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. :)

What are you selling?

Seth says,

The emotional labor of engaging with the work and increasing the energy in the room is precisely what you sell. So sell it.

Despite all your best efforts

those ungrateful wretches we call customers complain about your attempts to maximize revenue. Rebecca Smithers explains;

For cash-strapped diners understandably anxious to squeeze value for money from eating out, table-turning clearly rankles. Other practices getting the thumbs down are poor service – including the not-so-optional service charge – and being left waiting for the bill to arrive, even when it has been requested.

Restaurateurs with an eye on the bottom line should take note of the other moans published in today's Plate of the nation report, which surveyed more than 2,000 British diners and quizzed 100 of the country's biggest culinary names: almost two-thirds (64%) of diners say they are irritated by tables being packed too closely together, while half are annoyed by persistently wobbly tables. Of the well-known restaurants, 15% admitted they table-turn at peak times.

More than half of the diners quizzed said that being asked to sup up and ship out at specific times because others were waiting came towards the top of their list of restaurant bug-bears. Other moans which make diners see red are "incomprehensible" menus, and charging corkage on wine brought by diners.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Magic of follow-up

Clate Mask shares some insights on breaking through the chaos

Tap into the magical power of follow-up. When you fail to follow up, you’re losing out on incredible opportunities. Follow-up failure stunts your growth and prolongs your partnership with chaos.

Acknowledge your staff

Rhonda Abrams shares insights of how to appreciate your team

Acknowledge: The least productive sentence an employer can use is "I don't need to thank employees; they get paid." We all need to be thanked and recognized. Find opportunities to get the staff together to acknowledge jobs well done. Give small acknowledgments: plaques, certificates, T-shirts to recognize even small achievements.

Reward: Pay people decently, reward them when you're successful, and give them as much sense of security as you can. Employees don't work well when they're worried about how they'll pay the rent or whether they'll have a job next month. Job security, good pay, and decent benefits help make a much more productive staff.

In a small company, every day is Labor Day. It's important to make every employee feel valued, included, and respected. If you help your employees grow, they'll help your business grow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stillness within the waxing and waning of a crescent moon

On a beautiful clear evening the waxing and waning Crescent Moon offers stillness. The full moon might be romantic however the crescent radiates stillness.

What is your value statement?

Rafi Mohammed shares his value statement philosophy,

Every company – whether a mom-and-pop or a Boston’s, for example -- should have a value statement that clearly articulates why customers should purchase their product over competitors’ offerings. Be specific in listing reasons: this is not a time to be modest. This statement will boost the confidence of your frontline so they can look customers squarely in the eye and say, “I know that you have options, but here are the reasons why you should buy our product.”

Tranquility in the workplace.

Kimberly Wilson shares her insight with Mary Ellen Slayter on how to bring tranquility to a workplace.

What words of wisdom can you share specifically for human resource professionals in terms of their ability to use Tranquilista as well as any other yoga philosophies to make their companies better places to work?

  • Practice compassion first and foremost. People need to feel appreciated and a part of what is going on within the organization — not like cogs on a wheel.
  • Practice satya (truthfulness). Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Practice svadyaya (self-study). What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What is working? What isn’t? Constantly assess and improve.
  • Pursue your passion. This helps ensure that what you are doing for a living fuels you well beyond a paycheck.
  • Make a difference. Be fully present with your team, clients, vendors, board, etc. Leave the world a better place due to your role in it.