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December 1

12.01.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

The final month of the year is upon us.  2010 is in the final chapter.

 

It always seems like the year just passes by.   Before one notices, it is DEC and only 24 days to Xmas.   Have you started shopping yet?

 

The advent of on-line shopping has dramatically changed my habits.  I actually prefer to do all my shopping on-line if possible.   I don’t mind going into stores and browsing and people watching.  But I hate waiting in line.  I also always feel the prices must be better on-line.

 

I downloaded an App called “Amazon Price Check” to my iPhone.  It allows you to scan the barcode and will price check it against all offers on the web.   Well, maybe not all, but many of them.   I love this App.  It is a way for Amazon to use other people’s stores to sell their items.  But I use it more for the fun of scanning and seeing what the options are.

 

I hate trying to find the right size at stores.  So much of the time, you can find the style you want but it is a crap shoot getting the size.   On-line shopping is perfect.   The size may not be in stock, but it is easy to find out.   Plus the selection is dramatically better.

Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham?

11.20.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

I was re-reading GREEN EGGS AND HAM to my daughter this morning.   I have probably read this book 1,000 times over the years (including many hundreds of times when I was a child).  I just love this book.   Dr. Seuss was a genius.   Not many books sell as many today as it did 40 years ago.

 

But what struck me about the book today is what a great sales-person SAM-I-AM is.

 

First he is selling an unappealing product.   Green Eggs?   Ugh!    But he persists.  The other dude (does anyone know his name?) is a grouch.  He doesn’t want to see Sam-I-Am at all.  He just wants to read his newspaper and to be left alone.   But Sam-I-Am insists.  Every time the other dude says no, Sam-I-Am comes back with a new option.  How about with a Fox?   In a Car?   He won’t stop.  He is relentless.

 

Finally, Sam-I-Am gets the other dude to try.   By now these green eggs and ham are soggy, cold and been near mice, goats and other vermin.  But the other dude still tries them.  And guess what?  He likes Green Eggs and Ham!!!

 

So, I want Sam-I-Am on my sales force.    But did the other dude ever try the ham too?

 

Starting to read articles about BLACK FRIDAY plans of the retailers.  The day after Thanksgiving where the retailers tease and manipulate consumer behavior.  Get here at 7 AM and get a DVD player for $10!   Trample over people to save a few bucks.  It really brings out the worse it people.   But it drives sales.  It is the un-official kickoff for the make or break time of the year.

 

All the reporters and pundits will predict the entire Holiday season with just data from BLACK FRIDAY.

 

But that didn’t work for on-line retailers.   So CYBER MONDAY was created.   I don’t know if people look at this day as the one to shop on.  I think originally it was on Monday because most had high-speed connections at work but not at home.

 

This year, because of the massive amounts of iPads; Kindles; Nooks and other eReading devices that will be sold.   Everyone from Wal-Mart to Best Buy to Brookstone are selling eReaders.   So what will happen on DEC 25th when all of these new toys are opened?   People will buy an ebook or two.

 

I predict that DEC 25 will be one of the biggest single days for eBook sales.  Traditionally DEC 25 is not a good day for retailers.  It will be different in eBooks this year.

Parking Tickets

11.06.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

 

I have received more parking tickets in the past year than in the previous 20 years of driving.  I have not changed my habits or parking in different places.  I believe it is extra enforcement because of the tight city and town budgets.   So, how do they get revenue?   Start writing tickets.

 

I have received eight tickets from six different towns.   One time I just stopped by for two minutes to drop something off  and got nailed.   Another time, I paid for two hours (at 25 cents every 15 minutes) and received a ticket at 12 minutes past the two hour limit.

 

Technically I am guilty.   I get it.   I don’t have a leg to stand on in court.   Yes, I was over the limit.  I almost always pay for parking.   I run late every now and then.  But there is no leeway anymore.   It is just part of the harsh attitudes people (via government) have towards one another these days.

 

The other thing that is oppressive about parking tickets is they give you 30 days to pay or it doubles.  If you are late beyond 60 days, it doubles again.  Plus the tickets themselves have gone up.  I regularly pay $25 a ticket — wait a few months and it can be $100.   Just for an extra 10 minutes!  It is horrible.

 

Again, I know I am guilty of ‘stealing time from the parking spots.’  So I have to pay.  But what happened to a little leniency?   I am not intentionally trying to get one over — most of my tickets have come from doing a bit more work or shopping in the stores.   I have actually stopped going to certain towns to shop because of the parking.  I have started shopping in towns with free parking or those without these over-zealous parking commissioners.

 

Maybe in the long run the revenue from lost sales taxes (because less people will want to deal with the parking) will overcome the extra parking violations.   Or maybe not.  But it seems like this policy is just one more way of the government taking money from people and creating nothing of value to help the economy.

 

Unintended consequences?

Another post on eReaders…

11.01.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Last week, Barnes & Noble announced a color version of their eReader the Nook.   Although B&N has been the leader in bricks & mortar book sales and has driven a lot of innovation in bookselling, they have been behind Amazon regarding eReaders.   But with this move, B&N nook takes the innovation lead over the Kindle.

 

Sure, Amazon reacted that color is not imporatant and that it isn’t that big a deal.

 

Who knows who is correct?   I tend to think that color is a game changer.   Apple opened up the eBook world to an entire new type of book with their iPad.  Why not color?   I feel that Amazon Kindle will counter one day with color.   They say there are no plans to do so.   But then Amazon just announced a ‘lending policy’ that copies B&N’s nook.  When B&N announced it, Amazon was dismissive of the idea.

 

iPad delivers color for reading books.   Now some of the B&N Nooks also will have color.   Smartphones have color screens.

 

Once upon a time, photos were all B&W.    Once upon a time, movies were all B&W.  Once upon a time TV was all B&W.

 

Once upon a time, all eReaders were B&W.

 

Not any longer.

Cheap Sunglasses

10.20.2010, Comments Off on Cheap Sunglasses, Uncategorized, by .

I lost my sunglasses today.   I think I know where but by the time I realized it, it was too late.

 

I stopped buying expensive sunglasses a decade ago.  I buy ‘cheap sunglasses.’

 

Of all the items in the world, designer sunglasses seem to be the most overpriced of all.  People pay $800 for a pair of sunglasses?   Is it a fashion statement?   Does it show you are so shallow that you want to be defined by your over-priced specs?   Or is it a sign of having throw-away cash?   I guess if one has the disposable cash, it is theirs to do what they wish.

 

I was a bit bummed when I realized my glasses fell out of my coat pocket.   I think it was in front of St. Patrick’s.   Oh well.   Afterall they are cheap.

 

I have to get a few new pair of shades tomorrow.

 

…”And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses”  — ZZ Top

 

…”The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades” —

 

…”I wear my sunglasses at night” —

Kindle

10.08.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Amazon is notoriously secretive about how many Kindles they have sold.   A recent analyst projects there will be 5-million sold in 2010; 7.5-million in 2011 and 11.5-million in 2012.  WOW!   It all adds up to almost 25-million Kindles in a few years.   Even if he is way over, conservative estimates have at least 15-million sold.

 

But that is just part of the market.   Kindle has an App for the iPad; the iPhone; the iTouch; Droid phones; Macs and PCs.  So basically anyone will be able to read an eBook through Kindle no matter what device you own.  That comes to hundreds of millions of views.

 

This is not a commercial for Amazon.   But they have made it very easy to read eBooks.  They continue to push publishers to add content.   They keep pushing the price of eReaders down.   The downside?  Kindle is a closed system.  To read books on Kindle, one must buy books on Kindle.  The other systems are open and don’t force a device on the reader.   Will this change?   No one knows, but I am hopeful.

 

Amazon had 93% market share a few years ago.   They essentially created the current eBook market.   They have remained steady in believing in eBooks.   Their share is down to 60-70% (although the market is much greater so their business is healthier).  With increased competition, their share will probably move south of 50%.   At that time, maybe they will open up?

 

But, regardless, it is important to do business with Kindle.  But it is also key to do business with the rest.   It is never good for one company to own the market.  Play with everyone and reap the benefits.

The Rolling Stones

09.29.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

 

Had a hard time getting started this morning.  So I set my iPod to play some Stones.   I love the blues, rock n roll, English-bent music of Mick and Keith and Charlie + .   My favorite albums come from the late 60s — when Mick Taylor joined the band (Charlie and Bill were on drums and bass).  This was after Brian Jones and before Ronnie Wood joined the band.

I find EXILE ON MAIN STREET, LET IT BLEED and STICKY FINGERS some of the best music ever.   I guess I could extend the late 60s to the early 70s and tap into SOME GIRLS and EMOTIONAL RESCUE.   I love it all.  I do listen to the later music but find myself coming back to these albums over and over.

The Rolling Stones bill themselves as “The World’s Greatest Rock n Roll Band.”   It’s hard to argue with that claim.

They have been together for 50 years.

Some of my favorite songs (in no particular order)

TUMBLING DICE

SWEET VIRGINIA

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER

GIMME SHELTER

LET IT BLEED

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT

BEAST OF BURDEN

DEAD FLOWERS

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

But I have many, many others I love to listen to.

AL playoffs – 2010

09.25.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

The American League playoffs are almost here.   There are 8-10 games left but the teams are pretty much decided.  The Rays, Yankees, Twins and Rangers.  An interseting mix for Tampa and Minnesota represent small-market teams, the Rangers a bigger market (but less rabid fans) and of course the biggest of big – New York.   MLB has always been a sport of have and have-nots.   The Yankees have been buying players (they purchased Babe Ruth from a bankrupt Red Sox owner) since the onset of the AL.   On the other hand, the Twins were almost eliminated — given the death sentence — a few years ago by the Commissioner.  Yes, the league actually tried to kill them?   Tampa is the youngest franchise and has had some success.  But their owner announced this week that he may need to dismantle the team because it is too expensive.  How can you even be a fan of the Rays with ownership like that?   Then there are the Rangers.  They were bankrupt earlier this year and had a judge decide their fate.   All I do know is HOF pitcher Nolan Ryan is somehow involved and former prez GWBush was a part owner many years ago.

So what is the point?  

Baseball is like life.

Baseball is not fair.

Life is not fair.

But even with the odds against you — you can still make the playoffs.

Loading…

09.06.2010, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

I love my iPhone.  I enjoy reading eBooks.   But I hate it when the ‘Loading…” screen comes up.  I never wait for my pBooks to “Load.”  But there are obviously many weaknesses of each format (and of course many advantadges).   I read on both formats.   This is why it is important to provide content in the format readers want to consume.

So, I hope publishers will all jump in and convert their physical assets to eBooks and digital content.   A lot of new readers can be found and authors re-discovered.   Bring on the eBooks…. but never give up on the physical ones.

“Loading…”   Could you add up all the seconds waiting?   Over a lifetime, it could be many, many days or even years.