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Month: July 2010

The Roadside Tamale Man

The other day I finally did it—I actually stopped at one of the little roadside stands with the tiny cardboard sign that says “tamales 4 sale.” As soon as I pulled up, the older hispanic guy who had been napping and listening to salsa music on the radio opened his car door and waved at me. I rolled my window down: “Hola Señor! Tu tiene tamales? Quantos cuestan?”   “Oh… you speaka Spanish?? Where you learna Spanish my friend?” “Mi clase de espanol en colegio, y me trabajo.” “Ahh…. Vetty good!” I bought a half dozen tamales and a beef burrito. Then I handed him a twenty. “Tiene cambio señor?”  “Sí. I tengo.” “Gracias muchacho.” I took my change, put the car in reverse, got back on the road and went home. I was happy I bought them, and he was happy to see me. My Spanish isn’t great (clearly), but I can’t even explain how happy they are simply because you’ve tried. Try it sometime. Make the roadside tamale man smile. You’ll smile yourself...

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Apple’s iPhone 4 Press Conference

I’m a big fan of Apple. Almost everything about the company is noteworthy. Steve Jobs is the consummate CEO for a tech company. Their products are second to none. Their approach to packaging and product design is revolutionary. They’re consistently ranked in the top 3 of every consumer satisfaction survey (including Consumer Reports). The iPhone is the coolest phone ever made. In short, Apple is awesome. That’s my opinion, and that’s been my experience. For some people however, Apple is a company to hate. They don’t like Apple as a company, they don’t like Apple’s products, and they don’t like it when Apple succeeds. This has always confounded me. I don’t understand why one person wants to interfere with another person’s happiness with a product. Who cares, really? If I go to Target and buy a Cuisinart Toaster, are there Cuisinart haters who can’t stand to see me buy it, and don’t want me to be happy with my purchase? Probably not, so why do some people despise Apple? It’s completely illogical, and it’s awfully judgmental. If I go to Target and buy a Cuisinart Toaster, are there Cuisinart haters who can’t stand to see me buy it, and don’t want me to be happy with my purchase? A few weeks ago, right after the release of the iPhone 4—which is apparently Apple’s best-selling product in their entire history—Apple...

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Book Review: Purple Cow by Seth Godin

After hearing all about it for so long, I finally bought “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin. Seth is one of the few marketing “experts” that I actually like to listen to. There’s a lot of information out there, and an most of it is pretty bad. Most marketing “experts” really aren’t experts at all–they’re just overhyped salesmen hawking a program or system they’ve created. So when I actually find someone that gives me valuable information and isn’t trying to get me to sign up for arecurring monthly auto-debit from my bank account, I’m listening....

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Understanding Your Internet Bill

I got a letter in the mail from my internet service provider last week. Inside it was my bill. Also inside it was a tri-fold brochure called “Understanding Your Bill.” I noticed two strange things about this. First, their bill is so complicated that they have to send me a brochure explaining how to understand it. Second, the brochure intended to make my bill easier to understand, was, itself, hard to understand. So instead of making the process easier and more streamlined, they just made my life more complicated by forcing me to read more information to help to decipher the already-cryptic bills I get each month. And those instructions were actually worse than no instructions at all. I threw it away. What’s the point? If you’re going to make a bill easy to understand, do it. Use fewer words. Group items. Use charts or graphs to help people visualize their usage. Now that would help me to understand what’s really going with my bill, and where all the ridiculous fees I’m paying each month go...

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The Annoying Front Door Guy At Best Buy

I went to Best Buy last week, and walked in the door at my normal, slightly-brisk walking pace. I had some spring in my step, but I wasn’t walking abnormally fast. The automatic glass door opened up, and I entered the building. I saw the guy in the yellow shirt at the front door who checks people as they exit. He was typing on his little computer and talking to another employee standing there with him. I starting walking to the video camera section. I was probably 25 feet inside the store at this point, and it’s only then that he looks up and says “hello sir, how are you doing?” I didn’t even try to pivot awkwardly and swing around to respond to his hurried greeting–I just kept walking. I have nothing against Best Buy in general, but they have been doing this for years. I have no idea why they make the front-door-security-camera-guy welcome people. Every Best Buy has one like him. He’s never paying attention, and his manner of carelessly tossing out an obligatory greeting to my backside after it’s too late is annoying and pointless. Why don’t they either make him stand in front of the door and welcome visitors quickly and politely, or let him keep quiet? I bring this up for two reasons: 1) because this bothers me every time I visit Best...

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