Vertical addresses

In the UK, addresses are more vertical than in the USA.

(This was from a fax that came through to the office I worked at in England from 1995–1998.)

In Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, where Heather and I lived for five years, there are no street addresses. And that’s a city of 3–4 million people. There are street names but not building numbers. You have to ask good directions to find a place.

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Improve your Facebook

Helpful Facebook controlsMany of the people I hang out with use Facebook. Not all know about a great way to stem the flow of messages coming into your stream…

Undoubtedly some of your Facebook friends who are not those you want to hear about every single day of the week. And likely, a few of your Facebook friends are not really friends — but you don’t want to “unfriend” them and cut them off forever.

All you have to do is hover your mouse over the right edge of their latest post. A little X will magically appear. You can choose to hide that individual post, hide all posts by that person or by application (like if they are always telling you of their latest Farmville triumph) — or if you really don’t like them, you can mark their post as spam.

I fault Facebook for not making this option more obvious. I thank them for the anonymity of that control.

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Lack of proper research

Our son Jay is a junior in high school. This haul of mail was one day’s set of letters from colleges and universities wanting him to apply. Sadly for them, their mailings almost instantly end up in the recycle bin. Nothing distinguishes one from another.

If any of those universities’ marketing departments actually had children in the target age group for their mailings, they would try reaching their target audience another way.

Takeaway: What are some ways your message can be different than that of your competitors?

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Slightly wonky

Wonky” is a great word. Askew or amiss might have a close meaning, for those of you not from the UK.

Anyhow, sometimes it’s better for a thing to be slightly imperfect for it to be more interesting. In the case of this little sign, if the clear background portion were perfectly aligned with the front portion, it would be boring.

Takeaway: Can you be intentional about adding some interest to projects you are working on? Adding a tiny bit of chaos could be a good thing.

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Go see some art

Art is a wonderful way to look at our world differently. I know if I had seen the actual head of this particular high school student, she would look different. But in difference is found beauty.

The weekend approacheth. Go out to see some art. It’s often free, if you look in the right places.

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The details

A nearby coffee shop has a descriptive tag next to a piece of fabric art from India: “Embroidered Mirrored Tapestry, Gujarat.” But the thing is, that describes a tapestry across the room, and not the one it’s next to. I brought that up to an employee, and she basically said, “Oh.”

My gift is noticing details. Others notice the big picture. Both are needed for a job to get done well.

Teams work best. If you work alone, find a way to join a team. I’m part of a mastermind group that meets occasionally (mostly online), and we all help each other. You can do the same, if you’re not part of a team.

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You have to go outside yourself

Cheez-It Party MixThe makers of Cheez-It snacks weren’t thinking too well. Only a tiny precentage of their buyers would ever notice the name change from “Party Mix” to “Snack Mix.” My guess is that their staff were so excited about the new name that they felt they had to announce it on the box.

The rest of us? We would never have noticed the name change.

Takeaway: Think of your audience in any communications you create. Consider what they care about.

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What is Alltop?

AlltopIf you have never heard of Alltop, I urge you to visit. Guy Kawasaki started the site, and my friend Neenz keeps it running quite well.

Alltop is a library. You start by looking within a huge variety of categories. Each category’s page links to some of the finest websites and blogs within that realm. I’m on the “Life” page. You can also find ballroom dancing and Pacific Northwest street food.

And it’s not just for fun — Alltop is a very useful tool for work, if your job involves spending much time online.

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