Archive for the ‘Theories’ Category

Don’t Do It Yourself

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

This post is a bit technical in nature, but if you’re wondering about what I do for a living, this might give you a little insight into how I approach potential business. ¬†I also want YOUR business.

I’ve been stepping up the networking lately in an effort to increase my workload. ¬†In addition to the usual goal of “getting more business”, this has had a couple interesting benefits I hadn’t really thought of initially. ¬†I get to learn more about other people’s businesses, I see how people view the web site business as a whole, and I gain understanding on what might be the tipping point into spending money on a web site.

Learning about other peoples’ businesses is actually very important. ¬†In the end, it’s generally about making money. ¬†But how some people do it is very different from others. ¬†I’ve noticed that a lot of people at these mixers tend to be very proactive–they follow up, they act on almost every lead, and they do whatever it takes to close a deal. ¬†At the same time, there are those who believe in the “if you build it, they will come” concept. ¬†It’s almost a sense of self-entitlement. ¬†Showing up is not 80% of the task–really, it’s both 0% and 100%… ¬†If you don’t show up at all, not showing up guarantees you won’t do any business. ¬†At the same time, follow-through is supremely important.

As that goes, I look at every contact’s business card, and see whether or not they have or list a web site. ¬†If they don’t, well, that’s a great contact for me–unless they don’t feel they need a web site at all. ¬†Tonight, I spoke with a potential business contact, hell-bent on irrigating everyone’s asshole in the room (she’s a colon cleanser). ¬†After exchanging cards, she said, “I don’t need a web site. ¬†My industry has one, and I’m fine with that. ¬†Plus, I have all the clients I need.” ¬†My first thought was, gee, if you have all the clients you need, why are you out here looking for more assholes to tube up? ¬†Instead, I said, “Gosh, if I do a Google search on your name, what am I going to find?” ¬†She didn’t know. ¬†Yikes. ¬†If I decided to get a tube shoved up my butt, the first thing I would do would be to look for a web site… ¬†The fact of the matter is that a web site is NOT a guarantee of anything. ¬†Anyone can have a web site. ¬†But it’s like a business card with as much information as you want. ¬†She didn’t have one. ¬†No tubes up the butt for me.

So what makes people want to have or redo their web site? ¬†Usually, it’s the sense that they need something that they’re not getting from their current business plan. ¬†The personal trainer I spoke to said she has a blog, and that seems good enough. ¬†“Is it?” I asked. ¬†“What if my company made a web site that helped track your clients’ goals while they were at home, or at work? ¬†What if you could reach out to them on a regular basis and give them personalized tips?” ¬†She apparently didn’t even think about the flexibility of web sites. ¬†And maybe that’s the problem. ¬†There’s this notion going around that web sites have to either be simple or too expensive for a small business. ¬†That’s not the case. ¬†They can be perfect solutions for any company of any size or type. ¬†If you want something as simple as an online brochure about your business? ¬†Easy. ¬†Inexpensive. ¬†You want a tracking system that will account for clients and customers, internal processes, and other proprietary actions? ¬†Just ask. ¬†We can do it. ¬†Affordably.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Mark Twain once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” ¬†Despite this obvious observation, our society focuses so mightily on statistics, you’d think we revere them as if they’re stone cold facts. ¬†Commercials that tell you “Three out of four dentists recommend Crest.” ¬†“Lysol kills 99.9% of germs.” ¬†Studies show “2-5 cups of coffee a day keeps Alzheimers away.” ¬†“Drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine prevent xyz”

I’m sorry. ¬†This is all bullshit. ¬†The “dentists”, or whatever professional they choose, is never mentioned. ¬†There’s no control. ¬†It could have been, “Three out of four dentists [who we found while speaking at a Proctor and Gamble board meeting] recommend Crest.” ¬†The Lysol guys: ¬†“Lysol kills 99.9% of the germs [that we placed on a smooth, non-porous surface, and chose carefully to make sure it wasn’t one of those resistant guys].” ¬†And as for the studies: ¬†Correlation without Causation!!! ¬†Seriously! ¬†What’s the control group? ¬†More importantly, what other aspects of these participants lives have you ruled out? ¬†People aren’t all built the same.

It’s one thing to go off and explain that a certain percentage of participants of SOMETHING had something happen to them while doing something. ¬†That’s pretty solid, like “40% of study participants yelled ‘fuck!’ when they hit their thumb with a hammer. ¬†The other 60% were dead to begin with.” ¬†But it’s another thing to go and say, “Drinking 2-5 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease by 26%.” ¬†Are you serious? ¬†So the control group must have been a large group of people who don’t drink coffee. ¬†What did they drink instead? ¬†And what did the participants who drink coffee do after they drank their coffee? ¬†More importantly, how do you determine the risk factor in the first place?

There are more holes in these studies than a bad porno flick.

Old School Music

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Back before recording devices were invented (Thomas Edison invented the phonographic cylinder in¬†1877), the only way to hear other peoples’ music was by going to a concert, or picking up the sheet music on your own to play on your own. ¬†Certainly there were quite a few instances of completely butchered pieces, but overall, the music was likely to be copied faithfully.

Now, we have cold, hard digital media that plays music from artists exactly as they recorded it. ¬†Every time it’s played, it’s exactly the same. ¬†No mistakes, no interpretation, no differences. ¬†With the exception of live concerts (always by the artist who makes the music) or covers by other artists, we consume music exactly the way it was recorded.

What’s the fun in that?

I think it would be really neat if we had concerts of popular music covered by multiple artists to see how they reproduce it.  Different styles, interpretations, and of course, different feeling.

Relationship Advice and Analogies

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I am the king of analogies. ¬†I can make ANY situation into a brilliant analogy. ¬†Sure, sometimes they’re not that good, and sometimes they’re brilliant; for instance when comparing the course courting a woman to buying/leasing a car. ¬†(If you’re a woman, you probably think that’s an awful analogy. ¬†Bite me. ¬†It’s a perfect analogy.)

But today, I had a good one–and it was shot down (yeah, you know who you are!) while talking about a friend’s relationship with only person, with the exception of a brief interlude. ¬†I tried to explain that dating around is good. ¬†My analogy (edited), was this: ¬†Most people have a favorite food. ¬†Chances are that the reason it’s their favorite food is because the other food they’ve tried just wasn’t as good. ¬†But if you don’t have any food to compare it to, or the one you did was tainted by salmonella, obviously you’re going to go back to your favorite food.

I was cut off there–bad analogy, apparently… ¬†But I think it was actually quite fitting.

See, relationships really are a lot like eating, and the person you date is a lot like your favorite food. ¬†There are a lot of folks out there who LOVE pasta primavera–and have no plans on trying anything new. ¬†Why should they? ¬†They love the pasta primavera, and that’s that. ¬†These are the people who date one person, marry them, then die. ¬†And that’s fine–if they’re happy, I’m happy.

But the moment you introduce something new, you have a whole new¬†palate¬†to choose from. ¬†Say you’ve been eating pasta primavera since you were 17, and suddenly the pasta doesn’t agree with you, so you try the chicken piccata. ¬†If you like the dish, you’ll try it some more, maybe you’ll stick with it a while. ¬†If you don’t, you either go back to the primavera…or try the dumplings. ¬†Or something else.

The key here is, you don’t know what you like until you’ve tried it. ¬†My brother is a very picky eater–he hated Chicken¬†Parmesan–until he tried it. ¬†Suddenly, he realized the dearth of his palate, and began to expand his horizons. ¬†Well, with food, that is. ¬†When it comes to relationships, he’s on a hunger strike.

But that’s another issue altogether.

At present, I’m not in a relationship. ¬†I’m currently still looking at the menu while taking nibbles from the appetizer sampler. ¬†And that’s what you’ve got to do. ¬†Experience more. ¬†You’ll know what you like, and what you don’t. ¬†As far as I can tell, is how to find someone who you’re really compatible with. ¬†Just make sure you don’t order the whole menu at once–it’s expensive, complicated, and the waiters will hate you for being such a glutton.

Our Beautiful Economy

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

As you already know, the economy is in trouble. ¬†What you don’t know is that not only is it not going to get better any time soon, but it wasn’t really doing as well as everyone thought ¬†before the¬†downturn (before July 2007). ¬†Bear with me. The economy was never better. ¬†Sure, unemployment was at an all-time low (not citing my source), and people were making enough money to spend, but we’re not using the right metric to judge how good the economy really was.

Here’s the crux of the issue: ¬†How many people owned what they “owned”? ¬†How many people were really on top of their own finances? ¬†Having gainful employment and the ability¬†to purchase¬†a plethora of material objects was looked on as bolstering the economy. ¬†This is dead wrong. ¬†The vast majority of Americans were in debt, and their spending habits were merely out of ABILITY to buy, NOT ability to pay. ¬†Keep in mind that everyone who finances their car, has a mortgage, or even commercial debt service, is in debt. ¬†Of course not every kind of debt is bad, though. ¬†If you buy a building that promises a rate of return, then yeah, borrow on it for a rate less than the rate of return. ¬†That’s good leverage.

What isn’t good leverage, however, are those people who rack up debt to buy the newest Benz or biggest mansion…it’s a recipe for disaster. ¬†When homes and cars were less expensive, people could afford to save for the whole value and buy it outright; obviously, we can’t do that now. ¬†Homes that cost $500,000 seem to be in the majority (at least in my surrounding area), and most decent cars are at least $20,000. ¬†How can you save for that making only $40,000 a year? ¬†You can’t.

All that above is foreplay to jump-start what’s really gone wrong: there was no bubble before. There was nothing. ¬†If everyone owes money, then no one owns anything. ¬†Worse yet, with these stupid bailouts, Americans are being robbed by the very lessors who control the debt service in the first place.

If I were a bank, I would absolutely take advantage of getting bailout money, because hey, what’s better than free money? ¬†What politicians don’t seem to understand is that banks don’t lend their own capital–they lend deposits. ¬†All this bailout money is going to the banks own coffers. ¬†Well, that really sucks. ¬†I read somewhere that this whole thing is going to cost us $8 trillion dollars. ¬†That’s about $30,000 per person (in a year). ¬†Obviously this wouldn’t be due over time, but…it begs the question:

Why are we rewarding bad business practices and bad business with BILLIONS of dollars? ¬†Because someone said we had to. ¬†But the fact of the matter is, we don’t. ¬†We Americans need to stop spending willy-nilly on things we can’t afford. ¬†Stimulating the economy doesn’t mean spending on STUFF, it means PAYING for stuff. ¬†Real money. ¬† Not plastic IOUs.

By the way, I know this was long–I actually cut it down from what it was before–be thankful for that, at least ūüôā

Golden Ratio

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

As you start to read this post about the “Golden Ratio”, you may have begun to think about “phi“, the Golden Ratio. ¬†But what I’m actually about to talk about has nothing to do with phi at all.

The Golden Ratio I’m referring to is the ratio of men to women at a party. ¬†Generally speaking, when the ratio of men to women is high (eg, 2 men to every woman), the party turns into a battleground–which men are going to get which women. ¬†If the ratio of men to women is infinite, eg. 1:0 (which may as well be 10,000,000:0), it’s a sausagefest.

In situations where sausagefests occur, the parties fail (unless it’s gay party, in which case this whole post does not apply). ¬†In a good party, where the women outnumber the men, life is goooood. ¬†As a man, there is invariably someone to talk to who will catch your fancy.

At Will’s party tonight, the ratio was 2:3 for the majority of the night–not bad. ¬†And it was fun.

So if you’re planning a party, make sure to over invite women. ¬†Avoid sausagefests at all costs.

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