Our ferocious watchdog puppy
About half a year ago we moved to a new home out in the country--our family now lives on six acres of field surrounded by woods, on a country road, in a small town. It seemed like the ideal location for a dog, particularly a watchdog, since although it’s scenic, it’s also isolated. Unfortunately, to get a dog you usually start with a puppy, and during these past six months I’ve often wondered if perhaps we should have taken our chances with a burglar.
The problem for nearly every other company in the world selling to consumers is that Amazon is a nearly perfectly tuned fulfillment company. Meanwhile, other companies that should know better keep doing things poorly and losing customers to Amazon. Two recent, personal examples:
World's worst campground
Thanks to the movie The Bucket List, creating a list of things you don’t want to miss doing in your lifetime is popular these days. Some people even go so far as to actually accomplish what’s on their list. However, I thought it would be much more interesting to create (and certainly easier to accomplish) a list of things I want to be absolutely sure not to do before I’m dead. I call this my anti-bucket list:
Big wave social media surfing isn’t a sport for the timid, but if you are in a business that sells to consumers, there’s no choice, because social media is a wave that will take you to new heights or swamp your business. Why? Because it amplifies everything exponentially.
Social media hasn’t created new concepts in the business world, but it sure has made them more important. The staid old business precepts like “good customer service” and “focused advertising” are now hooked on social media steroids:
Reddit.com is a great place to waste time if you like humor, information, or just about anything else, including NSFW. For example, a few weeks back there was a question which asked “Redditors” what their ‘go to’ joke was, for instance at a bar or party. Most of the responses weren’t all that funny, and I’d already heard them, but one joke stood out. I thought it was one of the funniest jokes I’d ever heard, so called my 14 year old daughter in so I could read it to her. She laughed out loud at it and we still talk about it, so I thought I was on to something. However, when I then tried it on my wife, Jen, she didn’t think it was one bit funny. I’ve since tried it on a number of people, and the responses are the same—it’s either really funny or not at all funny.
Don't get sucked down into the very expensive website design whirlpool
It’s indisputable: Every business should have a website and a Facebook page. The question is how much to spend on it.
Some companies spend millions of dollars creating their website, others almost nothing. If the scale is 1 to 100, with 100 being how much a major international corporation might spend to create a website, working hand in hand with a large creative firm (AKA millions of dollars), and 1 being a completely static site where nothing ever changes, the right number for most SMBs is surprisingly around a 5 or a 10. Realistically there is no need to spend a fortune on a website unless you are really processing a lot of orders, or your marketing department feels strongly about certain features that they believe are unique.
It's tough to stand out from the crowd
Email marketing is so inexpensive it’s basically free. However, it’s not as popular among marketers as it once was, and in fact well-funded marketers are switching back to the relatively expensive, old fashioned direct mail that shows up in your mailbox. Why?
Haywire Marvin Heemeyer
Despite pulling off one of the most bizarre acts of revenge in modern history, and having a name custom made for a folk song, Marvin Heemeyer never became widely known or much of a legend. He's known among the radical anti-government aficionados, but that's about it. Maybe he was too crazy, or just a victim of bad timing, but here’s his story: