Thursday, December 31, 2009

More and Less

Every year I put together a list ( see 2009) of achievements for myself in the upcoming year, usually with numbers behind each goal. I find I hit some marks and miss others.

This year I want to set themes for myself, and you(?), as a guide to the next 12 months. I certainly have specific goals outside of this list, but whether I find myself sitting in a business meeting, having dinner with a friend, walking through my front door, contemplating an important decision, thinking about a business idea, or strolling down the Embarcadero with Hunter I want these to guide my thinking across the spectrum for 2010.

- More Twenty Ten. Less Two thousand and ten
- More open. Less closed.
- More in the cloud. Less on the desktop.
- More data. Less opinion.
- More transparency. Less walls.
- More playing. Less watching.
- More reading. Less TV.
- Less PowerPoint!!!
- More gym. Less bars.
- More chicken and fish. Less red meat.
- More veggies and fruits. Less chips and salsa.
- More cooking in. Less dining out.
- More face to face. Less phone.
- More social interaction. Less email.
- More integration. Less fragmentation.
- More local leadership. Less national complaining.
- More saving. Less spending.
- More risk taking. Less status quo.
- More leading. Less following.

As @garyvee would say, it's time to Crush It. And Twenty Ten seems like a great time to Crush It!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nike SB - Today Was a Good Day

Nike just gets it! They have such a sound understanding of their brand and their customer segments. This piece only highlights another outstanding job by Nike and their agency.

Friday, July 17, 2009

So my Dad is hanging out with a horse...

I wish there was a story behind this, but that's as far as it goes. Due to a hectic schedule I missed the opportunity to spend a few great days back home with my Dad for the All Star game. Looks like he was doing just fine without me.

There is a small point I want to make and it has to do with the outcome of the All Star game determining home field advantage in the World Series. Obviously the system is broken and everyone seems to know it.

In the current system, no individual team's performance helps determine home field advantage for that years World Series. Doesn't that seem a little (way) off?!

How about whichever team has the best record? That is a popular one out there and seems to make a ton of sense. Instead MLB has compromised the World Series to 'benefit' the All Star game.

When you proceed to look at World Series victors since the inception of the All Star game determining home field advantage we see an even split. According to bleacher report, while the American League has won the last 6 All Star games since this rule was instituted, the W.S. winners have been split 3/3 for each league.

In my mind it doesn't matter that the W.S winners have split evenly. Dumb luck perhaps, maybe home field advantage doesn't matter (I doubt it), but I certainly believe the best team (as reflected by their record) in the World Series deserve to have 4 chances to play in front of their fans and a better chance of celebrating a World Series victory in front of their fans.

(When I was little I kid I did get kicked by a cow at the state fair and broke my collar bone, but that is a whole different story. Hope that makes up for the horse teaser in the title)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I was sitting down catching up on some old Curbed episodes when my mind started working and told me to do a few things I had been procrastinating on. I quickly put my thumb to the pause button of the remote before my thoughts evaporated from my brain. I came back and found the screen shot to the right on my TV awaiting me (Photo taken via my iPhone). What a situation Larry has found himself in, again!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The (Mainstream) Hipster

i'm not sure if it was during the week that (Look at this fucking hipster) became my favorite blog (this was before came into my rotation), one solid year embedded in San Francisco or perhaps my recent travels to other Hipster hot beds such as St. Louis, Chicago, Southern Illinois and New York when it hit me. Most likely a combination of all three, during which my eyes were exposed to an amalgamation of our country's youth (ages 16-45) into one (former) ironic body of vomit induced ugliness.

How has the hipster movement become so mainstream i kept asking myself? Hipsters used to be cool, different, fringe. Something most liked to look at, maybe envy or partially copy, but never fully go there. It was too hard to achieve, too much to ask of oneself. You needed to go over the cliff to get there and that was the part that kept the masses restrained and the hipsters hip. Today it seems like you only have to walk up to the vista and look out beyond the cliff and you've made it into hipsterdome.

The pure idea of being a hipster meant that there had to be a limit, crossing a threshold towards a mass movement would make the hipster extinct, and by God if we haven't crossed that line yet i don't know where you are drawing your line.

Where does this contemporary subculture of irony go now that their non-mainstream fashion, culture, music and films are....wait for it....mainstream!

A true hipster would revolt.

Hipsters out there, this isn't the evolution the O.G. hipsters had in mind.

By taking the hipster movement to the fullest and throwing it into the mainstream, anything hip about its way of life has been crushed. And irony please. Ironic Tees are now a multi-million dollar business and it appears white sunglasses are on their way there too.

My travels from coast to coast and up and down the Midwest have shown me just how mainstream hipsters have become. Everywhere i turn, everywhere i go i see it all around me. And i'm not saying this is a bad thing. i love people watching and the hipsters are making it more fun each day.

But what i do take issue with is the hipsters thinking they are ironic, unique, cool and 'hip' when it appears their movement has become a magnificent mass of sellouts.

i love Urban Dictionaries take on hipster. Here is a small sampling:

- Probably tattooed. Maybe gay. Definitely cooler than you.
- Has a closet full of clothing but usually wears same three things OVER AND OVER (most likely very tight black pants, scarf, and ironic tee-shirt).
- Always on the list.

i cannot wait for the day of reckoning, when irony becomes visible only though button down polo shirts, loafers and docker stain defender chinos.

In the meantime i'm gonna throw on my straight leg Dickies with my Toms (sans socks), tuck my u-lock into my ripped boxers, and ride my fixie to critical mass before I head to the 18th grand opening of an organic wine bar.

p.s. hope you caught the irony of my lower case i's throughout...fucking sweet

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's (Suppossed to be) All About The Customer

Customer service is a critical area where a company gains loyalty or loses a customer, possibly for life, during brief interactions with day to day company representatives. Companies who win loyalty during these tough economic times are poised to come out on top once the economy picks back up. Consumers want to see who sticks with them when they were in need. A new loyalty between brands and their consumers will be formed and possibly in a manner like we have never seen before.

I rarely see customer service talked about (outside of The Consumerist), most especially in terms of quantifiable value of customer service and the contribution or lack thereof to the lifetime customer value. (Note: Someone should do this, but I am not going to be doing that here)

When it comes to customer service, good or bad, I am very vocal amongst my colleagues, friends and social networks in explaining the situation and how I was treated.

A recent situation happened to me and appeared to have a simple solution behind it. A resolution would have kept me a very satisfied customer with a continued commitment to the business, that certainly wasn't the outcome.

The Back Story:

I fly JetBlue from SFO to JFK frequently for business. I go out of my way to book through as I get 12 points for the round trip flight (6 each leg) and 6 for booking online. 18 points for one flight. 100 points gets you a free flight. Do the math and 6 flights = 1 free flight+.

During the winter months JetBlue shifts their flight schedule to accommodate more north to south travelers heading to warmer climates for the winter. Due to this change I had to recently move to Virgin America or American who had much more accommodating non stop flight schedules from SFO to JFK during the winter months.

My previous commitment to flying JetBlue paid off a while back as I had gotten my free round trip flight. While I haven't had the time to think about basking in the sun for a vacation with my free flight, I am certainly keeping an eye on my finances as the times call for, which brings me to

My current situation

I am heading to a wedding in Chicago in a couple weeks and flight prices have been high. I figure it is a good time to cash in on my flight credit with JetBlue. I log on and find that my 2 credits are gone.

Seeing this, I follow up with customer service (a lady named Ann) who seems mildly concerned and ends up passing me along to a service lady in the TrueBlue department (can't remember her name). The TrueBlue lady goes on to tell me that my awards expired in April (it is June 9th) and her supervisor (automated computer protocol sheet) will not let me get the awards back as I am outside of the 30 days window. I asked if I could purchase them back at a fee(i've done this with Southwest, and it is great. Doesn't make you feel as if you wasted a bunch of time and had the reward taken away from you), to which they said no.

I explained to the customer service lady at TrueBlue my frequency of flying with the airline when their east to west flights schedule picks up. She didn't seem to care about my loyalty to JetBlue and said she was sorry and there was nothing she could do. This was all fine, there was no heated conversation or argument. But in customer service you SHOULD CARE about your customers. You SHOULD want to make things right.

I then tweeted @JetBlue about my situation and received the following response, "Sorry - I'd end up sending you to those folks myself and they'd give you the same response".

Briefly I hopped over to gmail while writing this and had an email from JetBlue to save $20 on my flight if I used bill me later. Enough is enough Jet Blue!

I really wonder how hard it is to give back the 2 awards I had in my account 2 months ago. The answer is easy, very easy.

Customer Service goes all wrong with following protocols and guidelines. They need to be thinking about the cost of accommodating a customer versus the cost of not doing so.

1)What is the cost of giving this customer back 2 awards (which would make this customer ecstatic, much more loyal and a possible brand advocate)?


2)What is the cost of losing this a customer who is a frequent traveler, in his mid twenties and likely going to be a frequent traveler for the next 25 years of his life? On top of that what if he lets his friends in his networks (face to face, twitter, facebook, and so on...) know about this experience.

Well I am #2 here. My response isn't geared to attack the airline, but to highlight the serious never ending problems with customer service. Good or bad, when these situation arise I talk about the brand, how they do/don't understand me and so on (many of my other friends do the same thing). On top of that I make a conscious decision to either engage deeper with that brand or completely pull myself away from that brand unless absolutely necessary.

The problem is the brand itself doesn't understand or they do not have flexability in their processes and policies to adapt to the best interest of the customer - something like a common sense policy if you will.

I committed to flying JetBlue and have come away empty handed. Is that the type of customer service you want to give to your loyal customers, have them walk away feeling empty handed and somewhat robbed?

Zappos, Amazon, Endless, Hertz and Southwest are all brands I continue to have great customer service experiences. I buy from, am loyal to and talk more about them.

Why, if you are a brand would you not shoot for this? JetBlue, your customer service is inhibiting you from doing this and as a result you just lost a customer for life.

UPDATE: Great post from Andy Beal on one consumer who didn't receive attentive customer service after a blatant mishandling by an airline he flew and ended up taking things into his own hands with a video - to the tune of 1.9M+ views. Can you guess the airline?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Failing Hard at Blogging Regularly

Just thought I would let you know...