I have gotten most of my Christmas shopping done even though it is not even December yet. I was smart and got online and got things bought the easy way. (without standing in long lines and driving all over the place) I do like shopping online more that shopping in malls this time of year and it’s much more productive. Luckily there are also great sales online and coupon codes for even better deals. Coupon Chief has been a site I have used before that I like because it has coupon codes to stores I actually shop at. One I shop at for myself more than others is Old Navy. They have great deals to begin with and then with a discount it’s almost like you’re getting stuff for free. I also shop a lot at Target for gifts because they have something for everyone. I have been able to find sports stuff for my brother, small kitchen appliances for my mom and well my dad is impossible to shop for. Check them out if you are stuck for what to get your family and friends this Christmas. They might give you some good ideas.
The garage at my parent’s place is packed. It is so packed with yard related stuff that it is getting tricky to pull both cars into it and not hit anything. I normally wouldn’t notice but I was there over the thanksgiving weekend helping cook and syating there a while and I brought the garbage cans in and couldn’t find a place to even put them. The spot they had was taken within the time they were out for a day. Besides needing a cleanout of all the old pots, watering cans, hoses, clippers, rakes and shovels, it also needs a floor cleaning. Garage floors get all stained from the cars over the years make them look gross even though they’re not in bad shape really. I guess they knew what they were doing with quality in home building in the 1960′s, we just have to clean it up a bit. But maybe I will leave that until it gets a little warmer outside.
There is a new travel web site called Trusted Tours and Attractions that is having a contest drawing for free tour tickets from all the people who sign up for it’s new e-newsletter. I thought I would mention it in case you wanted a chance to win 4 tickets for the tour of your choice in the city of your choice. It doesn’t cost anything to enter.
For example if I won I might go to Key West because it’s warmer than Chicago this time of year and I have never been there. I am a fan of white beaches and crystal blue water and it looks like they have plenty of that there. I am sure it would be great to get away from the oppressive cold here for a while, but if I left I probably wouldn’t want to come back until around April or May. In Key West the Tropical Bike Tour looks like fun. I have been bike riding around here a bit and it’s a nice way to see things slow enough to enjoy them and cover more ground than walking. The Glass Bottom Boat also looks interesting with it’s view of the coral reef and I am sure that the Butterfly Conservatory would be great for taking pictures. All in all it’s a better place to be than Chicago right now.
I am not really a fan of dating sites online because people really don’t represent themselves as who they really are online. I have met some people that way and they are always different than their profile says. I guess it’s an imbellishment thing. There are other ways though to meet people online. MySpace, Facebook and forums that allow you to see who people are through what they write over time can all be alternatives to the match.coms of the world. You can communicate over time and get to know someone in a way that isn’t fake. It’s easy to fake a profile it’s hard to fake a conversation or many conversations over time.
I work in metrics so I see a lot of new data and have to decide what it means and how it can help us, but I was hearing someone talk about a business intelligence position here today and I realized I don’t exactly know what that is. It’s not what I do but I am not sure what it really is either. So like we need any more confusion about what the strategy is here and what data is used to make decisions. Some day I would like to be involved in some of these decisions but I am not sure that will ever happen.
In the mean time though I looked up Business Intelligence on Wikipedia and it says that its about the use of data about the key performance indicators for your business that should be driving what you are doing with planning for your business. Some people like to hire outside Business Objects Consultants with fancy predictive modeling software to tell you what to do next. There seems to be an entire industry devoted to this type of work. Other people likeo get down and dirty and get into their own accounting books and metrics data of their own business and make decisions that way. I have to say that I think the latter is the better position to go with. Sometimes software can help but your business has to have multiple key performance indicators and conversion metrics to need that kind of package. And you have to have some big huge savings from this analysis to justify the cost of it in the first place. So, I guess that by hiring someone internally to do this here they are doing the right thing. I should be glad then that we won’t be over run by a gagle of consultants any time soon.
We all know the basics of becoming a company. There are sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. So what is an S corporation? And why do some people say this is a good way to save money on Taxes? I don’t really know a lot about accounting or finance laws but this is something I read about that is supposed to provide payroll tax savings. So they say that a one-person sole proprietorship without any other employees can’t take the qualified production activities income deduction because the deduction is limited to fifty percent of the firm’s wages. But as S corporations, these businesses would become eligible to take the qualified production activities income deduction, which equals 6% of profit in 2007, 2008, and 2009. With an S corporation, the owner-operator has to categorize some reasonable percentage of the profits as wages. I suppose this is interesting if tax law really turns you on…
I got DSL broadband in my home (from AT&T) about a year ago and I have to say it has changed my life. I no longer have to wait for pages to load and I get things done so much faster. In fact it makes getting info so much easier that I am more likley to go to the computer for info than anywhere else. I IM and email more than I talk on the phone but if someone does call it is way cool that I can talk on the land line at the same time as I am online. I can also donwload movies and watch them on youtube or netflix. It is better than waiting for a DVD in the mail. It is silly that I waited so long to get broadband. Now I just have to convince my brother and parents to get it too. There are too many things I want to show them that they can’t download over dial up. It is a little weird to put the filters on all the land lines but once that is done, they do a broadband speed test to check the line, and if everything check out, everything just works. It’s great.
I am always interested in what other marketers have to say and are working on. There is always a lively debate about theory and practice of any marketing medium or method going on. Email marketing is also a huge success area for marketers and they debate heavily on what is best, worst and the new latest thing. Yes the email newsletter has still remained on top for providing push marketing messages out to consumers and creating conversions to purchase when there are sales goals to be met. We all get the “limited time only”, “huge sale” and “new product” emails from retailers and some of them actually work.
There is a new online social networking community just for email marketers now. It is from iContact. They are an email marketing management company. Someone you buy email management and sending services from to manage your email marketing process. They want marketers to not only use their management solutions, but to also log on and chat with other marketers. I think this will give both the marketers and iContact insight into what works and doesn’t work and what innovations are needed. The new iContact community is a lot like other social networks allowing people to rate and “digg” stories and content. There are also a lot of blogs and newsletters about email marketing that contribute there too. I have not done any email marketing for a while so I might go check it out just to keep up my knowledge up on this topic.
The web community service already has 120,000 registered members (so it is going strong) that are logged in and because it is a professional service they charge $9.95 per month. (this is something your company would most likely reimburse you for) Check it out to see what is new and working in email marketing right now. http://community.icontact.com
My media planner is going to get his MBA now so we have been chatting about how it is going. It’s hard because he has to balance his full time job, wife and daughter with getting this MBA degree. Somehow he makes it all work. I always thought I would go back for some kind of additional degree, but every time I enroll in something it’s like a tug of war between work life and the demands of school so I just do one class and then stop. I can’t get that groove back that I ahd with studying and reding a lot. Although I am much faster a writing my ideas out. Blogging has certainly helped with that. Some people are even trying this online education thing, in an attempt to save some time not actually commuting to where the classes are and working at their own pace. I am not sure that would work for me, I get a lot out of the professor’s discussions and the classmates. An automated thing online would not be as engaging and I would be less likley to finish it. But that is just me.
I have a bunch of coworkers that fly overseas to the UK several times a year and they say that things are somewhat similar living there but there are always more differences than just the dialect. One difference is the technology for broadband. More people are catching on there now, but the popularity had lagged behind the US for some time. I am not sure if it was because of infrastructure or just not as much popularity. I also just read that online advertising is booming there and all over Europe so maybe their bubble is starting now? Anyway, if you are someone going to move to the UK or live there now, a broadband company I have heard about offering wifi broadband is BT Consumer Wireless Services. They are equivalent to an AT&T or Verizon here. And wireless makes more sense over there anyway. Why not get wi fi rather than rip up walls to install cable? It just makes more sense.
I am a bit peeved with the bathrooms here at work. They are always awful and never clean. They have someone come in and clean but they really don’t clean. The faucets are always grimy, the doors are all grey with dirt and the whole thing smells. I wonder if it has always been this way? Is it just permanent? Or would a bottle of clorox fix the problem? Besides that there are some things like tile falling off and broken faucets that really need to be fixed.
I wonder how perfectly businesslike individuals can go into a bathroom and pee on the seat, on the floor and leave a puddle of mess around the broken sink faucet? I wash my hands and don’t touch anything on my way out and open the door with my elbow.
Seriously for what this building must cost in rent, the least they could do is put in some new Price Pfister faucets (they are seriously not that expansive), patch the tile and clean the bathroom from top to bottom once a month. Is that too much to ask?
If you are one of those people who watch the UK rocketry association with interest as the TopGear guys launch a mini from a ski jump or blast a car named robin into space ala space shuttle you may be able to get into rockets too as a hobby. There are a lot of rules and regulations as well as saftey concerns for getting into this kind of hobby involving rockets and jet pack type technology, but for geeks its a lot of fun. Even better if this is part of your business (if you work for aviation companies like Boeing, Lockheed or Northrop Grumman) there is a site online with all the supplis and parts you can possibly need. See how you can quickly search Jet-Tek’s stock. It’s fast, but not as fast as the jets themselves.
Hah, the holidays are here again, and here come the fun site games and quizzes to match! Maybe you’re Emo about the whole thing? (Emo means emotional for those of us over 30) How about the How Emo am I Test? I know I am more emo this time of year. It’s just frustrating that on top of all your other daily responsibilities with work and home and sometimes your friends expectations, you have to go be cheery at all these company parties and make like you have it all under control. You have to fake it that all the shopping done, money for all this crap isn’t an issue and that you love spending your evenings and weekends with your coworkers and boss socializing. Sure! It’s great! I’m EMO already!
I have heard a lot about this Howard Miller guy lately. I was shopping the other day and saw some displays for grandfather clocks by him and the prices were pretty steep. They were kind of an heirloom type fancy clock that gets passed down from generation to generation. My parents have one and my relatives did too and we inherited that one as well. So what’s modern about a big tall clock that bongs? I guess it is about carrying on the tradition in a modern way. The designs aren’t always real traditional but yet they are very fancy. New Grandfather Clocks and Howard Miller clocks are a nice addition to a home and if I had a house I would be interested in buying one. And with daylight savings time happening now, a big clock that makes the time viewable and noticeable when you’re off by a few hours could be a great help. I know I have been running late and not able to figure out what time it is since. My whole day has been off. Plus both my watches had their batteries die and I have been without reliable time management all week.
I think because I work in a big corporate building downtown I sometimes forget that this country is huge and there are a lot of businesses not in the online information site building and marketing industry. Trucking is one that I am reminded of every time I drive out on 294 or I-55 in Chicagoland. The number of trucks going from distribution warehouses out in the Aurora-Joliet area to all over the country is immense. The distribution of all the things we buy, eat and use every day is done with Trucks. Without them (or oil) we would not have supplies or anything we could live on for very long. (much like if we suddenly couldn’t import anything from China) So you wonder about this business and how it runs even though it is nothing like any business I know.
I started wondering about some of the elements of the business. Like do you still manage inventory with computers even though nothing is really “online”? Do you have to buy new trailers and trucks every year or are used trailers ok? How much growth is in this industry with shipping consumer goods all over the country and how much is for industry anymore? My dad was working at a truking company for a while when he was out of his engineering job about 10 years ago. It is interesting to hear stories about it because it is so offline and the people who work there are too.