Posts Tagged ‘Aware’

Aware Monitoring: The startup formally known as Viisys

May 22, 2009

When we set out on our startup journey we didn’t know what we were going to make. So we named our company Viisys, which is an abbreviation of Seven Systems (seven being in the roman numerals VII). The seven (vii) means the 7th step of enlightenment and Sys refers to Tech systems. Seven is also a lucky number but who needs luck?

Moving the clock forward¬† we have been enlightened and our new website monitoring app, Aware Monitoring will be released later this year ūüôā We’re now ready to change our name to reflect what our service does i.e. monitoring. We will now trade and be known by our product name, Aware Monitoring and not Viisys. This change of identity is not unusual. Our good friends Andy and Ali at started out as Ninian Solutions and now trade as Huddle.


Simon, my co-founder, recently posted that its really exciting to see our branding coming together. To complete the brand switch over I’ve now changed company name on my LinkedIN profile and email footer to Aware Monitoring. I’ve also removed the ‘About’ page on this blog and updated the ‘Who am I’ without reference to Viisys.

These changes have also been a chance to update my ‘about/Who am I’ as they felt a little ‘corporate’ and unfriendly. A summary bio is now also on the front page. Hopefully you’ll agree that the new blog bio is more straight forward and friendly.. Here’s the old version:


Innovations including the internal combustion engine, electricity and the Internet have radically changed our lives. I am interested in one thing and that is change, love it or hate it change is inevitable.

Market innovators and entrepreneurs drive business change through marketing strategies. We can only speculate on what the future holds, so join me on this journey to uncover how new software technologies may change the way we work and live.

This blog is for for marketers, technology innovators, fellow entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in new social media technologies and how they are affecting businesses and organisations.

The blog was formed by Nick Barker in 2008. If this is your thing subscribe to the feed and stay in touch.

Who am I

Having worked in the IT industry for 20 years I have seen many innovations and much change from the very early days of the IBM PC through to the growth of global outsourcing and today the rise of social media. My experience ranges from working in small owner manager firms to global software giants in a variety of sales, pre-sales and product management roles.

Today I run a start-up, Viisys, technology company with my co-founder Simon Oxley based at the University of Nottingham incubator facilities. We have just released a central website,, to inform firms of the value of Enterprise2.0 technologies. For more information check me out at LinkedIN or my firm Viisys at

And you can see the new one over to the right..



April 2, 2009

I would like to Thank all my readers for an amazing two months growth on this blog. I must be writing things people want to hear.


I bet any startup would kill for a sales graph like this during the recession. Oh look, here’s a SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) providers sales revenues with major growth in the current recession:


The results of a recent survey from Gartner shows that almost 90% of organizations expect to maintain or grow their usage of SaaS.


Click her for a free copy of the report. Our startup Aware Monitoring is definitely in the right market ūüôā

Business cards – 5 key features for success

February 5, 2009

Business cards – a boring subject…but they are very important. It is said when you first meet someone you make your mind up whether you like them within the first 30 seconds! On these occasions business cards are often exchanged. Quality business cards can help make a good impression and are worth investing time and money on. The business card exchange ritual goes back along way:

American Attorney business card 1895
(a very serious looking fellow!)

I’ve¬†received 1000’s of business cards over the years. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colours, textures, materials, etc. I’ve even been given a Titanium card!! With so many choices what do you choose for your business card? We dusted off our boxes of other peoples business cards last week and compared 100’s of cards. In the end we decided that the key feature of choosing a business card are:

  1. Text– Clear readable text which is a good font size and is well spaced. This makes the card easier to read and brings the impression of spaciousness. We found plenty of cards which used very small fonts and/or the text/lines were crammed together.
  2. Print qualityРFirst impressions do count. Cut costs here and you maybe sending out a cheap low quality impression of your company and its products/services. Unfortunately we found several poor quality print jobs.
  3. Card thickness РAgain quality counts. This is a strange thing to describe but when you hold a thicker business card it gives a feeling of substance. Again quality. When we looked through our cards quality thick paper makes a big difference (preferably 400g+).
  4. Back¬†of card– IN the past I’ve used the back of peoples business cards to write summary notes. Alternatively the back of a business card is a great way to reinforce your logo and brand. It’s a walking advertisement of your brand. We found some great examples including Jive Software, Trampoline Systems and Mindcandy.
  5. Size– Having a card which fits into a¬†wallet or purse is helpful. In a wallet it can be easily found and will be looked at again. I do like the ‘mini’ card funkiness¬†but there just not practical as they get lost easily.

With all this in mind we had our cards designed by a professional designer. In the past we skipped the designer and did it ourselves. I think its worth paying that extra cash even when you are extreme bootstrapping to have it done properly. Here is our final result:


Armed with a great design/layout you then need to find a good printer. We have looked at several printing companies and selected They offer a local service which is always useful when in a rush, a useful proof checking service and they are a big outfit which means they have good printers. Yes, we checkout what printing machines they used. There are lots of other printing companies. Emma Jones at Enterprise Nation has suggested several¬† including MOO and¬† “They cost as little as ¬£15 for 250, again with free ‘template’ designs that look very professional” (Emma).

Good business cards really are worth investing in to give out the right impression when meeting a potential partner, prospective client, etc for the first time.

My other startup related posts:

Aware in the Clouds

January 14, 2009

The new Aware Monitoring holding page in the Cloud

We are in good company — A recent survey of 1,300 programmers from around the world shows more than half of them plan to work on SaaS in ’09.

5 factors in choosing a company/product name

January 13, 2009

We have dreamt up two company/product names since forming our start-up — and We also¬†named our¬†blog’s and¬†Simon’s (my co-founder)¬† I’d like to say it got easier finding a name each time but it didn’t. It¬†takes lots of¬†ideas and investigating. However it is creative fun.¬† Our five factors in choosing a company or product name in order are:



1. A good URL & domain
2. Short name
3. Descriptive name
4.  Memorable name
5. Balanced lettering



The biggest challenge is getting a¬†good URL. We¬†felt¬†a .com¬†address was¬†one of the most important factors because we’re a tech company.

We now need another name for our new software product. At least we are versed in company/product naming. For our primary product we wanted an English dictionary name to make it easy to spell and remember. Trouble is all the dictionary URL words have gone! There are lots of tech companies with combinations of words e.g  MindTouch; SocialText; Thoughtfarmer, etc. However many URL combinations of two dictionary words have also gone!!

After brainstorming several hundred¬†names we¬†decided¬†on Aware.¬†We then tried many, many word combinations¬†with¬†Aware. Eventually¬†we took the Jive approach. Jive is a social software company and their URL is but they are known as Jive.¬† Our new¬†product is¬†a monitoring service, so we’ve joined Aware and Monitoring and¬†voila¬†awaremonitoring.comūüôā

Right, time for the logo next..