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10 years of writing, learning & fun!

Friday, July 29th, 2016

The Merrill Dubrow Blog

August 1, 2006 – July 29, 2016:

  • 10 years
  • 25 Guest writers
  • 547 comments by Fee Sepahi
  • 606 comments by Ed Sugar
  • 1,486 posts
  • 2,898 different people commented
  • 345,116 hits to the site
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Thanks for reading!

Thanks for listening!

Thanks for thinking!

Thanks for commenting!

Thanks for your friendship!

Thanks for your loyalty!

Thanks for making a difference!

And most of all, thanks for teaching me along the way!

This App is a MUST HAVE!

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Last week I went on a family vacation out of the country. In total we had 12 people, including a number of kids. The day before the trip my sister (great job S.C.) said we needed to download this App right away. Basically the App allowed us to text for FREE while we were out of the country. We were easily able to create a group, not only exchange messages to see where everyone was at the resort but we were also able to exchange pictures & videos which AUTOMATICALLY load into your camera roll.

Here is the online description:

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.

In addition to basic messaging WhatsApp users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, video, and audio media messages.

This was simply amazing, it allowed us to communicate so effectively and without question took some of the worrying away with regard to trying to figure out where everyone was, especially where the kids were at all times.

  • Have you ever heard or used this app?
  • What are your overall thoughts?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Uber is great but doesn’t this lead to a bunch of problems?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

I am sure every one of the readers has heard of Uber and most likely, at this point, has used the service. I am not sure I know anyone who doesn’t have the App.

Without question, the service is great and works for so many reasons. Most people I know don’t like much about a cab experience and complain more often than not. For many, the car was small, dirty, and the drivers don’t always provide a nice & comfortable ride.

As we know Uber has exploded, everyone is using it, and the revenue is skyrocketing. No one will argue what I just said, but here is a different angle.

  • Did you ever stop and think about where the business is coming from?
  • Who does it directly effect?
  • How much are cab medallions worth now compared to a few years ago?

I must admit I am a little nervous.

Without question there will be fewer cabs, or at least the same number, but they will make a lot less.

I would suggest that the unemployment rate will go up because of the explosion of Uber, and the value of Cab medallions will be so negatively affected it will have a dramatic hit on business owners.

  • Am I wrong to look at it this way?
  • What am I missing?
  • Is that just how business works?

Please help me sort thru this.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Coming to Texas? You need to go to Buc-ee’s!

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Over the years I have been hearing about something call Buc-ees but I really didn’t know much about it. Recently I have been asking some friends about it and they all say the same thing – it’s wonderful, we love it, it’s huge and cool! I know with that description I am not telling you much but it is kind of hard to describe. Picture a highway that off an exit ramp has a huge gas station (80+ pumps) and a massive retail store, maybe 1/3 of the size of a Walmart, that has some interesting and different food that it makes, has 75 bathrooms that are the cleanest you have ever seen, and customer service staff that is the friendliest you have ever met!

That is Buc-ees. Having now been to one it is pretty cool. The store is very well lite, off the charts clean, and they give away free samples of fudge and jerky. It’s an interesting concept and my understanding is all 32 of their stores are based in the great state of Texas!

So I say to you – please come to Texas and go to Buc-ees!

  • For those of you who have visited one, how was my description?
  • Do you have something in your state that sounds like a Buc–ees?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention basketball fans is it the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Heat, Clippers or Celtics?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Kevin Durant, in less than 36 hours, will be a free agent. The rumors are swirling! The meetings are scheduled, and then I guess it will be a decision or has the decision already been made?

Kevin Durant is a superstar! Pure and simple, and he makes every team out there better no matter how little talent they have… why? Because he is that good.

Assuming the media reports are correct, Kevin has meetings set up with the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Heat, Clippers and Celtics with the Heat, Warriors, and the Thunder as the best chance to sign him.

What am I missing? Isn’t he going to decide to sign a two year deal with an opt out clause after year one with OKC?

  • I assume he is just going thru the process to experience it?
  • Perhaps he is trying to gather some competitive information?
  • Maybe he is doing this to critique all the visits in case he is a GM or owner then he’ll know what to do/not do?

You tell me your thoughts:

  • Do you agree that he resigns with the Thunder?
  • If not, where do you think he ends up?
  • Why do you think he is going thru the process?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What type of leader do most people follow?

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Over the years I have given more and more thought to leadership. What qualities does it take to be a good leader? Clearly there are many types of leaders. People can lead out of fear, they can also lead by practicing what they preach.

Today’s question is centered around what type of leader do I think most people will follow. I believe it is someone:

  1. Who is a GREAT teacher!
  2. Who is fair, firm and consistent
  3. Who leads by example
  4. Who finds a way to get the most out of someone – basically really dig deep into that untapped potential
  5. Who sees the world a little bit different
  6. Who moves things forward

What do you think?

  • What type of leader do you think most people follow?
  • I look forward to reading your comments.

Work Ethic…….After a certain age is that something you can teach?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Recently I have had a discussion/debate with a few friends regarding work ethic. The discussion was centered around can you teach work ethic and if you have it where did it come from – meaning was it self-taught or who influenced you to get to that point.

A few days ago I sent an email to ten people who I believe have a strong work ethic. No surprise, eight people responded (thanks J.S., T.U, S.S, A.B., G.S., S.C., M.H., R.H.) in less than an hour – perhaps that supports their strong work ethic.

When I asked people why they have a strong work ethic here are a few responses:

  1. I think my strong work ethic first and foremost is a product of the way I was raised.
  2. “Good enough” is not something I ever strive for.
  3. I have a competitive desire to succeed and optimize my potential. When I see others doing well, I say to myself, “Why not me? I can do that too.”
  4. My desire to achieve something. Be a success. I wanted it all from a young age.
  5. Fear of failure and take nothing for granted.
  6. As I am the earner in my family I feel responsible to provide.
  7. I believe work ethic is tied to passion and purpose in the work you’re doing.
  8. The second influence I would point to is where you are working. What does that environment and culture dictate to the individual? Is it a group of hard workers, doers as I would call them? Or is it a group of clock punchers that are just doing the minimum job required? This molds each of us and we tend to play up to our competition to use a tennis reference. I try to surround myself with friends, colleagues, and mentors that are doers and that pushes me to do the same.

My belief is that you can teach work ethic at a young age but it is something that is very difficult to do after someone is in their mid-twenties. People can certainly change later in life but my position is it happens very rarely and the effort of trying to teach that usually doesn’t pay off.

Ok your turn:

  • If you had to guess, what % of people do you think have a strong work ethic?
  • Why do you think people have a strong work ethic?
  • Do you think that is something that can be taught to someone in their twenties?
  • I look forward to reading your comments.

Hello researchers, what do you think of this announcement?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Twitter Turns 12,000 Users Into Quick-Research Panel for Marketers.

Twitter recently announced they have a new initiative aimed at giving advertisers insights from 12,000 users chosen by the social media platform. Dubbed Twitter Insiders, the program’s goal is to create a one-stop shop for advertisers to recruit, design, and collect live research.

The company is offering this service to their advertisers. Twitter will not pay them for their participation, but respondents will get rewards from gift cards to electronics such as iPads or smartphones.

The group can also be asked to take pictures, test video, and analyze facial expressions from images, among other things. The Insiders will have access to a devoted message board and, if they wish, can poll other users in the same fashion as they do on Twitter itself.

Years ago I coined the phrase FATWIN which was a combination of letters from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that I felt would have an impact on our industry and here is an example of just that.

  • What do you think of this announcement?
  • Would you like to be a Twitter Insider?
  • How much success do you think the program will have?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Sorry Menchie’s you are doing this all wrong……

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Recently I have been taking the kids to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt more and more. Most of the time we take the yogurt to go but this time we enjoyed our treat inside the restaurant. There was a steady stream of customers and one by one as they were paying they were asked the same question, “can I have your phone number to sign you up for our loyalty program?” With no surprise, one by one the nice employee got a no that’s ok, or I am all set.

I am sure corporate has trained everyone to ask that question but perhaps the benefits of the loyalty program should be mentioned before going right for the money shot of can I have your phone number. Loyalty programs are different and I have a feeling frozen yogurt is something that people do a few times a month and if they knew how this program worked I am sure they will have more success than 0-9 as I watched.

  • I realize the sample is small but what do you think?
  • Would you sign up for a loyalty program if they led with a question about your phone number?
  • What could they say to get you to sign up for their program?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention researchers – what happened to all the consistency?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Many of you know that I grew up in the research business. Since the mid 80’s I have called the research industry my home. When I started, the year would start slow, build, and then explode in the second half of the year and especially the fourth quarter. What I was taught (Thanks John Boni, Marianne Schafer and Sanford Schwartz) was that 40% of our revenue would be in the first part of the year – that would leave 60% for Q3 & Q4. Most years we would do 32% of our revenue in Q4 and 28% in Q3. For many years that’s what it was and that’s what we built our business on, prepared and braced ourselves on – now life is different!

In the past 8 years, the fourth quarter has been our best only half the time! One year we came out of the box fast and knock it out of the park in the first quarter, and then things slowed down. Another thing that I was taught is that clients hold some of their budget for the second half of the year – that doesn’t appear to be happening as often.

  • Are you noticing the same thing?
  • What happened to the days of 32% of your revenue coming in the fourth quarter?

I look forward to reading your comments.