Monthly Archives: February 2011

So Long Mobil

Mobil logo taken from marketing materials foun...

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The very first credit card I acquired was from Mobil Oil.  They offered one to college seniors and I had a car.  I’ve had the card ever since (and that’s 35 years for those of you counting).  My father-in-law actually worked for a division of Mobil for at least that long as well, so there’s a definite reason to be loyal to that brand.

I like to think my family is the kind of customer a gasoline company would want – four cars, a fair amount of driving out here in the suburbs.  So what happened over the weekend which cost them our business is kind of weird.  But I’ll let you judge. Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, What's Going On

Just Say No

Today's Special

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Friday at last and some Foodie Fun to go with it.  I have a question for you today.  When you sit at a restaurant and the server tells you all the specials, do you ask for one of each?  Probably not.  You may have also suffered as you listened to a server pitch you some dish you don’t really want but for which the chef overbought the ingredients and needs to sell a bunch.  You just say “no thanks” and move on.  So why is that so hard for someone to do the same in business? Continue reading

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Filed under Thinking Aloud

Stress Tests

When you get past the speed limit age-wise (that would be 55 in many states), your doctor wants you to have all kinds of tests as “baselines” so when you start to complain about stuff she can see what’s changed. I was told to go get a stress test even though I tried to explain that I’d been getting them regularly for the last 30 years or more. Let’s see if you buy the explanation because she didn’t! Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

Think About It?

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

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If you’ve been following along in this space you’ll know that we spent a little time in Hardware Hell the last week or so. Motherboards frying, backup drives breathing their last, laptop displays going dark like a theater marquee after a string of bad reviews.
As I was doing my best to repair this stuff and not electrocute myself by weeping into a live circuit, The Mrs. asked “how do you know all this stuff?” In my mind, it wasn’t so much how I knew it but how I was able to dive in and get to work without spending a lot of time thinking about it. The business thought? Continue reading


Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

One Size Fits All

Large and small skillets

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It’s Friday and our food-related theme for the day involves tools.  Kitchen tools, specifically.  Let me ask you to think about how many assorted gadgets, pots, mini-appliances and other tools you have stashed in your kitchen?  If you’re like me, you have dozens.  There are many knives of different sizes – chefs knives, boning knives, paring knives, and others.  There are pans with different profiles which I use depending on whether I’m sautéing, braising, making a sauce, or frying.  Even the materials for similar pans can be different – I have cast-iron and stainless pans of the same size and profile yet use them very differently.

I was at a tech event the other night and that exact thought came to mind as we talked about technology.  How did that happen? Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud

Idiot Proof

I was on a call this morning with the tech and ad teams from a client of mine.  We’re spending a bunch of time trying to reconfigure the ad system to be more target-able (is that a word?) and flexible for sponsors.  As we discussed a number of options for changing the existing content management system the discussion kept coming back to the change in work flow that the changes would mean for the editors and producers.  The tech guys, who are very good at what they do, were trying to figure out logic which would prevent a CMS user from categorizing a piece of content incorrectly which could mess up the ad targeting.  Given that these changes are kind of pressing and also given that the logic they were building would take a lot of time to implement, I felt a need to comment on that incongruity with some excellent advice I was given and which I’d like to pass along. Continue reading

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints

There’s No Free Lunch

Free Content Logo

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One of the big discussions in which I find myself engaged with clients and others concerns monetization. More specifically, how the heck can any of us pay for all the cool content and technology we offer to our consumers. If you’re web-savvy enough to be reading this blog you’ve probably encountered this argument in one form or another even if indirectly. You know what I mean: free, ad-supported content vs. subscription content vs. “free-mium”, which seems more to be about services than content but is still a valid model for that space too.  So where do you stand? Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Reality checks