Much like the "health o meter" I'm pretty low these days.Repainting our office at home has zapped up most of my personal free time. Some new (and great) responsibilities at work have taken out additional chunks of my time. A have always been best at working out regularly when I had a "something" to drive me. During the summertime it is softball, which may be lame but it gets the job done. THANKFULLY something appears to have come my way. An old friend from high school may need me to fill in on his Baltimore Marathon 4-man relay team. I am totally unprepared to race, let alone run my 6 miles at a fast clip. But it gives me a reason to get out there on a daily basis. And with only 3 weeks till the race, I'll need each day for sure. Rain may keep me from running twice today, but I got in a hellacious 3 miles earlier. It featured the nastiest set of hills on a half mile stretch I've ever run. And no, I wasn't being all gung ho, this was the only half mile available to me given our weekend mountain retreat. Let's see where I am on the "health o meter" in 3 weeks. What gets you motivated and committed to work out??
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Penny candy for $1.99?
Monday, September 21, 2009
Customer service is an interesting term, and it ellicits a lot of strong responses in people.
But what do we call the opposite? Vendor service? Seller service?
Whatever you term it, it is when the seller asks the customer for help. There is no middle ground in this, it either creates a tighter bond between the two ("Help me help you!") or it is infuriating and bothersome to the nth degree.
I'm dealing with the later. I won't name names this time, as last time I tweeted about a complaint it got VP attention at the company and a lot of people got a lot of grief (though it took that tweet to get real customer service sadly).
But if you sell me something, come and install it, and then YOU leave YOUR STUFF with me, don't ask me to bend over backwards to get you your stuff. When you call and say you want to get it back, don't have an attitude. Don't demand that you can come get it today, right now. And then don't give me the "tiniest violin in the world" story about how if it isn't today then it'll have to be in a week, but you really really need it today.
You just took a sale and turned it into a chore. I'm no longer delighted. I'm frustrated. I'm no longer pleased with the great installation you all did, I'm now spending an extra 2 or 3 hours coordinating you coming back to get your stuf.
Reverse customer service, that might be the right term. It's a fail.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I love Google Calendar, it helps me keep my life organized. At times I have had multiple calendars:
- my personal calendar for appointments and reminders, I share this with my wife
- my work calendar for appointments and due dates of deliverables, I share this with my co-workers
- a calendar for family and friends' birthdays
- a list of household chores and when to do them
- all my MBA deadlines and classes
But Google has partially fixed this problem, adding in Sports calendars back to the mix! These are seemingly Google maintained, and I think the removal of the prior shared schedules
I was actually impressed with the wide range of sports and teams. They have the might Bucknell Bison under both football and basketball, I find that to be impressive.
I also use Google Sync to keep my Blackberry up to date with my online schedule and my contacts.
But Google Sync won't gobble up the sports schedules and add them in to my calendar on my Blackberry. There is a Help item listed for this (the one I found, there may be more), but it doesn't actually address the Sync issue.
Anyone know how to make this happen? Should I just resort to copying the entries to my own calendar, or calendar I can hide online but that will show up in Blackberry via Sync?
Not when the original message in the thread was sent or received. If I sent a message to you on June 15th of 2009, but you sent me an email yesterday that I have dutifully archived with a label, then when I go into that label space I have to remember that I sent the email back in June.
For me, it's easier to go into a label, instead of hoping that search terms I may use will bring up that important message.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Am I safe to just use the http connection? Should I just deal with the minor inconvenience?
But we don't know enough to be sure when the wines are in peak or if they need to age. It'd love a good site where I can log our collection and have it notify me when the wines are reaching peak etc.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Here are the uses I have thought of to use a blog to connect with your clients.
- Daily or weekly status, for the client and project team - Helps keep everyone aware of what is going on, and they can learn as much or as little as they want. Added bonus of not blasting emails to people's inbox
- Posting deliverables, including a description of why they were made, how they can be used, who they are for - Increases awareness of what you as a consultant are producing, with emphasis on the value of those deliverables. After all, we know customers only derive value from you when you physically produce a product.
- Posting insights or research - You can do this as added value to the client, something you are providing for free. It might be pre-packaged insights from elsewhere in the consulting firm, but by providing it to them on the blog just for them, it is easier for them to see items of relevance. This contributes to increasing your positioning as a "thought leader" (a horrific term)
- Explain the purpose of various tasks/sub-projects - Helps the client understand better what they are paying for, why you are doing it, and what value they will derive from this work. This should help ensure there are no surprises. That those impacted by the work are more likely to be aware of it, etc.
- Explain various methodology being used - Many clients (most in my experience) don't want to know how the sausage is made. Methodology is a waste of time to them. Unless they are engineers, then they want to know how you did your work, and will explain to you a more optimal way to have done it ;-)
- Explain upcoming milestones - This reaffirms that you have a schedule, you are managing to it
- Explain results of work being performed or accomplished - The ultimate reason you are there, results. Don't just focus on the big picture items, let them know about the smaller day to day things as they have value too.
I know I can do so with my Blogger account (check the top right of my page of course). I am hopeful I can for my Wordpress blog, but will it get me better results and/or stats than Lijit? And my guess is that I can't with my Posterous blog because of their desire to keep that service so simple.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
China continues to acquire materials at increasing rates, accounting for 45% of world consumption in 2007. The rate of consumption grew 8.5% from 2006 to 2007. This type of competitive resource acquisition is expected to increase in additional sectors. By 2018, it is estimated that 80% of the world’s construction will take place in China and India.
Comments to the customer:
Prices for materials will increase in the long-term due to resource competition. This is a risk for both prices and procurement of US based construction materials. Recycling construction waste helps reduce costs as well eases the burden of materials acquisition.