Channel Changer: Sylvia Clark, 26, senior analyst relations specialist at 3Com Corp.
Webcasting Service: PointCast Network
Why I Tune In: To track 3Com's stock price and monitor announcements by our competitors.
Business Channels: Companies; New York Times; Boston Globe.
I remember the first time I saw PointCast on a friend's computer. I was awestruck: "You mean I don't have to go out and search for stuff anymore?" It's completely changed my experience with the Web. It's a quality of life thing, really. The information I get is better, faster, and more efficient than before.
The most important channel to me is Companies. It lets me see how our share price changes when we make an announcement. I also like how it tracks our stock over time. The graphs track prices and volumes for the past 30 days. I print them out to show other 3Com people what our stock has been doing.
I also use PointCast to monitor the competition. Cisco is our prime competitor. When they make an announcement, the press release goes from the PR Newswire directly to the Cisco folder on my PC. It's so much easier than tracking down releases through the agency. That's come in handy lots of times. I remember when the price of Fore Systems, another competitor, dropped by half. The price came up on PointCast. I was amazed. Did they have a disastrous quarter? Had the CEO resigned? Then I automatically received the Fore press release announcing a stock split. It saved me from making an embarrassing to an analyst.
PointCast has also changed how I read the newspapers. I need to read the New York Times to know what's going on in the world and the Boston Globe to know what's going on locally. But I don't have the newspapers delivered anymore. I get the Times and the Globe via their channels on PointCast, and I only subscribe to the sections that are important to me. With the Times I get International, Business, Politics, and CyberTimes. With the Globe I get the front page, Metro/Region, Business, and Living/Arts. Both papers are organized in ways the "real" papers aren't.
Entertainment Channels: I love the Weather channel. Not just because it's useful, which it is, but because of the maps — satellite images, Doppler radar. I click on the images, bring them to full-screen size, and scroll through. It's fun.
Wish List: The software should be "lighter." It takes a long time to clear my screen when I click out of it. And I'd like a Dilbert channel
Coordinates: Sylvia Clark, email@example.com
Sign Up: Download PointCast from the Web (www.pointcast.com). The network is free to users but incorporates extensive advertising.
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.