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Archive for April, 2011

How About You Start The Day With A Big Or Small Chuckle!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

How About You Start The Day With A Big Or Small Chuckle!

Yes, it is Friday and yes, it is time to take a quick break and hopefully laugh! Here is a list of 8 one liners (thanks S.S. for sharing) from Steven Wright, one of the funniest and cleanest comedians around!

1. Half the people you know are below average.

2. I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met.

3. How can you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?

4. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

5. When everything seems to be coming your way, maybe you’re in the wrong lane.

6. I intend to live forever… so far, so good.

7. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

8. My mechanic told me, "I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

Maybe it is just me but I think Steven’s sense of humor and delivery is hysterical. My favorites are numbers 3 and 7 – he is so clever!

  • Have you ever seen him perform?
  • What is your favorite one liner?

I look forward to reading your comments.

PS  – I hope this brought a smile to your face!

Congratulations! I Just Gave You A 1 Month Paid Leave Of Absence…. Now What?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Let’s all take a few minutes and dream today.  I have talked to your boss and convinced them that you have been working really hard and you deserve a 1 month paid leave of absence. I am sure most of you are like me and never had more than 2 weeks off in a row, let alone a month. Here is what I want you to consider. You are free to do whatever you want. If you have kids their grandparents have agreed to watch them for the month. Yes, I know you have pets and I have secured services to safely watch them. No worries about your bills for the month, I have set-up your online payments. In fact, I have thought of EVERYTHING!

For me I would travel around the world. If I could plan it right I would go to Wimbledon for sure with stops in Switzerland, Africa, Australia, Japan, Egypt, Alaska and probably a few other spots. I would also need a little down time to lie on a beach so I will include that for sure.

  • The question is what do you do?
  • Where do you go?
  • Do you want to put on an addition to your house?
  • Would you relax and write a book?
  • Would you get into shape and climb a mountain?

Ok, here is your chance…

  • I just gave you a 1 month paid leave of absence…. what are you doing?

I look forward to hearing from you.

What Does Your Average Daily Communication Look Like?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

I am pretty excited about this post. I was thinking the other day about how people communicate. It’s funny because everyone is a little different and has a different level of comfort depending on their age, use of technology and a number of other things. Some people email through social networking sites, post a comment on Facebook, send an email the old fashion way, once in a while a phone call and yes, I get text messages.

The question is what does it look like now and how will it change in the next year?

Here are my average numbers:

  • Emails I get through Outlook – 200
  • Calls – 30
  • Emails I get through a social networking site like Facebook or LinkedIn – 20
  • Text messages – 15
  • Tweets – 5

That is probably an average day for me. Moving forward I would imagine my emails through Outlook will continue to go down while my emails through social networking sites and texts will go up. I am sure potential research vendors will start marketing campaigns very soon – maybe they already have and I am lucky enough not to get any.

Your turn:

  • What is your average daily communication look like?
  • How has it changed in the past year?
  • How do you think it will change in the next year?
  • What is your favorite way to communicate with friends?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Are You Hurt Or Injured?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A few weeks ago I was playing softball and I had the pleasure of having one of my sons watch me play for the first time. Well maybe watch isn’t the right word to use but he was there, on the bench playing his iTouch and thinking about what snack I was going to get him after the game.  Anyway back to the game – we are winning and it is the bottom of the 5th and I am 2-2 and on 1st base after lining a single to center field. Next up is the coach who is a lefty and proceeds to hit the hardest ball he has hit in over 20 years. It was a wicked line drive. All of that sounds great for my team except he hit it right down the first base line and hit it so hard I didn’t have a chance to get out of the way. So yes, yours truly was hit by a one hop line drive that reduced me to my knees. At first I had no idea where it hit me. I was seeing stars (which has only happened 2-3 times in my life) and my right leg was pretty much numb. Of course that day our bench was on the 3rd base side so not only am I out (because I got hit by the ball) I now have to trot or crawl across the field to our dugout.

Quickly I got my composure probably a little quicker than normal because my son was there and now put down the iTouch and was watching me as I came to the dugout. He actually put his hand on my back and said, “Dad, are you ok? Do you want me to rub your leg and make you feel better?” It was a classic and something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Yes, I was hurt – in fact it hurt like………. well let’s just say a lot! My coach came over and said sorry for hitting me and would I like to sit out an inning or two? At that moment I looked at my son and for some reason thought of James Caan from the movie “The Program” and he said “Are you hurt or injured?” Quickly I realized I was hurt and needed to play for myself, for my team and for my son.

  • Think back to your playing days, were you hurt or injured?
  • How did you shake off the injury?
  • How did you play through the pain?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What Do Trust, Gifts, The Month Of May And Weight Loss All Have In Common?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Why not start the day with a little riddle – What do trust, gifts, the month of May and weight loss all have in common? In about 30 seconds you will know the answer. As you know I like to try different things on the blog well today is another one of those days.

What I would like to do is have people commit to try and lose some weight during the month of May. If you are like me than you may have put on a few extra pounds during the winter months. Well summer is right around the corner and let’s try TOGETHER to get rid of them! Maybe if we all do this, we will get a little more motivated and have a little more success?

I am NOT asking you to disclose your weight – that is where the trust comes in. All you need to do is respond to the blog and say you are in! Simple as that, than every week respond under your first response on the blog saying your status for the week – meaning I lost X pounds… At the end of May we will find out how much everyone lost and draw the winners.

And here is the gift part:

For EVERY pound you lose your name will go in a hat and a chance at a number of different prizes. Meaning that if you lost 14 pounds you have 14 chances to win a prize and yes a person can win multiple times! Here is the prize list:

  • $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card sponsored by Language Logic
  • $50 Home Depot Gift Card sponsored by MSG
  • $50 iTunes Gift Card sponsored by OLC Global
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card – sponsored by Schlesinger Associates
  • $50 American Express Gift Card – sponsored by uSamp
  • $50 Starbucks Gift Card sponsored by WiseWindow
  • $100 American Express Gift Card – sponsored by M/A/R/C Research

What you need to do now is sign up. The deadline is 5:00 CDT on May 2!

I look forward to hearing from you and having you participate!

PS – you never know but there might even be special gifts for the person and company that loses the most pounds!

PPS – a big thank you to all the sponsors of the contest!

7 Creative Airplane Paint Jobs!

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Some Friday fun. Most of the readers of this blog fly a lot and typically will walk down the jet bridge and get on a plane. No big deal just a typical and traditional Boeing 737 that all look the same on the outside. Well I just saw a bunch of really cool and creative paint jobs done on planes that I would like to share:

Inspired by the dramatic colors of sunset on Uluru – also known as Ayers Rock – this Boeing 747-400 owned by Qantas represents one of the many dreamtime journeys of Australia’s aboriginal people. A wunala is a kangaroo, seen painted on the nose cone, among other places. The artwork blends ancient patterns and symbols with modern technology: Both aboriginal and nonaboriginal artists transferred the design from the computer to the airplane.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines flies approximately 30 million pounds of Alaska seafood to destinations in North America and Mexico each year, so in celebration the airline painted a 737 with a silvery king salmon. It took 30 painters and airbrush experts 24 days to complete the elaborate livery, which used up 140 gallons of paint, twice the normal amount. Since it first started flying in 2005, the Salmon-Thirty-Salmon has flown more than 1 million passengers, who are also treated to custom-painted overhead bins with halibut, sea stars and other fishy images.

Each winter, FinnAir adds a friendly Santa Claus to its fleet, appropriate considering that it flies to Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. This Arctic Circle city is perhaps more famous for being home to Santa Claus Village. Not into meeting Santa? Travelers can also play ice golf, go on a snowmobile safari and try sautéed reindeer. (Just don’t tell Santa.)

Meet Buddy the Badger, the latest member of Frontier Airlines’ stable of animals featured on the tails of its fleet of Airbus aircraft. He joined Larry the Lynx, Trixie the Red Fox, Grizwald the Bear and more than 50 other critters after Frontier Airlines merged with Wisconsin-based Midwest Airlines. His name was chosen by people in Wisconsin after a month long naming campaign.

Passengers on Southwest Airlines’ Shamu One get to ride in the belly of the beast – a plane painted like an orca to honor the airline’s ongoing partnership with SeaWorld. Employees of SeaWorld recently brought some special guests onboard, namely penguins that were catching a ride to the San Diego park. Watch videos of the cute birds stretching their flippers up and down the aisles.

The first anime-themed aircraft, rolled out in 1998 by All Nippon Airlines, was so popular with travelers that the airline launched four more. Fans of Pokemon, Jigglypuff, Squirtle, Mew and the gang can get their anime fix on the interior of these planes as well: The Pokemon theme is used on the headrests, drinking cups and attendants’ aprons. All Nippon Airlines is the largest airline in Japan and flies to 76 domestic and international cities including New York, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

What do you get when you cross an AirAsia jet with an NFL football team? An Oakland Raiders-themed airplane complete with cheerleaders and an eye patch. This black-and-silver Airbus A340 is part of the discount Malaysian airline’s fleet, and is one of the many ways the football team is reaching audiences worldwide. (The team’s website has translations available in five languages, including Tagalog.) The unique partnership includes an annual giveaway of 1,000 free seats to Raiders home games.

Some of my favorites are the salmon and the badger. The colors and creativenesss of the artist was amazing. My favorite without question is Shamu One! Congratulations to Southwest Airlines for being so creative and making it a little more fun to fly your airplanes.

  • Which is your favorite?
  • Have you ever been on a plane that had a wild and creative paint job?
  • If I gave you a plane as a gift – what type of paint job would you have?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Big Brother Is Everywhere – How Do You Feel About It?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

In the past few months I have had the opportunity to present at a number of different conferences. As a part of that presentation I talk about Big Brother – where we are about the concept and what people really think. Lots of people are very uncomfortable.

Right now:

  • Everything you do!
  • Everything you say!
  • Everywhere you go!
  • Everything you buy!

Is being monitored!

Companies are working VERY hard to develop marketing ideas to reach customers and prospects at the right time – companies believe if they market an offer to a person at the right time it will impact their buying decision. Rest assured this is happening and growing up really fast!

Because of this I have developed a chart to try and determine people’s feelings about big brother. In my opinion people fall into one of the 7 buckets which I have listed below.

click image to see full size

One end of the scale is absolutely no way. Don’t bother me with texts highlighting special deals, don’t show me a commercial that you think may interest me because of certain sites I may have visited. Some people went thru all six buckets very quick and are now in the implementation mode. I believe those people will find creative ways to increase their brand awareness and revenue by implementing this strategy. My position is this, if you can find a creative way to market to me on products that are on sale or restaurants that I frequent are now in my area I say do it. In fact please do it! When I watch TV please let me only see the commercials that interest me! When I am on my computer I understand you need to show me a commercial or at least want to – but please let me control what the subject is!

  • What do you think of big brother?
  • Which bucket are you in?
  • Are you ok giving information if you get something in return?
  • No matter what do you not want to be bothered at all?

Believe me this is a huge debate in my office. I may NOT agree with everyone’s opinion on the subject but I do respect their position.

  • The question is what is yours?

I look forward to reading your comments.

It’s The Pilot Not The Plane! By Guest Writer Ben Smithee

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I used to play music professionally when I was in college. I played saxophone and had several jazz, funk and rock cover groups that I played with fairly regularly. One of the things you could always use as a general guide was to avoid the “gear-heads”, meaning those that spent so much time tweaking, talking about, and changing their gear, when they could have obtained much more out of spending that time in the practice room shedding on some new tunes.

This goes along with a ton of other industries or categories, as well. Think about the golfers you know that always have to have the latest and greatest, thinking that it is the magic cure to that dreadful slice or hook. Quit fooling yourself you shank-o-potamus, it’s the pilot, not the plane! I got that saying from one of my great jazz mentors and saxophone professors, Tim Ishii, who could probably pick up a PVC pipe, punch holes in it, add a reed and sound like a million bucks. His point was simple, and something I will never forget. Why do we spend so much time debating and talking about peripherals when the real thing we should focus on (and really the only thing we can truly control) is our own skills and knowledge?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to board the Wright brothers’ prototype for my next trip to Chicago. However, I feel that as researchers, we need to step our A-game up, and really be able to “bring-it” across the board.

Social Media, yes!

Focus groups, you bet!

Qual, quant, surveys, online,

One-on-one, ethnos, yes!

Have a commanding knowledge of each of the available methods, or partner up with someone or another brand that does, but then quit debating it. Let’s start thinking and talking about what really matters! ……By the way, did you hear about that cool new video tool??

  • Do you agree with my position?
  • What are you doing to step up your game?
  • What cool new tools are you using?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Ben is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Spych Market Analytics, LLC.

Ask Yourself This Question – Where Do You Do Your BEST Thinking?

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The title of this posting might have made you chuckle but I am serious ask yourself where do you do your best thinking? Before you answer that question let me try and put that into context:

  • You have a lot on your mind
  • You have some big decisions to make at work
  • You just got some troubling medical news
  • You have to make a difficult decision about your parents

Regardless of the situation – where do you do your best thinking?

  • Is it in a special room in your house?
  • At your office?
  • Is it while you are watching TV or listening to music?

I know this may seem a little odd but I have asked this question of a few people and got some pretty amazing answers. I do my best thinking when I am driving in a car or on a treadmill. For me those two activities give me a chance to decompress and really think about a situation and give me a better chance to make the right decision.

So I ask you……….


I look forward to hearing from you.

PS – Interesting for most people it isn’t their office which is amazing considering how much time each of us spends in our office. Probably a future posting on the blog!

How Much Social KLOUT Do You Have?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Yes the world is changing and yes it is changing fast. What also might be changing is the way that we view how important people are. In the past, companies base the importance on their loyalty programs well the future might be different. Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have a Twitter handle? If you do you want to go to klout.com and see what your Klout score is. Ok before I get into why it might be important here is what their website says about a Klout score……

The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.

True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on those of your followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engage audience is and is also on a scale from 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.

We believe that influence is the ability to drive people to action — “action” might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click. We perform significant testing to ensure that the average click-through rate on links shared is highly correlated with a person’s Klout Score.

If you check in to the Palm Hotel in Las Vegas they will base your perks (better room, free show tickets, etc) on your Klout score. I imagine their reason is they want to ensure they take care of their MOST social influential guests knowing they will share their amazing experience with their social network.

My current klout score is a 29 and here is what they say about me:

Merrill Dubrow is an Explorer

You actively engage in the social web, constantly trying out new ways to interact and network. You’re exploring the ecosystem and making it work for you. Your level of activity and engagement shows that you “get it”, we predict you’ll be moving up.

  • Merrill Dubrow is influential to a tightly formed network that is growing larger.
  • Merrill Dubrow engages with a good mix of influencers and friends
  • Merrill Dubrow is more likely to have their message amplified than the average person
  • Merrill Dubrow has a small but tightly formed network that is highly engaged

  • What is your current Klout score?
  • What do you think of their rating system?
  • Do you think this will be a trend in the future?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.