Monthly Archives: February 2010

Italian Grandmas

It’s Friday, so let’s talk about food rather than the insane amount of snow that seems to be everywhere.

Mia Nonna - con gli anni la bellezza non passa..

Today’s food thought is about Italian grandmothers. They know everything about food and although I didn’t have one I borrowed my friend T’s Nonna. She taught me a little Italian but mostly she taught me a lot about food (my own grandmother taught me how to make reservations…) and that taught me a bit about business. Continue reading

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Filed under Consulting, food, Thinking Aloud

Got P.O.D.?

Every bar has beer. No, not all of them stock exactly the same mix, but one can generally get something cold, frosty and satisfying in any local watering hole. Same with other beverages one can find. Lots of the same bottles sitting on shelves behind the bar no matter where you go.

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 20:  Six packs and single ...

Yet people have very specific preferences when talking about why they choose Bar A over Bar B. Why would that be when the primary products that draw customers – booze! – is identical? Continue reading

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Filed under food, Uncategorized

Your Algorithm

I was reading the article in Wired on the Google algorithm. Interesting stuff even if you’re just a web searcher, and for those of us who talk about SEO from time to time, it’s fascinating.

One statement stood out:

The holy grail of search is to understand what the user wants,” Singhal says. “Then you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning

My immediate thought was that he was right about most businesses, not just that of search.   The Wired piece details the hundreds of ways Google’s formula manipulates a search to try to get precisely to the point of the user’s question.  Their algorithm is a highly refined way of doing just that.  My theory is that we all need one.

Many firms go about their business making few or no attempts to gain this kind of in-depth understanding of user wants and needs.  You can rest assured that you can count those that have an algorithm to do so based on customer input on your fingers and toes.  Yes, I’m aware of marketing dashboards and monitoring of social buzz.  Those are both great but think about Google’s formula applied to all that social content, feedback cards, surveys, and other customer interaction.  I wonder what nuances would surface?

How about you – got an algorithm?  How do you figure out what your customers, partners, and prospects want based on the information you gather?

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud

Find A Chair

American City Diner

Two of us sat down for a breakfast meeting this morning. We sat in a booth big enough for six awaiting the third member of our group. Before he got there, the two of us joked about on which side of the booth he would sit. Would it reflect on which of us he preferred? Maybe it was about who he’d rather watch eat? As we talked, up walked our friend. He smiled, said hello, and gave us the answer. Continue reading

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints

Second Guessing

German: as in English a Puck, Russian: schajba...

I hope you watched the USA/Canada hockey game last night. If you love the intensity of international sport played at the highest levels, it was the proverbial “must-see TV.” In my mind the only way the game could have been elevated to another level would have been had it been the medal round. But the preliminary round is where statements are made.

As someone who has watched a lot of hockey I can tell you that this was Stanley Cup playoff intensity and skill and it only is going to get better. Which is why I can’t understand why there is so much second guessing going on this morning and that provides some thoughts that are about both sport and business. Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks


One of the great food cities on the planet is New Orleans and the single biggest event identified with the city is Mardi Gras. Since it’s Foodie Friday I’m not going to focus on most kinds of debauchery occurring in New Orleans around that time nor specifically on the food  but, rather, on what comes later. That would be Lent. Continue reading

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Filed under food, Uncategorized

Want to save $243?

A new study talks about the impact of crappy customer service.  Unlike any of the rants on that topic in this space, it quantifies the effect based on research.  Not that I have to worry about letting facts get in the way of my story, but I thought I’d share it with you.

Here are the headlines:

Consumers feel the most significant root causes of poor service are:

  • Repeating themselves
  • Being trapped in automated self-service
  • Forced to wait too long for service
  • Representatives don’t know my history and value
  • Cannot switch between communication channels easily

33% cite voice self-service  as the most challenging channel compared to only 1% who find it most satisfying. And 38% of consumers said it is critical to improve voice self-service to make it more intelligently integrated with human assisted service. Where they were trapped in an automated system, consumers spent, on average, more than 9.5 minutes trying to reach a human.

It goes on to say that the average value (in one year) of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned is $243.

You can read the summary here but you already knew all this since you’re a loyal reader.  Right?

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