Small (short) is better

mbp-design

Most of my readers know that I cling to the credo, “short is sweet.” This relates to “less is more” concept.

Most of the time, computers get better. Apple updated their MacBook Pro line in October 2008. This was their first significant visual redesign since the first PowerBook G4, which came out in January 2001! And it was better in almost every way. They made some of the design elements smaller. You can see the power button and speaker holes shrunk by large percentages. I think it was a positive move.

Takeaway: When you write for your blog, magazine, newspaper, or whatever — see how few words you can use to make your point. Your readers will silently thank you.

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I never go to Google

google

…from the Google home page. (I always get there from the search bar in my browser.)

So yesterday, I visited there for some forgotten reason and saw this unusual version of their logo. I couldn’t figure it out.

Any ideas? (Update: See comments for the answer… thanks, John!)

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Free fun fact

great-receipt-marketing

I actually looked at the bottom of my receipt. There was an interesting fact that had nothing to do with selling.

What a great idea… provide service for your customer that doesn’t directly relate to asking them to spend more money. You will leave them with warm feelings toward you — and produce loyalty.

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Weird stats

web-stats-2

I check my site’s stats every once in a while. July 10th was a big day — WordPress said I got 99 visits. But here’s the bizarre part — Google Analytics said I got 50. And Lijit? Hard to tell for sure.

I tend to trust Google Analytics more — but I’m too lazy to go there very often. So I guess I’ll stick with the artificially inflated view of how many people visit here, if it’s true that WordPress doesn’t have as accurate measuring techniques.

And then there’s a part of me that says I should never look. Who am I writing for? I know all those secrets of driving people to your blog — but I don’t feel like doing most of them… I blog just because it’s fun for me. I hope that shows.

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The car dealers’ mistake

car-dealers-mistake2

I know, you thought I was going to say how they are stupid to play that game where the salesman says, “Let me talk to my manager…”

Wrong.

A big mistake they make is to advertise without giving a price. Most potential buyers looking at such ads quickly graze over to the next car that does have a price — and then call that number.

(By the way, I do like Minis — but I’m not in the market for a car.)

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The best things are free, sometimes

best-is-free

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

It was incredible.

Every summer, Aspen has a music festival where classical musicians from all over the world come to learn and perform. The schedule is very full. Each day there are at least four or five events. the showcase symphony concerts at the big music tent are not cheap — try on $72 a ticket. We couldn’t feature spending $144 for one evening’s music. So we dug a little deeper. A young artists’ orchestra was performing at the music school. Free.

Ray Chen was the soloist. He gave it his all. The small hall was about half orchestra and half audience. It was like he was playing just for us.

Fabulous.

Takeaway: Before you spend the big bucks, check around to see what’s free. You just might be surprised.

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Boots for a spear

nike-trade

So you see, the first time we lived in Kenya (’91-’94), we made friends with some Maasai. They have these really cool spears that look like they’re from Roman times. If you’ve seen how the traditional men dress, you’ll also be reminded of the Roman era. Their shukas look like togas.

We had to get a spear for ourselves. Then Heather’s parents came over, and her dad wanted a spear. We bought another from Dickson, our Maasai buddy. (He got the one Dickson used to kill a cape buffalo!)

So then I got to talking with my buddy Alan. He was working for Nike at the time. We came up with a deal where I’d get a spear for him if he’d get me a new pair of Nikes.

Well, I still have those Nikes. They’re the same pair I wore up the mountain a few weeks ago. (Thanks, Alan — and Dickson!)

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It may look easy

gardens-take-time

My wife loves to garden. It’s a wonderful break from the grind of using her brain to wrap around the problems of website useability or being a mom. (Or being married to me, for that matter.)

So we went away to celebrate our anniversary and came across this beautiful garden. Running through the middle was a small stream. Incredibly picturesque.

Then Heather informed me that many of the flowers were annuals (you know — the kind that die at the end of the season and have to be planted from scratch the following spring). That’s expensive. And then there is the water (in this case, free) and all the time (or money) spent weeding.

Takeaway: Remember that good things are both expensive (not necessarily in terms of money) and take commitment. Stick with it! I say this to remind myself too — I often forget this concept and expect instant good results with little effort.

(By the way, special thanks to Robert Hruzek for suggesting this post!)

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