Sometimes It’s The Simple Answer

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy. I accumulate a lot of information and knowledge, which helps me in many areas. Unfortunately, I often recognize that one can think of themselves as being so intelligent that they can do some of the dumbest things. I have two stories for you.


Simplicity
by Niklas Plessing

The first involves my car. I noticed one evening when I came home that the light on the roof of my car didn’t come on when I opened the door. That freaked me out because it’s pretty dark in my garage in the evening and we don’t have a light in there. I determined the next morning that I was going to figure out what the problem was.

I got my tools, went to the car, got out the manual and went to work. I knew where the fuses were, so I pulled out the pliers so I could grab those fuses and went to work. In about 30 minutes I’d looked at half the fuses, those that I thought addressed the light issue, and I couldn’t find a thing wrong. At that point I determined that maybe the bulb had blown; I didn’t test that first because I don’t have any replacement bulbs had that been the case.

The thing is, I’ve had my car about 4 years now, and truthfully I don’t know where everything is inside. I got in, started driving, and I only look at stuff when something strikes my mind. I look up at the light and I notice there are 3 buttons there; I’d never seen any of these before. None of them were pushed in, but one of them said “lamp”. I pushed that one in and the light came on. I closed the door and it started dimming like it’s supposed to do. I opened the door and it worked again; ugh! All that time when all I had to do was push a button. No idea how it got turned off, but there you go; it’s worked ever since.

A few days ago I went to a friend’s house because she had a computer problem. I didn’t remember what the problem was until I got there and she told me again, but I’d brought all my tools and some programs to check the sucker out, just in case I needed them.

She said there was no sound and that they’d been missing it for almost 2 months. I picked up the speakers, cheap Dell speakers, and they looked fine. I checked the connection behind the computer; all was good. I checked all the volume controls on the computer and made sure everything was turned all the way up.

Then I opened up Windows Media Player and started up a song. I heard something, and it was one of the songs playing. But the sound was really weak. I went to a different song and we could hear it, but it was low. We went through all the processes again, and the sound was still low for everything. We opened her iTunes and played a couple of songs there also; same problem.

However, the sound seemed to have increased in some fashion; that was odd. I looked at the speakers again. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t any type of volume control on them; who ever heard of speakers without volume control in today’s world. Then I took a good look at both speakers. One of them had a raised part that the other one didn’t. I thought the volume control might be under that, so I grabbed the one speaker and tried lifting it up. It wouldn’t come off, but the volume went up. I realized that was the volume control; duh! I had once again taken almost 30 minutes to figure out a problem that could have been solved in less than a minute. These folks, however, hadn’t figured it out in 2 months, so at least I was better than they were.

All of this reminds me of the apocryphal story of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The U.S. was trying to figure out how to write in space, so they spent millions working on technology for pens to work in zero gravity. The Soviets used a pencil; problem solved.

Sometimes the correct answer is sitting there in front of us and we miss it. Of course, that’s not as funny as going through the rest of the steps, but it would save some time. Something to think about on a rainy Wednesday; at least it is here.

SanDisk Sansa 4 GB Flash MP3 Player – Blue






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

A Story Showing The Power Of Blogging And Twitter

Yesterday turned into a very interesting live lesson in the Syracuse area. In the end, it showed how powerful both Twitter and blogging can be, and how important reputation management is in today’s social media environment.


Twitter Unfiltered
by Creative Carrot

Here are the quick points of what happened; if you want to see more details on it, here’s the link. Someone went to a local grocery store which is part of a major chain in the area. That person saw something that irritated them enough that they decided to send a quick post on Twitter about it along with a picture of what they were complaining about. A representative from said company decided they didn’t like it, and went to the extreme position of calling the employer to complain about what this person had done, saying that it could affect relations between both companies. Strangely enough, turns out there weren’t any business connections between the two, but can you imagine someone trying to get you fired for complaining about something at their business?

When the person who had complained to begin with found out about it, he contacted a friend of his to ask for advice. Turns out the friend is not only a professor at the local university, but also has a lot of connections. The friend wrote the blog post I’ve linked to above, and then that post showed up on Twitter.

From that point, if you know anything about Twitter you know what happened. Many people retweeted the post and it pretty much went viral. I retweeted the post as well, but I included the company’s Twitter account in mine, trying to make sure the company saw it. Many people went to the blog in support of both the writer and his friend. Oddly enough, there a few people who supported the company, believing that the writer of the blog had jumped the gun without knowing all the facts. Of course he knew all the facts, as any educated person would, and some of us defended what he did as a legitimate thing.

Eventually someone from the company contacted the person who wrote the blog and they started a dialogue. The company then posted something on the blog saying that they had no idea that anyone from the company had done such a thing and that they were going to investigate it. Later it turned out that someone who worked at the company but didn’t have the authority had done this act, which confirmed it had been done, and both the company and the person who did it apologized on the blog. They even wrote me and probably a few other people who had sent them the message to ask us to go back to the blog to see their response. If the company hadn’t been on Twitter, who knows the damage that could have been done to their reputation before they had a chance to address it.

All in all I found it very interesting study, even if it wasn’t supposed to be one, of the power of Twitter in getting a message out, the power of blogging in explaining what the issue is, and then the power of Twitter in addressing something that’s known as “reputation management”. Though this company is a local chain, they’re the number three company in the area, and could ill afford alienating a whole group of people with the knowledge of social media. This campaign even drew the attention of a couple of local media celebrities, although it didn’t end up on TV; I know because I looked for it. It did make the newspaper though.

At a meeting today where I had the opportunity to showcase my business, I mentioned this story without naming the company. A few people gasped when they heard it, and I had some people come up to me after the event who wanted to talk bit more about it. If folks didn’t understand how social media marketing could help them in some fashion, including the concept of blogging, they got it now. Also today, the person who wrote the blog used it in one of his classes as an example of the power and dangers of social media.

The power of blogging and the power of Twitter; it can be an amazing thing.

Acer 24 Widescreen LCD Display

Acer 24″ Widescreen LCD Display






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Mitch Mitchell

Count Per Day Plugin

One of the people I write for had this WordPress plugin on his site that I hadn’t noticed until relatively recently, and I thought it would be interesting to run it at least for a little while to compare it to Google Analytics.

It’s called Count Per Day, and it’s creator, I believe, must be German, since you initially will see German on the site, but if you scroll down you’ll see it in English as well. Anyway, what it does is give you all sorts of stats about your blog, similar to Analytics, except it’s real time. In other words, if I left the blog for 3 hours and came back to look at the stats, they’d be different, even if only slightly. Well, that’s assuming I had visitors of course.

I wanted to see if the numbers I got from Count Per Day would be much different than what I get from Analytics. Strange as it always seems to me, you get different numbers from different places even though they’re supposedly looking at the same thing. I stopped looking at the numbers from my host because they just seemed, well, overwhelming when compared to that Feedburner box you see on the right side there. Analytics seems to make more sense, but every once in awhile it goes wonky; no idea why.

Since I installed it on September 9th, I decided to do a comparison from that point. Since it’s a live plugin, I know the numbers won’t match totally, but if they’re close then it’s all good. Count Per Day, which I’m now going to call CPD, shows I’ve had 6,211 visitors since September 9th; Analytics says I’ve had 1,119. I’m thinking that’s a pretty drastic difference. CPD shows I had 516 visits yesterday, Sunday; Analytics says 80. Already this isn’t going all that well.

Let’s look at some individual posts. Both show that my post on cleavage is still my most visited post, but CPD says it’s been visited 845 times since the 9th, while Analytics says it’s been visited 460 times. After that there’s no agreement on the rest of the top 10 at all, and I mean which posts have been visited the most by whom.

Am I confused? Absolutely! But who do I believe, and what to make of it? Man, I wish I knew. My mind tends to believe Analytics more than CPD. I keep thinking if I were actually getting the number of visitors the plugin tells me I’m getting that I’d almost have to be generating more income from this blog than I do. At the very least I should have way more subscribers to my RSS feed than I have with those kinds of numbers.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the plugin, especially if I’m not believing the numbers. My ego loves them, but the logical part of my mind doesn’t trust them. If you want to give it a try and see if your numbers are closer to reality, go for it.

Money Machine







Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2012 Mitch Mitchell

We Are The World, Revisited

A couple of days ago I was walking on the track at the gym when a song came on the MP3 player that gave me chills. Even though the anniversary was in January, 25 years ago the song We Are The World came out, with the intention of helping to feed and take care of people in Africa who were going through one of the worst famines in history. Unfortunately, many of them are still going through it, but that doesn’t mean this effort was wasted.

As I listened to this song my mind went back to remembering the day that song was released, along with the video, and all the star power that got together to create that bad boy. There was something that was almost like it before, the Do They Know It’s Christmas song in the UK, but when it came to true music power, the second song couldn’t be touched. And Bob Geldof, who had started the UK movement, was there as well.

Of course it had to be written by my boy Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones. I remember watching the “making of” video also, where the proclamation “leave your egos at the door” was posted. And it would have been easy for many people in that room to assume they were the stars of the event, even Michael Jackson, but I’ve always believed that no one but Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones could have gotten all those people together after the American Music Awards, which I watched, not knowing these people were getting together later that evening and, for many hours, were putting this thing together.

Okay, here’s some stats for you to prove my point on just how special this gathering was:

Michael Jackson – Please!

Lionel Richie – ASCAP award, 4 Grammys, an Oscar, Image Award, Gershwin Prize, 13 American Music Awards (AMA), Golden Globe, 4 People’s Choice Awards

Stevie Wonder – 3 ASCAP awards, an Oscar, BAFTA award, Golden Globe, TV Land award, 25 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Rock Hall of Fame, Billboard Century Award, Gershwin Prize

Paul Simon – 12 Grammys, 2 AMA’s, inducted twice into the Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honor, 39 BMI Awards

Kenny Rogers – 3 Grammys, 10 Country Music Association awards, 13 American Music Awards

Tina Turner – 8 Grammys, Hall of Fame

Billy Joel – 6 honorary doctorates, 5 Grammys, 1 Tony, 1 AMA, Hall of Fame

Diana Ross – 6 AMAs, 2 Grammys, 1 Golden Globe, 1 Tony, 1 NAACP award, Billboard female entertainer of century (twice!), Kennedy Center award, Hall of Fame

Dionne Warwick – 5 Grammys, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards (induction of songs performed by the artist), 1st People’s Choice Award for best female singer, NAACP Image Award, 1 AMA, 1 Billboard, ASCAP Lifetime Achievement and Heroes Award, Songwriters Hall of Fame

Willie Nelson – 12 Grammys, 7 Country Music Awards, 7 AMAs, 5 Academy of Country Music awards, TNN Music City News Minnie Pearl Award & Living Legend Award, Country Music Hall of Fame

Al Jarreau – 7 Grammys, 2 NAACP awards

Bruce Springsteen – 20 Grammys, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 1 Oscar, Hall of Fame, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honors

Kenny Loggins – 1 Grammy

Daryl Hall & John Oates – 3 AMA’s, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Huey Lewis – 5 AMAs, 2 Grammys

Cyndi Lauper – 2 AMA, 1 Grammy, 1 MTV Video Award

Kim Carnes – 2 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Bob Dylan – 11 Grammys, 6 Grammys, 2 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, Rock Hall of Fame, 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe, 2 honorary doctorates, Songwriter’s, Kennedy Honors, Pulitzer

Ray Charles – 17 Grammys, 6 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, R&B Foundation Hall of Fame, National Medal of Arts, Jazz Hall of Fame, Polar Music Prize

Harry Belafonte – 4 Grammy’s, Emmy, Kennedy Award, Hollywood Film Award, Tony, National Medal or Arts, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, BET Humanitarian Award, Impact Award

Bob GeldofKnighthood, Freeman of the Borough of Swale, Beacon Fellowship Prize, Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, North-South Prize, Free Your Mind Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards, Man of Peace Award, Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award by Holocaust Museum in Houston, Cinema for Peace Pioneer Award, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal from Vanderbilt University for his humanitarian efforts, Lifetime Achievement Award from ROTA.

Waylon Jennings – 4 CMAs, 2 Grammy’s, 1 ACM, Country Hall of Fame, ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award

Bette Midler – 4 Grammys, 3 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes, 9 American Comedy Awards, 2 People’s Choice, Ruby Award, Tony, Crystal Awards

Smokey Robinson – 3 Grammys, Soul Train Heritage Award for Career Achievement, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, National Medal of Arts

Man, it just doesn’t get any better than that, and I left people out who have won other awards. We Are The World was the top selling single in history with more than 20 million copies sold and it raised $63 million for famine relief, and it’s presently the 5th best selling single. It won 3 Grammys, an American Music Award and a People’s Choice award. The video for the song won a Grammy as well.

And now, We Are The World:


https://youtu.be/9AjkUyX0rVw

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2016 Mitch Mitchell

How To Evaluate When It’s Time To End Something

I used to write two newsletters for my business, one on employee topics, the other on health care finance topics. I started writing both of them in February of 2003, and in some fashion I’ve kept up with them over all this time.


Stress Relief by Cassidy Curtis

A few weeks ago, I finally decided it was time to end the health care newsletter. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, yet when all was said and done I knew it was the right time to end it. There are many people who post these things saying that one should never quit and give anything up, because success is just around the corner. How one decided to measure success is up to them, but I tend to believe that there are times when you’re beating your head against a wall in some fashion, and at that point it’s time to give up the ghost, take your ball and go home.

Still, even though I say it’s up to each individual, there should be a series of steps one takes before deciding to give it all up. That includes anything you do in life, including divorce, changing jobs, having children, getting married, or rooting against any sports team I support. With that in mind, here are those steps, with my mentioning how I came to my decision.

1. Determine how much passion you still have for it. If you’re just going through the motions with something you either need to figure out how to refresh it or get away from it because it can be quite a brain drain. I pretty much lost the passion on writing about health care finance issues and topics on a regular basis. Those articles took awhile to research and write, and I kept trying to figure out what I could write about that was new and fresh, and kept failing.

2. Determine the time you spend thinking about it as opposed to working on it. When couples are getting ready to separate, they start spending less time with each other, or dreading much of the time they’re together, even if they’re able to enjoy moments together. In my case I started out writing that newsletter every six weeks, and it started pushing itself to every 4 or 5 months. That just wasn’t going to get it done.

3. Determine if you’re getting out of it what you want to get out of it. Some jobs are just stepping stones to something bigger and better, and at a certain point you might recognize that you can’t progress where you are and want something better. In my case, I reached the high number of 60 subscribers for that newsletter and then it pretty much stagnated, ranging only between 50 to 55 subscribers after awhile.

4. Determine if your efforts can support whatever actions you can put into it. Many people have children they then have problems supporting. Other couples will talk about it up front and may decide to push things back until their situation is better. In my case I had to weigh if I was generating any income out of it at all, or even any interest in what I was writing. On the first part nothing whatsoever; on the second, I actually got it into many health care magazines and newsletters around the country, some national, and I thought that might help me in some fashion, even if it generated a few calls. It didn’t, and other than a few links here and there, I didn’t feel I ever got any real benefit out of it.

5. Determine if there’s any other way you could handle things to keep it going. Years ago there was a guy on Dr. Phil who had to be convinced that a product he was still trying to market 7 years after he’d created it just wasn’t marketable, and was probably obsolete. He hadn’t even made 100 sales of his product, yet has cleared out his life savings first mass producing the things, then trying all kinds of marketing for the item. He couldn’t think of anything he hasn’t tried, and Dr. Phil convinced him it was time to move on. In my case this particular newsletter was kind of unique, in that no one else was writing anything like it, though some were writing things close to it. I didn’t have another way to market it, I wasn’t making any money off it, and it was taking my thinking and production time away from those things that were actually bringing in money.

All 5 of these factors led me to give it up. I don’t see it as a failure, though, because I have enough content there to put together a book if I so choose to do some years down the line, and those particular concepts are timeless. And I only heard from two people when I ended it, which pretty much told me almost no one was going to miss it. Now we’re all at peace, and I can be more useful in other areas, such as writing this blog.

Don’t ever take giving something up lightly, especially if you’ve put your soul into it. Realize, though, that sometimes the best way to move forward is to drop the baggage holding you back.

fitnessem Boddi Ball - Scented Stress Balls

Boddi Ball – Scented Stress Balls






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell