Monthly Archives: July 2012

What Not To Wear

I’ve never been known as a fashion plate. In fact, I’ll admit I’ve been challenged in the clothes area over my professional career. However, I am going to write about clothing today because I got on a rant about something with a buddy yesterday and I thought it was good food for thought here on the screed.

One of my pet peeves is the idiots who attend sporting events as if they were playing. You know the ones – you see them at most golf tournaments wearing golf shoes as they walk the course or walking around a tennis tournament in full whites and sneakers. I’m told there are folks showing up at the Olympic dressage events wearing riding boots.  What are these folks thinking?  Someone twists an ankle and you’re in as a competitor?  I’ve been to hundreds of sporting events and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen this sort of behavior at a football game (sitting in the stands in full pads would probably get you thrown out) or a hockey game (hard to walk the steps in skates).

Putting aside that it’s kind of douchy (that’s really about the most appropriate term ), I suppose that what they’re doing is trying to make a statement that “hey, I’m a golfer/tennis player/rider too and I belong here.”  The reality is that it states exactly the opposite.

An office environment is different.  Most places have some sort of dress code, written or unwritten, and one is best served by adhering to it.  You want to dress like the players, so to speak.  Over the years I’ve gone from wearing three-piece suits every day to wearing a sport coat and tie to losing the tie and jacket.  Here at Ritter Media World Headquarters, we have an even more relaxed dress code but when I visit clients or attend business meetings I try to respect what I believe their dress code will be.  You can’t err by assuming it’s more formal than it turns out to be, and I’m always suprised when I meet third parties with those clients who show up very under-dressed.

Thanks for reading – I feel better now!

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Getting Authenticated

I spent a good part of the weekend watching the Olympics (can I use that word without IOC permission?). Authentication FailNBC is wall to wall with them across all of their networks and it’s great. It’s truly the smorgasbord of sports – a grand buffet with a little something for everyone. Just in case you’re still hungry, NBC is also streaming everything to anyone who can prove they have a cable TV subscription. Seems fair – why have to pay for the same content a second time?

As an aside, that availability of this streaming has me confused about why people are complaining via social media about NBC’s TV coverage – what they choose to air  on which networks, etc.  You can be your own producer, and if you’re tech savvy enough to complain in the Twittersphere about it you’re probably savvy enough to figure out how to hook a computer up to a TV screen to watch the streaming as if it was TV.

I tried to get myself authenticated to do exactly that and found out that the weak link in the chain is actually the cable operator.  Well, specifically MY cable operator.  Every time I went through the process, which involves going to the NBCOlympics.com site and entering your cable user ID and password via your own provider’s site, I got a weird server message.  Not an error message as if I had the wrong information – a message you see in the graphic that’s indecipherable.  I finally emailed Cablevision support.  To their credit, they emailed me back within the hour that I was now authorized.  I wasn’t – same message when I went to sign in.  I used an online chat link they sent me to try to resolve it.  The very nice person (named Keith, coincidentally) let me know after a few minutes that he was a TV support guy and I needed to chat with the Internet guy.  Start a new chat.  Kevin (the new rep) asked if I had Cablevision’s internet service, which I don’t.  I reminded him that as long as I had TV I was supposed to be able to watch the streams.  He checked (5 minutes) and discovered I was right.  The issue turned out to be Chrome on a Mac – I was authorized instantly on a PC using Firefox.  Once I installed Flash into Safari, it worked on my Mac as well.  Strangely, it now works on Chrome too.

I suspect we’ll see a lot more of this as the pipe we use to access content becomes less important than the content itself.  I’m hoping the bumps will vanish and that rather than a great product such as this surfacing once every four years, we can use it every day.  What about you?  Have you tried the streaming?  What do you think?  Any issues getting it to work?

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Off The Menu

It’s a classic scene from “When Harry Met Sally.” Harry orders “a number 3.” Sally asks for  something that’s not exactly off the menu but not exactly a number that’s on it:

GLENDALE, CA - JUNE 21:  A Domino's Pizza rest...

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

I’d like the Chef’s Salad, please, with oil and vinegar on the side, and the apple pie a la mode … but I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it’s real. If it’s out of a can, then nothing.

I’m not sure why that popped into my head as our Foodie Friday Fun this week even if it does seem to be one of the most true scenes I know (and to preserve familial bliss I’m going to leave that there).  However, it does raise a good business point:  customers that order dishes that aren’t on the menu.  Most restaurants will accommodate a reasonable request if they have the ingredients and it’s not the dinner rush.  Substituting chicken for veal or leaving the anchovies off a salad isn’t a big deal.  Even national chains have secret menu items that aren’t on the posted menu but regular customers order all the time.  My favorite comes from my favorite burger chain, Fat Burger.  It’s called The Hypocrite and is a veggie burger topped with bacon.

I bring this up because if any of us want to foster success we need to let people order things that aren’t on the menu and to honor their requests as best we can.  It seems obvious but pay attention to how many “one size fits all” products and services you encounter out there.  Too many in a time when there are very few mass markets any more.

I can hear some of you grumbling that Apple doesn’t behave that way but I think if you reflect on some of their product history (the iPhone antenna issue, for example), they do adjust to meet customers’ needs.  An organization’s ability to let customers put their own spin on things from time to time is a secret ingredient every pantry should stock.

What have you ordered that wasn’t on the menu?  How did the organization meet your needs?

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