Archive for the “Just Interesting…” Category
Had the pleasure of talking with long-time client this past week. Seems that his web site has suddenly ‘taken off’ – he is getting tons of enquiries – nice to hear. Considering that we have not made any changes to his site in 2 years, I find that just amazing. I tend to think that season and services offered might have something to do with this. But – every week I receive e-mails telling me that I need new (and expensive) SEO procedures for all my client web sites – yet almost everyone of them is doing quite well in rankings. IN fact, I recently read where an ‘SEO expert’ said not to discuss SEO with web designers as they are not up to date with what is going on… really… my clients don’t seem to agree with that statement
… making people looking for work ‘pay’ on-line to apply for a job. Yup…. a company can now put their job ads for ‘free’, but someone out of work and actively looking for a job (go figure>>) must pay a monthly fee to be able to just apply for a job. I was going to list the name of the web site here to ‘warn’ people but decided not to because I would be just doing some ‘free’ advertising for a web site demanding unemployed people ‘pay’ to apply for a job they may desperately need. This is just wrong on too many levels to write about here. So rather than adding the name of the web site, I thought I might simply add the name of some of the companies using that site but they do not list any names of any companies unless you pay. So jobs are listed but you can’t find out any info, including company, unless you pay a monthly fee…. Right now it might be best if I stop writing before I say what I am really thinking….
Just had to reprint this from Harvard Business Review blog. This is too funny but very true. And I was just wondering if concentrating on doing more training might be the way to go with my business… ya think?
I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore
10:57 AM Monday December 5, 2011 | Comments (396)
I’d say that in about half of my business conversations, I have almost no idea what other people are saying to me. The language of internet business models has made the problem even worse. When I was younger, if I didn’t understand what people were saying, I thought I was stupid. Now I realize that if it’s to people’s benefit that I understand them but I don’t, then they’re the ones who are stupid.
There are at least five strains of this epidemic.
We have forgotten how to use the real names of real things. Like doorknobs. Instead, people talk about the idea of doorknobs, without actually using the word “doorknob.” So a new idea for a doorknob becomes “an innovation in residential access.” Expose yourself repeatedly to the extrapolation of this practice to things more complicated than a doorknob and you really just need to carry Excedrin around with you all day.
This is a disease of epic proportions in the world of charity. I was at a meeting just two days ago at which several well-meaning staff members of a charity were presenting to their board, and the meat of their discussion revolved around the acronyms SCEA and some other one that began with “R” that I can’t recall. In the span of three minutes these acronyms must have been used eight times each. They were central to any understanding of the topic at hand, but they were never defined. So I had not the vaguest idea what the presenters were talking about. None. Could have been talking about how to make a beurre-blanc sauce for all I know.
Valley Girl 2.0
My partner and I were at a restaurant in the San Fernando Valley five years ago, and a real-live Valley girl was sitting in the booth behind us talking on her cell phone. We couldn’t stop listening to her. She had a world-class ability to string together half-sentences devoid of any substance whatsoever. And yet you felt as if something important were being discussed! “And she was like, ummm, and I was just like, you know, umm, no way, really, like, yeah, and when she was like that, I was just like..umm….” She could go on in this way for extended periods of time without mentioning any actual people, actions, or thoughts. There’s a business version of this illness. It involves the use of words such as “space,” “around,” “synergy,” and “value-add” with a healthy dose of equivocators like “sort of” and “kind of” to ensure that there is no commitment to anything being said: “I’m in the sort of sustainability space around kind of bringing synergistic value-add to other people’s work around this kind of space.” Oh, OK, that explains it.
I wrote about the phrase ”thinking outside the box” recently and how overused and utterly misunderstood the expression is. There are many more. Another term that has lost its meaning is “Let’s exceed the customer’s expectations.” Employees who hear it just leave the pep rally, inhabit some kind of temporary dazed intensity, and then go back to doing things exactly the way they did before the speech. Customers almost universally never experience their expectations being met, much less exceeded. How can you exceed the customer’s expectations if you have no idea what those expectations are? I was at a Hilton a few weeks ago. They had taken this absurdity to its logical end. There was a huge sign in the lobby that said, “Our goal is to exceed the customer’s expectation.” The best way to start would be to take down that bullshit sign that just reminds me, as a customer, how cosmic the gap is between what businesses say and what they do. My expectation is not to have signs around that tell me you want to exceed my expectations.
Abstract Valley Girl 2.0 Acronymitis Using Meaningless Expressions
This is when you combine the four diseases above. So you get phrases like, “You should meet this guy with the SIO. He’s sort of this kind of social entrepreneur thinking outside of the box in the sustainability space and working on these ideas around sort of web-based social media, and he’s in a round two capital raise in the VP space with the people at SVNP.” How many times have you heard what you now recall to be precisely this sentence?
This would all be funny if it weren’t true. People just don’t make sense anymore. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you internalize this. Observe it, deconstruct it, and appreciate just how ridiculous most business conversation has become.
You will gain tremendous credibility, become much more productive, make those around you much more productive, and experience a great deal more joy in your working life if you look someone in the eye after hearing one of these verbal brain jammers and tell the person, “I don’t have any idea what you just said to me.”
Today was ‘oil change’ day and so away I went to my new ‘favourite’ mechanic. My appointment was around 9 am and I planned to wait for it to be done. I thought that it would be nice to relax and read a magazine for a change while enjoying a cup of coffee. Luckily, two doors down from my mechanic was a Starbucks so I decided to give it a try. First I should explain that I rarely go to coffee shops and if I do, it is generally when I am travelling and Tim Horton’s seems to handle all my needs at a reasonable price and no complaints – Starbucks is foreign territory for me. But off I went to experience the local Starbucks and what it had to offer.
The store was small, but nice and bright; table and chairs inside and even one or two outside. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so thought I would check out the menu. A small plain coffee started at about $1.75+ – some specialty coffees $4.15+tax. Now… I do like coffee……but please … if you had a couple of cups, you would be paying close to $10.00 – in fact… I paid $4.99 for a large can of coffee at the grocery store this afternoon which could make a few dozen cups! The fact that people think it is ‘normal’ to pay over $3.00 for a cup of coffee and have several such cups each and every day is rather ‘telling’.
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I have used PayPal for years and always recommend to my clients. What I just learned is that PayPal does not like it when you buy or pay for something using their service and do not get what you paid for. This, of course, would include buying something and never receiving – but it even includes a service or membership on-line. I am sooo impressed… I just had to tell my story.
I will, however, change the name of the company/web site involved – lets just call the web membership site ‘got-cha’ . Here is what happened.
I attended a ‘got-cha’ meeting here in Toronto and was told that I needed to join on-line to continue attending. Amount totaled $97.00 for a one year membership. After some heavy thinking, I made the decision to join and paid for my membership using my PayPal account. Three weeks later at the ‘got-cha’ meeting here in Toronto, I was told that the membership for ‘got-cha’ was now ‘free’. Because I create web sites, I do know that to change a web site with on-line memberships, etc., takes planning and not done over night. In other words, when they took my money, they knew a membership was about to become ‘free’.
At no time was I contacted by ‘got’cha’ with an explanation or an offer to refund all or part of the $97. In fact, when the head ‘got-cha’ person here in Toronto inquired on my behalf, they responded stating that they could do whatever they wanted as to charging or free, they would not refund any money because part of the money had been distributed and I had received what I had paid for…. really!!!
I had heard about PayPal and their handling such disputes and decided to check it out. Lets face it, I know that I would be horrified if someone reported me to PayPal for not providing a service or product that I promised. This is the internet…… not a good place to do unethical business. So I put in a complaint to PayPal copying ‘verbatim’ the response from ‘got-cha’. Please note – you have a specific number of days to put in a complaint. Then after a couple of weeks, PayPal enquired as to whether or not the matter had been resolved and if not,whether I wished to escalate to PayPal. Once escalated, PayPal would make ‘final decision’ in the matter. I decided to hand over to PayPal.
To be honest, I really didn’t think anything would come of it – after all – I’m an ‘individual’ and ‘got-cha’ is bigger and well known. HOWEVER – WOULD YOU BELIEVE…. I received an e-mail last night from PayPal AND here is what they wrote : ”We have concluded our investigation into your case and have decided in your favor.” I still can’t believe it – My money is being returned to my account. How cool is that????
So… who do you think I will highly recommend as a service to sell/buy on-line from now on? Yup… only PayPal.
As most of my friends and clients know, I have been looking for ‘permanent, full-time’ employment for quite some time. One of the the things I have noticed regarding ‘qualifications’ for a Web Manager is that large corporations want their new web designer/producer to only have experience in the ‘corporate’ world. In other words, it does not seem to be important that the Web Manager have knowledge of ‘who’ will be visiting the web site, just that he/she have corporate experience. Now…. if your web site is ONLY for corporate personnel, I can definitely see the benefit of having a Web Designer who has specialized in the corporate office, BUT if you have site visitors and clients from many walks of life, it might be beneficial to have a Web Manager who could relate to them – not just corporate. However, for some reason, I was told by an employment agency that IF you are not ‘in’ the corporate world, your skills as a Web Manager with a varied background and knowledge, superb client relations, and intuitive marketing skills are of no value…… I kid you not …..
Saturday, July 2, (yesterday) I ventured into Bancroft, Ontario, for lunch and to do a little shopping. It is now the summer season and the town was crowded with tourists and of course, cottagers picking up last minute items for their Saturday night at the lake – lots and lots of traffic.
Although I know the Americans are always joking about how polite Canadians are and to be quite honest, I have always found both Canadians and Americans to be equally polite – however, yesterday was indeed an eye-opener. At first I wasn’t quite sure what was going on and then I noticed all kinds of ‘civility’ by drivers in cars, trucks…. you name it. And at least 4 times I was allowed to either turn left, right… whatever… by a ‘polite’ driver. At that point I realized why comedians had so much fun with jokes about ‘polite Canadians’ – that much politeness was unexpected. BUT if I was surprised, I can only imagine the utter amazement of visitors from cities known for rudeness and how they would react!!! After a chuckle or two I decided that it was quite alright to be polite and I very much like the fact that I witnessed such good manners…. very classy.
The next time I hear a joke about Canadian ‘politeness’, I will most definitely laugh but I will also remember how that courtesy made my shopping trip so much easier and enjoyable….
For the past several years I have made an effort to drop by the Bancroft Home Show. Generally it is hot and not the best experience but I go to ‘drum’ up business if possible. This year I had two clients exhibiting and decided to show my support by attending on Saturday. When I arrived, one of my clients in log home restoration was missing his staff - they were on a project and so I decided to help out. Been a while since I did a trade show – it was actually very enjoyable.
The event is now managed by Linda and Art Work. Apart from the quality and varied exhibitors this year, every so often a young lady would walk by and hand us a new bottle of cold water – how nice! And needed… a very good idea.
Near the end of the day, 3 tickets were handed to each exhibitor with an invitation join everyone in the beer tent for food and refreshments. It was lovely – and the food was absolutely wonderful and plentiful. From the comments heard around the table, many of the exhibitors had done shows in other cities (including Toronto) and no other show treated them as well as the group in Bancroft. It seems it is very rare that exhibitors receive anything but an invoice. So Bancroft – I thought you should know – you did good….
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Today I found a wonderful position listed with a department of the Canadian Federal Government. It read as if it were made for me. I was totally qualified – had all the skills, even the ‘nice to haves’ - perfect! And then I noticed the ‘bilingual imperative’ letters. I immediately clicked through to the page that described what those letters meant. Well….. my dream job ended before it could begin. In order to be considered for that good well-paid job, I would need to be able to write, read and speak both French and English. Here is what I found on-line about language in Canada:
According to the census 2006 – 67.1% and 21.5% of Canadians, respectively. English and French.
In 2006, just under 20.6 million Canadians, representing 66% of the population, spoke English at home. English is the major language everywhere in Canada except Quebec, and most Canadians (85%) can speak English. In Quebec, English is the preferred language of only 10.5% of the population, but 46% of Quebeckers can speak English. Only 3.6% of Canada’s English-speaking population resides in Quebec—mostly in Montreal. 89% of Anglophones in Canada cannot speak French
Unfortunately, I am one of the majority. Yup…. 89%!!!! It occurred to me today that Canada must be one of the few countries on earth where a person in the majority cannot work for their own government. But what amazes me even more – no one seems to strongly object to this. Why am I writing this? Because I really wanted that job!
I usually try to include information or news relative to either work or looking for work, but this shocked me. And, of course, I try to stay clear of politics… but….I have a feeling that this is not good for what I do or what I would like to do…. it would be nice to be wrong this time.
- Dalton McGuinty
- Here is what our Premier has done for Ontario in the past seven years.
- Remember…..he had a no tax increase election message/campaign.
- He has increased all the licensing fees from your car to your boat including fishing and hunting.
- He introduced the health care premium (not called a tax) and some couples pay as much as $1,500.00 a year. He doubled the price of most lottery tickets. (Not called a tax).
- He has put an ECO tax on many containers such as paint cans and window washer fluid and most people still don’t realize it until they see the bill – he kept that one real quiet.
- He put a disposal tax on all electronics.
- He put the disposal tax back on tires.
- And now he has passed the HST tax – the largest tax on the province ever and the only other tax in Ontario that ever came close to this in the past was the health care premium. He passed this bill even though 76% of the people in Ontario were against it.
- This HST will provide the Province with an additional THREE BILLION dollars a year.
- Soon we will all have our S.M.A.R.T. meters that we will have to pay rent on and will end up doing our laundry in the middle of the night. We are also going to pay big time for air conditioning from now on because when we need it the most it will be in the prime time of usage.
- Let us not forget the E-health scandal with 1.2 billion dollars wasted and paid out to friends and relatives. What was Mr. McGuinty’s answer to this? Well, if the people of Ontario don’t like it, they can show it in the next election. Nice attitude. This after he fired the CEO and then gave her a severance package of $300,000 – not bad for only being on the job for seven months.
- And what about the SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS windmill power plant contract that he awarded to KOREA? One would think there was some place in Canada or North America that could have built these.
- He also closed the emergency rooms in Port Colbourne and Fort Erie because there is not enough money. There has been two deaths since then because by the time they got to St. Catharine’s it was too late.
- But he then awards a hospital in Toronto three million dollars – of course, that was in the riding where there just happens to be a by-election to replace George Smitherman!
- He has taken the richest most prosperous province in Canada down to one of the poorest and has created a deficit of TWENTY SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS and he still has a year and a half to go.
- And don’t forget his nice little salary increase of $40,000.00 a year – millions of people in the province don’t earn even half of that.
- Have we forgotten all the MPP’S who also got a 14% increase? And now that they’ve had their increases he comes out with a new budget to freeze all provincial employees wages for two years – a bit late don’t you think.
- He increased the hydro tax by 10% in April of 2010.
- He has increased the tax on liquor and wine by 10% in May of 2010.
- But, Mr. McGuinty will retire with his nice comfortable pension and all his benefits paid.
- I hope this gets passed around the province of Ontario and everybody remembers the way we got screwed by Mr. McGuinty and the Liberal party and – remember – not one Liberal MPP had enough guts to vote against any of the above.