Archive for December, 2006

Vests for Outdoors People

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

It’s amazing that in today’s day and age, we don’t do more with our GPS technology.

The family lost in that snow storm. The climbers lost on that mountain.

What does it cost to put a GPS transmitter into something? Probably not much anymore. They make them small enough to put into mobile phones and watches. So one should be in every car, attached to the car battery. You have battery power? Somebody can find where you are.

Somebody should put this into a vest or something that outdoors people can wear. Hikers. Climbers. Campers. The people who seem to end up on the news and cost the tax payers a lot of money trying to find them and save their lives. If we knew where they were, the whole process would be so much easier (and cheaper) for everybody. Fewer deaths, fewer injuries, fewer mourning families.

Have the vest or watch or whatever it is be something that can be charged before the trip. The vest may make more sense since you can use a heavier/more powerful battery, and make it comfy with pockets and the things people will love. Say it has a standby time of 1 week and an "active" time of 6 hours. If you are in trouble, you activate the device. This sends your GPS coordinates to a company who monitors this stuff, and when they get that, they KNOW you are in trouble. You’ve registered your device, so they know who you are, they now know where you are, and they know contact phone numbers for a number of family and friends.

The monitoring company can then contact the local authorities and give them the coordinates. The child’s version can also text the coordinates to one or more chosen mobile phones so parents who might have GPS devices on the trip can head for the child. You can decide if your child’s vest goes off whether you want the authorities contacted, you contacted, or some combination. You set all this up on a secure website before you start your trip.

The website has mapping mode. Log into the website to put a vest in map mode. This doesn’t alert authorities and doesn’t text anybody the coordinates, but will show the vest on a map on the website with the coordinates displayed. This could also be used by teens who go out and somehow end up not knowing where they are. They could call their family, who gets online and puts the vest in map mode. The kid then sets it off, and now everybody knows where they are.

This is similar to that watch they put out for children and forgetful seniors, but it’s also different, especially in target demographic. This could be easy to market, especially when you present the situations you’d be avoiding by using the vest.

The vests might be $100 each, and would be good quality and comfy. One version could be warm, insultating microfibre. Another version could be cool mesh. They’re not bulky nor do they double as camel packs or backpacks or anything else. They’re not full of computer equipment or any other GPS or mapping devices. They’re just meant to be something simple, comfy, and useful people could wear anyway and would WANT to wear. They just basically have a panic button.

People may not want to pay a recurring monthly fee for a service they’re not using. Maybe $1 per month just to know their credit card is good. $12 per year for a whole family’s account is probably nothing to them, and it’s low enough that they won’t shut down the account. I would charge by usage. $10 for each map location. $100 for each emergency location set-off. And if the vest doesn’t go off or doesn’t get mapped, it’s no tax on your system anyway! You sold a vest, and hopefully people are using it and talking about it.

Maybe the child/teen version doesn’t come in a vest, but I don’t like the watch idea since that watch that’s out there is quite something different and very overdesigned. I haven’t figured out what, but it should be something they’re likely to keep on them like a belt buckle or a watch, but a plain-looking black watch that doesn’t attract attention.

Would this solve every situation? No, clearly not. But would it make people feel safer and save lives? Absolutely. Are your two sons going to walk away from the campsite a bit? Are you going mountain climbing with your friends? Would YOU buy this for yourself, a friend, or a child?


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Zambian Children’s Fund

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Also from the street fair comes this picture.

Evidently, the attraction of helping children in Zambia isn’t enough. We need a same-size sign pushing brownies. Does the brownie money go to the children? Do the children get the leftover brownies? Was the fund not really attractive people before they put up the brownies sign?

I didn’t go to find out. I just thought the juxtaposition was odd.


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Hypnotised By Coke

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

What’s Coca-Cola to you? To me, it’s a stomach tonic that I only drink when I’m nauseous. It tends to work. For most people, it’s a sweet and tasty drink that’s lovely any time. But for Coca-Cola, evidently, it’s something else.

Evidently, Coca-Cola is about LIFE. It’s about living, people. It’s about LOVE. You need to associate love with Coca-Cola.

These were wrapped around street posts at the street fair I attended earlier this month.

I don’t know about you, but I find this scary!


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Hard Sell Street Performer

Monday, December 18th, 2006

I was recently at our city’s big bi-annual street fair. In one area, there was a street performer guy doing the usual… juggling, unicycle, you know. I didn’t stay to watch him, but given his location, I probably walked by him in mid-performance 3 or 4 times. Every time I walked by him, he was actually not performing. He was telling the audience how much money to give him. These are actual quotes I wrote down as I walked by.

Think about the show u saw today & remember that when you’re putting $ in the hat. There’s an atm right there. (there was an ATM right there)

These
(people who walked up and put money in the hat) are good people, not like the bad ppl who just walked away.

The money you give keeps me on the street and out of your homes.

Visa & mastercard are accepted. I just don’t give them back.

I heard the audience laugh at the first money joke. I heard NOBODY laugh at the later jokes. This guy needs to learn about marketing. There’s endearing yourself to the audience, there’s performing for donations, and then there’s insanity.


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Get Dad A Razor

Friday, December 15th, 2006

I remember when I was growing up, there were lots of TV commercials around the holidays that you should get your Dad an electric razor. I just saw a commercial where you should get your Dad a Gilette Fusion, which is just a regular shaving razor with replaceable blade cartridge thingies.

I always felt like holidays presents are best when you get someone something he will really like but isn’t likely to get for himself. Dad can get himself a razor. He really can. They’re $15 at Target for electric ones. Dad can also get himself shampoo, deodorant, and a loaf of bread. I don’t think these are great holidays presents.


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Giving Consultants A Not-So-Hot Name

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I’ve been poking around Monster.com lately as I will probably be hiring soon. I’ve poked around LinkedIn.com as I use that from time to time. There is one thing that seems to keep coming around.

There are people I know from my industry who ran their own companies, and those companies ended up failing. Not being bought out, not merging, but as far as I know, just closing their doors and going extinct.

Those people are listing themselves in Monster and LinkedIn as available for consulting on e-commerce, internet marketing, and the like. That seems odd to me. When I think about who I want to hire as an employee or consultant, there is something that just doesn’t feel right about someone who couldn’t make his own company successful wanting to come consult for my company. I don’t know what other career these people might have, but these resumes sure do read oddly.

Am I the only one who finds that a bit weird?


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Beer = Fitness

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

 

As seen in the supermarket beer aisle. Do you associate healthy bodies and a good workout regimen with Michelob Ultra?

Will you after seeing this ad?

Did you laugh or were you compelled?


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What We Call Food

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

It’s amazing to see what we now think of as food or a normal meal.

A deep fried onion dipped in a mayo-based sauce. The amount of oil and grease is staggering, and exactly which component has nutrients?

Processed cheese food spread, maybe shot out of a can. Spot the nutrients.

1.5 pounds of food in one serving. Go to your supermarket freezer section and look at the Hungry Man meals. 1.5 pounds of food. That’s just one meal for one guy. If the government is suggesting a diet of 2000 calories a day, this can’t be good. The Swanson website doesn’t even have information on the meals. Just pictures of the boxes. I guess it thinks the target audience is illiterate.

My small, vegetarian Pizzeria Uno pizza, which ended up being like 2300 calories if I ate the whole thing, which most people would. That would have been dinner, and imagine if you have a nice greezy appetizer before that.

Why are we eating so much? Are we really that hungry? If less food were put before us, especially for a lower price, would we still feel full and satisfied?


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Preventing the Mass Exodus

Monday, December 11th, 2006

I recently went to sign another lease with my current apartment. I wanted to sign a year lease, but they’d only offer me 6, 8, or 9 months. I want to stay longer… don’t they want me?

Nope. I signed 9 months as that was the most they’d offer. Why? Why not let me sign a lease that would be up 31 Dec 07? The office explained that they have a quota each month of how many leases can end in a certain month. Evidently, December 07 was full before I got there.

The idea is that by spacing out when leases end, they are spacing out when people move and when there are vacancies. I guess that makes sense, but when someone wants your service for longer than you’re offering, why not offer it longer? I wanted 12 months, you don’t want too many people potentially moving out next December, why not offer me 11 or 13 months?

Meanwhile, you can’t know who’s moving out when. You can give 30 days notice here, pay 2 months rent, and they’ll let you out of the lease. Who knows when anybody is going anywhere, so why not give me what I wanted? I want to pay you more money for longer! :)


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The 45 Days of Christmas

Friday, December 8th, 2006

A month ago, I was walking my dog around my apartment complex when I noticed that someone already had a Christmas tree up. Evidently, they went straight from Halloween to Xmas, tree and all the decorations.

We sing about the 12 day of Xmas, but I think this comes out to more like the 45 days of Xmas. How special is Xmas anymore when we feel like we’re celebrating it for 2 months?


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