Archive for December, 2007

No Idea When It’ll Work

Monday, December 17th, 2007

On 24 Nov, I tried to price some Disney reservations. I’ll be heading there in late January to finalise things for my upcoming conference. So maybe it’ll turn into a long weekend with some fun. Why not.

A message came up the night before that they would be working on the reservations system from 21 Nov until 9am EST on 24 Nov. OK, I will look around 9am EST on 24 Nov.

I tried. I got a msg that the system would be down until a little later that morning. OK, I tried again after that time. I got a msg that the system would be down until 3pm EST. I tried after that time, and got a msg that the system would be down until 6pm EST. I tried after that and got a msg that the system would be down until 9pm EST. I tried after that and got a msg that the system would be down until 11:45pm EST.

Hey Disney. You must know what is wrong and making this go way longer than you thought. Rather than having us chase your system every 3 hours, can you please more accurately estimate when things will be working again? If some guy working there keeps telling you that it’ll be done in 2 hrs, and it’s not, and he tells you that 5 times the same day and he was wrong every time, please fire him and get someone in who knows what’s going on and when this will be fixed.

Communication is important!


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Our New Advanced eBay Store Design

Friday, December 14th, 2007

We’re proud to present our new Advanced eBay Store Design. We were already offering a "Simple" eBay Store Design service, which was mostly the Store header, reorganising categories, and getting meta tags in. Our point is always to make the eBay Store branded for the seller, but the most streamlined shopping experience possible while staying in the paradigm of the eBay Store. Once you break out of that too far, you are showing a typically low attention span audience something they then have to figure out.

Here is our sample eBay Store: http://stores.ebay.com/As-Was-Marketing-Consultants. Here are the highlights of our approach, and why they’ll work for you.

  • This was designed to match the look, feel, and branding of http://www.aswas.com. We would design yours to match the eBay listing template that we made for you. You want consistency of branding and design!
  • The left side column has eBay’s categories or your Custom Store categories (however you’ve set your Store) rather than something that’s graphic. If you put graphic links to categories, then it’s not dynamic. As you start selling new things or stop selling certain things, the graphics would still show those categories. Our clients prefer what eBay puts in the left side column so that it changes and their categories and item quantities change.
  • We’ve created a right side column for any message or featured items you want to put there. Right now, that’s part of the design and would show up on every page, so if you are featuring items, you may need us to go into the design periodically and update those. Or you don’t have to have a right column at all.
  • eBay Store Promotion Boxes still work. We can make sure those Promo Boxes match the look so that they appear totally integrated and not just plopped into the design.
  • Your Store is designed with the same care that As Was puts into everything. We’re thinking about the psychology of the typical eBay shopper, the processes and behaviour the typical eBay shopper have, and making the Store easy and obvious to use. Once it’s something your shopper has to figure out, you run the risk of "bounces," which are people who hit your Store home page, and then leave.
  • It’s darn cool!

Through the end of December, you can still catch our 2007 pricing. Our template service package is $1500 and this Store is an additional $1000. On 1 Jan 08, our template prices will go up. So sign your contract now while you can get a deal! Contact us at http://www.aswas.com/contactform.shtml.


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Drama Triangle Should Be A Tetrahedron

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle

The Karpman Drama Triange is the psychological relationship between people who are or act as victim, rescuer, and persecutor. It’s a triangle because all three rely on each other for a situation. The persecutor needs a victim. The victim needs or can act has his own rescuer. The rescuer tries to fix things. A victim seeking revenge becomes a persecutor. I tend to be the rescuer as I don’t believe in being the victim, and I’m not a persecutor.

I’d like to add something to this. I’m taking this from a triangle to a tetrahedron. There are often four players involved in these types of situations or conflicts, and the triangle leaves one of them out.

The bystander. There is usually someone who sees what is going on and does nothing OR tries to get in the way of the rescuer. The bystander never tries to get in the way of the persecutor; if she did, she’d be a rescuer. Consider the people who witness crimes and don’t call the police or act out. The people who watch someone harrass or abuse someone else, and do nothing. They’re usually the people telling us rescuers to "just let it go," or "that’s someone else’s fight." They tell us to not get involved.

The bystander gives tacit approval, and may be an enabler (the victim may be an enabler too, but I’m not focusing on the victim right now). The bystander should be part of the "drama" that Karpman defines since that person plays a definite role. He may be someone the victim is hoping will be a rescuer. She may be someone who is stopping or trying to stop the rescuer. Whether or not he/she knows it, he/she is the rescuer’s accomplice.

So when it comes to negative situations, which are you, and which would you rather be? I’m going to stay the rescuer as I can’t live with being a bystander. I can’t watch someone struggle or be abused. I will always speak up, even while bystanders tell me to be quiet and just let it go.


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We’re Hiring!

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Hi, friends and fans. :) We’re hiring for our Account Manager position. Here is the job description:

We’re in Tucson, AZ. You’re wherever you are in the USA, and you have a home office setup where you can separate yourself from any other beings who share your living space! :) As Was staff are currently in the USA, Canada, the UK, and South Africa. We’re not doing the India, Pakistan, Philippines, Asia thing.

You…

  • Enjoy buying and selling on eBay, and you have great feedback. Your score is at least 100 with at least 99% positive.
  • Know marketing, and have great ideas for all categories of seller.
  • Are great on the phone, on live text chat, and over email. You express yourself well, English
         is your native language, and you’re naturally friendly and patient. You’re a great teacher.
  • Know lots of Photoshop and hand-written HTML and CSS. You will often be working on clients’ listing templates, eBay Stores, websites, and other things they need. We don’t use FrontPage or Word, and neither do you. You won’t do the designs, but you will need to be able to change images and alter layouts.
  • Write well and have lovely grammar.
  • Have a great sense of humour and fun personality.
  • Know your way around Microsoft Office including Outlook.
  • Can fantastically schedule your own day, be self-directed, and manage yourself. We are not going to tell you what to do and when to do it. You’ll get projects and tasks, you’ll work directly with clients, and you’ll need to make sure you’re meeting deadlines and keeping people thrilled.
  • Want something that’s not your typical day job! Nearly every day, you’ll have new clients, new projects, new tasks, and changes somebody wants to something. This job does not fall into any routine.
  • Have a suitable home office/fortress, free from distractions.
  • Can keep selling while working for us as long as you can balance the two.
  • Can join us full time as a consultant or salaried employee.
  • Love our work, and want to be part of what we do for eBay sellers!

We…

  • Love helping eBay sellers start and grow their businesses. It’s our passion!
  • We choose clients carefully, so you will love them too.
  • Will train you on how to do what we do the way we do it.
  • Refuse to micromanage. You need to motivate yourself and meet deadlines.

It would be a great plus if you…

  • Were familiar with one or more listing software systems such as Blackthorne, Inkfrog,
         Auctiva, MarketWorks, Kyozou, Infopia, and ChannelAdvisor Merchant.
  • Have already passed the eBay Certified Consultant exams. You will need to pass that once
         you are hired and trained.
  • Know how to use Salesforce.

Here are some of the duties in no particular order:

  • Editing/rewriting policy text & standard language into clients’ eBay listing templates. Installing templates into their software. Making changes as needed (some may be graphic changes).
  • Advising clients on eBay strategies that we recommend for growing their businesses. Helping them NOT break eBay rules. :)
  • Working with our other staff (programmers, artists, Flash guys, etc…) to get what the client needs and translate the client’s requirements into a language that the artists understand.
  • Client training. Sometimes, they need extra hand-holding. You can give it to them!
  • Working with industry vendors as the client may need our involvement or as we have questions about their system.
  • Representing us in our eBay Live! booth. Possible other travel for conferences.

Duties not on your plate:

  • If clients want more services, you can quote them, and get approved services going. You are not commissioned, there is no quota, and you are under no obligation to sell things to people. We only sell services to clients who will really benefit from them. No pressure for you, no pressure for them.
  • Business development. If another company wants a closer or different relationship with us, our President will handle that.

Interested? Please fill out our employment form.


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Door To Door Insurance Salesperson

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I recently opened my door, thinking it was my neighbour, to find a woman I didn’t know. She had a pile of her business cards and a clipboard.

She handed me her business card, and told me she was a State Farm agent. I said I already had a State Farm agent, and I started to hand the card back to her. She said, "Could you give my card to a friend?"

I thought that was odd. So I said the logical albeit awkward thing.

"Wouldn’t I give my friends the card of the agent I actually use?"

"Well is your agent around here?"

"Yes."

"Who is it?"

I told her. She said she knew him. And she said her goodbyes.

Holy cats, that was awkward. Door to door insurance salesperson? At noon on Election Day. To try to get me to give her card out when I don’t know her, and she’s desperate enough to knock on my door to look for business? Is that really the best she can do?


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Home Depot TV

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I was just watching some of the videos Home Depot has on their website. I watched tips for painting a room with some guy I don’t know.

What struck me as odd was that this stuff wasn’t commission by Home Depot. This is some TV show or something that they bought or adopted in some way. How do I know? When the guy made reference to where he had bought his supplies, the words "HOME DEPOT" were CLUMSILY dubbed over whatever store name he had said.

Clumsy.


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Sparks, The Most Amazing Band On The Planet

Friday, December 7th, 2007

My all-time fave band is called Sparks. Not so well known here in the states. People think they’re a one-hit 80’s wonder. But they are geniuses who have been in the music biz seemingly forever.

In 2002, I went to London on frequent flyer miles to see them debut their 19th album, Li’l Beethoven, live. They then did a bunch of fan favourites from years past. Well, this time, they’ve outdone themselves.

On 13 June 2008, they will do a live show in London to premiere their yet-unnamed 21st album. And how are they going to celebrate that? By playing 20 shows in a row of the first 20 albums, one night for each album, each album in its entirety. Evidently, this will be something like 250 songs in total.

I’m DYING. I would want to see every single one. Damn you, eBay Live! and the idea that I have a budget and some boundaries. :)

I got tickets for my 3 fave albums, and I hope I’ll have enough frequent flyer miles by then. I must hear Kimono My House, Propaganda, and Indiscreet. I’d want to hear nearly all of them, but how lucky for me that what I think are their best works came out consecutively.

Can your band do that? :)

SPARKS SPECTACULAR – 21 ALBUMS IN 21 NIGHTS

At Carling Academy Islington, N1 Centre, Islington, LONDON, N1 0PS
www.islington-academy.co.uk doors open at 19.00

MAY
16th Halfnelson/Sparks (1971/2)
17th A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing (1972)
18th Kimono My House (1974)
20th Propaganda (1974)
21st Indiscreet (1975)
23rd Big Beat (1976)
24th Introducing Sparks (1977)
25th No.1 In Heaven (1979)
27th Terminal Jive (1979)
28th Whomp That Sucker (1981)
30th Angst In My Pants (1982)
31st In Outer Space (1983)

JUNE
1st Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat (1984)
3rd Music That You Can Dance To (1986)
4th Interior Design (1988)
6th Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins (1995)
7th Plagiarism (1997)
8th Balls (2000)
10th Lil’ Beethoven (2003)
11th Hello Young Lovers (2006)

JUNE 13th WORLD PREMIERE OF SPARKS’ 21ST ALBUM (2008)

At Shepherds Bush Empire, Shepherds Bush Green, Shepherds Bush, LONDON, W12 8TT


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How To Almost Lose My Business

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

I was trying out an application in Salesforce. I liked the app. The trial ended, and I wanted to start paying for it. I had set everything up, trained my staff on it, and we all really liked it. The sales person contacted me to go over pricing. Well, I thought I knew pricing since it was on the AppExchange. But OK, tell me the pricing. $14.95 per month per user. Yes, that’s fine. Minimum of 10 users. What? That’s not what the page said. Yes, they’re going to charge me $149.50 per month even though I don’t have 10 users. Really? OK, then I’ll uninstall the app. OK, they were fine with that.

They were fine with that? They reeled me in. I wanted the app! I wanted to pay for it! I wanted to tell people good things about it. These was NO work on their part to sell it to me. No overhead. I taught it to myself, and I don’t think I needed any support. This is found money. But they’d rather get $0/month from me AND piss me off than get $59.80 from me (and more as I grow and need more licenses). Evidently them getting $0 from me and me uninstalling their app and having to find something else is the win-win situation, according to them.

They’re out of their minds. I emailed them suggesting that they change their page on the AppExchange to be clearer about their minimum. I know of other companies in my industry that have minimums… but I know they can be flexible. This person isn’t flexible. She’d rather lose the business of a happy customer, so what does that say about what I can expect from this company?

Now you have a CEO angry, having wasted time installing this, using it, training my staff on it, making them use it, and now we have to uninstall it because I don’t want to be extorted. If you sold it to me with a page that said $14.95 per month per user, you should stick to your word. If you meant something else or have changed your pricing, you should update that page. Flexibility wouldn’t kill you.

UPDATE: When they got my email showing that their AppExchange page stated no minimum, they said they would waive it. Good for them! I like this app and would like to use it at the appropriate price, the price at which it was sold to me. So I will stick with it, and hopefully have nicer things to say about it down the road. Hey, I loved it until I talked to a sales person.

I still think that minimums are something that should be flexible. I can’t imagine they lose money on me at $60 but not at $150. If you lose money on me at $60, then come up with a higher price per user per month so that you make money. Don’t bully me just because evidently $90 per month from one user makes or breaks you!


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What Goes Around Comes Around

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

What goes around comes around. I’m sure of it. I live by it. I do my best to be honest and helpful so that good things come back to me. I point at injustice, and I stand up for people, especially those who could use an advocate.

So it was wild some months back when someone seemed to be trying to sabotage/libel us for no reason.

  • It started with me posting http://aswas.typepad.com/hall_of_fame/2007/07/how-to-badmouth.html in response to an odd blog post I had found.
  • It continued in the comments on that post, where that author pretended that these were just her personal views and not another company firing shots at us. It got really interesting when someone posted a comment that outed the original author as an employee of the company that was firing shots at us. Aha!
  • It ended with http://aswas.typepad.com/hall_of_fame/2007/07/how-to-blog-shi.html

And then I noticed: http://kidsontalks.com/2007/12/03/redundancy-and-back-to-online-selling-basics/ Same woman, same blog. Looks like she got fired from the company who had nothing better to do than fire shots at us. I’m typically sensitive to things like this, especially someone being sacked during this time of year, but I am feeling more like what goes around comes around.

You spent your time and energy trying to hurt our business and take away from our livelihoods as if our two companies are fighting over very few clients. In reality, our target audience is over 1 million eBay sellers, and we think there’s enough pie for everybody. We’re not afraid of other companies thinking they compete with us… I’m not sure why this other company was so afraid of us. We must really be something great. :)

So to the woman who was made redundant right before Christmas, good luck. I hope your CV reflects all the work you did at the other company so that your future employers can know what you’re made of. To the company that fired her during the Xmas season, I imagine we’ll be hiring soon… so I’m sooooo sorry to hear that you’re releasing people while we’re growing.

:)


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Take Our Survey on TSAMs

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

http://tinyurl.com/2qpvej

That’s the Tiny URL for our survey on your eBay TSAM aka Top Seller Account Manager aka your PowerSeller Account Rep. We’re wondering how these people are helping (or not), so we ask that only people with TSAMs take this survey.

Please pass the URL to friends who have TSAMs so we can get as much input as possible.

Thanks!


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