Archive for July, 2006

Candy Is A Treat

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Candy is a treat. Please consume in moderation.

That’s the new message inside wrappers of various Hershey’s candies. A few things to note.

  1. All of you Moms who have been telling your kids that candy is a nutritional food will have to stop!
  2. I liked how this message is on the INSIDE of the wrapper… so that after you gorge yourself, you might see a moral message just to make you feel worse about yourself.
  3. The same people who might not have considered that candy is a treat might also not have a traditionally healthy definition of "moderation."

This ultimately reminds me of a message they used to play in New York City’s 53rd & 3rd subway station. But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. :)


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Sellathon 10K

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Sellathon just released a website where they have the "top" 10,000 eBay sellers (by feedback, evidently NOT by $sales$). You can visit that site here.

We were thrilled to see 11 of our past and current clients on the list with 3 in the top 100. Congrats to us and our great clients!

I’d love to see that list by dollar amount sold as that would be REALLY interesting!


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A Bad Reason To Not Eat Something

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

I was in Wild Oats recently, and asked for Airborne, the cold remedy. I find it works excellently for me, and I like to keep my home stocked for taking before and after I fly or when I am getting a cold. A woman overheard me ask for it, and started telling me I shouldn’t take it. But it works so well for me AND it’s decent enough to be carried by Wild Oats.

She told me it has petroleum in it. WHA? So we looked at the ingredients. The 2nd to last ingredient was mineral oil. How much mineral oil could be in an Airborne tablet? If you’ve seen Airborne, you know they’re very NOT oily, so this must be a tiny amount perhaps to help bind the ingredients into table form. Who knows why it’s in there, but it’s nearly the last ingredient, so there isn’t much in there.

She was like, "Ah, mineral oil. I heard there was petroleum in there, and you shouldn’t take anything with petroleum." Sounds logical, but seemed overkill for what the product was and how often I ingest it. So I ask her why the mineral oil in the Airborne is so bad. She didn’t know. She then tells me confidently that she knows mineral oil is bad because if you rub it on your skin, it will clog your pores.

Let me get this straight. You just told me to NOT orally take Airborne, which maybe has a few millilitres of mineral oil in it, because when you rub mineral oil on your skin, your pores will clog. ?!?!?!? I bet my pores would clog if I rubbed mayo on them, and there’s no petroleum in there.

No, I’m not for eating or using petroleum or its by-products, but in this case, I think this is a small enough amount that I’ll be just fine. We’re all surrounded by so much pollution, radiation, and horribly made foods that it’s hard for me to get wound up in a few mils of mineral oil.


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Speaking To Trade Show Attendees

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

On Monday, I was making some follow-up calls from last month’s eBay convention. One person I called had decided to hire someone else. He said part of the reason was that he came to my booth and waited to talk to me, but I was so busy with everybody else. He didn’t get the attention he wanted, and that was a "deciding factor."

So now I’m thinking about this. We gave out 1500 brochures from our booth over the convention, which was 24 hours over 3 days. That means that five of us handled an average of 62 total people per hour. Actually, my team was a max of four most of the time between my speaking engagements, people’s breaks, and being short one person on the last day. AND, the booth was quiet when most classes ran, which was around 3 hours per day. That means that we probably dealt with 1500 people over 15 hours, which is an average of 100 people per "busy" hour.

The people who spoke to me wanted me for an average of nearly 10 minutes so that we could really dive into their businesses and needs. And that was usually talking to two different sellers at the same time, trying to accomodate both’s questions and needs. The math does not work in my favour there!

Additionally, I had been talking to this guy before the convention. When he came to my booth, I remember him being casual. It was almost like, "Hey, it’s me, the guy who called you." He didn’t seem to have burning questions. I don’t remember him telling me that he needed my attention or was judging hiring us on how much attention I paid to him. I thought it was a casual visit and that he’d mostly decided to hire us because we had already spoken. I evidently misinterpreted this.

I wonder what I could have done differently. Could I have read him better? In that wave of booth activity, possibly not. Could he have more clearly communicated his desire to speak with me? Possibly. I had people tell me they wanted to talk to me, wait around, or come back. I even had someone call me after the show saying they waited, never spoke to me, and wanted to make sure they talked to me. I remember people being clear about wanting/waiting to talk to only me!

I look forward to having a larger staff where it’s not (just) the Deb Show. I would like people to be more comfy getting information and attention from my team because there is only so much of me. I wish I could have given this person more of my time. He deserved it, but I honestly don’t know how I would have done it with 1500 people coming to my booth over 19-ish hours of show time.

Perhaps next year, I will block off specific times of day and schedule 10-minute appointments. You want Deb but she’s surrounded by a zillion people? How’s 2:10pm? Come back, and you’ll get her to yourself.  Maybe that would work, and everybody else can get the great info from my great team. :)

I also notice that something like this only works one way. If someone comes to our booth and then calls me with questions about something we discussed at the trade show, I can’t be like, "Jeez, I answered that in the booth. Didn’t you hear me?" I just called another guy who came to our booth, and he was saying that he just had back surgery and wanted a few days before we discussed working together. Should I tell him that’s not acceptable because I’m ready to work with him now?

No, these things don’t work, and I’d never treat anybody like this. So as I said, next year we’ll have badge scanners AND fixed appointments with me. I hope that’ll solve it for people who next year decide that 10 minutes with me personally makes or breaks our working relationship!


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The Lord Buys Billboards

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Here in Tucson, I’ve just noticed a billboard that was white writing on black, and simply said:

Life is short. Eternity is not.
– God

Well! Iarla, my new staff guy, wanted to know if that was taken from God’s Rolling Stone interview. I want to know what billboard sales guy landed that sale. Did God negotiate, or was He OK with standard rates?

I also like the open-ended message. I’m going to offer some possible third sentences for the above.

  • So please vote Democrat.
  • Go and have as much fun as you can, now.
  • Stop drinking that watery beer and go for flavour.
  • Please recycle already, Me Damn It.

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Whole Grain Is A Lie

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Eat more whole grains. Has your doctor told you this? Maybe not, but the commercials and food packaging sure has.

What will it do for you? Who can really say. It MAY do this. It MAY lessen the chances of dog bite. It could lower levels of things for which a doctor may someday test.

Or maybe it does nothing.

Or maybe it’s bad for you. Who can say! Remember when smoking was good for you? Remember the old food pyramid? Things change.

The really sad part is that some people may actually think that Lucky Charms cereal now has nutritional value because it has whole grain. Someone may think these cereals are any better for you but guess what. Same fat. Same calories.

What has changed? A bit of fiber, a bit more natural vitamins… which we can easily drown out with food coloring and marshmallows. Whole grain is unrefined… but we’ll eat it in the context of a mass-produced item, made in a factory, colored, maybe bleached… but good thing we started with that unrefined grain. What good is unrefined if it’s not organic, and it’s made with chemicals, pesticides, and who knows what!!!

I go one step beyond whole grain, and I look for wheat-free or gluten-free. If you really want to do something good for your body, try eating things without wheat at all. You’ll find that you are not so hungry do quickly, which means you’re less likely to eat too many calories.

Whole grain is a lie just like "no fat" or "low fat" is a lie. You could eat a low fat item that makes you fat because of the calories and how you work them off or don’t work them off. It’s a lie like a diabetic only looking for "low carb" and not noticing the grams of sugar or what ingredients will turn into sugar when processed by the body.

Read labels, and don’t let anybody lie to you.


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Profiting At Trade Shows

Friday, July 7th, 2006

A few weeks ago was the annual eBay convention. We exibited along with most of the vendors in our industry. Space wasn’t cheap! This is not a cheap show! But to us, it’s worth it. We always do excellently there both with respect to visibility/awareness and with getting real clients and making a profit.

But what about other companies on the trade show floor? I often wonder how much of a loss the show is for them. I imagine that if you take a 20×20 booth, between the booth space, carpet, giveaways, staff plane tickets and hotel rooms, and the rest of the things you’ll buy and do, these companies must easily spend $50,000. This year’s convention had 15,000 attendees, and you have to assume that not everybody will come by. Not everybody is interested in what you do. So maybe 2,000 somewhat-interested people come to your booth.

They all won’t sign up! Some will choose nobody, some will choose a competitor. Some will sign up to those vendors. Many of them charge prices like $15 per month, some charge more. Let’s say the show is incredible for you and 500 people sign up to you. They have to spend $1,000 each for you to break even on the show. Even if you charge $50 per month, you have to hope that they stay with you nearly two years just to break even on the one marketing expense of this convention.

I think that the show is probably a financial loss for most companies that exhibit, especially the larger companies in the larger booths. Of course, they’re also typically the ones with venture capital funding, so they may not be counting pennies. They may not be concerned with a financial loss that they can say was a big marketing gain!

Which is it? Our colleagues seem to love the show, so I guess we’ll tag this one as Good Marketing.


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The Best Software… If NOT Compared To The Leader

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

At eBay Live, a certain company I won’t name dropped by my booth a number of times trying to get me to use their product. They said they weren’t too happy that we’re vocal supporters of their competitor, and they really wanted to win us over. OK, I’ll look at your product.

But first, I looked at the brochure they left me. The brochure has a chart comparing their features to "other tools." Now, they have very few competitors out there. There’s the company we love. There’s a tool eBay put out themselves. And there are two smaller tools, but I don’t think either claims to do what our friend and this competitor do. So the chart is not clear about to whom they are comparing themselves.

Of course, the column for their tool has every feature checked. The column for "other tools" only has half of the rows checked. I sent this to the company we prefer and asked if their tool does the unchecked things, and evidently it does like all except one.

Then this is unfair. How can you put out a brochure claiming that you have features "other tools" don’t when your main competitor offers what you have if not MORE than what you have? I don’t like people who try to compete by doing things that are deceitful or unfair.

I will continue promoting our friend, Terapeak.


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The Amazing Mackarel Pudding Plan

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

I found another book that made me laugh out loud. A woman took a set of 1970’s Weight Watchers’ recipe cards and published them with her snarky comments.

It’s hard to believe that Weight Watchers (or anybody) would advocate some of these recipes. Cocktails made from chicken broth? Frozen cheese? A huge brandy glass of diced tomatoes?

But making fun of the food is too easy. The author also goes after the way the food stylist laid out the photos, often including truly odd ceramic figures… like a ceramic chicken looking at a chicken dish.

I say check this book out too as you might laugh out loud. We laughed so hard at this book and yesterday’s blogged book that tears fell. Then we bought both. :)


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That’s Queen Bitch To You!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

I stumbled upon this "book" the other day, and laughed out loud. It’s a spiral flip-desk-calendar type thing, but it’s not a calendar. It’s a series of 1950’s-1970’s advertising photos mostly of happy housewives but with modern, bitchy phrases next to them.

For example, one image is a woman in a bathroom rubbing toilet paper on her face and smiling because I guess it’s just so soft. But the speech bubble they gave her says, "Your proctologist called. They found your head."

It’s the juxtaposition of these happy chicks with these silly phrases. I say buy this or look for it in your local bookstore as you may also laugh out loud.


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