I have a good friend who, in an attempt to look productive and important, is constantly tweeting and posting about how hard he’s hustling. Not only are his boasts painfully transparent, but sadly, his ideas about what makes someone effective are usually just plain wrong. For example, a few days ago he posted a motivational video with the following quotes:
Late at night, a red Honda Civic drives through the darkness in San Francisco. At the front hangs a trademark pink mustache, a familiar sight these days as rideshare startup Lyft takes off. But this isn't any old pink mustache. It has a golden trim around it, with LED lights shining against the car silhouette.
Inside, 36-year-old father of four, Deco Carter, mans the wheel.
Take the time to watch the video in the article above. I think what the team at MIT has developed is very innovative and quite refreshing. Seemingly they have taken a page out of sci-fi movies and brought it to life. It will be interesting to see how their robots evolve over time.
As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
In an effort to boost the movement toward goods made right here in the good old U.S. of A., Walmart is kicking off a two-day summit bringing together other retailers as well as government officials and suppliers. The goal seems to be some kind of big brainstorming session to figure out how to get more American-made products in stores and jobs back on our shores.
If creative ads are a precursor to a business turnaround, then JC Penney is poised for a roaring comeback. Take a second and watch the video. It will make your day. If JCP can get these ads in front of the right demographic via tv and the web, then who knows, maybe sales will improve. With all of the negative news surrounding JCP they could use a win, but they are going to have to earn it. Hopefully they will pull things together sooner rather than later. It is so easy to quickly destroy value. And as most of us should know, it takes quite awhile to turnaround a large corporate ship. Hopefully this ad is a sign of things to come at JCP.
For those of you who appreciate libraries, you will enjoy the photos that follow.
What’s next? Maybe I am dating myself, but I remember when DVD players ruled in terms of new consumer technology. Then it was flat screen TV’s. Apple gave birth to the smart phone and tablet revolution. So what’s next? While smart phone and tablet sales are still stellar, their growth rates have somewhat slowed. Are smart watches going to be the next big “thing” in personal technology? I make no claims to be being a technology prognosticator, but I am intrigued about what is next. Clearly there has been a lot of focus as of late on the smart watch. I have always liked watches. I don’t have a fancy collection of watches, but I do appreciate a classic watch and recently moved into the mechanical watch realm, not because of a fascination with gears, etc, but more because they look very good and more importantly keep time. With regards to smart watches, I am just not sure. I think the Pebble watch looks neat and is clearly functional, but it strikes me as more of a fashion piece. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely as fashion component to mechanical watches. But mechanical watches have an enduring aspect that I am not sure smart watches will have.
I am unsure of the key functions that will be included in forthcoming smart watches. Will the technology in these watches be enough to lure me (or more importantly the masses) to smart watches? Will smart watches be the next big thing? I may be wrong, but I don’t see smart watches having the same impact as tablets or smart phones have had. Will the embedded technology in these new toys be enough to drive change in consumer behaviors? Smartphones and tablets did. But will smart watches? How much innovative technology can you pack into a watch? Will the first or second generation of smart watches have game changing technology? I have my doubts. I may be wrong, but I don’t think smart watches are going to be the next big thing. I’ll be watching.
The article below discusses whether smart watches will lead to the decline of mechanical watches (I don’t think so). Pretty good article.
Brief, but good summary on small business start-ups and job creation. Seem as if small businesses have not yet fully recovered from the job losses endured during the recession. Additionally, the number of start-ups are below historical standards. Good, brief read for those of you with interest in this area.
Not too long ago, I walked into the hotel lobby of a well respected and some might consider high end hotel chain at 2.30am. I had just flown cross country and was somewhat tired. Upon trying to check in, I was advised that my reservation was not for Monday night (2.30am on Tuesday is considered Monday in the hotel world), but instead for Tuesday. I acknowledged the snafu on my side, but nonetheless needed a room for the night. Much to my surprise, I was informed that there were no rooms available. The only thing they could offer me was a parlor room with a pull out couch. After much conversation back and forth, the front desk attendant insisted there were no available rooms.
At this point it is close to 3am and I need to determine plan B. Before calling one of the popular hotel booking sites, I decided to call the 1-800 number of the hotel whose lobby I was standing in. Surprisingly, the reservation agent indicated that the hotel indeed had rooms and was not sure why the desk attendant couldn’t figure that out. At this point I am confused, but happy. So, I saunter over to the front desk again and meet with the attendant and the night shift manager. While the manager did provide me with a room, he would not explain how a room “magically” appeared in the matter of 15 minutes. He chalked it up to a communication issue.
While I was glad to have a room I was extremely disappointed in the service I received up until that point. Fortunately the story gets better. The overall service at the hotel was fabulous and the hotel must have some type of system where they share issues from the previous day. Upon returning to my room the next day, the GM of the hotel had left me a note with a gift and asked that I call him to discuss the issue. I did speak to the GM and he fully explained why a room “magically” appeared.
That follow up note and communication with the GM was a great example of how to rebound from lackluster customer service. Clearly the GM saw the big picture and understood the importance of customer satisfaction. If I had booked the room correctly none of this would have happened. So I accept my role. Could the front desk attendant done more? Could they have inquired more? Could they have escalated versus telling a customer “sorry” at 2.30am in the morning? Maybe. Many front line staff don’t feel empowered. Some lack empathy and some just don’t understand and or care. Hopefully it was a learning moment for all involved.