Archive for June, 2010

Why I Wear (Wore) Skates At Conferences

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Some people know me as the girl on skates. When I attend an event, everybody asks where the skates are.

That's good marketing. You remember me for something, and you feel positively about it. You don't hate me for wearing skates. It's like a good logo or slogan. It helps you remember me.

And given that I'm talking about marketing, having something that anchors me in your head in a good way… well, that's great marketing.

The skates are awesome. If you want your own pair, find them here. http://www.skorpion.com/multi-terrain/intro_3.htm

But I will not be bringing them to conferences anymore. Why not? Two main reasons.

First, they are 10 pounds. With airlines now charging for checked baggage, these guys add significant weight, and I may incur a charge. And man, they take up room in my luggage. So that's tough.

Second, every time I put them on, someone asked me to take them off because I'm some sort of safety risk, fire hazard, or insurance evil. I can't have the marketing effect I want if I am not wearing them.

So I'm switching to new footwear that you can associate with me. Starting at Dev Con last week, I wore my black 20-hole Dr Martens boots. They look like this http://www.drmartens.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=10070001 and come up nearly to my knees.

I was the girl in the skates, and now I'll be the girl in the boots. Look for me!!!


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Don’t Call It Free If It’s Not Free

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

A company in my industry has some messaging around their website saying their service is now free. But is it?

In the tiniest font you can imagine, it says that's just for very limited usage. If you are going to use it more than the limited usage, well their price is $X per month… which is 50% more than it's been for years. I'm hoping that they at least are grandfathering in the people at the old price considering they announced those people could have that price for 3 years.

But no matter how you slice it, that's not free. It's not really accurate to say this service is now FREE. It would be more accurate to say that there is a free level or tier of service.

I don't believe that we have to reel people in with false promises or half truths. I think the straight truth is something people will appreciate more, especially in the long run.


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Join Our Live Radio Show and Podcast

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Just about every Thursday, we do a live internet radio show. Who is we? Me (Debbie Levitt) and eBay seller Bryan Goodman aka Mister Bigfoot.

It's called Online Marketing Brains, and you can find out radio page at www.onlinemarketingbrains.info. Our topics tend to be about eBay and online selling, marketing, product sourcing, shipping, eBay rules, and more.

So tune in every Thursday at 1pm east coast time for an hour-long show. If you're online, join us in the chat room to ask your questions or throw in your ideas. If you can't join us live, visit our show page to download our podcasts of past shows.

This week's show will be my wrap-up of eBay Dev Con as well as my review of the new HTC Evo 4G cell phone.


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What (Single) Men Don’t Understand

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Now that I've signed off Match.com, it's time for me to try to explain this en masse to you single guys out there.

You probably don't know what it's like to be a woman. :) OK, you really don't. :)

You don't know what it's like to be in unsafe situations. Let me put it like this. Let's say you go out on a date with a random woman you met on a dating site. Let's say she comes off as really unstable and wacky, and she seems to want a LOT more than you do. You think she's crazy, she thinks you're HOT, and she makes it quite clear she wants you. You tell her you're not interested. Let's say she's not getting the message, and she still wants you.

Let's say she follows you out to your car. Tries to kiss you. You are stronger because you are the man. You will be able to detach her from you, and push her away. Let's say she manages to trip you, and gets on top of you when you're on the ground. You will be able to push her off you.

You are never really too unsafe unless she shows up with serial killer equipment. :)

Now imagine you are 5' 4" and a woman. You're meeting a guy who wants way more than you do. You are not feeling it, and you make it clear that you're not thinking that. He's a hornball, and he has his own ideas. He follows you out to your car. He tries to kiss you. Can you fight him off? Can you physically overpower him, and get him to go away? If he gets on top of you, can you get him off you?

There have been MANY times in my life when I said NO to someone sexually, and ended up under him when he jumped on me. I have been kissed by guys I didn't like because they didn't think no meant no. And in every case, I have said out loud and made very clear that I was NOT interested in them that way, I did NOT want to kiss them, didn't want sex, etc… I try to communicate fully and clearly, but sometimes, it hasn't been enough. When someone is not hearing NO, they are really not hearing no, and sometimes, they are sure they are hearing yes.

I am very lucky that I've never been raped. I know many women who have been. But I know I have been in many unsafe situations that were only saved by my good communication, quick thinking, and ability to quickly judge escape routes. But in general, I need to NOT put myself into unsafe situations. They're easier to get out of when you never get into one.

Last year, a guy on Match.com had an idea for our date. He thought going for a walk sounded nice. Sure, that sounds nice. Where do you want to meet? He texts me that he wants to go for a walk behind where he works. The road is unpaved and has no name. It would be sunset on the coldest day of the year.

This sounded bad. This doesn't sound like "get to know me." I texted back that this was NOT the get-to-know-each-other setting I'd prefer, and what about just getting dinner or coffee. He texted back that he was sick of eating out, and refused to get a meal with me. I told him I would not go on this walk, and to please find something else for us to do. I never heard from him again. I can't help but wonder what might have happened if I went walking on the unpaved, unnamed road in the dark, just like he wanted.

Men, does that mean I think you're all serial killers, sexual predators, and wife beaters? No, absolutely not. Some of you are lovely. But it does mean that I am likely to be REALLY clear that when we meet, I am only thinking friends. I am not thinking sex. I will tell you this a few times. When I tell you this, you have two general reaction options:

  • Be concerned that I have been in bad situations. Understand that I am trying to ensure my own safety. Be glad that I am communicating clearly because if we weren't thinking the same thing, that would be not that cool. This would be showing care, which I like. :)
  • Take it personally. Not show any concern for some bad situations I've been in. Tell me you're insulted that I'm accusing you of being some sort of attacker. This would be putting me on the defensive, which will make me re-explain what I was trying to say, which makes me feel we are NOT on the same page. In theory, I shouldn't have to re-explain something I think I just explained really clearly. If you're not hearing me, we're not on the same page, and that's not good. I'd like to date a guy who hears me.

Men, if you are meeting a woman and she's a bit nervous, take the friendly route. Earn her trust. It may take time, but it often takes time to build trust. Don't get insulted or defensive, and don't make what I'm saying about me all about you.

Thanks for hearing me. :)


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eBay Developer Conference

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

People, get the eBay Developer Conference in your calendar. Well, it's not the best event for sellers. But if you are a programmer, you should be there.

eBay has a lot of areas where people and companies can build applications for eBay buyers and sellers. You've got PayPal. You've got the eBay Partner Network, which is an affiliate system. You have eBay's API. Open eBay (formerly Project Echo and formerly Selling Manager Apps) lets you build Facebook-style apps for people on the eBay site.

And let's not forget all the possibilities for mobile applications… Blackberry, Android, iPhone, and other mobile apps. Oh I guess I should say iPad, though you know I'm no fan. :)

So next year, get to eBay Dev Con to learn of the opportunities out there for developers!


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Debbie Levitt Does Not Work For inkFrog

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Many lovely people approached me at the Developers Conference,
telling me they WISHED I could consult for them, but they thought I was
"taken." After eBay's Developer Conference, it sounds like this needs to be said out loud and publicly… but briefly.

I'm Debbie Levitt. I did some consulting for inkFrog. That relationship ended as 2009 became 2010. I do not have anything to do with what they do. Looks like they're finally using the Terapeak idea I gave them, and who knows if they'll use any of my other ideas. As far as I can tell, they're not using any of the other ideas or innovations I suggested. Oh well, someone will want those. :)

I was just a consultant, but inkFrog wanted my name out there publicly, and gave me a title. I typically don't do that. I typically just work behind the scenes without a title or anything official/public… so don't think that you have to give me a title and do a whole public thing. :)

I am still the sole owner of As Was, always have been. Some of you thought inkFrog had bought me. Nope, they were just renting. :)

I'm not taken. I am available as a consultant to any company who wants help and expertise in UX/UI (websites, user interface, and process flows), innovations, marketing, branding or rebranding, etc…

Get in touch! Deb AT Debbie Levitt DOT com. Make that an email address, and get in touch. :) I'm happy to take on small or large projects.


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Tell The Truth About Your Age

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Ah, from the world of online dating comes another idea in marketing… telling the truth about your age.

Ran into a guy who listed himself as 41, but said in his profile he was older. How old? He didn't say. We ended up emailing a bit, and he told me that he had to do that about his age because he wants to date women in their 30s, and he looks so young for his age.

There is something he forgot. I need to know his real age up front for one main reason. If I'm looking for someone likely to have something in common with me, I'm looking for someone from my generation.

I'm 38 (as of when I'm writing this). I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock. I remember the ABC After School Special. I had cable when MTV launched, and all of that British and Australasian music influenced my taste. I was raised on Sesame Street. When John Lennon was shot, I didn't know who he was (I was too young). I thought Saturday Night Live was amazing when Christopher Guest was in the cast (1984), and then pretty great with Phil Hartman. In college, we were told over and over about safe sex. I grew up with computers (in my home).

If you are age 50ish, you didn't grow up with that stuff. By the time the early 80s hit, you already loved classic rock. When Sesame Street hit the airwaves in the late 1960s, you were too old for Sesame Street. You watched Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. Your college years probably looked like a cross between Animal House and Studio 54. You grew up with 8 track tapes, and probably didn't see a computer until one was plopped at your desk at work some time around 1990.

We probably just kind of grew up with different cultural influences. Sure, we could still have a lot in common. But I am more likely to connect with someone who grew up with what I grew up with. You didn't have to grow up near me. I'm just looking for commonalities and those include cultural and generational. Lying about your age doesn't change where we're going to disconnect if you didn't grow up being into the same things I remember being into.

And if you're "that much older than I am," then I'm taking care of your old ass that much sooner. :) So a woman in her 30s might like this guy because he looks young… but when he's 68 and she's 50 (he said the last woman he dated was 18 years younger), it's going to be a very different world. What he looks like won't matter as much as other things.

One more thing. When you are about 15-20 years older than someone, personally, I don't think you should look at them and see a potential life partner. You should see potential offspring. I am not for people dating people old enough to be their parents or children. I don't have Daddy issues. I am not looking to recreate any aspect of my father in the man I date. If that person is or was a mentor to you, even worse. You've established that teacher/student power thing, so how will you create a truly equal relationship.


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Making Sense of This Oil Spill

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

OK, I can't make sense of this oil spill. One of my specialties is understanding potential outcomes, having a zillion plan B's, and trying to guide situations to the best outcomes.

I don't know poop about oil rigs, but I do not understand how this company didn't have documentation on 12 things they can do ASAP if a rig fails or explodes. Or 10 things that'll stop a line from leaking under water if it ruptures.

When I see TV reports, I feel like BP is guessing. Throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks. I also can't believe it's taking them over a month to try things.

The USA has a lot of great engineering universities. There have to be experienced oil people, professors, and students who have ideas on how to fix this. CNN had some people on a few days ago, and they were showing their ideas for improving this situation. Where are our great thinkers and engineers?

Some people are saying Obama needs to do more. I don't remember the government stepping in on other business-caused disasters. When is the last time the government was sent in because a factory was on fire?

Either you believe the government should have their fingers in everything, or you believe the government should stay out of the situations caused by private businesses. I do not want to hear conservatives blame Obama for not doing more while every other day saying they want government out of private businesses! Pick one!

I think that if the government can help, we should, but we should charge BP for the fix. If a private person or engineer comes up with the fix, BP should super pay them millions.

I can't really make sense of this whole situation. I don't understand how these people didn't have a pile of effective contingency plans in place. Consultants of the world, solicit BP. :) They need contingency plans!


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Attend the eBay Radio Event in June 2010!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

2009 was the first year that eBay Radio hosted its own event in super-fun Las Vegas, NV. This year, this so-called party makes a triumphant return to Vegas. 23-24 June are the dates. I suggest arriving on Tuesday the 22nd for the evening party, and leaving on Friday the 25th so you can catch dinner with everybody on the 24th.

They call it a party, but it's also a GREAT event for networking and education. Last year, I met a lot of great PowerSellers as well as eBay execs there. Plus, you'll also find the wonderful Griff and Lee of eBay Radio. So it's part party, part education, and all cool Vegas conference!

And hey, I'm speaking there! Who am I? Debbie Levitt, CEO of As Was. I'll be giving one of my usual entertaining and informative presentations on how you can make more sales with the right listing and eBay Store design and layouts. Yeah, design and layouts make a difference, and I can prove it!

Click here to learn more about this event, and register.

The event is at the Paris Hotel on the Vegas strip, and they've negotiated the special rate of $89/night. Plus, while rooms are available, you can even extend your trip into the weekend, and get that same low rate (the website says rooms are $170/nt for the weekend, so this is a major deal).


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