Friday, June 17, 2011

As true today as the day they were first spoken

“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today.  As of this second, quit doing less than excellent work.” (Thomas Watson, founder of IBM)

"If you're going to work . . . work hard.  That way you'll have something to show for it.  The biggest waste is to do that thing you call work, but to interrupt it, compromise it, cheat it and still call it work." (Seth Godin)

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." (Wayne Gretzky)

Knowing where the reset button is (the Oaklahoma Principle)

A friend of mine told me this story the other day:
A bunch of years ago I was working doing refrigeration repair with this guy that had been doing it for many years.  We got an emergency call from a dairy farmer who had 30,000 gallons of milk in a refrigeration tank and the refrigeration unit for the tank had gone out.
We tore out to the farm and the guy I was working with took a look at the refrigeration unit, cocked his head, reached in, and hit the reset button; the unit started right back up.  He did a couple of other things that didn't really matter and then turned to the farmer and told him that it would be $275.00.  It's important to note that the guy I worked with was a big Oklahoman and although the farmer wasn't a small guy, the Oklahoman was much bigger.
The farmer said, "All you did was hit the reset button, and that cost $275?!"  And the Oklahoman responded, "It's not about hitting the button, it's that I know where it is."
And that's the "Oklahoma Principle" of business: knowing where the reset button is.
What's interesting about this story, of course, is the fact that now you can simply go to Google and negate the Oklahoma principle for most everything: when people find solutions, they tend to post them online, which means they can be found. 

When my furnace went out a few years ago, I searched and found where the hidden reset button was and then wrote a blog post about it, which means if you have the same furnace and search by the model number, you'll find my post.  I'm guessing the service call would have been a few hundred bucks for an "Oklahoman" to come hit it for me.  Similarly, I posted several years ago about where to find parts for a Porcher toilet because it took me forever -- it's still one of the most frequented older posts on my blog.

When my washer went out, we did the research online and actually found the parts needed to repair it; we didn't want to repair it ourselves, but we knew what parts were needed and what the costs were, so there was no chance of us being charged for parts we didn't need or overcharged for the parts we needed.  Years ago I had a plumber tell me to invest $50.00 in a good toilet auger at Home Depot -- still have it and use it whenever there is a clog, which saves a $100.00 service call every time.

Knowing where the reset button is no longer the money-making advantage it used to be when information was limited . . . no matter where you're from.

Picture from Rigamorale, story from Chuck Grant (thanks, Chuck).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Carter Cast on the "Drama of Comparative Living"

Matt McCall at VC Confidential was nice enough to post some paragraphs about comparative living from a speech given by Carter Cast.  I hold myself as lucky to have at least spoken with both Matt and Carter at different points when working on a project and they are both impressive guys.  Since Carter is the one that gave the speech, I will point out that he was a swimmer at Stanford, CMO of Blue Nile, CMO of eBay, and CEO of

I'm not going to copy the entire piece from Matt's post, you can read that by clicking here; I will, however, excerpt this portion:
. . . there exists a kind of anxiety gap between what is and what we think should be. “I should have a PhD like Rob Wolcott.” “I deserve to be as wealthy as Ben Elowitz, because I was instrumental in building the Blue Nile business.” This is the drama of comparative living. Bertrand Russell, in The Conquest of Happiness, calls it “worry fatigue.” He says, “Envy is a form of vice which consists of seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations.” He had a great example: “Napoleon envied Caesar; Caesar envied Alexander; Alexander I daresay envied Hercules, who didn’t exist.”

I am fairly certain that the destructive emotion of envy has increased in the age in which we are living.
Everyone should read the entire portion that Matt posted on his blog . . . . probably more than once.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eventbrite is luanching an iPad-based box office

For those of you in the event world, you know why this is important.

Yes, they are working on a ticket printer and credit card reader that also work with the iPad-based system.

No more standing at a window and, frankly, no more needs for windows.  Imagine people being able to walk a line and sell tickets with whatever payment method you want, not just cash.  Imagine not having to deal with a 50-pound Barco printer and needing a cable to plug it in.

It will probably be even bigger for the convention market, which, though not as sexy as concerts, is a huge market that in many cases still only accept cash for payments.

This will be big, trust me.

Originally found out about this on TechCrunch.

Why iMessage is important

It's actually more important than BBM was/is to people that use it.

iMessage lets you send messages within the iOS ecosystem without having to use SMS.  For those that pay for SMS, this may mean that they will be saving $5-$20 per month, which is real money.  More importantly, this also means that those that have wifi-only iOS devices (i.e., iPod Touch, wifi iPad) can get SMS-style performance without having to install an app or use a separate service, and, believe me, that's a big deal.

iMessages integrates into the normal Messages app that all of us with iPhones are used to using.  For those that use/used BlackBerrys, this makes SMS messages and iMessage similar to the "river of messages" format that BlackBerry uses for all inbound and outbound messages, even though e-mails stay separate in the E-mail app for iOS.

You can send contacts and locations; contacts you can send now with SMS, but the location thing is an improvement and I would expect that if that's available through the API, some really cool apps will make use of it.

Like instant messaging, you can see in real time when someone is typing a response, so, unlike SMS, you don't have to wonder if your message has just been blown out into the ether.  Additionally you can enable read receipts and delivery receipts, similar to those available in Outlook and other e-mail clients, something that is definitely not available with SMS.

As with most Apple stuff, I expect there will be a walled garden approach to interoperability -- you'll likely be able to message back and forth in OS X, but there probably won't be apps that allow you to iMessage back and forth on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, or Android.  The fact that you won't be able to access the service on a non-iOS device makes SMS a carrier-based standard for cross-platform short messaging, albeit with a more limited feature set (everyone will compare regular SMS with iMessage features and regular SMS is unlikely or probably unable to be improved by the carriers).  Those that need that interoperability will like keep their SMS packages while others may not, though it is pretty complicated (if not impossible) to get carriers to actually disable SMS from a device these days and will likely become more difficult once iMessage actually rolls out.

The one thing that I have noticed with SMS that will likely make me keep it is the fact that it works whenever there is not a data connection; SMS actually sends messages in the gaps in voice traffic, which is why, when you can't get a data connection or the network is so congested you can't make a call, your SMS messages will still send a receive (sometimes with a delay).  Based on the fact that iMessage works with wifi and based on some of the features, I'm making the reasonable assumption that a data connection of some kind (Edge or 3G or wifi) is required to make iMessage work, and those of us with iPhones know that data connections are not always as reliable or pervasive as we would like.

My opinion is that the carriers aren't going to put Apple in the penalty box for biting into SMS revenue, but they are likely to find something else to ding consumers for to ensure that there is no gap in revenue.