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Misc.

How To… Get A Big Company To Listen

Have a malfunctioning gift? Can’t understand the instruction sheet? Frustrated by voice mail hell? Here are some tricks for rising above the noise and being heard.

Webchat – Customer service is normally available by phone or email. Some companies offer web chat/ instant messaging. The support reps that manage web chat are typically better trained (or at least speak better English) and usually work harder to please you. I have had great success in this area.

Facebook – Sharing your pain on Facebook can garner a response directly from a panicked VP (they hate negative press). At worst, one of your loyal followers may have a similar issue and already have a resolution for you.

Twitter – Sure, 140 characters does’t leave much room for griping… But if you direct your wrath at the right @account or use a clever, yet clear #hashtag – you’ll be off an running in no time. You may have to search for @account or see if others are experiencing #hashtag as well. Tenacity may pay off if you just stay with it.

YouTube – Turning your frustration into art may pay off. It certainly did for country singer Dale Watson, who after four months of complaining to Tiger Airways about lost luggage, posted a video. He soon landed a $2,000 reimbursement.

While these may or may not help you – you might just have some fun and meet some new friends with chasing down a resolution. It sure beats standing in a boring customer service line.

 

Stress Is A Killer

This arrived in my inbox one morning. I do’t know it’s original source, or I would gladly pass on the credit where credit is due. Enjoy!

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all … “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.”

  1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!
  2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  4. Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker..
  5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague
  6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  8. Never buy a car you can’t push.
  9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
  10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  12. The second mouse gets the cheese.
  13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  15. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
  16. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  17. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  18. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.
  19. Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate !

 

 

On-Line Image Editing

I have written before about a number of utilities… The latest – and coolest – is pixlr.com.  This is written by Autodesk (they made the wildly popular CAD package, Autocad). There are many Photoshop like features. I even opened a Photoshop .PSD file on my local hard drive from their browser based tool!

Go check this out today. You will not be disappointed.

 

The Four Things I Wish I Could Say No To

This came to me through an email message from Team Karate Centers. I wanted you to see it, and felt that posting it to my website, and giving credit to it’s sources was the best way to do that.

This is a guest post from Michael Bungay Stanier of Box of Crayons.

You’ll know Michelangelo’s comment about how he worked, so let me paraphrase: “I just carve away anything that doesn’t look like a lion, and I’m left with a lion.” In that statement is the fundamental choice at the heart of Great Work: focus on the No to become clear on the Yes; define the Yes by clarifying the No.

I think it’s the essence of doing more Great Work; or at least it seems to be the critical lesson I keep needing to learn. (You do know we teach what we most need to learn, don’t you?)

Here are four elusive pairs I’d like to do a better job at saying No and Yes to, and the four experiments I’m going to start to see if I can move in the right direction.

1. Saying No to Control … so I can say Yes to Freedom

My very first boss was creative, prolific and a touch insane. I remember one of my early Career Limiting Moves when, in front of the whole company, I clicked into mouth-operating-before-brain mode and joked he needed to have a finger in every pie.

I have become that very same person.

Pies? I’ve got pies everywhere I look, way too many pies. Or perhaps it’s not enough fingers.

But in any case, we – and by that I mean I – have reached a point where it can’t go on. If I haven’t dropped a ball yet, it’s only a matter of time. And hamster-in-wheel is not a job description worth much.

I’m inspired by Chris Brogan whose philosophy, as I understand it, is to start something, hand it over and then get the hell out of the way.

Here’s the shift in thinking that might make the difference for me. Realizing I am not Box of Crayons but that I only serve Box of Crayons. And I’m going to test that by starting one thing, something I’d normally hold on to, hand it over, move aside and see if it will be the end of the world (which has been my theory to date).

How about you? Where has staying in control become your own mind-forged manacle?

2. Saying No to Popularity … so I can say Yes to Friendship

I’m not super obsessed with numbers, and in fact am pretty lousy at metrics. (I mainly go with “Is this the right mix of Great Work and Good Work?” “Am I having fun?” “Are we in the poor house?” I hope for Yes Yes No as the answers.)

But the rise of new technology means that one way of spending time is hanging out in the social media mirrored rooms waving at many (Woo hoo! 14,000 people on Twitter!) but never really holding hands, looking into the eyes and having a real conversation with a few.

I notice that this week, Gwen Bell is leaving Twitter and moving to Google+, because she feels it’s a place where she can create intimacy, community and digital sanctuary. And Scott Stratten, one of the Twitterati, has said his greatest mistake was to follow back blindly.

My shift in thinking is to recognize it as a width vs depth thing, and see if I can find the hunger for the depth. I think it’s there somewhere.

I’m going to start taking the Call a Friend option once a day to connect to people I love. You?

3. Saying No to Money … so I can say Yes to Impact

For the last eighteen months I’ve been walking a fine line, working on the business that I love and that pays my bills, and working on my Great Work Project, a new book whose sale raises money for an important cause.

It has been a constant struggle to give this Great Work the appropriate time and space to come together, and that’s primarily because of the seductive comfort of Good Work.

Great Work, because it’s work that truly matters to me, makes me fret, gives me sweaty palms, and invites all sorts of doubt and self-sabotage.

Good Work on the other hand is the relatively simple task of rolling up my sleeves and getting things done, having some fun and making some money along the way.

And yet, Great Work – unsafe and uncertain as it so often is – is where I hang out on the edges of my own competence and ambition, learning what’s possible for me and for the world. Great Work is also where I can most easily invite other extraordinary people in to help me create the meaning and impact I’m hungry for in my life.

The shift in thinking is to remember (and remember and remember) that Great Work projects take time and need time, and your calendar never lies about what really is most important to you.

And the experiment for now is to look again at “the bottom 10%” of what I do, to see if I might say No to that in some way, to say Yes to Great Work. What is it for you? Where might you trade money (or time) for meaning?

4. Saying No to Plans … so I can say Yes to Now

Truth is, I’m unlikely to ever say No to plans. I love them – which is one reason at least that I hang out with Charlie Gilkey, who’s a master at them.

I’ve got plans for the week, the month, the quarter, the year. When in doubt, I pull out a piece of paper and start sketching out a plan (which, it must be said, often looks exactly like the plan I’d done two weeks earlier and then “filed” somewhere safe and forgotten about.)

But it’s time to plan a little less. Leo has been talking about No Goals for a while, and (following in his footsteps as I so often do) I am becoming aware that the price I pay for planning is that I spend more time in the future and less time in the here and now.

For instance, the last few months I’ve been deep in the planning of today’s book launch. The price I’ve paid is that summer has slipped by largely unnoticed. I haven’t stopped enough to feel the heat of the sun on my shoulders, to hear the ice clink in my drink on the deck, to give myself up to the swing of the hammock.

And as I write this now, the first of intimations of Fall are here and I know I’ve missed a season that I won’t have back.

The shift in thinking is to realize that planning comes at a cost. A price I’m willing to pay, but perhaps to pay less these days.

My action is to not fill up the final months of the year, but to try to wander a little in the white space that’s there.

Got any non plans?

Yes is too easy

But a strong Yes is hard, and say a strong Yes to the things that really matter is harder still. So rather than starting with the Yes, start with the No. Get to the heart of the choice you want to make, then design your own experiments to see what might be possible.

Team Karate Centers,
21038-A Victory Blvd.,
Woodland Hills, CA 91367, USA

Sound Test

This is a sound test

This link plays the Introduction – i.e. the first 1 minute and 3 seconds.

 

IBM Invented… What?

IBM is celebrating 100 years of business this year. They started in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company and in 1924 changed their name to the forward thinking International Business Machines. Here’s a look at some of thier innovations and inventions you may not be aware of:

  • 1936 – Worked with the U.S. government to start Social Security
  • 1962 – IBM and American Airlines launch SABRE, the world’s first computer driven airline reservation system.
  • 1969 – Magnetic strips on credit cards.
  • 1973 – UPC bar codes.
  • 1980 – Granted the first patent for LASIK surgery technology.
  • 1984 – By the mid 80’s, IBM computers understood 5,000 spoken words at 95% accuracy.

Where would we be today without IBM? Where will be be tomorrow with their continued growth and contributions?

 

Asking For Support Is Not A Sign Of Weakness

In business and in life, we feel really good when someone asks for our help. It makes us feel pleased that we have something of value to offer someone else. We are honored that they thought of enough of us to ask for assistance or an opinion.

It’s interesting that that shoe doesn’t always fit the other foot. So few people ask for what they want or need.

It is important to realize that asking someone else for support is not a sign of weakness but really an indication of:

  • A strong self-esteem
  • A committment to the goal rather than the ego
  • A Willingness to learn from others
  • The wisdom to be inclusive rather than exclusive
  • The willingness to let things happen easily rather than reinventing the wheel each time
  • An understanding of the power of interdependance rather than independance

Asking for support is an important part of networking. Asking is not a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it is a sign of strength, courage, and wisdom.

Amazing Amazon Facts

Amazon’s best selling product is Kindle. In 2010, 7 million units were sold. While that’s considerably less than the 15 million iPads that Apple sold… Since 2010, Amazon has sold three times as many e-books as hardcovers. By creating the hardware in the first place, Amazon almost created the entire e-book industry.

It took Wal-Mart 27 years to reach $30 billion in sales. It took Amazon 16 years to hit the same number. As of year end 2010, ecommerce is now 7% of total U.S. retail sales.

Doesn’t Amazon just sell books? No, in 2010, 54% of their total revenue was electronics, gadgets, home goods, apparel, etc. Amazon is on target to surpass Sears, Best Buy and Target in the next four years.


Anybody feeling stressed? Which Kind?

Here are some interesting facts about stress. Note, these are just fun facts. If you’re looking for a cure, please keep looking.

  • The word Stress has been used for hundreds of years – -it has roots in the Old French/ Middle English word Destresse, meaning “distress”, but it wan’t used in the psychological sense until the 20th century.
  • There are two types of stress: Distress, the regular stress that plagues us, and eustress, a positive form that improves productivity and performance.
  • Globally, more than three out of five doctors visits are stress related.
  • In the U.S. alone, more than $22.8 billion is spent on anxiety-related health care each year.
  • Each year, more than 275,000,000 working days are lost in the U.S. because of absenteeism resulting from stress.
  • Stress balls, relaxation tapes, and other stress-fighting products accountfor $14 billion of spending in the U.S. each year.

For me the most interesting fact is “eustress”.  Doing a Google search for eustress yielded 111,000 results – pretty small by today’s standards. Searching for distress yields 39,200,000 (no further refinement was performed).


Be Signed Into Google With Multiple Accounts

I tripped upon the ability to do something today that quite honestly has frustrated me for the past several weeks or so. Be logged into multiple Google Accounts at the same time inside the same browser. Sure you can use different browsers to accomplish this – but that’s not what I want.

Follow the directions here. Follow the first four steps on this article here, explaining (sort of) how to do this. http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=181599

The real key is that first step, which says “Got to the multiple sign-in settings page”, which is here: https://www.google.com/accounts/MultipleSessions

 

Now, you actually have to at least get into your Account Settings (Google refers to this as signing into a product that supports multiple logins) screen in order to see that when you select the down arrow key by your email address, that you now have the ability to sign in AGAIN as a different account!

Viola! I was signed in as three separate clients at one time. Now this is not flawless – and Google will be the first to tell you that there are some caveats… But still. This just might be the tip you’ve been hunting for.


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