Brilliant! Thank you Lord for Google Video, and thanks to my sister Beck for the link to Betty Butterfield. Watch as Betty describes her visit to the Scientology church. There are several more of these short videos out there, but I have not had time to watch them yet. (must keep working…must keep working…almost 5:00…must work..aaagghh) I look forward to following Betty’s adventures when I have time to check out the full catalog. I swear I have met this lady somewhere.
Archive for June, 2006
Place: The Missing P in RSS
I continue to read article after article about RSS. These articles ponder why RSS, a superior product to say e-mail or general bumping around the web, with a free price, and no shortage of cheerleaders has not “caught on” more with the general public. Most people who actually use RSS are members of the “digerati” or just plain geeks like me. To dorks like us, it makes no sense not to use RSS. We beam with delight at the little orange icon that delivers relevant content from the web to us like the junkies we are. Still to the majority of the public RSS is a mystery. I propose that will all change, and change soon, thanks to the company you probably love to hate, Microsoft.
Let me be clear, Microsoft did not invent RSS. Microsoft, in my opinion, does not have the best web browser or email client. Further still, Microsoft is way behind the leaders in the industry when it comes to RSS technology. Here is the thing, so are most people. Microsoft will bring RSS to the masses because of Place also known as Distribution. Where others have failed Microsoft will succeed. Here is why. A great deal of Americans, especially those in business, rely on Outlook to manage their lives. They use it for scheduling, managing meetings, and more importantly for email. It is their communication channel. It is the software of choice for corporate America. People are comfortable using the Outlook interface, and it is firmly entrenched. That being stated, when you try to explain RSS and RSS Readers to many of these people, they go cross-eyed. “I need to go to what site?” “Atom, XML, OPML…Huh?” “My Yahoo, Personalized Google, Firefox: what are you saying man?” It is too much work, and requires existing behaviors to change.
Sure the other 3 P’s are in line, but changing habits and systems is something most will resist. That will change as Office 2007 is released. The new version of Outlook has a folder dedicated to RSS Feeds. It delivers them in a way that looks exactly like the good old fashioned e-mail people are comfortable with using. The folder features dozens of feeds that are ready to be loaded with one click and detailed instructions on adding more. This is what people want. “Give me all the good feature of RSS, like I want it, not like you want it.” The difference is subtle and the technology is not new, but the mechanism for place is a tested road. A road that people will follow. Sure, those of us who have been into RSS wandered down that road long ago. It was a road less traveled. With RSS embedded seamlessly in Outlook, the road will be the road more traveled, and that will make all the difference. (my apologies to Mr. Frost)
Those of you in Marketing take heed. RSS will surge in popularity in the next year. You need to understand it. It will replace or at least reinforce the methods you currently rely on to deliver message to the world. For those of you who, like me, love RSS and how it changes the web, look happily toward the future. It is now. Do not mistake this as cheerleading for MS. I use Gmail, which has RSS built into it already. I also use Firefox, Bloglines, and tons of other geeky tools. I had an RSS problem that I used these great tools to solve. Most do not. Place – the final piece in the RSS puzzle.
Mike Judge, If you are listening I beg of you. Bring back Beavis and Butthead with the sole mission of watching this David Hasselhoff video.
Google video is truly one of the great treasures in the world. Without it I never would have seen this tour de force from “The Hoff.” Not since Apache has a music video been so bizarre. As much as I tried, I simply could not look away. The song, “Jump in My Car,” is like nothing you have ever heard – for good reason. The video has Dave trolling for chicks while driving around in Kitt (on the wrong side of the car) and sporting his Baywatch gear. It is something you have to experience for yourself. The most amazing thing is that “The Hoff” is now judging the performance talent of others. Proof that God has a sense of humor.
As a marketing geek coming out of two weeks of sales training, this post from Seth Godin’s blog rings very true in my world. The integration of sales and marketing is so important – and sadly so rare. It seems that though these two groups share the goal of generating revenue, something always manages to get lost in translation. Sales sees marketing as ivory tower, know it all types, and marketing sees sales as pushy, lazy, and overly coddled. Neither view is accurate. Sales is tough. It is full of pressure. It is also a lot of fun. There is a real rush that comes from hearing the word “Yes,” and knowing you have solved someone’s problem. (and earned a commission) Marketing requires immense creative energy, strategic planning, and can be very rewarding…or very frustrating. Neither is an exact science, and both work better with the help of the other. Get these groups working together instead of in competition with one another, and you will set your organization on a track toward success. If you could only get sales and marketing to cooperate – but how? Check out Seth’s post for 9 (plus 2) tips.
Attention all Dayton, Ohio chowhounds. For a remarkable dining experience, you have got to check out the Meadowlark Restaurant. The atmosphere is great, the people are friendly, and the food is top notch. I had originally heard of the restaurant a few weeks ago while I was driving to work. The Meadowlark sponsors NPR’s Morning Edition on WYSO (91.3 FM), and was given a nice mention in between news stories. As a result I had wanted to check the place out for myself, but had just not gotten around to it. I was finally able to satisfy my curiosity last Sunday, and I was not disappointed. My family and I had been out running some Sunday morning errands, when we were struck by the need to eat. It was 10:30 in the morning. Fast food just did not fit the bill, and Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, First Watch and the like were all bustling with the church crowd. We were dumbfounded. As we aimlessly drove around in search of a good meal, we happened upon The Meadowlark. After some cajoling, I convinced my wife that I should go in and scope out the place. I needed to make sure that the place did not cost a million dollars, was not too crowded, and had something for everyone to eat. I quickly returned with the thumbs up, though in the back of my mind I was still skeptical. As we were seated, my worries were soon put to rest. The place is painted with bold colors, has beautiful photographs hanging on the walls, and is filled with the sweet sound of classic jazz. The people are friendly, considerate, and seemed to be happy to have us as their guests. The menu features an eclectic mix of homemade delights. I went with the Lark Burger, which was marinated in Red Wine and served on a toasted buttered roll. Delicious. The ingredients were fresh and the food was carefully prepared, beautifully presented, and bursting with flavor. They even had homemade Ketchup, which had a bit of a chili sauce flavor to it, to put on the fries. The whole family made it into the clean plate club, devouring every wonderful bite. We left with our hunger, and my curiosity, delightfully satisfied. I look forward to returning to the place again. Check out their menu on the web. Visit the place. Then tell me what YOU think of the Meadowlark by leaving a comment.
Say what you will about the folks from Redmond, WA, but most of us still use their software to get things accomplished. So like it or not, when Microsoft updates its programs it is big news, and so I pass this along to you today. Microsoft has made a free beta version of Office 2007 available for download from the web. I downloaded it today, and I am impressed with it so far. I have spent most of my time in Word and Outlook, which have both gone through significant revisions, and I will outline some of the interesting things I found.
Though the functionality is not radically revamped, Word has a nice new look and feel to it. Gone are the drop down menus, replaced by toolbars and icons that change based on your selection. One nice enhancement is the ability to add equations into a document with a one click – a great note taking tool for the college classroom. There are also improved charting and formatting functions. A function called SmartArt, allows you to easily import some wonderful graphic elements to illustrate concepts or processes. It is easy to e-mail from the application, print to the web, and the editing options are greatly improved. Overall I was very impressed.
Let me preface this by saying I am a gmail guy. Still, work is not onboard with “The G.” If your company is like mine, you are forced to use outlook to manage your e-mail. Although I am not a huge fan of outlook, I must say this product has been improved quite a bit. Some of the key enhancements include a desktop search application and an improved task and to-do management tool. The biggest enhancement is the integration of RSS directly into Outlook. It is this feature that will make Outlook relevant again and will finally lead to the mass adoption of RSS. Once given the Microsoft seal of approval, RSS will be delivered to the masses. If you don’t understand RSS or have it incorporated into your web-site, you had better get on board. The RSS interface is very nice. It organizes feeds into the familiar Microsoft folders, and then separates by read / unread, date sent and subject. It is very user friendly, and delivers RSS in a format that is very similar to e-mail. This will serve to bridge the gap of understanding how RSS works for many. Of everything I have seen, I believe this will have the biggest impact on the way in which people use computers.
As a test, I composed this post completely in Word, and published it directly to the site to test it. I am interested to see the results. One definite drawback is that I am not able to put categories on my post from Word, but that is nothing too terrible.
As I dig deeper into the trial offer, I will discuss other new enhancements I discover. If you are interested in finding out about MS Office 2007 for yourself, download the beta and let me know what you think.
One of my favorite sites on the web is John Moore's blog, Brand Autopsy. On his site, John provides regular doses of real and relevant marketing advice. Much of the information he is kind enough to share he gleaned from his days of working at Starbucks and at Whole Foods – two companies you might be familiar with. He is a huge believer in generating organic word of mouth and espouses the power of the positive customer experience. John has recently completed work on his upcoming book Tribal Knowledge, which will be released this fall. The book will provide an inside look at the theories and practices that helped to created two of America's most successful young companies, and should be valuable to anyone looking to grow a business by creating a unique and remarkable experience for the customer. In support of his book, John will be touring North America. I am going to do my best to bring him to Dayton, as I would love to meet him and think his message would be well received in a city in need of inspiration. If you are interested in bringing John to Ohio, or anywhere for that matter, please see the link below.