Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 00 plus 10

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

A visit from St Nicholasby Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice, the conquest of the darkness by the light is complete. This morning there was a total lunar eclipse. 

A reason to celebrate, according to

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.
On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

the ipad menu is going mainstream

The area of biggest concern to operators was that POS require so much back end support. The cloud and the ipad are changing that.

Alan Liddle offers this,

A growing number of operators, from independents to franchisees of major chains, are using Apple's iPad as part of their point-of-sale systems.
Restaurant operators recently shared how they've incorporated iPads into their ordering process, from arming servers with the handheld devices to installing them on the counter.
Configurations vary
iPad users are running the terminals in a variety of POS system configurations, including those centered around remotely hosted software running at so-called “cloud” data centers, to which store-level devices communicate via wireless Internet connections.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Same old, same old

Traversing the malls this weekend I was struck by the total homogeneous offerings. The lack of individuality is palpable. There is nothing exciting in the food offerings or the selection of store offerings. There was no scarcity, no reason to buy.

Things need to change quickly or the mall concept will become obsolete.  

No urgency to consume

Traversing the shopping malls this weekend, I noticed that there were people out however there was no urgency to consume.

Time to reflect on the what the numbers are telling us.

The morning dawn on Monday brings for most restaurants the end of the holiday party season. As you read this your accounting department is compiling the numbers. Did we generate enough top line revenue, did the margins hold, how much additional payroll did we incur, where there any unexpected cost, did we make a profit? Do we have enough to make it through winter? What are our customers telling us?

The morning dawn is a cruel taskmaster however a necessary one.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lessons from the flatwater

Walking on the Clark Street bridge over the Chicago River this morning I noticed the water below was smoking however remained ice free. Chicago has endured three weeks of temps under thirty two degrees. The reason the water remains ice free is because water holds heat energy. In simple terms, the temperature of the surface of water has remain above thirty two degrees because the surface has been using latent heat energy trapped within. The process continues until the energy is no longer sufficient to prevent ice on the surface.

This recession has much in common with this meandering flatwater as a lot of the reserves that have kept individuals from succumbing to the icy cold of the recession are being depleted. Unless the economy thaws quickly the phase transition will occur and individuals who have been barely holding on, will let go!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Oatmeal

On of the craziest trends in the food space has been the re-emergence of oatmeal. It is funny to see swank restaurants tout the fact that they serve hot oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal was your great grandfathers breakfast.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Complicated fonts lead to more comprehension

In you want your message to reach a deeper level of consciousness, try more complicated fonts.

Roger Dooley shares this,

A Princeton study compared student retention of course material presented in both a simple font and more complex fonts, and found that retention was significantly better for the complex font.
Why is this? It appears that the additional effort required to read the complex fonts (also called “disfluent” fonts) leads to deeper processing, and ultimately better recall. The simple font tested was Arial; the complicated ones were Comic Sans Italic, Monotype Corsiva, and Haettenschweiler.

Luck is a function of your network

Jessica Stillman peels back the layers of life to it's base element.

Partly, it was down to luck. Life is unpredictable. But luck aside, there was one big factor that made the difference: Stefan’s network came through for him, and yours didn’t. So if you want to get luckier, you’ll need to do what Stefan did, and build a better network. Which means — brace yourself — doing more networking.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A classic lesson in reframing the discussion

Mitch Ditkoff shares this lesson from a distraught vodka distributor

"What can we combine with Vodka to give it a distinctive taste and color?" 

They came up with tomato juice and, voila, the Bloody Mary was born. Sales? Through the roof.
What most of us think of as an "innovation" is really just the elegant combination of two (or more) pre-existing elements resulting in the creation of a new, value-added product or service.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How are you managing your most valuable employee

Seth explains,

your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you're doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you'd quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they'd fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
I'm amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The evolving coupon space

Kristen Burnham reports on the developments in Groupon

Groupon Stores will let businesses create and launch their own deals whenever they want and as frequently as they want, without waiting several months to be featured as the deal of the day.
Merchants that claim their store, which Groupon says only takes a couple minutes, will have their deals promoted via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. There's no upfront fee, and business will receive 70 percent of each promoted Groupon sold, and 90 percent of each non-promoted Groupon. (This differs from being featured as Groupon's Deal of the Day, in which merchants only receive 50 percent of each Groupon sold.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2011 Social Media trends

Marian Salzman shares this nugget:

Populist frustration crosses from political platforms to consumers. They’ll lash out against brands that fail to meet expectations or that fall down on service. Have a strategy in place in case you misstep, which will be especially important on SoMe (social media), where you’ll need to avoid viral contagion.

Americans are pragmatic; we all know that. But rarely have we seen so much widespread interest in reinvention as we’ll be seeing next year. Boomer Joes and Janes will look to apply “Yes, we can” not to politics, but to their sense of reactualized human potential.

The phenomenon slides from individual to institutional. Just as people confess and redeem their crooked roads through new good works—I see a big trend to volunteerism among boomers.


In 2010, hyperlocalization—people valuing their five-to-10-mile radius where familiar relationships form—was a buzzword I cited in my annual report. In 2011, there’s going to be a lot more of this seeking and probing for deep meaning as we ask ourselves which of our jobs, activities and hobbies feel soul-satisfying.

Our answers will prioritize self-reliance. Respect accrues to brands that can talk to the hands, as the can-do spirit resurges not just in ever-burgeoning DIY movements

Friday, November 26, 2010

Incorporate gratitude into your day

Scott shares this about gratitude,

The way I see it, you don’t need a calendar to tell you when to care. Everyday is Thanksgiving. And if you’re only grateful for one month out of the year, you missed the point. The goal is to make gratitude like exercise: Something you just do, everyday. People will notice. Have you made giving thanks a non-negotiable?

Contribution is the greatest form of gratitude. Every human being has been commissioned to contribute. Interestingly, the word “contribute” comes from the Latin, contributus, which means, “to bring together.”

That’s your challenge: To figure out what you were made to make. To learn what you were designed to cure. To discover what God had in mind when she put you together. This is life’s most critical assignment. Ignore it at your own peril.

Besides: How dare you dedicate your days to anything else? Isn’t that the point? Isn’t the highest way to show gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given to regift them in the service of the world?

You better believe it. That’s how you pay your rent, validate your existence and offer thanks for your natural endowments. By contributing. By adding value. By leaving this cosmic campsite better than how you found it. Do that, and your customers won’t just thank you – they’ll throw your arms around you.

Remember: Usefulness is worship. Learn why you are, or risk losing who you are. What were you born with that you’ve been ungratefully denying?

REMEMBER: Gratitude isn’t just something you do – it’s something you are.

This week, as you sit down to break bread with your loved ones, and as you and celebrate all there is to be thankful for, keep one thing in mind:

What’s being served on the table isn’t as important as who’s sitting around it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 00 plus 10

The Law of Thanksgiving has several principles:

1) "Everything is a gift and we are but humble stewards of those gifts."
2) "The secret to happiness is to accept all that comes along with Thanksgiving and want for nothing else."
3) "The secret to wealth is to give away the first ten percent of all you earn until you can give it all away."

4) "Observe without judgment" 
Happy Thanksgiving!
November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The birth of an idea

Seth explains where ideas come from, here is a sampling,

  1. Ideas often come while reading a book
  2. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
  3. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
  4. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
  5. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
  6. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
  7.  An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn't join us here, it's hidden. And hidden ideas don't ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

Happiness is the result of being present.

Jason Castro's article details a study that indicates,

The happy upshot of this study is that it suggests a wonderfully simple prescription for greater happiness: think about what you’re doing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The new consumer mentality.

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde

In their book "Spend Shift" John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio make several arguments that the credit consumer society of the past has been purified by the Great Recession and a new debit culture has taken it's place. Though I agree with the rise of generosity detailed in the book the premise that the credit society has  been altered is completely false. The credit society has not been altered, what has occurred is that the credit facilities that fueled the society have been withdrawn. When the credit flows again and it will, the credit society will come roaring back unabated by the memory of the Great Recession

Technomic's 11 for 11

Technomic released these 11 trends for 11

here is a sampling,

4. Social media and technology: evolutionary spurt. We’ll see constant changes in applications for marketing and operations in 2011. Kiosk ordering, wine lists on iPads, tableside payment systems—which technologies will revolutionize operations? Couponing websites and location-based social media will grow, while the apps fad will continue to evolve, while facing new competition from developing formats and technologies. Front-of-house and back-of-house technology and social media are evolving so fast that rewards and risks are high—but the biggest risk of all is failure to innovate.
6. Frugality fatigue. Penny-pinching was a novelty when the recession began; now it’s gotten old. Anyone who can afford it will dip back into luxury dining in 2011. Look for flashy high-end restaurants and some extravagant, indulgent specials even on staid menus. Meanwhile, the middle class will gravitate to reasonably priced but high-experience-value, thrill-a-minute concepts with memorable menus. Pricey full-service concepts will continue to push bar menus, bringing in new customers at a lower price point, and gastropubs will proliferate.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Problem solving basics

Scott Halford explains problem solving
  1. Identify. Identifying the correct problem to work on is often where people trip up. It’s not as simple as you might think — breeze over this step at your own peril. Think about a business that has revenue issues. There could be a few hundred reasons for that issue. Asking the right questions and being a smart detective help you zero in on the problem with precision. The good problem solver asks a lot of questions about what the problem really is, instead of guessing and making snap decisions about it.
  2. Ideate. Now that you have a short list of what the problem might be, brainstorm all the possible solutions. The best brainstorming happens when you have the opportunity to bounce ideas off others. Get the right people in the room and think of as many solutions as you can. This is not the time to evaluate. The physiological brain process of generating ideas is not the same as evaluating them, and they cannot be switched on at the same time. They are both critical processes, but don’t turn off the ideation by turning on the evaluation.
  3. Evaluate. This is when you evaluate the ideas you came up with during the ideation phase. Evaluate ideas first based on their impact on a goal, and secondly, on the complexity of the idea. Complexity is not about difficulty. Instead, it is determined by only two things: time and money. Can the idea bring about successful results in the time constraints you have, and does it fit any known budget constraints you have? Ask yourself how large an impact the idea has. If you’re trying to cut $10,000 out of a budget and you come up with an idea that saves $100, the impact is relatively low. One with $1,000 becomes a higher-impact solution. You are looking for high–impact, low-complexity ideas.
  4. Execute. This is another step average problem solvers often skip. It does no good to come up with a great idea and then bungle execution on it. We’ve all been in those meetings where ideas are brainstormed and funneled into a few doable deeds, only to walk out of the meeting and never know when or how the ideas will be executed. Fruitless. Come up with a plan to get your idea done. You don’t have to be the executor of the full idea, but as a problem solver, you have some responsibility for implementing the solution.
  5. Re-examine. The final step is to check in with the solution’s progress and determine if it is still the right one. There will be times when the problem still exists because the solution wasn’t right. Don’t throw in the towel. Go back to step two and get going on the next solution to try.

Why do people go out?

Seth offers this

  • There are people around you, fellow travelers, magnetic energy, shared joy.
  • Something might go wrong. The artist is like a tightrope walker, taking big chances and the drama it creates is engrossing.
  • You might be surprised. Something new and wonderful might happen and it might jar you awake.
And yet, people in the 'live' business--restaurants, people doing presentations, the concierge at the hotel--often work hard to avoid getting anywhere near any of the three.

Inhouse staff newsletters

A newsletter, daily or weekly keeping the staff apprised on menu changes, staff changes, new services, even some limited financial's keeps them engaged. The technology is ubiquitous so there no valid reason for not implementing it.

Pushback aganist discounting coupons?

Can any business survive a discounting effort, be it Groupon or their ilk? No is the short answer however if the only way to survive in this environment is through traffic than what other options are there? At best the exercise is a break even proposition, at worse it can dilute your brand and the game is lost?

MP Mueller explains

Wow, will discounting be good for this brand?”

As more and more people are learning, social coupons can give businesses exposure to an affluent and educated audience. Rob Solomon, Groupon’s president, told me that the company’s 25 million subscribers are mostly between 30 to 50, college-educated, men and women with a household income north of $50,000. The company is active in 100 markets in North America and just announced a deal with eBay that will highlight Groupon’s regional daily deals on eBay’s pages. 

The two-year-old service is so popular that the term “Groupon anxiety” is now an entry in the Urban Dictionary, and Forbes has called Groupon the fastest-growing Internet company ever (be sure to see the reader comments after the article, which include some interesting first-hand experiences). While there are no upfront costs for businesses that sign on with Groupon, the businesses do have to offer their products or services at a significant discount and they do have to split what consumers pay for the coupon with Groupon, typically 50-50.

Adjust to the customer

William Mullen chronicles the rise of the Eastern Tourist

Many Chicago attractions in the last five years have added amenities in Mandarin, the principal Chinese dialect, to serve Chinese visitors. The Field Museum, for example, offers a map of its exhibit halls in Mandarin.

There are Mandarin guides to
Millennium Park, a great favorite among Chinese visitors, and to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park. Macy's department stores offer "savings passes" in Mandarin. The Wendella boat cruises' Web site has a Mandarin section listing its schedules and prices. The John Hancock Tower offers a Mandarin language audio guide to its observation deck.

"This lake is a great attraction for Chinese people," said Wang Suqi, a visitor from Beijing looking down on Lake Michigan from the Hancock last week. "It seems as vast as an ocean."

Wang, 58, was touring the city with a group of Chinese travel agents to better familiarize themselves with Chicago's attractions. Chinese culture helped explain his fascination with the lake.

"For us, water symbolizes luck and hope, and it symbolizes money," he said.

Most Chinese coming to Chicago in the past have combined tourism with business and convention trips, Wang said. They return home impressed with the city's architecture, museums, music, dining and shopping, he said.

It also doesn't hurt that two airlines, United and American, now fly nonstop daily between
O'Hare International Airport and China.

Social Media during the meal

Back in the dark ages B.S.M. (before social media), if a customer had a question about the meal, how long it was taking or the difference in the expectations they would call the server or the manager over. Not any more, in the A.S.M reality the customer will simply tweet the question or request? Restaurants can monitor guests in this fashion and respond accordingly. (can I get a refill on my Diet Coke). Individuals waiting for a table can monitor social media to get a feel for how events are unfolding during the shift. They can get updates as to how long before their table is ready, what the kitchen times are, which server is in a good mood or the quality of the dishwasher that day. No more will you be handed one of those square flashing devices to alert you to when your table is ready. Your status before, during and after the meal will be available for the whole of the universe to see on their smartphones.

do you want a sense of what a restaurant looks like before you go in?

enifer Van Grove introduces us to Eats

Using Eats, application users can essentially explore the interior of local restaurants in a virtual walk-a-round fashion, similar in style to Google Streetview for mobile, but infinitely more practical for would-be restaurant diners. Eats also includes visual search options, social sharing features and filters for users to find restaurants by location, price or rating.

The EveryScape custom-built technology powering Eats is capable of transforming photo stills into three dimensional, user-controlled internal store tours. The application is designed to further the connection between patron and business owner, and business owners can use the service to customize their venue information.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eat more ice cream

Wonderful news, cold melts fat cells. That is why some people feel slimmer in winter than in summer. It is cold out there and you are reducing fat cells. Also eating ice cream makes your face gaunt because you're  affecting fat cells.

I can see the restaurant ads. Eat more ice cream and slim down!

Chris Woolston's article explains

Maybe it's all a matter of degrees. Instead of burning fat, should you be trying to freeze it instead?

He adds that interest in cold therapy for fat removal got its start in the early 1970s when doctors noticed that children who spent a lot of time sucking on popsicles tended to have unusually hollow cheeks.

"There are worse ways to spend your money," he adds. "There's very little risk, except you might get a little chilly."

Learn confidence

Jessica Stillman explains why some people seem so confident,

according to a long and fascinating article recently published on Psychology Today. According to author Erika Casriel, “the reality is that most socially confident people deliberately learn specific skills.”
So what exercises do the experts recommend for the confidence-challenged who are keen to learn to keep cool in front of others? First, forget about simply repressing your anxiety, which simply makes you more self-conscious. Then, consider honing the following skills:
  • Read your body right: “You can create a crisis of confidence by overreacting to your own normal heightened alertness. But if you can work yourself up simply by misinterpreting your body’s signals, you can chill yourself out by reading them correctly. The irony of misreading your nervous system’s cues is that far from harming you, your natural excitement can enhance your performance. Increased activation is not a sign that you’re failing, but that you want to do well and your body is ready to help.”
  • Focus on helping others: “Mastering social skills requires tuning in to your self-esteem. But instead of being self-conscious and fixating on your anxiety, work on creating positive interactions that make the people around you feel engaged and happy. Focusing less on yourself and more on others will yield big payoffs in expanded social opportunities.” Also, “feeling allegiance to a larger cause can make your discomfort more tolerable”

Michelin discovers Chicago

Press release 
On Nov. 17, Michelin will announce the selection for its first-ever MICHELIN Guide Chicago. Today, however, Michelin offers a sneak peek at the first collection of what's in store from MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011 – the Bib Gourmand selection. The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as "Inspectors' Favorites for Good Value," Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city's residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants.

Some good restaurants are on this list

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The continuing storm.

The stock market has risen 16% in two months, a fairly good run, however the overarching issue is still real estate mortgages and declining credit facilities. Until credit and faith in a banking system is restored it is unlikely that a sustained recovery can occur.

Robert Reich has this,

According to a recent Washington Post poll, more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — are worried about making their mortgage payments. This is many more than were worried two years ago, when the Great Recession hit bottom. Then, 37 percent expressed worry.
Delinquency rates on home loans are rising. Distressed sales are up as a percent of total sales.
Most people in the Average Worker economy own few shares of stock, if any. Their equity is in their homes. But with all the delinquencies and distressed sales, the housing market has a glut of homes for sale. As a result, home prices are still dropping. So the net worth of most Americans is still dropping.
And even though interest rates are falling, most people in the Average Worker economy can’t refinance their homes. They can’t get home equity loans. Banks don’t want to lend to the Average Worker economy because people in it are considered bad credit risks. They still owe lots of money, their family incomes are down, and their net worth has fallen.


James Galbraith takes the administration to task for not doing enough.

But one cannot defend the actions of Team Obama on taking office. Law, policy and politics all pointed in one direction: turn the systemically dangerous banks over to Sheila Bair and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Insure the depositors, replace the management, fire the lobbyists, audit the books, prosecute the frauds, and restructure and downsize the institutions. The financial system would have been cleaned up. And the big bankers would have been beaten as a political force.


Michael Perelman reprints a letter sent to the President by John Maynard Keyes,

“You have made yourself the Trustee for those in every country who seek to mend the evils of our condition by reasoned experiment within the framework of the existing social system. If you fail, rational change will be gravely prejudiced throughout the world, leaving orthodoxy and revolution to fight it out. But if you succeed, new and bolder methods will be tried everywhere, and we may date the first chapter of a new economic era from your accession to office.”

How to data mine information about your customer?

Clarissa Cruz explains,

1. What you look like. Julian Niccolini, the famed maitre d' at the Four Seasons in New York City, says he regularly uses Google Images to identify new guests, which allows him and his staff to greet diners personally when they arrive. 

2. How many times you've stood them up. Ann Shepherd of OpenTable, which handles online reservations for more than 15,000 restaurants, says the site does track data on diners who have a habit of blowing off their reservations. "If a diner has a certain number of accumulated 'no shows' their account is closed," she says. The system also notes—and prevents—a customer from double-booking at two different restaurants. 

3. What you ate the day before. New York City's Eleven Madison Park recently served a customer a mini lamb burger after he tweeted, "Burger King in the airport waiting for my flight to NYC. I'll consider this my amuse-bouche for Eleven Madison Park!" 
5. Whether you're cheating on your wife (or husband). Let's say you are a regular at a restaurant—and you regularly alternate between dinner with the spouse and dinner with, well, someone who is not your spouse. The great maitre d's discreetly take notice. "As part of our pre-shift meeting, we review the [reservation] books with the staff," says Welch. "And where there's a situation where a guest comes in with somebody new, it's 'Lovely to see you again.' It's not about what happened yesterday and who the individual was with then. We're not here to judge."

The internet provides a wealth of information about your guests, some is relevant, some is not and like mining it require some effort to extract.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lessons from a midterm

The first lesson is that if there is not a foreign threat sailing toward us, the first, second and third concerns of the electorate is the the economy. The lack of jobs and any discernible improvement in an individual's financial condition caused by the Great Contraction has the electorate looking for new players to provide answers. The economic devastation on Main Street is real and there really has been no concerted effort to improve the situation. It is unfathomable to me that a administration that rose to prominence on the south side of Chicago does not see  

The second lesson is that if your are going to change, then change big because the result is the same. In too many cases the administration and the congressional leadership acted timidly because they were afraid of backlash. Well I am here to tell you that it is better to flame white hot across the sky and die out than to sit on the shelf of indifference and collect dust.

The third lesson is that this is only one election, there will be another. The politicking has already started. Keep Calm and Carry On!

IF you can, finish with a flourish

Lisa Fickenscher chronicles the closing of a restaurant,

Now the author of the best-selling Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business is raising the bar on how to shutter a restaurant by orchestrating a three-month sendoff. And in a field in which employees are lucky to receive a few days' warning that they're losing their jobs, Mr. Meyer is going to extraordinary lengths to help Tabla's 90 full-time staff find new positions before the last meal is served on Dec. 30.

“It's not something I necessarily want to become an expert in,” Mr. Meyer says, laughing. “But the measure of our company should not just be about how we open restaurants. We need to distinguish ourselves by how we close a place.”

Restaurants typically close with little or no notice. Some skip out in the middle of the night to avoid creditors. Some—like La Caravelle, which closed in 2004 after a 43-year run—give customers a grace period of a week or so to enjoy a final meal.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Go out and Vote

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

NO matter the current state of your finances, you have a hard fought right and a duty to make your voice heard.

Go out and VOTE!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Contraction

A very very scary story on this All Halos Eve from which has a great piece about this recession,

Contrary to the timeline suggested by the NBER, our data strongly suggests that the consumer portion of this recession did not start out to be about housing or damaged consumer balance sheets. But it is now. It has clearly evolved, and the average consumer's version of a recession diary might look something like this:

    -- December, 2007: Spending slightly more than last year, sub-prime mess is somebody else's problem

    -- May, 2008: Gas prices way up, banking crisis in the news -- maybe we need to be little cautious

    -- August, 2008: Democratic National Convention says things really are getting different this time, maybe more caution is warranted

    -- November, 2008: Good, the election's over, and gas prices are down -- things are getting normal again

    -- March, 2009: The 401K may be hurting, but at least we have the house to retire on

    -- June, 2009: Unemployment numbers don't look good, but those usually start back down
- August, 2009: A lot of vacant houses in the neighborhood, let's rethink retirement funding

     -- January, 2010: Unemployment is getting worse, let's pay down our credit cards

     -- May, 2010: There may be a recovery going on somewhere else, but it certainly ain't here

     -- August, 2010: Politics are getting ugly again, things aren't about to improve anytime soon

    There probably hasn't been two separate recessions in three years, simply one that has evolved in significant ways. But if this really is a "double dip" recession, then our data indicates that the "Great Recession" of 2008 was merely the precursor, and not the main event. It is this current dip that we should be really concerned about; the current contraction in consumer demand is about
     structural changes in consumer behavior, whereas the "first dip" was about short term loss of consumer confidence.

    This recession has been complex and constantly evolving in ways that policy makers have not been able to understand through their low resolution lenses. As a consequence their policy responses have been misguided, ineffective and wasteful. The Federal Reserve may be able to save the banking system by being the "lender of last resort", but it is powerless to change perhaps the one thing that John Maynard Keynes got right -- and what he mischaracterized as a "Paradox
     of Thrift" -- as over 100 million U.S. households become economic "loose cannons", acting exclusively in their own best interests in 100 million different ways.

Bias clouds all of our decisions

 Victoria Pynchon explains how our bias clouds how we react to perceived slights.

let me first say that we are all blinded to the part we play in disputes by cognitive biases.  Those biases include:
  • fundamental attribution error (over-attributing intention and under-attributing circumstance to another’s harm-causing behavior while over-attributing circumstance and under-attributing intention to our own harm-causing behavior /1;
  • clustering illusion (seeing patterns where none exist); and,
  • confirmation bias (selecting from a vast amount of data only that which confirms our pre-existing opinions)
Mistakes about the intentions and motivations of our fellows, as well as the constraints under which they are working, are so common in the litigated disputes I mediate that I’ve been forced to acknowledge just how much of other people’s behavior is colored by my untested assumptions.  It naturally follows that my part in disputes has loomed much larger in their resolution than they ever did before.

Not Today

Karl Smith explains the Karmic lie

[N]othing ends well. In the end, the universe, like the house, always wins. Yet, we do not have to tolerate agony and pain all the way up until our inevitable demise. We live. We love. We laugh in defiance of that inevitability. If we have our heads on straight we’ll do it right up until the cold, bitter, utterly unjust and utterly unavoidable end. We are mortals — those who die. That fact should infuse our every value and animate our every action.

When my loved ones take ill they sometimes ask me — with hope in their eyes — “Am I going to die?” Yes, I answer, I cannot change that. But not today.

Not today.

Can you identify your top twenty customers and their challenges?

Chris Brogan asks that very question,

Can you name your top 5 customers? (Your top 20?) Can you explain the challenges those top 20 people face? Can you talk about what else is on their plate besides potentially buying more of what you sell? Do you know how they talk about you to their bosses, their peers, or others? 

It’s interesting, to me, which metrics we track and what we do with them. The distance between metrics and analytics is the difference between statistics and intent. Meaning, we might know several things about how many products we sell, where we sell them, at which time of day, and all kinds of other things, but what we’re really trying to figure out is the secrets of our relationship with our customer. That’s where we have to invest our efforts.

Barter is back in a big way

John Gerzema shares the rise of Spendshift

In the post-financial crisis age, mindless consumption is out, and mindful consumption is in. Eighty-one percent of Americans according to my firm's research say the recent economic crisis has had a long-term effect on the way they spend their time and money. One example of this shift is the phenomenon of cooperative consumerism, in which social business models help American households avoid parting with their hard earned dollars.


In the emerging barter nation, households are shifting from consumption to production. They’re sharing skills and resources and demanding more from your business. We’ve just scratched the surface of this movement. Whose to say they can't scale to the power of, say, Walmart?

Street smart v book smart

Scoot Shane shares this little ditty,

As you might expect, more intelligent entrepreneurs do better at running their own businesses than less intelligent ones. In a different article, published a year after the one mentioned above, de Wit and Winden found that the self-employed with higher IQs tended to earn more money than those with lower IQs. And the recent working paper by Djankov, Qian, Roland and Zhuravskaya found that “failed entrepreneurs are less smart” than successful ones.
So what do these studies tell us? Maybe they are little more than a statistical curiosity or maybe they hint at a pattern.
Subject to the caveat that we have only handful of studies and all of them are based on correlations, here’s the pattern suggested by the data: The average person who works for herself is more intelligent than the average person who works for others, but (as my earlier column pointed out) she doesn’t do as well in school.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dictating credit card choices to the customers.

Jay Goltz offers a personal experience about how a customers needs to pay

“No, we want you to use a different card”? It depends on how many of your customers care. I can assure you that some will, but they won’t necessarily tell you. How many repeat customers would you have to lose to eat up the $100 you saved in lower fees? If your business is working on a 50 percent gross profit margin, you would have to lose $200 of business, or about two customers out of 100. That is 2 percent. Might you only lose 1 percent? Maybe, but I doubt it. Could you lose 10 percent? Perhaps. And keep in mind, you may also lose the referrals and the repeat business of people who are with the person whose card you reject. It seems to me you have far more to lose than to gain.

Here’s my confession: For a long time, mine was one of those companies that did not want to pay the higher fees. I changed my mind after I went into a store that wouldn’t accept my American Express card. It didn’t make me happy, and I didn’t go back. And after that, I started to accept all cards at my business. I actually had one customer with an American Express card say to me, “I’ve only been bringing my personal business here. Now I can bring my business framing, too, because that’s the only company card I have.”
The point is, saving money can be perilous. With the economy soft, we’re all trying to cut costs, but there are all sorts of ways to save money without really saving money: not fixing a store sign, not updating a computer, not sending people for training. Sometimes a penny saved is not a penny earned — it’s two cents lost.

more trends for 2011

Andrew Freeman offers this


Single purpose restaurants (peanut butter)

grilled vegetables



Coconut Water

hat tip Megan Conniff

trends for 2011 are in the air

Joseph Baum and Michael Whitman share this

Meatballs In

Gourmet Hamburgers out,

Food trucks in,

Profitable customers in,

Unprofitable customers way out,

the rise of collaborative customers using their smartphones,

What if six friends made their own reservation and demanded a group discount like your giving Groupon? Not that out of the question.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The continual rise of cities

Jeffery Phillips offers this,

Brown and Hagel suggest two reasons:

  1. The value of "rich exchanges" and tacit knowledge is higher
  2. The potential of serendipitous interactions increases

but as people work with information and knowledge, they become exposed to a wider world of change and options.  Rural areas tend to be more conservative in nature, slower to change and with less dynamic interactions.  As people are exposed to information and change, many of them want more of that, not less.  They increasingly crave interaction with other people who have these experiences, and they want new experiences as well.

expect more movement of educated, younger people to the urban areas, especially those with universities or high concentrations of knowledge workers

Sunday, October 24, 2010

break rules but not rules that matter?

VC view of how to judge a possible investment, does the entreprenuer have at imagnitive bent

Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They're not goody-two-shoes good. Morally they care about getting the big questions right but not about observing proprieties. That's why I'd use the word "naughty" rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules--but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant, though; it may be implied by imagination.
Sam Altman of Loopt is one of the most successful alumni, so we asked him what question we could put on the Y Combinator application that would help us discover more people like him. He said to ask about a time when they'd hacked something to their advantage--hacked in the sense of beating the system, not breaking into computers. It has become one of the questions we pay most attention to when judging applications.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Case study in operations during a massive recession

Ken Bruno interviews Ron Shaich

  Pick up an article and all anybody was writing about was how they [eateries] were going to pull costs out of the menu. And our view was when you pull costs out at a rate faster than sales fall off [that] you’re basically taxing the consumer. In times of great change, which is what this recession represented, it was an opportunity to create significantly greater competitive differentiation, competitive advantage. So when everybody pulled back, we actually invested. And we invested in the customer experience, in product development, we invested in marketing in a very serious way, we invested in operations and we invested in category management. And we said now is the time to stay the course, to continue our game and to continue doing this strategy that served us so well over the prior decade.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fire up your muchness

The Great Reset has certainly strained resources, both fiscal and emotional. Entrepreneurs as a group have more enthusiasm than the general population, however of late they are showing the weariness of this seemly unending battle that this recession has wrought.

Dave Logan has a great article on "muchness"

First, recognize that it’s your job to create muchness around you. Unlike raw goods and money (unless you own an illegal printing press), there’s no limit to how much muchness you and your company can create. How do you do this? By emphasizing untapped opportunities in the economy, including incredible talent looking for a place to call home.

Second, if muchness is lacking, create it in pockets. People are tribal by nature, and one tribe can enjoy muchness while the next tribe over is in despair. While it’s too simplistic to just tell your tribes to opt out of the bad economy, you can say you’re going to do things differently and choose not take part in the collective melancholy. It’s critical to avoid the common stupid business ideas that steal muchness from companies and individuals.

Third, see muchness as a cause, and not an effect. It wasn’t morning in America until Reagan said it was. When people believed him, the economic sun started to rise. Muchness comes before a great P&L.

Mobile Aps for restaurants

The smartphone is the future. If your restaurant has not joined yet, you will soon.



Beer and wine daypart

Bruce Horovitz explains Starbucks foray into the nightlife daypart.

A very different kind of Starbucks is on tap. It will serve regional wine and beer. It offers an expansive plate of locally made cheeses — served on china. The barista bar is rebuilt to seat customers up close to the coffee.

Most conspicuously, the place looks less like a Starbucks and more like a cafe that's been part of the neighborhood for years — yet that's "green" in design and decor. This is the calling card of independent java joints that have been eating and sipping away at Starbucks' evening business for decades. U.S. Starbucks stores get 70% of business before 2 p.m.


The wake-up-in-the-morning company that invented the $4 cup of coffee is trying to reinvent itself as the hang-out-in-the-evening company, too, with mood lighting, heritage furnishings and wine at up to $9 a glass.

Key leadership skills

Tony Schwartz clarifies the basic leadership skills,

1. Great leaders recognize strengths in us that we don't always yet fully see in ourselves.

2. Rather than simply trying to get more out of us, great leaders seek to understand and meet our needs, above all a compelling mission beyond our immediate self-interest, or theirs.

3. Great leaders take the time to clearly define what success looks like, and then empower and trust us to figure out the best way to achieve it.

4. The best of all leaders--a tiny fraction--have the capacity to embrace their own opposites, most notably vulnerability alongside strength, and confidence balanced by humility.

All four capacities are grounded in one overarching insight. Great leaders recognize that the best way to get the highest value is to give the highest value.

Happy Garbanzo Bean Day

QSR reports that,

October 21 is Garbanzo Bean Day, and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is honoring this occasion by celebrating the garbanzo bean and its many achievements. Some of these include providing outstanding health benefits, being part of a popular and healthy food movement—the Mediterranean diet—and acquiring a following of loyal Garbanzo Very Important Bean (VIB) members.

Recent studies have linked garbanzo beans and a Mediterranean diet with numerous health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced risk of diabetes and dementia, decreased risk for stomach cancer, and even a lessened appearance of wrinkles.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How does geolocation work again?

Kermit Pattison helps explains the geolocation process.


Use the Foursquare analytic dashboard to glean valuable data about bar customers, like how they break down by gender, when they check in and with whom they check in. By doing so, he can discern patterns of how business ebbs and flows throughout a week.

Recently, the bar’s managers noticed that check-ins declined after 2 a.m. on Saturdays. In response, the Destination Bar started holding a late-night happy hour — spreading the word through social media. A rise in check-ins and sales followed. “I look at the Foursquare check-ins as a representation, like the Nielsen ratings,” Mr. Maccarone said. “You can tell a lot about your audience based on the breakdown of the people who are checking in because they are a good sample set of your regular customer base.”

How much of the pie are you chasing?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is the best way to negotiate?

Steve Tobak outlines negotiation

5 Ways to Win in Any Business Situation:
  1. Internal relationship between coworkers. Win-win, collaborate, all the way. Anything else is dysfunctional. Sure, the dysfunctional stuff - back stabbing, taking credit for someone else’s work, sugar-coating BS, CYA - all exists, but don’t fall into that trap. You either have to play it smarter or find a company that doesn’t accept that kind of crap.
    Goal: Win-win
  2. Boss-employee relationship. Again, Win-win, collaborate, all the way, same as with coworkers. Companies don’t exist for you, your boss, or your employees. They exist for two reasons: to provide a product or service to customers, and to provide value to shareholders. All employees at every level should be aligned to do that, simple as that.
    Goal: Win-win
  3. Competitors in the marketplace. I win - you lose. Period. Market competition is a zero-sum game, simple as that. To suggest otherwise is idiotic. And yes, you should befriend your competitors, call them frienemies, hang out and party with them, anything you like. Just listen more than you talk. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?
    Goal: I win - you lose
  4. Customer-vendor relationship. Customer-vendor relationships should always yield the perception of a win-win, especially if you want an ongoing relationship. That said, when you approach negotiations, your goal is to get the better deal while the other guy thinks he did okay too. I think of that as “I win - you don’t lose.” Camp provides a pretty good approach for doing that. It’s not easy at first, but you do get better at it with experience.
    Goal: I win - you don’t lose
  5. Job or consulting opportunity. It’s important to note that, in this situation, you all have to live with each other after the fact. So, whichever side of the equation you’re on, don’t overpromise and risk underdelivering or underplay your hand and risk losing the gig. Best to be genuine. That said, when it comes to negotiating dollars and cents, it’s the same as customer-vendor.
    Goal: I win - you don’t lose

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How are well thought out logical decisons working for you?

In the vein that not knowing is knowing Sean highlights a study

The work looks at the results of the Peter Principle, which predicts that people are promoted to the level of their incompetence. Their skill gets them a series of job advances until they are ultimately promoted one level higher than abilities warrant. This results in an organization promoting itself into declining performance.

The Italian researchers ran computational models and concluded that ”counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an (Peter Principle) effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.”

Is your dart board in top working order?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

National Coffee Day

The punchbowl offers this ditty,

So, where did coffee come from and how did it get so popular? Coffee dates as far back as the 9th century. It was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed the stimulating effects that the coffee berries had on his goats and began to experiment with them.

A century later, coffee began to be roasted and traded by Arabs. From there, the beans entered Indian and European markets and the first coffee shop opened in Constantinople in 1475. The popularity of coffee took off and began to grow at an exponential rate.

Today, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil. Hot, iced, flavored, decaf, espresso, cappuccino, or latte, there are many ways to enjoy your coffee. Don't forget to take a coffee break (or two) to celebrate this historical and important beverage!

Monday, September 27, 2010

redefine fear

Mike Myatt does an excellent job explaining how fear impacts our decision making process

“Courage is resistance to and mastery of fear–not the absence of fear.” Twain

Focus: Focus on your values, vision, mission, strategy, goals, tactics and processes. Clarity of thought and attention to detail will take you where you want to go. Don’t focus on failure; focus on success.

Explore: Search out your fears and confront them. Be willing to learn from your fears. I have learned far more from my fears and failures than I ever have from my victories. Introspective thinking is one of the most productive things you can do to advance your learning.

Assess: This is your time to innovate…Take stock of what you learn during times of self-assessment, failure analysis, introspective thinking and research. There is nothing wrong with failure assuming that you learn from it, leverage it, and not fall prey to the same mistakes in the future.

Respond: Develop a bias toward action…Use focus, exploration, and assessment to develop actionable steps to managing risk and achieving your goals. You can accomplish great things through action and few things through inaction.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Difference between successful and not

Daniel Wood has 4 ideas to turn the not so successful into a success

The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t how often they fail; it is how many times they try. Successful people fail just as often, if not more, then everyone else. The difference is that they keep picking themselves up again and again, try new things and at last find something that works.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Scale and Perspective

The internet is an amazing technological advancement. The ability to communicate instantly with everyone in the world is incredible. The magic of the internet is a double edged sword because the internet democratizes opinion, there is no editor to judge whether some item scales to the level of important. Every expressed thought is the equal of every other expressed thought.

There is no sense of scale to the expressed thought. There is no perspective to view the impact of actions. It is no longer true that if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound. Now all the sounds are immediately broadcast for all to listen to or ignore at their peril.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumnal Equinox 2010

Autumnal Equinox 2010, the demarcations lines are vertical today ,

Daylight Map

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recession ended 15 months ago?

These guys at the NBER are clueless, we are in a depression folks.

marketwatch .com had this ditty.

The NBER alluded to the current economic weakness in its declaration. “In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity,” the firm said. “Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Summer Plantings

As the Autumn Equinox approaches once notices a lot of overgrown summer plantings throughout the city. The summer splendors are awaiting the final pruning while the fall plantings stand ready for the fullness of the Moon to herald their arrival.

The endless ebb and flow, of birth, death and birth again. Enjoy the journey around the sun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We're drinking a lot

Great line from Brian Hamilton talking about the recession

But datahouse Sageworks, which specializes in small-business intelligence, has been tracking small-company employment through the downturn. Their assessment: That recession in the mirror may be larger than it appears. Looking at revenue data from more than 25 million small businesses, Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton finds that over the past two years, sales were down about 5 percent for the small-business sector -- and then down another 5 percent the following year, on top of that first decline.

To sum up: "It's bad," Hamilton says.

We're apparently drinking a lot -- beer, wine, and liquor stores are doing well.

Strangely, child care centers are still doing well, even though you'd think there are fewer people needing child care since more are unemployed. That one's a puzzle to me.


Keith Ferrazzi explains the need for interconnections, you can't get there alone

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the deep waters of purchasing ideas and talent

David offers the following,

When it comes to acquisitions, there are only two things worth buying: products and customers. When you buy either, you’re buying a solid stream of revenue.
Turns out that good ideas and strong talent is as fickle as it is seducing. As soon as you start making big-company compromises, the good idea turns average, and the average turns into a write-off.
There’s always a fresh crop of shiny ideas and sassy talent available to try that-which-does-not-work once more.

Fresh and Raw concept

Wayne Gendel reminds us that

If you eat 80 percent of your food fresh and raw, it is virtually impossible to be overweight.

The natural human diet is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds. People who eat this along with small amounts of meat, fish and dairy are more likely to stay thin and healthy to a ripe old age.

There is the ability to go national with the first mass mover in this concept.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Confidence is a function of many past successes

Heidi Grant Halvorson, relates,

reflecting on past successes (plural) leads your brain to unconsciously, and quite naturally, assume that since you are the common denominator in all of those successes, your traits (e.g., your intelligence, creativity, charm) are the reason for your success.

Believing that you've got it, whatever it is, makes you more confident, and provides a very real boost to your performance.


But what if instead of reflecting on your past successes and failures plural, you just thought about a single success or failure? What does your brain do with just one particular memory? The answer: it unconsciously draws the opposite conclusion! That's right - remembering a single episode of success can make you doubt yourself, just as the memory of a single instance of failure can leave you feeling more confident. But why?


You get the same boost of confidence from thinking about a single time you screwed up that you do from reflecting on the many times you really shined. And you fall victim to the same nagging self-doubt from thinking about that one time you did something right, that you do from dwelling on all the times you did everything wrong.

So if you're looking to bolster your confidence and really motivate yourself before your next test, or your next blind date, or maybe the next meeting you have to run, remember that it's a good idea to draw on your memories of success, so long as you have a string of successes in mind. That way, your unconscious mind (which is so often the maker or breaker of a great performance) will clearly understand that your awesomeness is not the exception - it's the rule.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The allure of hot trends

There is nothing hotter in the world now than location based marketing. I have had to create a tag because so much of what I have been talking about is related to "location based services". The reason that everyone jumps on a bandwagon is because of that elusive incremental growth engine. The reasoning goes that you have "x" amount of business and to grow beyond that "x" you need another revenue driver. The "x" in of itself can only grow so much and eventually reach a saturation point where there will be no more growth. If a hot trend comes along and you don't devote at least some of your resources to, then you will be left behind in the dustbin of history.

No business wants to be collecting dust along with horse buggies and buggy whips. The danger is that in reaching for a new market your business ignores the "x" that is still paying the bills, albeit for a short time. There is no magic formula as to how much of ones resources to devote to the new. Clearly new involves the ongoing standards war "VHS v Betamax", the not knowing which will work and which will not. Pioneers "first movers" can be richly rewarded with fertile fields or they can die by being ill prepared for the cold dark winter. Settlers on the other hand come in when law and civilization have been established. They don't make as large a profit, however they survive at greater levels than the pioneers.

The virtual loyalty card

John Jantsch explains ways to use location based apps to boost traffic

Create virtual rewards programs – Rewards programs such as those offered by most coffee shop via punch cards or large retailers like Eddy Bauer have been around for years, but smart offerings by folks like PlacePop are making the punch card concept an easy virtual or online play. Merchants can offer their own version of a check in and capture rich data on their most loyal customers.


Seth explains loyalty

If your offering is always better, you don't have loyal customers, you have smart ones. Don't brag about how loyal your customers are when you're the cheapest or you have clearly dominated some key element of what the market demands. That's not loyalty. That's something else.

Loyal customers understand that there's almost always something better out there, but they're not so interested in looking.

Rewarding loyalty for loyalty's sake--not by paying people for sticking it out so the offering ends up being more attractive--is not an obvious path, but it's a worthwhile one. Tell a story that appeals to loyalists. Treat different customers differently, and reserve your highest level of respect for those that stand by you.

The majority of businesses reward new customers while essentially the gouging the ones that come week after week. How does that action or the perception play out? Not well.

Age of location based web interactions

Adrianne Jefferies shares that location based targeted marketing is here and it works

Newness may be inflating the numbers a bit, Becker acknowledged, but advertisers will just create more engaging and sophisticated ads as time goes on. But location is just one of many important factors in mobile marketing. Advertisers also consider a consumer's age, type of phone, even time of day.

"Location is not necessarily the goal of the interaction. Rather, location is a piece of information that provides context to the user experience and can create a more relevant and engaging interaction with the consumer," Becker said.


That's because of inexperience and fears about threatening consumers' comfort level. "The next few years will be very important for companies to get it right and not abuse the location information they're getting," he said.

What I find amazing is how much information the consumer is willing to share for just little utility that they receive.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer's lease hath all to short a date 3

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date; Bill

September is upon us. The summer wanderings are behind us and we all get back to the business of life. The carefree, devil may care attitude of the August sun is replaced by the gentle harbingers of the the winter chill. All seasons are in the mind, whether you are returning to school, whether summer is your high season or low season, there really are only two seasons, Summer and not Summer

Stay the course

Amy Reeves details how Panera was able to introduce a high price point winner against the same economic maelstrom that everyone else faced,

Panera is also taking the non-discount approach to its new loyalty program, called MyPanera, which is currently in testing. Rather than rewarding customer loyalty with, say, the occasional freebie, Shaich says Panera aims to give its diners unique experiences.

"It may be coming in early to get an opportunity to see our new products, come in for a tasting, (or) cooking school, working in the bakery itself with the kids," he said. "We also do find opportunities to surprise people with something they didn't expect, a gift maybe. But it's all unique to that individual."

Over its 29-year existence, Panera has endured several recessions. And its main key to survival is to not panic, says Piper Jaffray analyst Nicole Miller Regan.

"They're benefiting from what they didn't do," she said. "Unlike some of their peers who've cut labor costs, cut services and discounted menu items, they just stuck with their core strategy."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Boy, I feel full.

Tia Ghose explains how images of food effect our perception of how full we are,

The results show that there's more to hunger than the physical stomach rumblings.

"We store memories of what we think we've consumed and that somehow affects and regulates the hunger we've experienced between meals," Brunstrom said.

It also has implications for foods advertised as low-fat, Schoeller said. "If people are expecting that it's not going to be very satisfying and also that it's something they can eat without gaining weight, there is a tendency to eat more of it. And this study suggests that part of that might be related to our perception of how full we are."

Still, it's premature to hook a pump to your soup bowl in hopes of tricking yourself into losing weight, Schoeller said. "You don't know for sure if this translates from a single meal to a chronic effect of 12 weeks of eating smaller meals." That's because physical hunger cues may overpower visual cues once someone has tried to cut calories for a longer period of time, he said.

How to increase bar sales

Tell them they will live longer if they drink, John Cloud reports

for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

For the sake of your health, have a drink, please. :)