Thursday, September 21, 2017

Outlook 2016 Mac - Gmail Calendar Notification Keeps Coming Back

Outlook recently added support for Gmail in its Mac desktop client.  I added it and was immediately hit with a calendar notification that would not leave me alone.  I would dismiss it and it would come back 5 seconds later.  I would snooze it and it would come back 5 seconds later.  It was really frustrating.  All of the information online that I could find dealt with resetting profiles, repairing calendars, clearing caches.  None of this worked.

Since the item was on my calendar and I owned the item (a yearly reminder that Sept. 19 is "Talk Like a Pirate Day"), I simply deleted the entry from the calendar (inside Outlook) and the reminder immediately vanished.

Hopefully this helps because you've tried everything else or the other options seem way too drastic (yeah, I'm not telling my IT department that I nuked my Exchange profile) and you were tearing your hair out trying to find a solve.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Penalize the Purchaser @1800flowers

Recently, I bought a gift online.  I knew there'd be a delivery/service charge and they were wise to hide it until the very end because it was a bit outrageous.

To add insult to injury, the more you spent, the bigger the service charge was.

To add insult to injury, the more you spent, the bigger the service charge was.  It wasn't based on weight or items, but on the price you paid.  Spend more, pay more.

This is a penalty when it should have been a reward.  The service charge should have stayed the same, or gone down as I spent more.  Considering the price of the items/upgrades, they could easily absorb a few dollars into the cost to offset the declining service charge.  You can make the same money while simultaneously making the customer feel like they scored.  

Perhaps it's a moot point... they knew I was already invested and didn't want to appear cheap and didn't want to give up the time I'd already put into choosing my gift and building my order, so why should they bother? They got the sale.

But... they lost the next sale.  No matter how much the recipient loves the gift, I'm going to feel like I got a raw deal.

Memo to self: Use Amazon next time. I can't control the delivery as precisely but I can avoid the service charge altogether and it looks like I can get quite a bit more for my money.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Red Car

This toy car has lived in my dresser for decades, until last year when it disappeared. I feared that I had decided to give it away when we were purging for the move to the much smaller house.

So I was happy to find it again recently and put it back where it belongs.

But I also wanted to share it with all of you so that its meaning would be greater than just me because someday (a long time from now hopefully) I will die and then it will probably end up in a box destined for a charity reseller like Goodwill.

So, here's the story of the little red car.

Growing up, I had an Uncle named Jim. When he was a baby, they said he had a hole in his heart and that he was mentally retarded. I expect these days they'd have a more specific diagnosis, but I don't know what it would be. They said he probably would only live to the age of three.

Uncle Jim proved them all wrong. He lived in an assisted care facility, holding a job, going on trips to interesting places around the world planned by the facility, and enjoyed friendships with other residents.

Whenever we visited my mom's parents he would drop by to visit with us. He was one of the happiest people I knew, quick to smile, quick to laugh.

He gave me this car one year as a Christmas present. It didn't have any particular shared backstory, it was just a present he picked out for me and one that has just traveled with me ever since.

Uncle Jim died in 2004 at the age of 51.

And now you're part of the story. Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Toastmaster Questions: Music Theme

Here's some questions around the theme of music. I used most of these at our recent Toastmasters meeting.

  1. A movie about your life is currently the reigning champ at the box office.
  2. After people see the movie, they're going to want the soundtrack. What songs, artists or genres will they be listening to?
  3. What kind of music do you listen to when you're feeling sad to either feed the melancholy or beat the blues?
  4. What's a genre of music you can't stand?
  5. What kind of music do you listen to when you're feeling happy, pumped or on top of the world?
  6. If I found your phone and launched iTunes or Pandora or Spotify, what genre or song would I probably likely hear?
  7. Tell us about a song that makes you feel nostalgic about a previous chapter in your life?
  8. What's your theme song?
  9. Audio Daily Double: Play short clip, ask speaker to describe how it makes them feel.
  10. Tell us about an earworm that has recently plagued you.
  11. You end up at a Billboard Music Awards after-party and someone busts out Karaoke. A duet is announced and you're pushed on stage. Which celebrity in attendance (they're all here) do ask to join you?
  12. What does "the classics" mean to you?
  13. Have you ever made a mix tape for someone? What did you put on it?
  14. What instrument do you think it would be interesting to learn to play? What's keeping you from learning?

I was ready to be offended if anyone called the '80s "the classics" but the guy who answered the question plunged the knife in and then really twisted it when he called music from the '90s "the classics." *sigh* Ok, I get it. I'm old.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Amazing Animations

I came across an email in my inbox from a year ago.  I had been looking up some examples of animation in mobile UI for some project.  I was surprised at how well these have held up - how great some of these animations still look.  For these first three, I only had the URLs for the images, not the pages they came from, sorry.

Plus, here's a whole gallery of great animated mobile UI.  Even after over a year, these still feel fresh and relevant and in some cases, futuristic (and not just because some project out of the device).

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What is User-Generated Marketing (UGM)?

User-Generated Marketing, or UGM, is when your customer (or aspirational future customer) advertises your product without any reciprocation. You haven't promised them anything in return - you're not paying them, you're not giving them entries into a contest, there's no affiliate scheme, they're simply painting your product in a positive light and helping others to be confident in their choice to purchase out of the goodness of their heart.

In its simplest form, UGM is simple Word-of-Mouth (WOM) - your customer raves about you on Yelp! or Amazon reviews because they had a great experience and they want others to know about it. (Sure, they may be helping to improve their reputation on the particular platform where they've left the review, but it's not a direct tangible reward or it's an outcome for an accurate review, not necessarily a positive one.)

UGM differs from User-Generated Content (UGC) because whereas UGC shows your product in use (whether it's a video game or a grill), UGM is more about motivating others to make a purchase as well.

There are practical steps you can do to foster UGM - whether it's including your logo on a sticker with the product, or offering up a link in your email that generates a Tweet or Facebook post with some suggested wording or an image.  It could be offering up Memes or animated GIFs that people enjoy sharing.

But, there's one thing you must do more than anything else to turn your customers into an extension of your marketing department. It's not easy, but it's something you must do, something that will set you apart in a big way from those who don't.


Be awesome. Sounds easy, right? It's not.

It's the day-in, day-out focus on surprising and delighting your customers, of anticipating their needs, of having the solutions they need before they even know they need them. It's a commitment to identifying and addressing problems quickly and having values that will support making the tough decisions. It's about being willing to admit when you made a mistake and being open about how you're going to work to avoid those mistakes in the future.

It's about avoiding cutting corners. Doing the right thing, every time. Following the rules not simply to avoid penalty, but because you want to be above reproach. Going above and beyond when the rules or laws are aren't sufficient to truly protect your customers, your employees, your company's future.

It's about empowering your employees to represent you well, and rewarding them when they do so. It's about creating a culture that cares - because when employees feel loved, they will be more loving.

It's about being personable.

When you truly are awesome, it will be impossible to keep your customers from telling the world.

Like this article? Please share on Twitter.

(cross-posted to Linkedin)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Few Recent Things...

3 Simple Strategies for Motivating Your Tech Team -- In a tight job market, these tactics can make your tech workers want to stay. (Inc.)

Driven to Success: Getting Inspiration from Plumbers -- Folks in their own service vans know as much about startups as we do at my high-tech outfit. (Inc.)