Monday, September 29, 2008

Apples and Honey: Happy New Year!

L'Shana Tova!

Make it a sweet one.

Thinking About Migrating the Blog

Recently, I've been thinking about migrating my blog to WordPress or some other content management system. I hear WordPress is pretty easy to use, but I haven't taken the time to figure it out yet.

Ideally, I'd like to get rid of the dot blogspot dot com, and get some php practice for another long-term idea I have (more on that later).

But tell me, is it worth it?

I'd love to hear thoughts from folks who have done this recently. How long did it take you to get your new blog up and running?

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Convenience is NOT Compelling

I've working with a new client these days that really is selling convenience. Simplifying life should make for a simple PR message. But people are skeptical, rightly so, in trusting that technology is the answer to simplifying their lives. More often, it seems that technology is what needs simplifying--and here's where it gets complicated. People ask, what are you taking out of my life and how are you saving me time? And the answers to those questions always take a little explaining--show, don't tell the pain point. Backing into the pain point by way of the solution and by the time you're done talking, no one is interested in dealing with a minor set up hurdle, and no one's listening anymore.

The bottom line: convenience isn't compelling; it's complicated.

The problem is what people understand--in part because people like to commiserate and complain about things. What is the problem? Can you explain it in one sentence? How about in three-word phrase? Now, stage the picture.

What emotions does that problem raise? Anger? Frustration? Emotions and stories give people something to relate to, a human element.

People can't relate to convenience. We all want it. We all want more time. But it sets the bar too high--how can you give people enough time? How can something be convenient enough? It needs to do more than that to be compelling, it needs to solve a bigger problem.

Can someone invent a time machine please? That would be convenient and compelling.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Random Thought: Confidence is Like the Stock Market

For the past few days, I've been worried my primary bank, Washington Mutual, was going to collapse. So I've been keeping tabs on the financial industry and the news that WaMu might auction parts of the company. A little nerve-racking. Not exactly confidence inspiring to be sure.

Then this morning, I read "Washington Mutual Stock Soars." Apparently, Thursday night the Fed and other major central banks around the world starting talking about putting $180 billion into global money markets to keep the credit crisis from worsening--that coupled with the fact that Federal officials are "reportedly" making plans to assume the banks' bad debt sent the market back into black. Sounds like rumors of the positive were enough to push folks back to the money market (and to save my bank).

I don't know anything about the money market. But it does appear that even in stocks, a little positive reinforcement can go a long way towards confidence.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Shadow of September 11

It's been seven years since planes crashed into the twin towers. And we're all thinking about it a little less as time passes.

A plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. Maybe it was an accident? Then another one came, crashed, demolished--no one dared to look away from the television.

Was it the Arabs? The personalities debated on the big networks who would have done this, why. And there were more planes to ground, more planes to worry about.

Afterward the towers fell, we stared at the television for days. A coalition of the willing was formed. War was declared once, twice. Words like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, death became everyday and familiar. Part of our shared consciousness and experience is this familiarity with uncertainty, fear, mutually assured destruction.

So what is there to do? We raise the flag. We volunteer. And we talk of the many world problems we may solve: global warming, hunger, poverty, AIDs--you know the causes well.

We're looking for the good in the world because we're left to wonder what happened to it on that day, 9/11/01. How can man do such unthinkable things to one another? The answer is disconcerting, so we look for the best in each other, ourselves. If nothing else, we can prevent ourselves from doing the unthinkable.