Category: Marketing

Guess that Coworking space

Names and locations redacted to protect the innocent. I was in another city yesterday, scouting a place to hold a meetup.

Coworking space number 1: Delightfully pretentious little coffee shop with coworking space adjacent. Craft beer is also served. Seems to have a little Reformed Christian vibe going, because those Christians can drink beer with the window shades up, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to have a single room/meeting space that could hold 10 people without some of them having to sit in a hammock or something.

I walked upstairs to what I hoped was a better meeting space, only to find myself more or less awkwardly in the middle of someone else’s stand-up, in a room barely large enough to shoot a self-conscious CCM music video in.

Coworking space number 2: After walking in the front door of the building only to find myself in something that might have been a women’s clothing boutique or a used bookstore, or both, I asked where the coworking space was and was directed by the attractive young woman in the bodysuit to go to the side entrance.

My overwhelming thought on meeting her was to resist taking her hand and running, not because she was an attractive young woman in a bodysuit, but because the neighborhood is roughly that of the Bronx in the 1980s. I mean, I literally had to think hard about exiting my car when I got in the parking lot.

After finding the correct entrance, I met up with a receptionist whose overwhelming thought seemed to be to resist coming right out and asking if I voted for Trump (I didn’t). She reluctantly showed me a meeting room, which would actually work fine for our purposes, if any of our attendees survived getting mugged in the parking lot. She informed me, however, that they generally close at 6 pm.

For extra effect, a police SUV came up behind me while I was stopped at an intersection and lit off their sirens and lights because they needed to get around me. Not, as I initially assumed, to get to a shooting, but to a fender-bender a block over.

iPhone 6S+, or, iPad Micro

Not sure what to call it – phone or phablet? But it’s going to have to go just about wherever I go for the next 2 years, at least…

Pictured here: my outgoing iPhone 5 (early 2013 vintage) and new iPhone 6S+, both entombed in Otterbox Defender cases. My iPad is shown for an additional reference point.


Here’s my frame of reference for a phone this size. I’m a bari sax player. When you scale something up this much, in the picture, it seems like just a bigger version of the same thing, but it’s not, exactly. Watch this extremely random video of two talented young saxophonists and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

So how is this working out for you? I can (sorta) hear you asking:

used with permission –
  • This phone (which does sport a reachability feature in deference to its extreme height, to which I hope they add an ability to contract left/right) is hard to use one-handed. That’s a tradeoff I decided to accept; as I get out and about and actually try to use it I’ll have to see what it’s like wearing it, using it, etc. As a frame of reference I’m 6 feet tall, built kinda large, wear gloves in the M/L size, and can comfortably play a bari sax. There are those for whom the 6S, not the 6S+, is definitely going to be the upper limit. There is actually a shoulder carry option for it (this company also makes them for other phones, and… this may be a little nuts, but to each their own). Here’s a significant dimension for you – the length of the 6S+ equals the width of the iPad…
  • It’s going to change how you use it. Again the bari sax analogy – it’s not just a big alto. It plays a different role and has different strengths and weaknesses. I decided to try it (the phone, not the bari sax) because in my current job I have fewer voice calls to make, I sit at a desk more, but when I’m away from the office I am more likely to absolutely need to get on an email. I’m going to need to use bluetooth more. It’s going to tempt me to get some kind of smart watch (pretty sneaky, Apple!). On the plus side, I will have more occasions when I can leave the iPad behind.
  • And about that iPad – the first time I ever saw a cellular-enabled iPad I thought – someone is going to use that thing for a phone. I think we’re reaching that convergence.
  • Another brilliant idea on convergence – the cell phone paradigm has been one device per phone number/SIM. With the increasing digitalization of the cell phone world, it would seem that the next step would be the ability to have a secondary phone. Maybe a simple feature phone that can share the number when all you need is – a phone.
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Post Like No One’s Reading

I’ve had two or three problems with social media over the years:

  • a feeling that it comes across as narcissistic (yes this is a recurring theme of mine, which caused me to dismiss Twitter once upon a time)
  • I was just too busy
  • I was too self- editing – too concerned that someone might pick up on something I wrote and be offended by it

I’ll probably never get over that last one entirely, but there has been, as they say at, a change in circumstance.

Not long after I started this blog, I sold the business I was part-owner of and went to work for another company, and always had the feeling that I had a boss (or two) who tended to look at everything I did in public as a possible negative reflection on their company. Which it can be, in fairness, but the long soulful conversations about what I did in the community always seemed to dwell on the possible negative aspects adobe photoshop cs6 for mac.

Even worse, I was a member of a local church which focused on the negative. When my family and I decided to leave, I felt I should give them a reason (this was a mistake, by the way), and that was the reason I gave – that they were focused on the negative and not on “the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23).

My wife still gets their church bulletin by email, and she tells me the minister has doubled down on articles about “the need for negative preaching.”

So that’s been a weight lifted – leaving those two particular situations. I’ll never be one of those who let it fly and run roughshod over people’s privacy, especially my own, but in looking at my blog’s traffic, I’ve decided that there’s no real need to be concerned that I’m going to offend anyone.

So that’s a little of my thinking about “why not do it?” – my next post will be “why do it?”

My Best Mistake: Taking Someone’s Word on Taking a Job

In the spirit of this series on LinkedIn, I offer you a tale of a five month hiatus from the family business I worked in when I was younger.

For years, a marketing professor who had acted as sort of a mentor to me when I was in school had been encouraging me to apply at a business in the telecom industry where he’d done some consulting work. He told me:

  • the owner had a very hands-on management style (that certainly proved to be true).
  • they valued individuality.
  • they were looking for people who could produce long-term results.

The job was to work on the telephone and e-mail about three weeks per month, and travel all over the country at least one week – increasing volume at existing customers and prospecting for new ones. After an extensive series of interviews, including one with the owner himself, I was hired. The rigorousness of the hiring process, along with the persona recommendation of a friend, made me feel that the job would definitely be a good fit. Read more

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The E-Mail Scam That’s Alive and Well

I hate to admit it, but after ten years in e-commerce I very nearly fell for a message similar to this a few months ago. It’s a slightly slicker variation on the various e-mail schemes that are out there, mainly distinguished by asking for something specific that the company I work for sells (custom imprinted USB drives):

—–Original Message—–
From: [Bogus Company] [mailto:[deleted]@]
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 1:42 PM
To: Gary Smith
Subject: Swivel USB Drives


Dear Sir/Madam


  We wanted to place an order for 1000 Pcs each 4 GB and 8 GB Swivel style USB Drives One color/One location Imprint through your store or suppliers. Please let us know if you can get any of these items including the lead time and your payment methods.


We look forward to read from you soon


Best Regards


(phone #)

Read more

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Pay-to-play – make the bad reviews go away

I’m a poet and don’t know it; the faster I try to write something the more likely it is to have an internal rhyme in it. Or maybe I’m a rapper in another life.

Anyway, Crystal King just mentioned an article in a tweet about how Yelp may be extorting customers with threats about bad reviews. I’ve got my own story to tell about the BBB, based on personal experience. Read more

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Tony Rubleski yesterday

Tony Rubleski spoke to about 20-30 people yesterday at the Prattville Chamber. I get to hear a number of gurus, and I was impressed with his approach. He compared himself to Forrest Gump a number of times (and no, he’s not a southerner; he’s from Michigan.).

My big takeaway from it is I’m still not doing enough in the business with lumpy direct-mail and leave-behinds at offices.

I ordered his book and CD set, so I hope to be even more enlightened soon!

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Tony Rubleski at Prattville Chamber today

The Prattville Chamber is sponsoring a seminar by Tony Rubleski  TODAY, and there are seats available, last I heard. What’s funny is he is able to do this seminar (at this price) because he’s already in town doing a (much more expensive) seminar for another group, and THAT seminar is sold out. Granted, this is going to be a shorter session, but it’s not often you get to see (and given the size of this venue, probably talk to if you like) a nationally recognized marketing guru for $35.

The chamber’s number is at the bottom; they’re open at 8 a.m. this morning. Call them if you want to go. 

“Capturing the Mind of your Customer:  How to Win More Business in a Challenging Economy”

Speaker:  Tony Rubleski

Thursday, February 12th

1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

at the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce

131 North Court Street, Prattville

Cost:  $20 for Chamber Members; $35 for Non-members

For more information, please contact us at 334-365-7392.

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Does one ever get work unless the deck is stacked?

So the Brains on Fire Blog has a post about how they don’t respond to RFPs as an agency (with the exception of “unless we have the inside track or we write them” (which is really no exception at all). Good for them, and I mostly agree. At our company, we do some times respond to their idiot cousin RFQ, but only as a “one-night-stand” proposition, and only when the customer (yeah, in this case, they’re customers, not clients) has given us pretty close product specs and they have their logo absolutely ready. We have about a 10% success rate on those types of commodity quote situations. It’s like picking change up in the road. You feel silly doing it; you feel silly not doing it. Read more

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Travel blog update

What can trying to cash in on travel coupons teach us about perishable commodities?

Not much if you’re depending on night auditor types, I suppose.

I just drove over to Tuscaloosa. For the benefit of my out-of-state fans, the trip from the Montgomery area to Tuscaloosa is single-handedly responsible for the preponderance of Auburn fans in the area. You’ll find most of the Alabama fans in Montgomery are too poor to attend games, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not a bad drive, it’s just that you can’t get there from here. Read more

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