Apr 23, 2007

Who's your daddy?

I can't get away with anything anymore in my house. With three kids under nine, and the youngest being a feisty three and a half, their super-absorbent brains and young, untainted minds are now starting to make sure that I stay in line. It's almost like we did TOO good of a job of teaching these guys manners (I'm not THAT foolish). But I think least in regard to enforcement of the 'you better practice-what-you-preach, mom & dad!', they've got a keen collective eyes and ears.

I used to be able to roam my abode, in all sorts of clothing, make any sort of noises I damn well want to make at ANY time, and basically act like cro-magnon man at my leisure. It is no more. At least without recourse.

... (sigh) ... (burp).

"What do you say, DAD!"

Apr 20, 2007

Cell Phone Hell (in the air)

I've changed my mind on cell phone use on airplanes. I used to think the pending FAA review on in-flight cell phone use was a long time coming, based ona ridiculous analog-era technological excuse and just the natural progression of things.

But then, I've been traveling lately and I've taken note on cell phone use. Have you noticed how many people are instantly on them once the jet hits the taxiway? I've since decided that I don't need to have my already cramped trip cramped further by knowing about your mother's 12-inch incision from her butt surgery, or the fact that your supplier can't deliver the goods and you're now yelling at about 50 DBs inside this sardine can.

I just want to relax as best I can -- having everyone on their phones during the entire flight isn't going to be good for anyone, including the airlines, I can only surmise...

Apr 19, 2007

Wisconsin No Smoke

I smoked cigarettes for 11 years, quit nearly 10 years ago and I pray that any discomfort I get in my torso isn't some sort of malignant tumor growing deep inside me due my youthful feeling of indestructiveness.

These days, I find myself increasingly militant about the whole restaurant/bar smoking issue. Even the Wisconsin Restaurant Association president has recently called for a statewide ban. But we can't seem to make much progress, and I keep needing to take a shower every single time I go home from having a few beers with the wife or guys.

Of course, it remains a political issue about how much "food" you serve relative to "alcohol". The powerful Wisconsin Tavern League has resolved the issue be determined by bean counters who can manipulate the books of a respective business to look more or less favorable in any direction to circumvent any rules.

I can breathe in NYC, DC, Boston, SF and countless other communities around this great state and country, and yet, we can't seem pass the only logical and fair solution for all tavern and restaurant owners - a full statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. Take your butts outside.

I guess we're at least a decade away from any trans-fat laws and green fluorescent light bulb requirements...

This is the Midwest, after all.

Cattle Car

I had to board a Northwest Flight this morning for Colorado Springs. I fly infrequently, maybe a average of once a month. And I just now realized how much I hate modern air travel. I mean, those seats seem to be getting smaller and your chances of sitting next to someone who is shower-impared is better than 2-to-1. The only domestic airline with any sense of civility these days is Midwest Airlines, and they can't make any money.

A commentary on consumer cost vs. customer service is forthcoming...

I missed the warm chocolate chip cookies today...

Apr 17, 2007

Whiskers

Tonight, while saying goodnight to my spitfire three year-old daughter, she runs the palms of her hands along my checks and says, "Daddy - you have whiskers!"

Then she pauses and says...

"I'd like pink whiskers!"

Powerpoint theory

Seth Godin points us to a really bad CEO Powerpoint slide. I remember while working for both Apple Computer and Nortel Networks, these guys would send out pre-produced sales and engineering slides for channel or end-user consumption, and would be bona-fide eye charts. Why is it that nearly everyone feels compelled to put every single talking point and icon on each and every slide?

I heard this theory on Powerpoint a while back -- I can't remember if I came up with it or I heard it elsewhere:

A company's success is inversely related to its deployment of Powerpoint.

Apr 16, 2007

What do Reggie White and Tommy Thompson have in common?

I think you need you need to be just a tad bit smarter when running a long-shot political campaign. But who knows, maybe he IS the smart one for garnering some headlines.

Apr 11, 2007

Move aside, Industrial era

Netflix has a very interesting non-policy on vacation.

Just one more pint...

Found this little Euro gem today on whether you've had too many pints. Problem is, there's usually not a wi-fi connection at the bar when you need it.

Packers schedule out today

here

Apr 9, 2007

Jott.com

Seth Godin points us to a neat little public beta for the disorganized...

Humility works

A recent customer service (and my lack of satisfaction) issues was resolved today with a little humility on the part of the company employee, who went our of his way to admit there was a problem, take personal responsibility for it and committed to getting it right.

Sometimes that's all it takes to turn a bad situation into a good one.

Apr 5, 2007

Retirement-schmirement

Some people simply love doing what they do, all their lives.

The First Time

Way back when I heard a customer service mantra that I've always remembered: What brings back customers the second time? The first time.

I hit a deer with my truck the other day; rather, the deer literally hit me. Every thing's fine, save a few dents in my SUV. I took it to a friend-of-friend to fix at his small auto body shop. He had the vehicle three days. When I picked it up, there was a thin layer of dust throughout the entire vehicle, and someone had put a size 12 white boot-print on the front floor mat. Took me 45 minutes to clean it to my satisfaction.

Further, the repair is not great. In fact, I'm going to take it back for them to get it right. When I called, they were amiable about fixing it, but actually stated, "well, they may have rushed things a bit..."

It wouldn't have taken much additional effort to a) fix the job the right way to begin with, and b) clean my truck. As a result, they'll end up spending more time repairing it in total. Due to the experience, I likely will opt to go elsewhere should I ever need repair again (requisite wood knock) and they'll lose both money and a customer.

Apr 1, 2007

You want to sell to ME?

I've been in Washington for the International Franchise Expo talking to hundreds of people interested in franchising from Bethesda to Bejing. The right to be here to talk to these folks officially costs over $6000 plus travel expenses.

I've had to endure three days of industry folks who chose to opt for a $30 attendee ticket and want to take my time away from my prospects to sell me anything from advertising to financing to construction. And many of them are actually offended when I offer my business card and the opportunity to contact me AFTER the show (no hint taken).

And the conference administrator puts token "No Solicitor" signs at the gate but doesn't enforce it.

Note to salespeople. Be mindful of your audience and their receptiveness. Sure, it's clearly a pet-peeve of mine that you're bothering me, but I'm also guessing that you're bothering many others. I'll personally be more inclined to talk to you and be receptive to your information if you contact me on my home turf, not MY selling turf.

Get a clue.

Cherry blossoms

I'm in DC this weekend, and one hears about the cherry blossoms, but I personally had never experienced our nation's capital in full bloom.

Now I have. And I can say there's nothing more breathtaking than the Jefferson Memorial, et al, under full cover of the brilliant white and pink blossoms.

A sight to behold.