2010-01-19

Marketing wisdom from the Taber Report

This is so common-sense, and simple, and so awesome in its simplicity, that I had to share it here. In hopes more marketing will be done like this.

Effectiveness Comes from Credibility and Influence, not Control

If you're trying to influence the customer, you have to be much more attentive to their needs and perceptions. You need to send them information they care about, and even invited you to send. You need to build your stature as a source of industry best practices, not just "the best product." Even if all you do is sell product, the goal is to be viewed as a credible resource, not just a purveyor. Being a market leader means:

Read full post here.

2010-01-03

That's what I call weather!

Alrighty, I think this is a nice "welcome back" gift from the weather gods after a week in snowed-in Virginia and a week in fairly cold North Carolina. (Temperatures are in degrees Celsius, BTW.)

Now on with the standard post-arrival routine: unpacking, laundry, groceries.

Then, a little drive with the top down. Yay!

2010-01-02

Flying the Greyhound of the skies

Considering the number of miles I've flown (which is even bigger if you convert it to kilometers) you know that I know what I am talking about when I say I detest flying with Southwest.

From the need to queue up for boarding, to the "free seating" policy, this airline is not even remotely suited for frequent travelers. Yet, when holidays come around, and air fare goes up, this affordable airline was hard to beat for a one-way ticket from Raleigh back to the Bay area.

However, salty dog of an air traveler that I am, I managed to make the trip conditions halfway bearable after all.

For starters, let me mention that I was careless enough not to check in for my flight onlin until just a touch over two hours prior to departure. At which point I was denied check-in, because "the maximum number of online boarding passes have been issued."

So off to the airport I went and got my boarding pass at the gate. Of course at that point they assigned me into the last group to board, C.

I waited till groups A and B all boarded and obediently got in line when my turn came. Down the jetwalk and into the cabin.

Then, the expected picture opened before my eyes: while most of the rest of the cabin was full, row 1 had passengers in seats A and C, leaving the middle seat open.

Like a hawk, I zeroed in on the seat.

"Is this seat free, by any chance?" I asked the two middle-aged ladies with books.

"Yes," they reluctantly admitted, as I plopped into my place under a scalding glare from the lady in the window seat. Through the rest of the boarding, taxi, and takeoff, she would throw those kind of glances at me that made me glad looks can't kill after all.

What she would be surely surprised to know is, that this is not the first time I performed the exactly same maneuver on a Southwest flight. Passengers in row 1 frequently position themselves into middle seat, to discourage others to take either of the neighbouring ones. And since it's the very first row, once you've hesitated to brazenly take seat A or C next to the person in seat B, you've already moved past the first row and the plan worked.

Then at last, someone takes the aisle seat. The peson who was already there, moves from the middle seat to the window, leaving the middle one open. At this point, the disincentive to take that seat gets even higher, so it remains open for a while.

Then, enter yours truly.

Knowing full well that purely statistically, chances of me flying in the first row at this point (one of the last five passengers to board) would be quite low, I nevertheless expect at least one open seat, and sure enough I get it.

And the morals of the story is: When the push comes to shove, no amount of intimidating glaring will stop me from getting the best seat still available on the entire aircraft.

Cheers, folks, and fly safe.

Walker design fail

For years now, I have been seeing people with modified walkers, like this one. As a matter of fact, almost never have I seen walkers WITHOUT cut tennis balls on their rear feet.

What does this say to an astute observer, such as my reader certainly is?

Why, the walker needs some sort of padding for its rear feet! Which in turn begs the question "Why on earth, after all these years of walker users having to put cut tennis bls on their walkers hasn't ANYONE improved the design?"

Are there designers out there who want to make a positive impact on millions of lives? Here's your opportunity. Grab it. Do something.

And you better do it before I will be needing one of these!

2010-01-01

Cruisin' for bruisin'

Behold.

This wonder of modern automotive technology, commonly known as the Chrysler PT Cruiser, has been my means of transportation for the past two weeks, while traveling.

Actually, there were three of them. One, the specimen shown in the picture, in Virginia, and then two others in Raleigh area, one red, and one cream-colored.

The red one met an untimely retirement when a deer ran into its driver side while I was driving home from dinner the night of my arrival in RDU.

The deer ran smack into the side of the car and dented the trailing end of the left front fender and the entire length of the driver door. Not four hours after picking it up at the rental agency, I dropped it off for a cream-colored replacement, which I have been driving since.

The PT is underpowered and too softly-sprung for its weight, making the handling very unsettling. The car leans a lot to the side in turns and dives violently on stops. It probably would squat on acceleration, but the engine is so anemic that at least this is not an issue.

Steering is approximate at best. You basically point the car "kinda sorta that way" and keep correcting until desired direction is achieved.

Once you get used to all of the wallowing and the lack of power, the rest is actually not too bad. Visibility is decent, and mirrors can be adjusted to eliminate blind spots. The rear window wiper was a feature on all three, so I suspect it came standard, and I am glad I had it, what with all the rain and sleet of the East coast winter.

Interior is roomy, and all the controls are visible and easy to reach from the driver seat.

Fuel-efficiency is definitely not the best. Given the car's driveability, I am not driving it anywhere close to aggressively, and yet I am well into the second tank of gas after just five days of driving, mostly on highways.

The looks, well, that is an acquired taste. I tend to like it for its quirkiness, but definitely would not put it on the list of top ten best-looking cars.

Anyways, here it is, the PT Cruiser. May god have mercy on its soul.