Month: January 2009

Your opinions needed

I realize that yesterday’s post ended somewhat abruptly – my apologies. It’s a great example of my current difficulty with time management. Meaning, trying to knock out a post during my lunch break sometimes just doesn’t seem to cut it. I’ll get to work on part two tonight or tomorrow, but for now I ask that you allow me to digress for a moment.

One of the tools available with this blogging application is the ability to see what, if any, links people have clicked in a given post. It doesn’t show who clicked them or when, so privacy isn’t an issue, but it is a nice way to gauge whether or not my audience is interacting with other sites or recommendations. And according to the reporting, my readers aren’t clicking on much.

Which is a bit of a bummer.

Certainly the act of writing this blog is something I do for me – have fun, stretch and reach with my writing, and so on – but it’s also very much for people like you who take time from your day to visit and read. I’m fully aware time is precious and I’m grateful you’re here, is what I’m saying.

So I ask you this: if the links I’ve provided, or the posts they’re in, aren’t stirring your interest to find out more about the subject what can I do to make this blog better for you? Are you looking for different content? Other topics? Alternate formats?

Seriously, let me know. I’m open to any and all suggestions you might have, so comment at will. Until then, thanks for dropping by…

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House, smokin’ kitties, and a long-awaited film

hugh-laurie-new-movieI confess – I’m a House fan. Weird when you consider I have to avert my eyes each time one of those long silver needles stabs into a patient’s back for yet another lumbar puncture (which seems to happen every friggin’ show) because I’m kind of a girl that way. It makes my stomach clench just thinking about it.

At any rate, one of the show’s writers/producers, Doris Egan, just knocks my socks off. I first stumbled onto her work while getting up to speed on the writer’s strike last year. Everyone seemed to have something to say about it, one way or another, but it wasn’t until I followed a link, then another, and finally another, that Egan’s blog appeared in my window and I started to really wrap my mind around what was going on.

I know the strike is over (although the issues clearly aren’t) but if the topic is at all interesting to you take a few minutes and read her post about it here. It’s not short, but I promise you’ll come away thinking.

Months later, and well into the presidential campaign, she wrote about audience participation and the political process. Don’t worry – it’s not a political post – but rather offers some really interesting questions and observations through the lens of television production. You can find that post here.

That covers House. Smokin’ kitties and a long-awaited film to follow…

I miss Circuit City already

Or, better marriages through marketing.

If you’ve never listened to This American Life before you might want to check it out. It’s a weekly radio show based out of Chicago (very cool city, very cool bar) that I listen to via Podcast and absolutely adore. In essence, each week’s show is based around a theme (from the economy to building a better mousetrap) with three or four stories or interviews that connect to that central idea. For example, the mousetrap theme dealt with how people use or have been impacted by innovation. At any rate, since each story, or act, is somewhere around twenty minutes it works out just about perfectly for the drive home.

An episode a few weeks ago dealt with the theme of matchmaking. The story I referenced in the subtitle was about a guy in a marketing department who, along with the rest of his team, was tasked with an unusual project: marketing themselves to someone important in their lives. No kidding. They were to treat themselves as a product and find out what made their customers tick. This guy chose his wife as the customer and spent quite a bit of time figuring out what she liked, disliked, expected, etc, from the product.

I’ll forgo the details in case you want to listen to the show, but her answers were surprising. Little things that didn’t seem like much to him meant quite a bit more to her. Indicators, you might say. But the point is this: because he took the time to ask relevant questions, and he genuinely cared about the responses, he was able to take that information and become a better husband.

Best Buy should take a lesson from this kind of thinking.

I won’t go into a rant, but there are countless sites out there (here, here, and – wow – here to name a ridiculously small few) with accounts from people who have received genuinely friggin’ awful treatment from this company. And while my story isn’t on one of those sites, or really even unique for that matter, suffice it to say I’ve spent the last four months dealing with customer service so bad it, to quote a great actor in a so-so movie, “makes my ass twitch.”

So I have to wonder, given Best Buy was really, really bad before, just what are things going to be like now that their primary competitor has gone out of business? Clearly, looking out for the customer hasn’t been a priority for the organization, but until a few weeks ago there was always the danger of losing them to Circuit City if they botched it too badly. Now, given the situation, I’m guessing we’re not just going to see bad service – we’re going to get a nice big slice of apathy, as well.

But a better question to wrap things up – what would you do differently if you thought of yourself as the product and your spouse/lover/partner as the customer? How could you make you a great customer experience?

Somebody slap me, please

focus1

I just can’t focus.

I could say it’s a weird day and that would be true. But I could just as easily say it’s been a weird week, month, or series of months, or moments times moments. And that would be true, too.

Given the economy, the layoffs, and the uncertain tomorrows, weirdness at work isn’t all that surprising. And, given my wife and I have another daughter that’s fast-approaching, weirdness at home is actually pretty much expected. But that’s not it.

It’s as if I keep drifting.

Do you know what I mean? When you have to stop, shake your head a bit, then reread the same paragraph, again and again? And if it were just the one paragraph, or the one document, or even the one subject, I could accept that this is just a great example of one of those things I just have trouble wrapping my head around. Chalk it up and move on.

But that’s only a metaphor. What if those paragraphs aren’t letters on the page, but hours of your time? What if that document is actually an entire day?

What do you do then?

Ice Cube was right – today was a good day

It was an odd morning. Thanks to a 21mg nicotine patch worn around the clock sleep has been, well, interesting. More than two weeks of active dreams, fitful sleep, and lots of staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the night have left me feeling more than a little washed-out and punchy.

But the dreams have been cool, too. Last nights’ starred my old boss (now happily chugging away at a new gig) who gave me my end of year review using riddles and a rather odd mind-map. Knowing the man, I’m certain that if it was actually his company that kind of review wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.

He then invited me to watch then President-elect Obama’s inaugural ceremony and we stepped out of an office into a basketball gym and then into a pretty day. Not sure what that last bit was about – I can’t dribble to save my life – but I woke up singing/whispering, “Yes. We. Can.”

I was pretty excited about today, is what I’m saying.

Throughout my shower, lacing up my shoes, and over and around spoonfuls of cereal, I was humming along with that lovely tune in my head. In fact, I was singing along…And a King that led us to a mountaintop… right up to the point I was rear-ended on the way to work.

So now I have a dented car, a throbbing headache (coupled with the thinness from little sleep and it feels a little like Codine to me, and I enjoy Codine about as much as I do mucking out a latrine in the desert) but I’m still smiling. Wide and happy, I’m still smiling, and haven’t really stopped since I arrived this morning.

I’m glad you’re here, Mr. President.