All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Do You Protect Others Better Than You Protect Yourself?

Last night my wife and I were having a conversation about things that had surprised us about each other. One thing that came up was how, when the need arises, we tend to change our demeanor up in protecting each other, as opposed to when we’re protecting or supporting ourselves.


Safety and Protection

I’m not one who raises my voice in anger. When I raise my voice, I’m usually happy in some regard. And I’m generally a very easy going guy. However, I’ve noticed what when someone or something is not treating my wife well, I don’t yell, but I do go on the attack. And I don’t play nice, something that surprised my wife because she’s noticed I usually give people a lot of leeway when it comes to messing with me, although I do try to cerebrally castigate them if I have to.

My wife has done the same for me. We’ve been in restaurants where she’s made demands on stuff that I might not like. Not that I won’t say something many times, but how I address things and how she addresses them is much different.

I noticed earlier today that our friend Sire had a comment on his blog where the guy pretty much called him an idiot. Sire responded in his normally gracious way, and the guy didn’t quite apologize, saying he likes to speak directly with people, but was glad Sire took it in the matter in which he meant it. I didn’t; I thought it was grossly inappropriate, and I decided to take up the spear and thrust it back in my own way. You’ll remember that I wrote an article on web courtesy; you come into my house, I don’t mind that you disagree with me, but you’re going to respect me. And you’re going to respect my friends in their house, unless you want to pay the bills.

Am I sensitive? Sometimes I’ll admit that. I tend to believe you teach people how to treat you, and you also treat people as you wish to be treated. I’m so thankful that everyone who has participated on this blog has shown great deportment over the years, and trust me I appreciate it. I hope I treat everyone with the utmost respect because I hope to get that back. We can disagree; I’m certainly not perfect. But there are ways we can all support our beliefs without being rude.

Kind of like customer service, eh? 🙂

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Facebook Changes And Alter Egos

Facebook has been busy lately. There’s all sorts of changes going on, some controversial, some seemingly unnecessary, and all generating a lot of buzz and noise. Let’s take a look at some of it.

The first thing they’ve done is announced that they’re going to be sharing our personal information with some of their advertising partners so those advertisers can “better serve our needs.” Frankly I don’t like this one bit, and the only thing I’m thankful for is that I have Firefox as my browser, so I have a script running that blocks almost all ads already. Still, the idea that they’re sharing my information, such as it is, with anyone else is irritating.

The difference between this and Beacon, if you remember that, is that you won’t be tracked all across the internet, which is what Beacon was going to do. So, you now have to make more decisions as to what you’re sharing on Facebook with others. I’m fairly secure; I have my business information, some stuff about books, and I occasionally post something either business related or funny; anyone tracking me isn’t going to know what to make of me.

The second thing they’ve announced is that they’ve partnered with thousands of sites to add a “Like” button somewhere on those sites. This means if you’re surfing and you see something that’s interested you or that you were intrigued by, you can click on that button and it will show up on your wall so your friends can see what you like. Once again, this is a choice you get to make, so I don’t have a major problem with that, since I can’t see this being anything I’m going to use that often. I say it that way because I’m known to go to Twitter and post links to things I’ve read that I find intriguing, so you never know. And, once again, if the partners are tracking my wall they’re going to be confused as sin.

Next, you saw my post about creating a Facebook fan page for my business a few days ago. Well, Facebook is now changing “become a fan” to “like” as well, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I’ve always cringed a little about the fan thing. However, they’re also going into what’s known as “real time search”, which means anything you hook on to or say will be immediately searchable on Google, Bing, etc. Now, your words and actions will be able to be tracked on the search engines whether or not other people are on Facebook or not; ouch! For me, I have no problem with the groups I join, but for some, joining a group with a name such as “Big Breasted Babes In England” showing up on the internet if they’ve applied for a job and HR is researching their information isn’t going to be something they’re going to be able to get away from.

What all of this has prompted is some outrage, and some people having a bit of fun at their expense. Has anyone checked out Lamebook, the Facebook parody site? There’s over 100,000 people who are following it; just amazing. If you look at it, you’ll notice that it has a couple of things that are also on Facebook, such as “comment” and “like”, but it has something else called “dislike”. It turns out that many people are wishing Facebook would add a Dislike button, and indeed this guy has created an application for Firefox called Facebook Dislike Button. What people will think of, right?

What’s my opinion? We can’t be surprised anymore by some of the things Facebook is doing. They deserve to make money, and they’re still not going to a paid model like Ning. If they’re sharing your information with advertisers, well, if you put stupid stuff on there that’s on you. Something I’m surprised about is how many websites you can go to where they’ll allow you to sign into your Facebook account to comment, and even if you haven’t signed in if you’ve signed in on your browser and haven’t signed out, you visit sites and you’ll see people who are your friends on there and what they’re saying in their news stream, as well as other Facebook people who have intentionally signed in to comment on something on the page you’re on. In other words, we’re already being tracked to some degree, and we didn’t even get to see any terms of service on it.

So it goes; how are you liking social media?

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

What’s The Problem With Palm?

So, what’s the problem with Palm, the company that brought us all the first real personal digital assistant? I remember back in the early 2000’s when everyone wanted one and needed one; now, you can’t even give away the Palm Pre, their version of a smartphone, and you can’t give away the company either.

This might make me a dinosaur among many of you, but I love having a Palm. Well, I love having one that works anyway. I got my first Palm back in 2001 when my dad first started getting really sick, and I realized I didn’t have any information with me if I were out of town and didn’t have access to my computer, since I didn’t have a laptop back then. Strangely enough, each of my parents had a Palm, way ahead of the game back in the day, but they were traveling a lot and, like me, wanted access to all sorts of information while on the go.

At a certain point in 2005, Palm went in the wrong direction, and that’s probably when things started to fall apart. I actually bought the latest Palm at the time, a heavy monster with a 4GB hard drive that was using technology that no one else was even working on, and that technology was unwieldy and, it seems, unnecessary. Everyone else who was in the PDA game was moving towards cellphone technology instead.

What ended up happening is the fancy Palm, which I actually had to replace twice in one year, just couldn’t support itself, and the entire company started tanking, even though Palm had slightly downsized its expectations and come out with the Palm T/X, which I ended up buying. Palm came into the cellphone game late, and its entry, the Pre, has never caught on.

Now word is that Palm has been trying to find someone to buy the company, but not only are there no takers, but many of the top brass have flown the coop. The guy who oversaw software and services, senior vice president Michael Abbott, is jumping to Twitter, which still hasn’t figured out how to make money off themselves; that says something to me. Palm’s stock price is dropping, 12% on Monday alone. At the beginning of the year Palm estimated it would have $1.7 billion in sales in 2010, but the first quarter only came in around $150 million; ain’t gonna happen.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what this means for me. I don’t know that any of the smartphones that are out there do what my Palm does, the way I want it done. I don’t know if there are any other PDAs on the market. I purchased a refurbished Palm T/X 10 days ago to replace mine, which lasted 2 good years, and I just sent it back today because suddenly last night the screen decided it didn’t want to play anymore; so much for refurbished stuff, although the guy said he would repair it for me.

Oh yeah, I did try to get the one I have repaired, but they said it was past the time and said I had to buy a new one, around $399, and I balked at that because the original only cost me $130; weasels!

What do I need? Here’s my deal. The main thing is I want something I can sync with my computer and laptop so that I never lose all of my information. I like my calendar feature. I like having my entire address book, with email addresses, birthdays, and any other information I want to add with me. I like setting all sorts of alarms to remind me of stuff (like today, without my Palm, I forgot I had something on the stove for over an hour, and luckily the smoke detector finally went off). The Palm can access wi-fi areas (I don’t have to pay for internet service), can play MP3 files, I can customize its look, I can take my Word or Excel files with me, I can read Adobe files, and it also came with some of the Franklin Covey things I like that let you talk about your values and goals and the like.

So, if you can recommend something that does all of that, I’d be interested. Oh yeah; I don’t want a phone if I don’t have to have one, and I don’t want to have to spend $500 for one either (though I’ll own up to paying almost $700 for the Palm that didn’t end up working out for me; never again). Information please!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Ning Is Dead; Well Not Quite…

Ning is a social media site where people can create groups and invite people in to talk about tons of different topics. Of course, just because something seems like a good idea doesn’t mean it will work, and I wrote about my disappointment in Ning back in January after being a part of it for what I consider a long time.

This weekend is was announced that Ning will no longer be free, at least for people who create groups, and probably for people who still want to participate with them. I say “probably” because Ning hasn’t announced yet how they’re going to do things. What they did say is that 75% of their users are already paying for the service in some fashion, so they’re just consolidating the other 25%.

Based on comments I’ve seen on both their blog and other forums, that 75% figure seems to be a great exaggeration. Not only that, but they’re announcing these changes at the same time that they’re cutting staff. All of this comes with the new CEO of Ning, Jason Rosenthal, and was pretty much outed by an employee through a letter Rosenthal sent to all of them. Seems they don’t much like it either, obviously. I read a copy of the letter on the Ning site Property Tribes, but since I’m expecting it to not be there all that much longer, since this guy is a VP of the company and, by posting the letter could have potentially messed up his employment there, here’s a copy of the letter, which is all over the place by now:

Team,

When I became CEO 30 days ago, I told you I would take a hard look at our business. This process has brought real clarity to what’s working, what’s not, and what we need to do now to make Ning a big success.

My main conclusion is that we need to double down on our premium services business. Our Premium Ning Networks like Friends or Enemies, Linkin Park, Shred or Die, Pickens Plan, and tens of thousands of others both drive 75% of our monthly US traffic, and those Network Creators need and will pay for many more services and features from us.

So, we are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning. We will judge ourselves by our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale. And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy.

As a consequence of this change, I have also made the very tough decision to reduce the size of our team from 167 people to 98 people. As hard as this is to do, I am confident that this is the right decision for our company, our business, and our customers. Marc and I will work diligently with everyone affected by this to help them find great opportunities at other companies.

I’ve never seen a more talented and devoted team, and it has been my privilege to get to know and work with each and every one of you over the last 18 months.

We’ll use today to say goodbye to our friends and teammates who will be leaving the company. Tomorrow, I will take you through, in detail, our plans for the next three months and our new focus.

Thanks,
Jason Rosenthal

Doesn’t sound good to me. I can’t even say “good riddance”, since I cared little for it anyway. Your thoughts?

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Why I Created A Facebook Fan Page

After over a year of thinking about it, I finally created my first Facebook fan page. Actually, officially Facebook has moved away from the term “fan” and just calls is a Facebook page. I like that also because thinking about having people become “fans” of mine, rather asking them to do it, just seemed so narcissistic; definitely not normally my style. Anyway, it’s under the name of my business site, so if you’re on Facebook and would like to take a look, check out T. T. Mitchell Consulting, Inc, which is my main business name.

Why did I create this page? After all, I’ve had to think about it for so long that you’d think anything I had to basically convince myself to do that I probably would walk away from it. That’s my normal pattern, for sure.

Truthfully, it was an impulse decision. There was some research and thought over all this time, and the truth is that I’m now looking to push all aspects of my business just a bit further than I already have. After all, with my other site, I talk about helping businesses find ways to maximize their online presence. Turns out that, for SEO purposes, creating a page to link to your business is more effective than creating a group page. I don’t know why, but there’s some history out there, so it makes some sense. Kind of like some folks and Squidoo pages.

However, Squidoo just doesn’t work for me personally; can’t really say why. I wasn’t sure Facebook would work for me either, but I have more than 300 friends there, or do I believe, and that’s more than I would have on Squidoo.

I also know you’re probably remembering what I had to say about Facebook group pages, but since the focus is much different, and what I’ll be doing is much different, I don’t really need participation on that page as much as people just seeing what’s going on with me.

What do you do? You go to a page like this, where it tells you what you’ll be getting, kind of, and then there’s a link that says “create a page.” You click that, and follow the instructions, which is to answer a few questions, and you’re on your way.

Okay, that’s not quite it. I wasn’t sure what to do with my page once it was first created because unlike a group, you can’t just start writing all sorts of stuff in free form. Groups aren’t supposed to be for advertising purposes anyway, and since pages are, they’re trying to keep you in some kind of format. What did I do? I contacted one of my friends, Shirley Frazier of Solo Business Marketing, for some assistance.

Basically, what she said was to add all my business and product links to the page so people would know what to follow and look at if they came to the page. Also, you can write something on your wall, and I also wrote a message in the discussion area. I’ve told people they can write comments, ask questions in the discussion area, and I’ll answer whatever I can. I added all my business links, which consisted of three websites and 3 blogs. I have other sites, but I’m not considering any of those business related, per se, so I won’t be adding those. I added a link to my newsletter page and my books and CD, and samples of my articles.

Then, instead of doing a blast out to all my friends, which just didn’t feel right for me to do, I wrote on my status wall that I’d created it and asked people to take a look. Yeah, I know, I get tons of page suggestions all the time, but I just didn’t want to do that back to anyone. My friend Kelvin says I’m not thinking like a business marketer, since I am talking about my business, and he’s probably right, but so be it. I’m writing about it here, I put it on Twitter, and I’ll put it on LinkedIn, and I think that’ll be enough.

Anyway, I hope you check it out, if you’re on Facebook; thanks.