poelog: Commentary, thoughts and opinions on the web, ebusiness and marketing -- a web log by Rob Poel
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Friday, March 29, 2002

Shameless plug: POELog received a mention in the Business 2.0 - Web Guide, a guide to the best business links. The specific mention is found in Technology > Internet > Web Publishing > Weblogs > Business Blogs. Considering there are only 12 blogs listed and the other bloggers include the likes of Doc Searls, David Weinburger, Chris Locke, and Seth Godin, it's quite an honor. Now I just have to get off my butt and start bloggin on a more consistent basis.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Godin posts about intellectual property and copyright protection. But the most important message here is simple. Congress rarely succeeds when they use legislation to “help” an industry by forbidding changes. Let the market work.



Business 2.0: Is Wall Street Warming Up to Internet Survivors? Man, PayPal goes public a few weeks ago and now it feels like 1998 again as two more "dot-coms", Netflix and Overstock.com, file to sell their shares to the public. Too bad I lost all my play money riding the likes of CMGI and Doubleclick to the moon .... and back to earth again.



The folks at 37signals were annoyed with the FedEx shipment page ... so they made it better.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Ran the Irish Jig 5k this past weekend. Felt pretty good the 1st and 2nd mile ... died the 3rd mile. Ended up running about 30 seconds slower than I was hoping. Here's the results (you can do a ctrl+f and search for my name to find my time). Classic Race Management does a pretty impressive job. The race was run at 10am. By 1:30pm the results of all 2295 runners were online. Of course, 5 years ago that would have been impossible but now all results are automatically entered into a database from a radio-frequency scan of a unique chip that each runner attaches to their shoe. What's nice is that each runner truly gets an actual time since the clock doesn't start until their chip crosses the starting line (it probably took 15 seconds from the time the gun went off before I crossed the line). 8 more weeks until the 25k River Bank Run ... I've got a whole lot more training to do.

Friday, March 15, 2002

New marketing blog to follow: Seth's Blog. Created by Seth Godin, the author of best-selling books, Permission Marketing and Unleashing the Idea Virus. Hopefully he starts posting again ... his last post was almost 3 weeks ago.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Let the madness begin (March Madness, that is). There is no better sporting event college basketball's annual one-and-done tournament! My bracket is done. I had a harder time than usual picking the games this year. My final four: Duke, Oklahoma, Maryland, Kansas. The champ: Kansas over Duke. That's a little bit of a "heart" pick, rather than a "head" pick. Duke had their "one shining moment" last year -- time for a new champion.



Caught up on some Business 2.0 reading last night. The last issue has another good eBay story. This one's about their Secret Ingredient: social capital.

Friday, March 08, 2002

Follow-up to my last post. I emailed 37signals because I wasn't able to fully load this page on their web site. It got stuck on the "our work" portion of the main navigation on the top of the page. What I appreciated: in less than 5 minutes I received an email reply (from Jason) asking me for more information to better help them troubleshoot. After 3-4 emails over 10 minutes we determined it was a quirk on my end but my point is this: when you talk about brand, customer service, marketing, etc ... it's instances like this that shape someone's feeling about a company more than any 30 second commercial, 2-page full-color spread, or snazzy flash animation. 37signal's blazing fast response to my email showed me how much they care about web design and usability. My message didn't sit in a queue and I didn't receive an auto-reply email saying my request would be dealt with within 24 hours. So many companies spend millions of dollars on advertising and marketing without first fixing these internal culture/process issues. 37signals gets it ... too bad most companies don't.



If you appreciate simple interface design check out the redesigned 37signals web site. I like their tagline "simple for sale" and their unique value proposition of: We design web sites, condut usability reviews, and educate people about the real-world advantages of simplicity and clarity online. They've been referred to as the "the masters par excellence of HTMinimaLism." Also, pay attention to their voice. They don't speak in corporate-marketing-gobleegook-bs. Other marketing execs and copy writers: take note!

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Well ... just noticed that everyone and their brother has already pointed to the "Google Loves Blogs" link below. Sorry ...I try not to link to a link you can find on EVERY other blog out there. I haven't been as plugged in lately and it's taking a little time to catch up.



Great explanation as to why Google Loves Blogs - by John Hiler (link via Scott Knowles via Mike Golby).
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TMF: Starbucks Gets Carded - I'm a pretty avid Starbucks fan ... even if there is only one stand alone store in my area (I'm not counting the one resident inside Barnes & Noble). Anyway, the Fool article linked above describes the financial savvy behind Starbucks' latest marketing tool: the Starbucks Card. Financial benefits include money that can be made on the float as well as "slippage" - a term to describe the instances in which cards are given out but not all the money is redeemed. The marketing benefit, however, comes from convenience. Our cafeteria has a similar program in which money can be stored on my ID card. For me, at least, once money is on the card I consider it a sunk cost. It's gone. I can no longer spend that money on other things. Therefore, I find I'm much more likely to purchase something from the cafeteria. Without the card I'd often decide that the hassle of digging up some change, or breaking a $20 just wouldn't be worth it. In this way the card acts similar to a loyalty program. The advantage, however, is that with most loyalty programs the store gives something up at the end (buy 10 cups of coffee, get your next one free). With the debit card, however, the store doesn't give up anything. In fact, by having spare change left on the card it's more likely to cause someone to add money to the card to extract the value from the change left over. Oh, and this is cool, with the starbucks card you can even check your card balance online AND, better yet, reload online. Very well done.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

On the flip side of the eBay success story coin is 800.com who recently decided to shut down its internet operations.



E-Commerce News: What Makes EBay Invincible? - If you're a regular reader of this blog (thanks Dad), you'll know I'm a big fan of eBay (from a user perspective as a buyer/seller, from a web site design and usability perspective, and also from a business model perspective). This brief article sums up many of the different reasons why eBay rocks.

Monday, March 04, 2002

BW Online: Palm Deals Two New Color Handhelds - One of these days my ancient Palm III will break and I'll have a valid excuse to buy a new handheld. Dang thing ... takes a licken' and keeps on ticken'. How many times do I have to drop it before it finally breaks!



Happy Birthday to me. Yesterday I turned 31. Guess I have to keep postponing the date by which I'll make my first million :-) According to MSN I share my birthday with Alexander Graham Bell and on March 3, 1791, the United States Congress passed the nation's first tax law, dividing the country into 14 tax zones and levieing a duty on, among other items, distilled spirits. What a day.