hustle. There are financial issues and 
the need to learn to manage personnel remotely. How to handle tech support 
and manage growth can be challenging as well.

Take, for example, Silvana Gravini, a Northampton, Massachusetts, Web 
designer, who believes that there's "a misconception that if you operate 
from a home office the quality of service may be compromised, or be of 
lesser value." She stresses the need to counter that misconception with a 
solid Web presence and plenty of visible backup help.

Bernadine Solwey, who operates Tenderfoot Socks from her home in St. 
Michael's, North Dakota, struggles with everything from locating 
manufacturers for her special socks for diabetics to marketing from a 
remote setting on a tight budget. Yet she perseveres because she believes 
in her product and values her lifestyle, which means she's an inveterate 

Shel Hurwitz, a marketing guru who operates his business alongside a dairy 
farm in Hadley, Massachusetts, also believes that the secret to survival as 
a hidden tech, virtual company owner is to market yourself relentlessly. As 
an early adopter of technology, he recommends placing yourself on the Web 
to be easily searchable. "The last time I searched for myself on Google, I 
got 3,760 hits."

Amy Zuckerman is an award-winning author, columnist, and principal of a 
strategic marketing business in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is founder of 
the Hidden-Tech organization 
(<http://www.hidden-tech.net>www.hidden-tech.net) in western Massachusetts.

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