NEW YORK (TheStreet) — And now, some hard lessons from a hard year.
Running a small business can be humbling. I should know. I make my living giving tech advice by and for small businesses. In the course of the average year, I get intimate exposure not only to Google, Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) and Microsoft, but 1,000 often fabulous small firms. I have direct access to the brightest minds and the dimmest bulbs in American business. Yet, even that insight isn't enough to keep me from making mistakes.
The thing is, I am not alone. This year brought us a crop of tech blunders, each with its own small-business lesson to be learned. Here are my top three for the year:
BlackBerry Storm 9530
What will kill you: Horrifying small business e-mail.
Research In Motion's (Stock Quote: RIMM) BlackBerry devices, in particular the Bold 9000, remain some of my small-business weapons of choice. And Verizon offers many solid touch-enabled smartphones such as the Droid. But what was billed as this year's "category creating" smartphone was the single worst small biz tool of the year. Yes, it was slick. And you felt a palpable click when you entered information because of its haptic technology, but its data entry was lethally inaccurate. If you type faster than one letter every two seconds, your e-mails could turn into gibberish. This unit is simply not to be trusted with critical business communications.
Lesson learned: New categories are discovered, not created. Enter them carefully.