Five Ideas to Watch
1. Nielsen Numbers for Billboards
Two new systems are vying to track, say, how many 18- to 25-year-olds drive by an ad, using data from handheld GPS devices. Previously, the outdoor ad industry relied on sparse Traffic Audit Bureau numbers. Media planner John Connelly of MediaCom predicts sales of outdoor ads will rise "if we can supply good audience information." The systems will debut in Chicago and Atlanta in 2004.
2. Following in LensCrafters' Footsteps
St. Louis-based Foot Healers aims to be the LensCrafters of feet--a clinic-retailer combo that fights maladies from toenail fungus to heel spurs. Copying that model could pay off: Five years after it was founded, LensCrafters was the No. 1 eyeglasses retailer in the U.S. Foot Healers recently opened its second strip-mall store.
3. The Next Must-Have Digital Toy?
ReplayTV inventor Anthony Wood recently unveiled the Roku HD1000, a digital media player that connects a PC to a high-definition TV. Users with Wi-Fi or Ethernet will be able to display computer content like music and photos on their TVs. And memory cards from digital cameras and MP3 players can be inserted into the device, which sells for $499.
4. Productivity Is a Gender Issue
Family businesses owned by women are nearly twice as productive as those run by men, a survey cosponsored by Babson College reports. The typical matriarch employs 26 workers, compared with 50 for men, yet generates nearly the same revenue ($26.9 million, compared with $30 million). Babson's Nan Langowitz theorizes that Dad usually wields more control over the decision-making process, while Mom fosters collaboration--so her staff gets more done.
5. The Cyber Doc
The nationwide shortage of radiologists has helped two-year-old Radlinx hit $4.5 million in sales. When local MDs aren't available, hospitals send X-rays and MRIs via broadband to Radlinx radiologists, who fax back results in minutes.