Monday, 30 January 2006

Save Your Customers A 39 Cent Annoyance

Ironically, since the USPS raised the postage for a first-class letter to 39 cents, I’ve found myself with more outgoing mail.

Both Netflix and my bank provide postage paid envelopes for my correspondence with them. So, it surprises and annoys me when I have to hunt down a stamp for things far more important than my latest DVD rental.

39 cents.

A trivial amount to bring a little joy to your customers and better guarantee timely replies.

Saturday, 28 January 2006

First Crack 72. Cleaning House and Moving Forward

Listen to Cleaning House and Moving Forward [15 min]

Friday, 27 January 2006

Public Information Shouldn’t Require a Subpeona

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately.

I consider all my web searches, this post – and generally anything that’s not email or an instant messsage – public.

Now, I’m cool with 1 million random results from the index being handed over to the government under one single condition – anyone, anyone at all, a PhD candidate, a 6th grader, a homeless political candidate – request and receive the same information.

Yes. In the same way I feel all the security cameras on Nicollet Avenue should be accessible via a web browser by the general public – any of you should be able to request the same information. Outside of quantity – I’m not sure how this is different than Google’s Zeitgeist.

Actually, the fact we don’t have easy access to this information seems like a public disservice.

We’re Selling Our House in St. Anthony Village, MN

We’re starting the listing at $189,900 and if you’re interested drop Sam a line.

With New Front Door

This place just isn’t big enough for the 3 of us. So, we’re moving on. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know the backyard is great for watching movies off the laptop and recording podcasts. Bamboo flooring on the first floor, new carpeting upstairs, brand new stainless steel fridge, gas range, and dishwasher. Furnace and water heater less than 5 years old. There’s a little more than 700 sq ft on the main level. Yes, the single Linksys wi-fi router easily covers the house and backyard.

The house is on the high school marching band’s parade route and 2 blocks from the 4th of July parade route. Plus, we had an amazing vegetable garden along the east side of the house.

Other neat details: Huge lot (60*130), 5 miles NE of downtown Minneapolis. Between The Quarry and Silver Lake shopping centers. Lots of parks, a coffee shop, and a liquor store within walking distance. 1-car detached garage with second parking spot behind house. Easy freeway access.

It’ll officially go on the market on Monday any day now, so consider this a sneak preview. If you’re interested, drop me a line and I’ll forward you to our agent.

More Photos:
After Dining Room 2 After Kitchen After Living Room

Monday, 23 January 2006

End-troducing the Garrick Van Forum

UPDATE: 19 Oct 2007, I’ve pulled the forum. Maybe it’ll come back later, but right now, it didn’t fit right.

WordPress’ comment threading aren’t the best place for support questions and ongoing discussion (just look at the comment thread for wp-ipodcatter). It’s too hard to see if someone has already asked your question and to see if it was answered.

With that in mind, I’ve installed bbPress, the bulletin board/discussion/forum software from the makers of WordPress. All ongoing discussion about the podcasts and plugin will be located in the Garrick Van Buren .com Forum.

The appropriate links have been added to the pages in question.

Rock on.

Yes, feel free to rant about me Behind my Back.

Anyone Know How to Read the Treo PhoneCallDB.pdb?

Before I got the Treo, I had a SonyEricsson that worked real nicely with BluePhoneElite and my PowerBook.

Sure, Caller ID and answering the phone from the laptop was nice, but what I really miss is the integration w/ iCal.

Since the Treo keeps a record of the phone calls and their duration and backs it up to my PowerBook on sync, it seems I could read the PhoneCallDB file and send the data to iCal using AppleScript.

Flixton Software’s Treo Call Log can read the file, but I can’t do anything with the data. So it doesn’t really help.

Anyone know where I can find some documentation on how to read PhoneCallDB.pdb so I can use the data?


Saturday, 21 January 2006

Friday, 20 January 2006

And Now a Word From Our Party Chairperson

It’s no secret I consider interruption advertising a waste. Unfortunately, for so long, that’s the only way we’ve received commercial messages. Now, what if I mentioned where evol, peterme and ChrisFromETrade had dinner?

Thankfully, I don’t remember – some fantastic crepe place in the Mission district of SF. 😉

Phew, hopefully that little commercial message (or 4) will keep the socialists away while keeping my uplifter cred.

On a related note, is this an ad for Kinkos?

Distribution is Marketing

When we podcast the 2005 MIMA Summit – someone suggested we restrict access to the recordings. They’d be correct if the value of the conference was in the sessions. It’s not.

The value is in the hallway conversations, the handshakes, business card exchanges, and direct personal interactions. The sessions themselves are strictly the focal point, the common conversation piece, the marketing.

Every session ITConversations distributes is marketing for them, the conference, and the speaker.

Mark Cuban talks about the same phenomenon in the movies and television:

“It wasn’t that long ago that some people in the sports business thought that having games on TV would reduce attendance. After all, why go to the game when you can watch it for free on TV? Then someone decided to do some research and as it turns out, the more games you broadcast on TV, the more people who go to your games.”

This is also why the most effective use of ad dollars is in product development.

Update 21 January 2006:

“…a downloaded file is not a lost sale it’s a gained fan…” – Joichi Ito

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

We Need to Build More Parks Not More Prisons

Smarter people than I can debate the title of this post literally, I’m using it as a metaphor for web development and customer relationships overall.

Vendors don’t have full control over their customers. Never did. Best they can do is encourage, support, and remove obstacles impeding their customers’ success. Especially if the vendor wants to build any notion of community among their customers.

This is where the metaphor comes in.

Each business needs to be an ecosystem where customers are free (free to move to a different vendor, free to congregate) rather than locked-in or “allowed to”. The same reason file formats should be plain text, xml, or another standard format, is the same reason DRM is a bad idea – it’s not usable if the vendor disappears.

The next question is whether we build one big park or a system of smaller ones. Personally, I’m a fan of the system (if I wasn’t I wouldn’t publish regularly to multiple blogs). It allows focus and gives you the power to say, “No, We don’t do that here – we do it over there.”

In the end, best we can hope for is customers leave the place better than they found it.

Update 21 January 2006:

“…you don’t try to force a behavior change, you look for a behavior change and try to make products for it…” – Joichi Ito