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Category Archives: Business

We all are feeling the strains of the economy on our everyday lives.  Some are feeling it more than others, but nonetheless unless you are living in a cabin up in the woods, it is impacting you.  Businesses are no different.  Both big and small are feeling the strains, and today I witnessed both the positive effect and negative effect the economy is having on a small company.

Today I needed to take my car in to get the yearly state inspection.  Like every other time I need something done with my car, I headed down to the local Goodyear shop.  While I was there, another guy came in and also needed some work done.  He was going to wait with his daughter while they worked on his car.  He asked the guy behind the corner if there was a place close by to get some breakfast.  The guy had a great suggestion, but it was not withing.  Without hesitation, the second thing out of his mouth was an offer to take the guy and his daughter there.  At first, I did not think much of it, after all they have a shuttle service to take you home if you do not want to wait for your car.  But this was slightly different, they were offering to take that extra step, to go the extra distance to make sure their customer was taking care of.  Was this just an example of the guy behind the counter being nice?  I do not doubt he was being nice, I know him from doing business with them and I know him to be nice.  I think that without consciously recognizing that what he was doing was going the extra mile, I think it was an example of how companies are doing whatever they can to please and hang on to every customer they have.  In these times, they cannot afford to loose any customers, no matter how big or small.  I think the guy behind the counter’s actions were a positive example of how the strains of the economy are affecting businesses.

It was my turn, the work on my car was finished (so I thought) and I would be on my way.  Come to find out I was wrong, I needed new brakes.  It was a hit I was not expecting, but it was not too much, so I bit the bullet and asked them to take care of it.  Later in the morning, I get a call from someone else from Hogan and Sons, I can only guess it was a “sales” guy.  He was giving me the full court press on getting additional work done on my car.  Although he said I did not have to have it done, he was strongly suggesting it as it would be something that I would need to do in the near future.  I gave him my reason as to why I wanted to forgo and he kept on pressing.  When he finally realized that I was not budging, he gave up and told me when I could pick up my car.

Again, feeling the constrains of the economy, businesses are doing whatever they can to generate more revenue.  However in this case, I am not so sure he was being as effective as he could have been.  His tact was all wrong.  Nonetheless, they have to do what they have to do.

So what are you doing to go that extra mile and how are you generating new revenue streams for you company?

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By no means do I think I am, or have ever been.  I merely thought it was a catchy title for this post, which is of course about those that are famous, those that think they are famous, and how they present themselves.  As luck would have it, it seems as if in this day and age you are only ever a stones throw away from someone who is “famous”.  Whether it be a movie star, musician, professional athlete, socialite or even “Internet Famous”, the famous people abound, they are everywhere you look.  Of course within each one of these categories, you have a hierarchy, and every level you transgress, the more “famous” one thinks they are.

Clearly, there are those that desire they fame.  After all, they have worked very hard at their trade, put in their time climbing the ranks, they should be allowed to enjoy a little bit of that fame, right?  Of course they are.  That is not the point, the point is how they conduct themselves and present themselves.  Are they humble and thankful for what they have been blessed with, or do they act like the world owes them something, that they are better than everyone else, that somehow they know so much more than the rest of us “non famous” folk.  This type of behavior does not seem to be tied to one particular category, it spreads it’s love to all the aforementioned categories.

I am always pleasantly surprised when I read a story of how a celebrity has done some selfless act, not for publicity, but out of the kindness of their hearts.  It is as if for a moment, they step outside their persona and shed the lime light to do something kind, something that does not fit the stereotype.  Now I am by no means saying that this sort of behavior (the selfless acts) are not the norm, I am just simply stating that I always enjoy seeing a celebrity remembering their roots, remembering that they too are just part of the crowd.

What really gets me is when someone thinks that they are WAY more famous than they really are.  Better yet, thinking they are famous when really they are not.  I see this sort of behavior all the time, perhaps not always in person, but it plays out in many media forms:  online, print, TV.  Why do these types act this way?  Are they really as important and all knowing as they think?  My experience and opinion is that they are not nearly as important or famous as they believe or in how they portray themselves.  I always get a good chuckle when I see this transpire, and it makes me always stop and think, if only they knew how foolish they seem.

I myself am one who believes that no matter how famous or important you have become, you can never forget where you came from, or the people that have helped you get where you are.  There is a saying that those that you step on as you climb up the ladder will not be there to catch you when you fall.  This could not be any more true.

Or friend, or connect?  Whatever the term is for the social network or social application or social utility you are on, why do you do it?

Given the nature of the line of work I am in (web company, socially related) I have a presence on the “major” social sites, and the reasons vary as to why and how I use each.  I must say that with all of them, the reason I started out using them is slightly different from how I use them now.  In the beginning, I was using them as a means of research and to keep up with what my co-workers and other industry types were doing and saying.  However (at least for two of them) more and more people I know outside of the industry started setting up shop on these social sites, and I began to get more and more requests from them.

I tried to follow a rule of thumb that I would not friend, connect or follow anyone that I did not know personally or have at  least had personal contact with (worked with, but never physically met; spoken on the phone before; etc).  Of course that was a rule of thumb, and there have been exceptions, but I have tried to stick with it for the most part.  To me, especially in the friending or connecting situations, by me accepting that invite it is as if I am partly vouching for that person.  I would not vouch for someone that I do not know at all, would you?

What blows my mind are the people that have maxed out thier friend list on say Facebook (I beleive the max is 5000, can you really “know” that many people), or follow 40k + people on Twitter (yes, believe me, they are out there).  So why do they do it?  Is it ego, are they trying to build a cult following, perhaps establishing their personal brand?  I guess what it comes down to is what is your purpose behind using these social utilities?  For me, I use them to keep up with those that I know, for others it is a whole nother game that I guess I am just not playing 😉

K.I.S.S., that was a phrase I heard growing up, keep it simple stupid. Never understood why it had to be stupid, but the purpose of the anagram rang clear. Funny how things that you learn as a child can carry in to adulthood, and this is one of those examples.

If keeping things simple is the best way, why do so many things have to be so difficult when they really do not have to? Being that I work for a Web 2.0 company and spend the lion share of my time on the intarwebs, I have noticed that some sights make it extremely easy for you to accomplish a task, and others make it so difficult, that you sometimes scratch your head and wonder why in the world you are even wasting your time with the site. I mean, after all if you are providing a service to your users, why would you want to make it damn near next to impossible for them to get anything done?

It never made sense to me, especially for sites that require you to sign up in order to take full advantage of what they have to offer that they would guide you through a six step process just to sign up. I mean come on, if you are making it that difficult for me to sign up, I can only imagine what the rest of the experience is going to be like. I came across this post tonight on ReadWriteWeb and it got me thinking about specifically the sign up process and how you can crack the holy grail of sign ups. What I mean is how can you give the user the ability to leverage another account they have already created on some other site for the purposes of signing up for yours. Hello, if you can get the sign up process down to just put in a user name and we will fetch as much info as we can for you so you do not have to fill yet another form out, then I am all in.

Well low and behold, some one out there is doing just that, and it is a company that a friend of mine, Micah, works for. The way they go about doing this is extremely clever, hats off to them for coming up with the idea. It is really quite simple, you provide them with your most common user name that you user on the various sites that you belong to and they go out and fetch all publicly available information they can find. Wow, that is what I call keeping it simple (well at least from a sign up perspective). I think what Lijit has done here is rather clever, and it surprises me that you do not see this happening on other sites as well. As more and more companies are opening up their APIs to allow more an more access by 3rd parties, it seems like a logical next step for more companies to do just what Lijit is doing. What to go guys, now if only everyone else was doing the same 🙂 .