Power of Awesome

I've been a fan of the primal diet and Mark Sisson's blog, Mark's Daily Apple, because it is not only incredibly interesting, but I also find it very motivating. 

I recently received an email from Mark giving an update on the status of my pre-order for his new cookbook, The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.  While I was extremely happy to see him reaching out to his loyal readers/customers (as all good companies do!), I was really surprised to see how he concluded the email:

"Have a day so awesome, other days weep with jealousy." 

Woh….   I was speechless.  This one sentence sent such inspirational shivers through my spine that it is my new life motto!

This one sentence is not only a unique way to conclude an email, but it also builds the relationship in a way that is unexpected… through inspirational good wishes!

Go Mark!

How Smartphones Have Personalities

Today, I stopped by my local Verizon Wireless store to check out the Motorola Droid.  I will tell you that it looks better on paper and in pictures than it does in real life. 

I then looked at the Blackberry Storm2 for comparison.  While it looks really cool, it sings to a different tune that many people may not like.

Then I realized that the three major Smartphone players really have personalities all their own.  Here they are in no particular order:

Droid – A 1980's Apple user that just can't let go of classic boxy styling and clunky interfaces.

When you pick it up and look at it looks pretty cool.  The square edges are a little different, but cool.  The plastic is matte finish and looks cheap. Then you slide the keyboard (with actual keys) down and see phillips head screws holding everything together.  After clicking, sliding and keying you are left with the impression that this thing is stuck in the 1980's.  Boxy, clunky and keys are so 1980's.

Storm2 – Like an Bon Jovi impersonator that really likes to sing the Opera.  One genre trying to look like another.

Made by Blackberry.  Looks like an iPhone. The Blackberry OS is very sophisticated and admired by corporate professionals that I will say stereotypically enjoy the Opera. I might be dating myself here, but the iPhone likes to let loose a bit to the tune of something like Bon Jovi.  Add in the strange touch screen technology and it just doesn't come together as a seemless package.  It just feels like Bon Jovi is singing Opera.

iPhone – The king of the hill whose personality does it all well. It is not perfect, but well enough that no one comes close to shaking the throne.

The iPhone has been around for a few years and is growing in popularity.  It does everything well enough that no one else can come close to it in execution.

This was a rather unexpected pattern that I came across.  The concept of each phone having its own personality is nothing new.  Manufacturer's design their products around buyer personas all the time. 

However, I really can't help but wonder what Verizon and Motorola were thinking when they designed a 1980's clunky PDA and threw a clunky OS it it.  I am sure it will appeal to those that wouldn't mind being caught driving a Volvo 240… after all it is about features and functionality more than coolness and refinement.

Is there a Droid in your future?  What do you all think? 

Immersion, The Good, Bad and the Ugly!

Immersion is the concept of surrounding yourself with a given subject to concentrate on learning it.  But, do you really know what you are getting yourself into?

The GOOD
The good is that immersion is a very efficient way of learning something.  You can jam pack a lot of information in a very narrow window of time.  Picking up the basics of a new language or skill is possible over a long weekend.  

The BAD
Immersion usually occurs for a limited time.  From a day to a few weeks, immersion is not something that you want to do for long.  The learner risks burn-out as the human body needs to time break old habits and adjust to the new knowledge. 

The UGLY
Immersion can overwhelm the learner.  In such a short time, a lot of information gets thrown at you. While it is important to absorb as much information as possible, sometimes grasping the larger picture and concepts is all you can do.  

 My weekend at the Total Immersion swim clinic was definitely, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But, I would do it again in a heart beat!  
1) It was good because I made huge improvements with my swim stroke.  
2) It was bad because it was so short and I wish I had a little more than two days to grab all the information and absorb more detail.  
3) It was ugly, by the end of the second day, my brain was so overwhelmed with information that it was almost exploded.  

Have you ever tried immersion and experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly? 

If You Say It, Mean It

If you offer a service to a customer, make sure you going to follow through and that you really meant it.

There is nothing more annoying as a customer to end up with a broken promise.  Such situations do not build trust, branding, relationships, etc.

Leaving your customers high and dry is the ultimate evil in the business world. 

And I don’t mean offering a service and then giving some half assed attempt at following through.  Offering training and then offering yet another sales pitch is horrible.  Offering someone a white paper and then giving them a simplistic newsletter disguised as a white paper just doesn’t inspire the customer to come back.

If you say it, mean it and follow through!  It is that simple!

Being Genius

Being genuis is not hard.

Being genius takes patience.

Being genius does not make you better than anyone.

Being genius requires you to listen, and listen well.

Being genius needs great communication.

Being genius is not what you are, but what you do.

Being genius means you do it just a little bit differently.

Being genius can be you!

Those Simple Gifts

A gift does not have to be big nor expensive and it must be given without any expectation of something given back in return.

Receiving a gift from someone, be it advice, an unexpected phone call, or even a small quarter can be powerful tool. It triggers those warm fuzzy feelings that makes us feel great. It makes us feel like we are valued and respected.

Gifts should be a regular part of any customer experience. Whether you give the gift of top notch customer service, free products, or incredible ease of use, gifts can separate you from the competition.

Why Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Will Succeed!

Starbucks is certainly a company that knows how to sell coffee.  Heck, it was Starbucks that helped save us from the percolated Folger’s of yester-year.  They even saved us from those coffee crystals that our grandparents swore by for years.

That is why many people are having a hard time with Starbucks’ new VIA Ready Brew instant coffee.  How dare the king of coffee take us back to the product that they saved us from.   However, this isn’t your grandparents’ coffee crystals.

Sure I was skeptical, but I ordered a pack of each flavor, Columbia and Italian Roast, from starbucksstore.com to get an early taste here in California.  As I tore open the stylish package and dumped it in the cup, I realized that there was something different about it.  It looked absolutely nothing like the instant coffee that is currently on the market… it looked like coffee.  Imagine that!

Adding the water and stirring it up produced a cup of coffee not that far from fresh brewed and without the wait.  Fresh brewed coffee, when done right, takes upwards of ten minutes to prepare (grind, heat water, pour, seep, taste, etc), but you can get something close in minutes with VIA.

So, why do I think VIA Ready Brew will succeed? Here are the major points:

1) It is a refreshing 21st century take on the old instant coffee of yester-year.

2) VIA looks nothing like what is on the market: from the awesome slender pocket friendly packaging to the real coffee look of the product.

3) VIA comes with the wonderful Starbucks buying experience that we love of their retail stores.  Baristas with smiles simply can’t compete with the grocery store clerk when you buy Folger’s.

4) The product has many uses: sprinkle it on ice cream, add it to a vinegrette or your favorite brownies to please any coffee lover

5) It is great to take with you.  The ultra-portable and stylish packaging fits in your pocket/purse and all you need is a cup and some hot water.  That stale workplace coffee will be getting even more stale with VIA Ready Brew in your cup!

While I was skeptical of VIA in the beginning, after spending one week with these little packets of awesome coffee goodness, I really think Starbucks have shaken up the instant coffee market by bringing us a pleasantly refreshed version of my grandparents hideous crystals.

What do you know… Starbucks has still saved us from instant coffee nightmares!