How Do You Value Relationships? How Does Facebook?

While searching for a family heirloom my mom came across her mom’s high school autograph book. Most of the inscriptions are from 1881 and in verse. It’s a beautifully tooled leather booklet. Gives the autographs some weight, some feeling. It was fun leafing through. Most of the inscriptions are in verse. My mother tells me that her father and mother often traded poetic notes with each other and it looks like the practice was widespread, at least in this neck of the woods. While I’m sure many of the verses were used multiple times among many friends, each page provides a touch of personality — a small window into the lives of people I never knew. It felt very personal. “My friends in my album I ask you to write, but to tear out the leaves I deem impolite.    A. Maiers” Annie had a sense of humor. As did Jeannie: … Continue reading

Creative Response To The Uncertainty Paradox

Newsweek’s declaration that the recession is over and long lines at auto dealers seems to have upped feelings of angst in many circles. Reactions from ‘yeah sure’ to ‘How did I miss it’ to ‘yipee,’ indicate that maybe not everyone is on the same page. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise given folks disagree on the state of the economy when times are good or bad. So what do you do when you don’t know, can’t know? I wanted to pull together a few pieces of conversation both directly and indirectly related to the Uncertainty Paradox that struck a chord for me over the past week or so. A big issue when you’re stuck in a period of extreme uncertainty is how to take the next step forward. Kay Plantes in dealing with business model innovation brought up Tide’s experiment with Tide Basic, a product introduction with a reduced feature … Continue reading

Who’s Afraid Of Free?

Free: The Future of a Radical Price is a new book from Chris Anderson that has caused various folks to turn red, argue, get defensive and worry. Most of the worry was already there. But Free provides structure. That is a benefit. I chose to read Free while drinking herbal mint tea at Barnes & Noble. The venti tea cost $2.06 (I forgot to use my membership card). I was able to milk my tea for the several hours it took to read Free. I did not pay for Free. Which means I read Free for Free. By following the principles of Free, Barnes & Noble earned $2.06, instead of $25 something. While I do not believe this pleases Barnes & Noble, they earned more than Amazon this time around. That is also a benefit and maybe a quandary. How to get herbal mint tea out of a Kindle. hmmm.

It’s Your Best Ad,
It’s Your Most Popular Service,
It’s FREE*

What happens when the web meets doggie day care? Funny how a simple idea can force service transformations. Most pet boarding facilities I’ve seen in the past involve caging and separating pets. Even the ‘pet motel’ concept involved only larger cages or runs and human play time. We’ve all learned a lot from the Pet Whisperer, however. How does that transform a dog boarding business?  It becomes a broadcaster! What better service for customers than to provide top quality programing involving their favorite ‘star.’ Of course now you have to think in terms of how your compound looks on camera, how your staff acts with the dogs, and all sorts of other things that improve overall service! Simple to set up, yet not necessarily something most boarding facilities are comfortable with, the concept has generated other businesses focused on providing the technology and advice needed to make the idea a … Continue reading

How Will You Survive FREE*?

Whether you think FREE* is wrong or right for your industry it will effect the structure of your business model. No matter who you are or what you do — you will either play in the FREE* marketplace or you will be absorbed by those who do. How will you survive?  Is there a third payer model in your future?  Can FREE* be limited to entry level product? Will folks willingly pay for something that reduces the cost of FREE*? Will FREE* reduce costs and give you a profit bonanza? You may be looking at FREE* with horror.  For years it was marketers’ favorite word and a salesman’s dream.  FREE* meant motivation, meant future customers, meant volume.   Now FREE* has become just another hyper-competitive market that you have to react to. Is your FREE* product going to be as good as their FREE* product? If all products are FREE* why will … Continue reading