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Archive for October 2012

Being Authentic

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Planes and people and more!

Today I am going to discuss a commercial that most, if not all, of you have seen.  It is a Delta Airlines commercial.  See it on youtube here.  I have done my best to transcribe the text from it below.  It is read by veteran actor Donald Sutherland and I believe that they did a very good job of getting their point across to most people.  I am sure they are counting on most people getting hoodwinked by their premise.  However, it did not sit well with me even after my first viewing of it many months ago.   I have good “BS Radar” and I keep it activated most of the time.  Read the text of the commecial below and then my review below that.

An airline has planes and people… and the planes can seem pretty much the same.  So, it comes down to the people.  And whether their working to make flying better…or, just workin’.  Because bad weather, congestion, the price of oil, those are every airlines reality… and the solutions aren’t going to come from 500 tons of metal and a paint job…they’re going to come from people.  People who know how to put themselves on the other side of the counter…people who love this industry because of its challenges, not despite them.  Delta people, who made us the biggest airline in the world and then decided that, that wasn’t enough.

They did not make it very far into the commercial before my “radar” was going off.   In the second sentence the whole thing fell apart for me.  Delta wants to compete in the marketplace and wants you to believe there are only two things that an airline has and one of them is, “pretty much the same”.   Planes and people are the only things an airline has?  I don’t think so.  I can think of a couple things that I believe are very important that they forgot to mention.  What about flight selections and prices and add on fees?  Those are probably the biggest things that I care about when it comes to an airline.  As a matter of fact, those things are very rarely the same between airlines.  My contention is that the planes and the people are all about the same – lousy.  I fly about 4 or 5 times a year and I usually use Delta but I also get to experience Air Tran and Southwest (now the same airline) and one does not stand out above the other. 

I don’t really blame Delta or any of the airlines that much because air travel in the post 9/11 world has become an experience just short of torture.  The air travel experience will no longer be enjoyable with its stupid pat downs, long lines, paperwork and dealing with surly fellow travelers.  So, if you want to believe it is all about planes and people go ahead, I will look for convenient flight times, low fares and low add-on fees.

The lesson today is to keep your “radar” on at all times as a consumer and be very careful what your message is as a business owner.  Your customers have their “radar” on and you don’t want to lose credibility by trying to hoodwink them.   They are smarter than that and deserve better from you.

 Have a great week being authentic.

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Random Observations

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Smile, You Are About To Take A Nap

  • Even though you gain experience as you age and can still compete by taking advantage of your wisdom, it would be nice to “win” one more time by tapping into a seemingly unending reserve of physical strength.
  • It is hard to wear the mantle of wise adult when you’re faking it or guessing most of the time.
  • I would like to meet the first bungee jumper.  He would have to be the most confident or craziest person in the world.
  • When you are from the boondocks and are in a remote area where do you say you are?
  • A peanut is not a nut but a legume which is a bean and were generally used as livestock feed until the 1930’s.
  • Buses resent the characterization that they are anti-human and would prefer humans throwing other humans under something else.
  • If actions speak louder than words, how does any politician get re-elected?
  • The graphical representation of the need for a nap as you age is a smile.  Click Here To See Graph

Have a random week.

Written by pacelinebiz

October 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

Are You Prepared?

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In case of emergency – what?

Many small businesses are run by one person, even ones with as many as 50 employees.  If you are a business that fits that description, do you have an emergency plan in place if you are not able to run it for a while?  I am not talking about if you are incapacitated for a long period of time.  You need to think about that as well but what about the more likely chance that you are out-of-town for a few days and unable to return.  What if you are in a remote location in Canada without cell phone access or internet connection and an important decision needs to be made or a check needs to be written?  Do you have a trusted advisor that you have authorized to sign a check?  You can always sign a few blank checks before you leave but that is not a solution I would recommend.   Read why in my August 16, 2010 blog about fraud issues by clicking here.

The main idea of today’s topic is to get you thinking about your individual situation and to put things in place in case you need to address a problem like this.  Chances are you have taken a vacation and had to address this problem.  Maybe you should take the vacation strategy one step further.  Even if you work out a plan that is less than adequate, that is better than no plan at all.  When you are thinking about who to use as an emergency back-up do not designate your spouse because they may be with you in that remote location in Canada.  If you have a senior member of your staff that would probably be the best choice as they should know a decent amount of the workings of the company.  If they do not, you need to re-consider your management style.   

What kinds of things could go wrong?  Consider this scenario; you are away for the weekend taking your child back to college across the state and there is a weather event that makes roads impassable and strands you there as well as downing phone and power lines.    I can think of snow storms causing that but ice storms in the southern parts of the country are pretty nasty too.  What if conditions are fine and dandy several hundred miles back at the company and they are open for business?   There are many other types of events that can leave you out of touch for a few days, so take action now.

Have a great week preparing to close a gap in your risk management plan.

 

Written by pacelinebiz

October 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

High Def Has Arrived To My Low Def World

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Television is now TV

Last November I ranted about High Definition Television and proudly proclaimed that I did not own one and would not own one until my old tube television broke.  I am here to boldly tell you that I WAS WRONG!  As I write this, I am having a High Def TV (yes TV not television) delivered to my house.  My tube TV works fine with picture quality as good as the day it came out of the box near the turn of the century!  However; I did not lie to you in my blog last year when I said I would not buy one until my old one broke.  Apparently there are invisible forces in play that I was unaware of at the time – my wife and her remodeling plans.  So, today about 11 months after I drew the line in the sand, I am entering the high def world, low def eyes be damned.

As I queried salesmen and researched online I learned a lot of how much I was “missing”.  Our new TV is a 47 inch LED, 1080p, 120 Hz, Wi-Fi enabled, 3D picture wonder of modern technology.  We sampled the 3D picture effects at the store with the stylish 3D glasses (that come free with the TV) for a minute or two and I promptly got eye strain and a headache.  I won’t be using that feature for sure as I can get a headache by eating ice cream real fast and that is a much better experience before the onset of the pain.  (Incidentally, I am on a Coffee Ice Cream kick right now.)  Now I can post videos to Facebook with my TV!  Too bad I somehow missed the Facebook craze and never got an account. 

As I enter this brave new world of high def, I will periodically keep you posted on my experiences.  I am sure you are wondering if I have a blue ray DVD player so that I can get the maximum out of my new TV.  Not surprisingly, the answer to that is no.  My DVD player is not blue and I call it Drew V. Donaldson when I am engaging it in a formal conversation and simply DVD when we are shooting the breeze over a refreshing beverage.  Do I plan to stream content using Netflix, Hulu or Hulu+ for only a few dollars a month?  What do you think? When I hear the words stream content, I think of fish, water and other stuff that floats in a babbling brook.

Before I continue babbling, let me end and wish you a good week full of high-definition images for your low def eyes.

Written by pacelinebiz

October 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

iPad Review – Update

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The iPad By Apple

In 2010 I reviewed the first generation iPad that my wife won at a conference. Read about it here. Today, I am writing the first draft of this blog on that very same iPad. I have inherited it since she recently upgraded to the iPad 2. I just began using it about two weeks ago and this is the first time I have had a chance to use it to compose anything other than a short email. I will say that I have found it useful for browsing the web and reading emails as I am in bed preparing to shut down for the night. I also can tell you that the touch screen keyboard is as effective as a regular keyboard. That is probably because I hunt and peck just as badly using either method. For a person who is a better typist the touch screen is probably slower.

I will stand by my original review which said it is a good productivity enhancer but it will not replace the laptop for a person who uses spreadsheets. It is not without its quirks either as at times it will close out an application or browser session for no apparent reason. I also am very much against the iTunes method of updating music and other files. Interestingly enough the iPad 2 comes with only 16 gig of memory despite the fact that it has a camera that could contribute to filling up the memory. Of course apple has a solution; you can get additional iCloud storage. Apple offers 20 GB for $40 per year or 50GB for $100 per year.

I find that to be sneaky and costly as it adds up to $120 or $300, depending on your needs over the estimated 3 year life of the iPad.  Don’t forget that even though the life of an iPad might be 3 years before you want to upgrade, you need that storage for your media and documents forever or as long as you want to use them.  That arrogant attitude and the iTunes “handcuffs” will keep me from owning another apple product such as an iPhone. There will come a day, I believe that a competitor without those restrictive requirements will make a product that will force a change in Apple’s policy or it may face loss of market share. There is no doubt the product is elegant and very intuitive to use which I applaud but I give two big thumbs down on the clumsy iTunes and sneaky way they wring out every last dollar from their users.

Before I end let me say that I am new Apple user and if I was more familiar with their “system” I might not react so negatively to it.  It makes me wonder how they can get people so devoted to their products with such a high hurdle to jump when converting from the non-Apple/PC world.  Perhaps the Apple devotees say the same thing about the blue screen of death that PC users shrug off as a routine glitch.

Have a great week and take a bite out of Apple – you might like it.

Written by pacelinebiz

October 1, 2012 at 9:12 am