Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wedding Gifts as Memory Creators

I will admit, I don’t usually put much thought into wedding gifts. My philosophy is “either buy from the registry or give cash.”

That’s what people usually really need when they are starting out.

But, the other day, my friend and former running partner, Robyn, sent me a note to challenge this belief.

“I keep thinking of you and NFO, because you gave us some lovely trays as a wedding gift, "to serve each other." 

We use them all the time and, lately, our younger daughter has taken to using them to surprise someone in the family with breakfast in bed.  With reciprocation, this has generated quite a few different breakfasts in bed for different members of the family, all on the trays that you gave to us. 

It is nice to see Hilary's delight at giving the simple gift of a cup of coffee and a bowl of Cheerios on a tray, or receiving breakfast on a tray herself.  Anyways, this new "tradition" that Hilary has started for our family struck me as very much in the spirit of the gift that you gave to us, so I thought that you might like to hear about it.”

Now, it’s possible that these were on Robyn’s wedding registry, but obviously the note that accompanied it (undoubtedly written by the NFO) lodged itself in Robyn’s mind…and though we haven’t seen each other in a LONG time, still serves as a bond.

Maybe towels aren’t the way to go?

What is your wedding gift philosophy?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This Commercial Made Me Cry….

and that’s why I am telling you about the video.

What I love about it is that they realized, “we’re not in the gum business, we’re in the storytelling business.”

If you get people to connect emotionally with your brand, no matter what you sell, it’s going to help.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Son in the Future

I have a pretty good relationship with Paco.

He’s a sweet boy. Charming. A wonderful smile. Mischievous to the point of being cute.

A great athlete. A great sports companion. He’s 8. His innocence is eternal and refreshing.

I do my best to cherish it.

For example, you know what he wants from me on his birthday?

A 1:1 drive along the length of an entire avenue named for one of the states.

Last year, we did all of Connecticut Avenue. This year, all of Massachusetts Ave.

We saw it change from urban to suburban. From commercial to Embassy Row to residential.

I took a “mental snapshot” and savored it.

In fact, he did me proud as we drove home and were instructed by the NFO to pick up one item at the store.

She told us it was at Shopper’s which wasn’t quite on the path. The Safeway was, but she didn’t know if the item was there.

I said to Paco, “ok, buddy, we have a choice. We can go to Safeway and take a chance. If it’s there, we save time and get home sooner. If not, we lose time and have to go to Shopper’s.”

You know what he said?

“Go Big or Go Home!”

So we went to Safeway…it wasn’t there, but we didn’t care.

I thought of all of this tonight as I read an article I saw on Facebook about a dad trying to relate to his teenage son.

It gave me a “flashforward” to a day in the future when my boy may not want to talk or play with me. When I’ll be an irritation to him.

I know it is part of the rite of passage. Of separation. Of preparing for life without me.

What’s the word for pre-emptive nostalgia?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Another Business Disruption

bwi 1

If it’s happening to cab drivers, it can happen to anyone.

Customers-in aggregate-now have more power than the businesses.

The Backstory

At BWI rail station, cabs wait to pounce on stranded or time-constrained passengers, charging exorbitant fees to take advantage of a stressful situations.

It’s cause for resentment, but what can you do?

Disruption Awakening

While waiting to pick up a colleague, I started to chat with some of the cabbies and the talk turned to their business practices, how they decided what to charge whom.

“You know that you guys have a pretty bad reputation, right?”bwi 2

They looked surprised.

I pulled out my phone and showed them my recent Foursquare check-in, where the tips frequently discussed how to deal with the predatory cab practices.

They were floored. “What’s the name of this app? I need to download it.”

It Is Happening to Everyone

EVERY organization and every industry deals with people. Those people have a voice that can be heard everywhere and at zero marginal cost.

NOT hearing the voice and engaging in a conversation with it leads down a lonely path.

Note: Sprinklr integrates with Foursquare so large companies can see who is checking-in and connect that information with the same person’s behavior on other social networks. In that way, they know if someone checks in at a store, it is the same person who tweeted last week about loving sweaters (or whatever it might be. You get the picture.)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Meeting That Took 5 Years…Brought to you by Social Networking

Every now and then, with all of the excitement that surrounds the potential for social media in business, politics, etc., you forget what makes it so amazingly powerful.

Creating and solidifying connections between people.

It’s so simple. And it’s at the core of al the potential, but it gets lost in terms like “reach” and “engagement.”

The other day, however, I had a moment that brought me back, reminding me of the inherent beauty of the democratization of communication.

Five years ago, my friend Tom Harshbarger said, “there’s a guy you need to meet. His name is Brent Leary.”

Since then, Brent and I connected in many ways…email, phone, text, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, podcast interviews, Google+, Foursquare…you get the picture.

But, we had never actually met in person.

Until August 27th, 2013.

I gave Brent the heads up that I would be in Atlanta and he joined me for the event. Here is the video commemorating the moment and serving as the reminder of why he and I are so passionate about not just the technologies, but the possibilities they offer.