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Turning things on end to achieve results!

Archive for March 2012

Summer 2012, Baseball And Your To Do List

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The Babe and Ted Williams

The photo above was taken by me when I visited the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.    What you are looking at is a wood carving and I am amazed at the skill of the person that did this.

Opening day for the Major league Baseball season is April 5th and the first night of baseball is on April 4th.  We are a little more than a week away from the start of baseball in the United States.  I for one am excited.  I am especially excited because my favorite team; the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates recently re-signed Andrew McCutcheon to a 6 year 51 million dollar contract. That signing shows a real commitment from ownership that the losing ways may be finally coming to an end.

The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season was 1992.  George H.W. Bush was the President of the United States back then.  In case you are curious, listed below are the World Series winners since 1992:

1993      Toronto Blue Jays             2002        Anaheim Angels

1994      No game due to strike      2003        Florida Marlins

1995      Atlanta Braves                     2004       Boston Red Sox

1996      New York Yankees             2005       Chicago White Sox

1997      Florida Marlins                   2006       St. Louis Cardinals

1998      New York Yankees             2007       Boston Red Sox

1999      New York Yankees             2008       Philadelphia Phillies

2000     New York Yankees             2009       New York Yankees

2001      Arizona Diamondbacks   2010       San Francisco Giants

                                                                  2011        St. Louis Cardinals

This time of year is always a good one for me as the weather gets warmer and baseball season starts and there is hope.  Hope even for a Pittsburgh Pirate fan.  Maybe this year they will win more than they lose.  That is not too much to ask is it?  I for one am looking forward to baseball so I can watch games almost every night until November.  Almost every year I create a mental to do list for my summer activity wish list.  This year is no different.  A few items on that to do list:

  • Buy a new lawn mower that is self propelled to help me cut my hilly areas of my lawn.  I am not getting any younger.
  • Finally take that road trip to Alabama.  It has been delayed due to bad weather and general malaise this winter.
  • Go to Stone Mountain to see the massive carving.  It is many times larger than Mount Rushmore and I have yet to see it.  Traffic issues have dampened my enthusiasm to see it.
  • Paint my garage.   The walls need a fresh coat of bright paint.  I hate painting and will get much needed help from my wife who does most of our painting.
  • Watch a Pittsburgh Pirate playoff victory?  At least watch them live at Turner Field when they play a 4 game wrap-around series on April 27-30.

Have a great week.  Better weather and baseball season are soon to be here.

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Pizza And Pi…Or Who Moved My Cheese(Pizza)

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Pizza Pi(e)

Today’s blog is about pizza!  I love Pizza, you love pizza we ALL love Pizza.  However; there is a lesson to be learned from Pizza and how most restaurants sell it.  I recently got a deluxe pie at our favorite local shop and discovered something that I would like to share with you.

My lovely wife and I got a large, 16 inch pie this time and it was way too big so we had plenty of leftovers.  The gigantic size of the 16 inch pizza got me thinking.  “Why does this seem so much larger than a 12 inch size when it is only 33% larger?  My mental math was as follows: 12 X 1.333 = 16.  That math is in fact WRONG!  Here is why:  To determine how much pizza you are getting you must use Pi(e) in the calculation and I was not.  What do I mean by that you ask?  I need to consider the area of each pie to compare how much pizza I am buying.  When I ran those numbers, I was shocked and here is the lesson we need to learn.

The area of a circle or a pizza pie must be determined using the following formula:  πr2   This is where things can get a little too detailed for some people but stay with me it is going to be worth it.  The calculation of the area for a 12 inch pie and a 16 inch pie are shown below and the result of the calculations reveals that there is about 78% more pizza in a 16 inch pie compared to the 12 inch pie.  Here are the details:

Click here to see a website that calculates the area of a circle. 

π = 3.14159 r = radius   The radius of a 12 inch diameter pizza is 6 inches and the radius of a 16 inch pizza is 8

3.14159 X 62=113.09 = area of 12 inch pizza

3.14159 X 82=201.06 = area of 16 inch pizza

201.06 ÷ 113.09 = 1.78 or 1.78 X 113.09 = 201.06 approximately

If you assume the price of a 12 inch cheese pizza is $10 then based on area the 16 inch pizza should be $10 X 1.78 = $17.80  At my local shop that 16 inch cheese pizza is only $12.75 If you look at the deluxe pizza we bought the 12 inch was $14.95 and the 16 inch was $19.95  if you applied the same price to the 16 inch pizza it should be $14.95 X 1.78 = $26.61 We were getting a great deal with the large size at only $19.95 – right?

What is the lesson you ask?  The first is that the area of a circle is not linear so you cannot apply a linear relationship to the price.  A 16 inch line is 33% longer than 12 inch line.  But it won’t work for pizza.  Another lesson is the pizza shops are probably overcharging for 12 inch pizzas to subsidize the price of the 16 inch pizza.  I think you would agree with this because it does seem expensive for a 12 inch cheese pizza to cost $10.  Since they probably sell more 12 inch pizzas, they can overcharge a little and that will ease the beating they take on the large size and we are all happy.  From now on I will always order the large size pizza as long as I am getting the greater value based on the math outlined above.  Have you ever had to throw out pizza from the fridge that went bad?  Me neither.  The leftovers will be welcomed by members of the household for late night snacks or a quick snack any time of day.  If you really want to get a headache, try to figure out how they price extra toppings for each size Pizza. 

Another lesson we need to learn is how can we apply this pricing strategy to our advantage?  Can we apply this in our business if all others in the industry are not?  I think the pizza pricing strategy results from the incorrect perception that their customers have in assuming that the prices should have a linear relationship.   In my industry, I believe there is a built in premium on standard rates but they are adjusted up or down based on the number of hours for an engagement.

I hope you enjoyed this topic as much as I enjoyed the pizza that inspired it.  I also hope that you will always keep an open mind and take a different approach to your business.  People who do that typically are successful.  It is easy to do what everyone else is doing but it is genius when you discover a way to Turn Things On End To Achieve Results!  The people who follow the same path as others are lost in the crowd of sameness but those who don’t go down in history.  Some of those names are Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Ray Kroc, Sam Walton, Henry Ford and Bill Gates.

Have a great week finding a new way to use Pizza as your inspiration.

Happy Birthday to the love of my life, you are MY inspiration.

March Madness…AND College Basketball

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This is a basketball

March Madness starts tomorrow, March 13th and the championship game is on April 2nd.  I am not a big college basketball fan but I will watch some games during the tournament if nothing else catches my attention.  For today’s blog I will describe a typical Saturday night at my house while the games are on.

It is 8 O’clock and the tip-off is in 5 minutes.  I have settled in to my favorite spot in front of the television which is not high def nor is it a flat screen.  Read more about my opinion of high def television here.  As I sit awaiting the game to start I find my lovely wife sitting next to me browsing the internet on her iPad.  This is typical on a Saturday night when we invariably are watching a sporting event.  Next to my lovely wife I have a beverage and the remote control for the television.  I like to call it “the clicker”.  

The game starts and I become bored because as stated earlier I am not a big basketball fan.  To keep things lively at about 10 minutes after tip-off I begin asking my wife questions that appear to annoy her.  I continue this until I am distracted by a funny commercial.  As I watch the game resume, the boredom creeps in and I am back to doing something that again appears to annoy my wife.  It is now 8:22 PM.

Midway through the first half*, I chase the dog (Jimmy Sad Eyes) around the house because he seems bored too.  Read about him here and here.  After chasing the dog around, I am winded and decide to sit back down and watch the game.  It is now 8:36 PM and I realize I am thirsty from all that running around and I get another beverage and refill my wife’s glass.  The game is tight and the lead changes hands back and forth as it is now just 6 minutes to go before halftime. 

I manage to sit through the rest of the first half without needing to prove to Jimmy Sad Eyes that I am the Alpha male or needing to bother my wife who seems content with her internet and the iPad.  As the halftime is about to finish the first outburst from my wife happens.  I am simply asking her some questions and making fun of her and she suggests that I should count the tiles in the bathroom with irregularities and report back to her.  This actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea so off I go creating a spreadsheet in excel for the task complete with special colors, fonts and a pivot table to make things interesting.   After about 20 minutes I go back to her with the results and she yells at me again and calls me “Douglas!” so I know she is really mad.  I decide to lay low.

At about 9:45 PM I get bored again and start shaking her iPad making it hard for her to read the internet nonsense.  I do this a few times and she appears to ignore me so I stop and rethink my strategy.  After watching a few lay ups and a missed jump shot or two I hit the jackpot and ask her what she would rather do make me a sandwich or wash the car.  Her response is typical and she tells me to knock it off or I will be sleeping in the basement with the spiders and the spider poop.  After careful analysis I have learned that this is my signal from her that I should cool it and switch the channel to one of many ubiquitous SVU episodes.  What’s the harm; it is now 10:00 PM and the game is a blow out.  That is what I call March Madness!

Have a great week and beware of the spider poop.

*To prove I have some basketball knowledge please note that I used the term first half and not first quarter.  In college there are two, 20 minute halves and in the NBA there are 4 quarters of 12 minutes each.  Okay, to be honest I had to goggle to make sure it was four, 12 minute quarters in the NBA but let’s not worry about that now.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

Adding Video To Your Website

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Lights, Camera, Action!

last June I wrote about social media for businesses and you can read it by clicking here.  I want to briefly speak about one more thing that the small business owner needs to embrace; the use of video for your website.  Today’s topic came from a conversation I recently had with David Clarke with Simply Effective Videos.  He is a friend of mine who is in the business of making videos for the web and other traditional media.     It has become a very effective way to “touch” your customers or potential customers around the clock.  By using video, a person will stay on your website longer and be more apt to do business with you. By creating a welcoming video you can begin building rapport with a potential customer before meeting them in person.

If you do not have video on your website you need to consider adding it.  You can get started for as little as a $300 investment in a digital camera and tripod.  It is also highly recommended to utilize a professional video editor because the last thing you want to do is have a bad video that sends a powerful and lasting NEGATIVE image about your business.  I am contemplating taking this advice so that I can have my commercial running on my website on demand at any time.

How many times have you watched a YouTube video on how to repair,cook or replace something?  I have and if you are a business that has a product line, what better way to demonstrate your best-selling goods than a nice video which shows the benefits of owning your product.  Even a service provider like me can benefit from video.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.

Stay tuned as I will keep you posted on my progress towards putting video on my website.  If you are not doing video, you are falling behind a competitor who is doing it.  It is more critical than ever especially when even a small business can compete globally as technology makes it more feasible.  If you are interested in a video for your website I would recommend David’s company.  Click here to see one of his videos.

Have a great week mulling over videos for your website.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 5, 2012 at 10:20 am