Archive for April, 2010

National Commercial FAIL

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Sure, making one commercial for the whole country is cheap. But sometimes, you put something very regional in a commercial, and it doesn't make sense for where you're airing it.

I just saw a Maaco commercial. They always want to paint your car. Do cars need painting that often? My car is made of plastic. I would think it costs less to just replace body panels that are plastic and were cast/molded in that colour (not painted).

Maaco asks if your car needs painting after a harsh winter. They show cars driving on what looks like an upstate NY mountain road in a blizzard. Snow everywhere, snow coming down.

This is Tucson. Our station is seen by "southern Arizona" (south of Phoenix). Our typical winter day has a daytime high of about 55 degrees. We basically don't get snow unless you live at the top of our ski mountain.

So on behalf of the warm parts of the country… Tucson, Miami, San Diego, Houston… I'm thinking these places don't get snow. Maybe one commercial for places that get snow, one commercial for places that don't.


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How Much Personal Info Do You Need?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Tonight, I was lead by a record company to a free download of a song. A splash page asked for my email address. Well, I didn't want to give that, but I figured I couldn't get the song without that, and whatever they do, I can remove myself later from a list.

The next page wasn't the song. There was more information they wanted me to fill out. They asked for:

  • First and last name
  • Full birth date and year
  • Country and zip/postal code
  • Gender
  • Whether or not I want to be contacted by them

I wasn't comfy giving that info up to a record company for a free download of a song that's coming out soon, a song I've already seen on YouTube (so I can get it other ways).

How much info do you really need from me? If you are going to market to me about this or other band, you only need my email address and my permission. If you are going to market by geography, say to tell me that they are coming to my town, then you need email and postal code.

You don't need my name. You certainly don't need my date and year of birth. And what's gender for? If I'm a fan of this band, are you doing different marketing to men and women?

I wasn't comfy giving this much info out, which means they got none from me. And we've all seen forms like this. A company asks for so much info that you don't want to fill out the form because of the time it'll take… or the info they are asking.

With people having no attention span now, it's more important than ever to keep things short, and only ask for what you really really need. Catch more flies that way!


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I’ll Be In The Northeast In May… Make An Appointment!

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Hello! I'm Debbie, CEO of As Was, and I'll be touring the northeast a bit in the last week of May 2010. I'll be hitting the following route:

  • Long Island
  • NYC
  • NJ
  • Philly & suburbs
  • Central southern PA
  • Some tiny bit of Delaware :)
  • Eastern bits of Maryland
  • Back up to NYC since round trip flights and round trip rental cars are nicely priced.

Sorry, but I will not be making it into NC or Virginia (outside of the DC metro area).

I've got some open appointments, so if you're looking for an on-site consulting intensive day or half day, speak now so I can route you in! What can we work on?

  • Branding and company image.
  • Marketing (online and offline) including social media. We can do marketing planning as well as execution.
  • Assessment of eBay selling and strategies.
  • Assessment of website.
  • Operations management. I can check out what you're doing, and suggest ways to be more efficient.
  • Anything you need that's legal and appropriate! :)

Just use the contact form on http://www.aswas.com and I'll be in touch to schedule your time. Thanks!


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The Two Operative Words Are Social and Networking

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Social. Pertaining to friendly relations. Seeking the enjoyment of the companionship of others. Connecting to others in a community rather than being in isolation.

Networking. An association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like. Cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally.

So why do some people I know use Facebook and Twitter like it's a one-sided broadcast?

One guy I work with tweets. Never reads responses. Not following anybody. Doesn't write to anybody or mention anybody. Just puts some tidbit out there. People respond. He doesn't answer them. I asked him why not. He said he's already inundated with emails.

Someone else I knew was doing something similar. Tweeting. Not reading replies. Not interacting. Had a Facebook presence. Turned off people's ability to comment or like. Would go in weekly and delete things he was bored with. I'd go to look for interesting things he posted last week, and they were gone.

Just saw another company using Twitter and Facebook. There is no reason to follow either because they're barely saying anything. Not engaging with people. Not saying much, and not listening. So what's the point.

People, it's about "social" and "networking." If you want either of those, then you can't "broadcast." You have to interact, connect, listen, answer, and engage. OK, you can't do it 24 hours a day, but if you want results, then you should do it at least on business days.


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Today Is A Special Day

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Today is a special day for me. Just wanted to take a moment to share it with others.

On 17 April 2009, I decided to make some serious life changes. The decisions weren't easy to come by, but I got there.

I had moved away from Tucson to try to make my boyfriend happy. On 17 April 2009, I realised I hated where we lived, and there was no making him happy. Neither the city nor he looked like they were working out for me. By early May, I had decided to where I'd move, and I left a few weeks later.

I tend to stay in bad personal relationships too long, so I wish I had come up with the idea of leaving him roughly around 17 April 2007. But at least I got away… though living with him for those weeks in between… not fun. Really bad actually.

So today, think about where you are, and what you want to change. Think about the things that just aren't going to work. Don't get down on yourself for it… these things happen. But make the change that needs to be made. Don't just talk about it.

And ladies, just know that moving for a guy rarely works out. Live where you want to live. If that naturally undoes the relationship, then the relationship wasn't in the cards. Or so I believe.


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What Best Buy Will Tell You About the iPad

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Stopped into Best Buy today to get another external drive. Love those Seagate FreeAgents, especially for all my travels.

Saw the iPad. Had no interest in playing with it. It was smaller than I thought for some reason.

Got to talking with a Best Buy staffer about the iPad. He agreed with me that it really didn't do much that was that amazing. Sure, it's nice for gaming, videos, music, etc… but so are a lot of other things. He said he's already had some bumpy roads with customers in the store who open up iTunes… and then open up a game… and are surprised when the music STOPS playing.

As in it doesn't multitask. Which we knew. But let's not forget it. Apple knew that was a flaw in the iTouch and iPhone, and rolled this out anyway.

The most interesting part was that based on the training the Best Buy staff got, even if asked directly, they are NOT allowed to say that the iPad is a larger iTouch… even though it mostly seems to be. I asked what they have to say. They have to say, "It does so much more." But he couldn't tell me what the much more was.

Note that Best Buy staff do NOT work on commission. It's not in this guy's best interest to sell you something you don't want or need. But they were trained on what to say, and that's the party line.

So there ya go. Me? I'll probably grab an HP Slate when it comes out, just to have something portable. Keep the laptop mostly on the desk. Run Photoshop if I need to. If you're my client, and I'm saving the day for you somewhere with my Windows slate tablet because it runs Photoshop, then you're happy I'm not on an iPad. :)


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Dear Neighbour, I Took Down Your Wind Chimes

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Dear Neighbour,

I just carried a dining room chair down my steps, walked over to your unoccupied condo, lined up my chair with your patio railing, stood on my toes, and took down your wind chimes. I left you a note about why.

I do not need to be notified that the wind is blowing. I was hoping that you would get tired of the sound any time over the past few months. But you don't seem to actually live in your condo, so you don't get to get sick of the sound you left behind.

The sound of your chimes sounds like a ship needs guidance into a Maine port. They're not soft or soothing. It is a low-toned bell. Ringing hundreds of times a day.

But you wouldn't know because you don't live here. I have never seen you come or go. This must be your vacation property. Or an investment. You painted the inside. You hung photos. You're not here. But your wind chime is.

Please be courteous of your neighbours, even those of us you don't know or don't see. That wind chime kept me awake at night, woke me when I was sleeping, and keeps me from a decent nap. I can hear the sound from every corner of my apartment even with my windows closed.

Signed,

Your Neighbour At Her Wit's End

People, there is NO reason for wind chimes. None. You do not need to know when the wind is blowing. I live in a windy place. I do not need to hear these hundreds of times, day and night. If you live on a rural farm, and nobody hears them but you, hang up as many as you like. In a tight apartment complex, please consider the others living here. Zero other people in this development have wind chimes. You wouldn't know because you are never here!

Grrrrr!

Heart pounding. Not napping. Grrrr.


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The iPad Is the New Coach Handbag

Monday, April 5th, 2010

You can all stop asking. I won't be getting an iPad. The AT&T Store tried to sell me one for $629. I'm a happy Sprint customer, and had walked in just to learn more about it. I learned that it costs what a laptop costs… or what a really nice M-AUDIO costs… or nearly what I pay in rent for a month. :)

I kind of don't get it. It won't replace my cell phone as it's not pocket-sized. It won't replace my MP3 player for similar reasons. It won't replace my laptop (or a netbook or UMPC I might someday own) because it doesn't have a keyboard and I don't think it runs Photoshop or Dreamweaver.Which means that in my world, there is nothing the iPad does that makes me productive. If I can't be productive, I can't find a reason to buy it.

CNET puts it really well with their top 5 reasons to NOT get an iPad video:

CNET's top 5 reasons to get the iPad focus on music, video, and gaming. Well, if you want to do that, and just that since this doesn't multitask, then there ya go.

One of my clients is absolutely sure he's getting one. I asked him what he plans to do with it. "Surf the web." I asked if he has a laptop. He does. But he says the battery life isn't that great, and why should he walk upstairs to get his power cord. He can leave his laptop upstairs, unused and plugged in, and downstairs, he can "surf the web" on his iPad.

So he's going to pay $500+ to NOT walk upstairs to get a power cord. I asked him why he doesn't buy a spare power cord on eBay… it's probably $20. Then he can have one upstairs and one downstairs. Nope, he didn't like that idea. He's paying to not walk up stairs. What happened to us, America?!

You can read books on the iPad. OK, I can read books that are smaller than an iPad, so you just made my book-reading experience larger and possibly heavier.

This is starting to remind me of smokers. You see smokers outside in negative temperatures, usually under-dressed, just to smoke that cigarette. Why do they do it? I think even they're not totally sure. The iPad is a great "gadget" and people are excited about it, so 3 cheers to Apple's marketing team for doing it again. But when it comes to something that's really useful compared to what else you could own for $500-700, I'm just not seeing it.

This just doesn't seem like a logical purchase for anybody I know. I'm thinking this is the new Coach handbag. There are many things a woman can use to carry stuff around. It doesn't have to be a pocketbook that costs hundreds or thousands. BUT, if you're looking to say something about yourself, then you buy the Coach handbag. I get my bags at mountain climbing stores and military surplus stores, but anybody who knows me knows that I'm function over form every day. It better do a lot and cost me $40. :)

Maybe it's a status thing. Like all the cool kids will have an iPad, you have to get one too. It's cool and you want it. Apple are genius, but I won't be buying their products until they are way more useful. I don't have an iPhone and I don't want one. I had an iPod Touch for an hour, and returned it when I realised it could only run one app at a time.


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Your Message to eBay Software Developers

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

2010 marks the 4th year I will be presenting my "Branding and Marketing for eBay Developers" seminar at eBay's Developers Conference.

Each year, I tell the programmers of today and tomorrow what you want. What you need. How you want to be treated. What to NOT name their software. :)

This year, let's try something different. You tell ME what you want these people to know!

  • What problems do you have that some sort of software or tool can fix or improve?
  • What kinds of eBay-related tools do you wish someone would build?
  • How do you like to get customer support? Email, phone, Twitter, something else?
  • What features are important to you?
  • Where do you tend to find new software tools? Blogs, conferences, friends, etc…? What sources do you trust to recommend these to you?
  • Do you check the eBay Solutions Directory or eBay Certified Provider website for companies you can work with?

Comment here ASAP, and good ones will be included in my presentation to programmers. Let's make software better!

Thanks.


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Don’t Worry About Me

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Today, I'm reminded of a story I like to tell about a fight I had with my mother MANY times when I was a teenager.

I was that weird teen who never went anywhere. Didn't "hang out." Didn't party. Wasn't doing drugs, smoking, drinking, or doing anything sexual. I mostly stayed in my room, listening to new wave and new romantic music, and working on my Apple IIe. Playing with tape recorders and stereo equipment. Playing my cheesy keyboards. :)

I liked to dress new wave and new romantic. I was inspired by a lot of early 80s videos. Sadly, I still had a giant perm and hadn't discovered a tweezer. But it was the 80s. And my look wasn't even that severe. Most days, it was giant hair, no makeup, Chuck Taylors, ripped jeans, and maybe a concert t-shirt. Other days, it was giant hair, no makeup, little black boots, black pants, a men's-style white button-down shirt, and a suit jacket that no longer fit my father. Never did the thick eyeliner thing. Never did the Judas Priest thing. Never did the pale goth thing. Never did the Madonna thing.

My mother often picked fights with me about my look. I even remember her crying once or twice. I used to tell her she was totally illogical, and she needed to appreciate that I was in the house to have that fight. I asked her to consider some family friends. To change names to protect someone who won't expect to be written about in my blog, let's say I went to school with a girl my age named Jessica Jones, and let's say her parents were Bob and Lois Jones. Names changed.

I used to tell my mother to go call Bob and Lois, and ask them where Jessica is tonight… because they don't know. They don't know that she's out there smoking, drinking, and on her back. I literally said that to my mother. Jessica Jones might come home drunk. Abused. Pregnant. And here's me. Standing here, having this stupid conversation because you don't like my clothing. I used to tell her that she should appreciate that I had a 94 average in school, and was going to go to any college I wanted to… and where would Jessica Jones end up?

Oh, my mother cried and cried over my clothes. She felt they were masculine. Well, that's not very scary, now is it. And I'm home. Name another teenager that never went out, never partied, never drank, never came home drunk. Never had the cops at our door.

My mother didn't know how to pick her battles. She decided everything was worth worrying about… even though all other signs pointed to me being a bizarrely good kid in no trouble. 

I appreciate when people are worried about me. I know there are people who care about me, and want me to be happy and well. But it'll definitely go better when everybody picks their battles, and worries when there is something to worry about. Like high school, here I am, sitting home all the time. Working. Playing cheesy keyboards. Not smoking, not drinking, not doing drugs, and sadly, not having sex. :) 

And 22 years after those fights, I'm still really not worry material. I never became a statistic. Never was an addict or alcoholic. Never got pregnant. Was never raped or forced into sex. Was never attacked, mugged, kidnapped, or robbed. Never beaten up by a boyfriend or husband. Never had a flat tire on an abandoned road in the dark. :) Never beat up or abused anybody else. Still have never done drugs or tried smoking. I probably have 6 alcoholic drinks in a year. So far this year, I've had two half-drinks (threw the other half out), and both of those were at SXSW.

Nobody should be worried about me. I'm the good kid.


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