Uncategorized

Apple Watch is a time saver

IMG_2061.jpg

Many of my friends and colleagues were not surprised when I purchased my watch this fall. I was not even the first in my network to adorn Apples latest gadget. I was trying to decide what the ROI would be over and above my Pebble 33mm Plastic-Black Silicone that then cost $99 versus Apple’s sport watch in black that cost $349. (By the way Apple watches are $100 off at Best Buy and Target for Black Friday)

In the last three months, I have found that the price is worth the volume of work that I can complete and the freedom I can enjoy while I am away from my desk.

Here Are 10 reasons Apple is worth the time:

  • I can leave my phone on my desk and walk around the house without it in my hand or pocket, but still answer and reply to calls and messages from my watch.
  • With Siri you do not have to type in texts and the diction is spot on.
  • Control your music with your voice, not typing in the song you want and reaching for your phone while you are driving or out and about where your phone may be in a purse or bag. You simply hold down the main button and talk. This also applies to Map and Phone calls.
  • Apple pay is quick and easy to use at Starbucks. Need I say more? The scan connects better than the phone app and I am not handing my phone to an attendant through a drive thru.
  • I do not have to wear a different gadget to track my steps and log my distance and the activity of my choice is also easy to track on the watch.
  • I can view my email discretely and the alerts are not obnoxious but a vibration that is only noticed by the one wearing the watch.
  • I never have to turn off my phone, but I can set it aside when I need to without worrying about missing an important message. (Except when I am in an airplane…)
  • I can use the main features of most of my favorite apps and there is a native version for the watch.
  • My directTV remote is an app on my watch and it responds better than the providers.

Cnet gave the watch a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars because of battery life only lasts a day. I have yet to go only a day with my watch and I have it on 24/7.

Do you need an Apple watch? No, right now your phone handles most of what a watch does. Cnet makes a good point, though “It’s meant to be a small assistant, to help you look at your phone less. It’s helped me stay more connected, but I still use my phone more than I should”. I want to be present in the moments that count and with this watch I feel that I am.

 

 

Uncategorized

What Size TV Is On Your List?

TV

In my quest to be prepared for Black Friday I have scoured the leaked ads of all the major stores and I have read the reviews on cnet, wired, amazon, reviewed, and  reddit. Early in my research,  I quickly came to the notion that size is not the only thing to consider when choosing what TV to acquire for Christmas.

In this post, I will cover the top 5 things to consider when choosing the best TV for you and a few brands and models I am considering.

  1. Do you want Your TV to be SMART? What makes a TV SMART anyway? If you already own a component (WII U, Ruku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire stick, Google Chrome, etc..) that already allows your TV to connect to subscriptions like NetFlix, HULU, Amazon, and Sling, than save yourself some money and get a dumb TV. A SMART TV simply means you do not need another device connected to your TV to access subscriptions mentioned above. The only caveat to a SMART TV is that certain TVS have their own apps downloaded that you can not access with the components that are mentioned above.
  2. Is 1080 ok or do I need to get the 4k, which after all is the latest and greatest? A 4k also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition) TV’s, have four times as many pixels as standard 1080p resolution. It sounds really good, but when you stand side by side with each that are the same size you will be hard-pressed to see the difference. The only thing that you will notice is that your wallet is lighter if you go for the new 4k.  Another thing to consider is if you are interested in also acquiring an Apple TV, do not go with a 4k as the 4th generation APPLE TV is only compatible with 708 and 1080.
  3. What type of TV provides the best picture? Hands down an OLED TV is the best, but the high price does not give you the biggest bang for your buck. The TV everyone will gravitate to sounds like the LED LCD.
  4. LED does not mean a better picture, but Bigger screen does mean better picture.  37? 42? 50? 65?90? What size is best for you? Depending on your space your picture will improve as you move up the scale. Geffory Morrsion recommends that “when you sit 9 feet from your TV it should fill 40% of your field of vision”. This means a TV that is between 65-68 inches is ideal.
  5. The more HDMI ports the merrier!! In case you need extra ports check out this hub: OREI HD-104 1×4 

There are other features like curved TVS, 3D, and front project TVs, but due to the price and scarcity they likely will have the same lifespan as the Plasma.

So based on my research I am looking for a 1080 largest screen possible (doesn’t have to be smart) LED LCD TV with many HDMI ports. Below are the top Black Friday TV promotions I have found thus far.

  1. Walmart 55-inch 1080p LED TCL Roku TV model $348
  2. SAMS Vizio 55-inch TV SMART with 3 HDMI ports $448
  3. Target Samsung 60-inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV $697.99
  4. Walmart Vizio 70-inch TV $898

What TV has caught your eye?

 

 

 

 

Technology Trends

Why Apple TV is on my Christmas list

Apple TV

I am an early adopter of most of the latest and greatest technology. I love connecting with friends, finding people who have the same interests, making my life efficient, and being more effective. I also like devices that end up saving me money. This is the lens that I review all technology through, including the 4th generation Apple TV. I have done a bit of homework and in this blog I would like to share my perspective on how Apple TV will save me money.

When you subscribe to a cable or satellite subscription you are likely paying at least $99 per month and more likely if you have a DVR you are paying another $50+. Add in your subscription to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc., because I have found many of my family and friends are also paying for these services to get better programming than what is on TV. So I ask, why do we still subscribe to cable? I have found that many families like to watch live sports, news, and the latest Disney programming. When you weigh out what we really consume from cable we estimate that we are paying a lot to watch the mouse.  I find that our mobile devices in the house are the ones using Hulu or late night TV watching when the kids are finally in bed. When you add in the cost of Apple TV at 32GB version costing $149 and a 64GB model going for $199, I wonder how different is it from our smart tv capability or WII U or blue ray options to connect to online services. What do you really get for your money and will it save you anything or add another way to access the same content you can now?

I am happy to say YES, it can save you a lot of money and with that extra cash you could even upgrade your TV and throw a party. Sound to good to be true? Check this out:  For the cost of the DVD or Blu-ray of your favorite season, you can order a Season Pass to a currently airing program. (It’s not just the old seasons and is available the night it is airing.)

Here is what I found on Apple’s Website regarding available programming:

“You get full HD episodes of your favorite shows without commercials the day after they air on cable. Even better, you own the episodes so you can watch them any time from any Apple device.

Many networks like ABC, PBS, ESPN, and Smithsonian have Apple TV apps. They offer many of their programs for streaming through these apps which allow you to watch full episodes and clips from your favorite programs without a cable or satellite subscription.

Apple TV makes it simple to subscribe to and watch free content on the Internet through hundreds of thousands of Podcasts. These free, On Demand program’s offer content the cable networks can’t afford to offer.

Finally, the Apple TV is capable of receiving AirPlay streaming content from other Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, MacBook). If you can find it on the web and play it with those devices, you can stream it to your big screen TV and watch it using Apple TV.

Apple continues to negotiate with other networks so expect to see even more content available in the future”(Jack R. Apple Website).

To put a fine point on this, I wanted to be sure I could watch everything from Detroit Tigers to March Madness to Superbowl. In my research, I found that if you just launch the NCAA March Madness Live app then launch AirPlay from Control Center and whatever’s on your iPhone or iPad will be mirrored to your TV.

HERE COMES THE BEST TIP: SLING.COM 

The cheapest option is to get an antenna. Sunday Night Football is carried by NBC and Thursday Night Football is on CBS. Therefore, a TV antenna will provide you with a means to watch the game regardless of which teams are playing for free. But what if you want to watch Monday Night Football Online on ESPN and your local team isn’t playing you can subscribe to Sling.com for $20 per month.

Sling.com also includes LIVE!! Disney channel, HGTV, ESPN, and 23 others. The cost is $20 versus the $100+ you are currently paying for a cable or satellite subscription.

WHAT ABOUT LOCAL NEWS?

“ABC News on Apple TV offers immediate access to live, multi-streaming video and on-demand content, entertainment news, live hourly updates, original programming and video highlights from “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “20/20,” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week” (ENBERG, N., 2014). Read more about content on ABC here.
24/7 access to live and on-demand video with four separate live video streams to choose from.

Video news updates on the hour and four to five live reports per day to cover breaking news.

Not only will you have access and could consider canceling your cable or satellite service, but your remote becomes a friend and channel surfing has a smart assistant called SIRI.

Siri can also do follow-up questions,” Walt Mossberg wrote in his review for The Verge. “I asked for movie mysteries, and it showed me a ton. Then I said ‘only the good ones,’ and it edited the list down based on critics’ ratings.”

Siri has a few other tricks: She can search seasons of a TV series by episode, pause or fast-forward playback, and replay a part of the episode if you missed some dialogue if you ask her, “What did they say?”. Siri can not search the App Store, but she will  work with Apple Music early next year, like your she does with your iPhone today.

I know another question is what games can I play or what apps will I be able to utilize from my TV? In my experience, just like with the early months after the apple watch release, it will be a hot second and you will have more apps available than you can vet through. “Because Apple TV is a platform that’s new to developers, the current selection of apps is limited and some first efforts seem…not as well-conceived as they might have been,” Paczkowski writes. “But’s that going to change—and quickly. As developers get their hands on this thing and spend some real time coming to understand it, I suspect we’re going to see some great stuff coming down the pipeline.”

So why wait any longer?  You can order up your viewing content when you want, save money, and you have Siri by your side. The options are only going to get better with each new software update.

Uncategorized

Draw Readers To Your Blog

cropped-cropped-dollarphotoclub_739196551.jpg

If you want to retain your audience, your blog must be kept fresh and interesting. Reading the repeated ideas of a hot topic becomes less appealing. It is easy to fall into the trap of rewriting the same type of content over and over, or drilling too deep into the same tips or advice.

Your blog needs to be something that people are inspired by and that provides thought leadership. But with lifes busy pace often we all are struggling to find time to manage everything and our creative juices and light bulb moments are not always captured.

So here’s a few tips to help you generate more content ideas for your blog.

  • Keep your blog to one topic, written with your target audience in mind, and make sure it is concise and clearly written.
  • Educate yourself before you write so that you report on information that is accurate
  • Use tools to help you curate your content

Content Lifecycle plugins and widgets help to keep your content fresh. Not all data regardless of format can be created equal in shelf life (Jones, 2011). There are tools and widgets available in wordpress that can help you manage your blog to ensure that your content is not becoming stale. (Jive, codex, tutsplus to name a few).

  • Educate yourself on topics that have a following

Google’s keyword planner tool, Quicksprout, or BuzzSumo are great tools for generating ideas for content topics that have a following. Here is how it works, if you’re interested in a topic use these tools to search longtail keywords. These tools will tell you how many people are searching for particular topics, so you’ll know what the demand for your idea.

  • Write about topics that coorelate with current events, major holidays, and other celebrated moments.

People are interested in learning more about the specialities of the day or the current events that capture our attention. Write about these events to drive traffic to your site.

 What do you think of these blogging tips?  Are there others that I missed?  

Please share below in the comments! 

References;

Jones, C. (2011). Clout the art and science of influential web content. Berkley California: New Riders.

Uncategorized

Pizza Throwdown Fundraiser, Thursday, November 12th, 6-8 pm (Koen and Ashtyn’s School)

pizza-banner20152

Mark Your Calendars! 2nd Annual Greater Genesee County Pizza Throwdown on Thursday, November 12th from 6-8 pm

What is that? All you can Eat Pizza (from 10 different vendors) for $10 Fundraiser for the school that Koen and Ashtyn attend.

While you are there: Vote for the best pizza in Genesee County!  Check out silent auction items that include vacations, sport tickets, and other items from local businesses and eat desserts that are on sale.

Tickets are sold at the door and are $10 adults/$5.00 seniors, students and children/$25.00 family.

Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund of Faithway Christian School.

Want more information about the school? Check out FaithWay

Technology Trends

OTaku

I learned a new word today, Otaku. It is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests. (Wikipedia). I heard about it today in a Ted Talk  I watch hosted by Seth Godwin. It inspired me to think about the market and where within the sales bell curve our content focuses.

Many marketers and social sellers of the world know that word of mouth sales is monumental to your success. To increase your chances, you should focus on Otaku. Those people who are early adopters and individuals who are more caught up with being the first to own something over what the ROI is or the personal cost.

When I consider my personal buying habits I quickly realize that I am an early adopter and that I am otaku about coffee, technology, and coffee. I really get bent out of shape when my social network adopts something before I own it. This is why I have a pantry of coffee, a closet of trendy coffee pots, and a few technology drawers in my desk. Understanding what drives my personal buying habits is really not a complex one and it is more about interest and research than it ever is about marketing. The way I see it, if there is a commercial about it then it is probably past the stage where I am Otaku about it.

So what it is that makes you wait in long lines and research at crazy hours of the night?

Brand Awareness

Authentic Moments Defined

Have you ever found yourself on a page that looks like this?

404 image

 Frustrating isn’t it? You had a goal in mind and you ended up somewhere that falls short of your expectations. In these moments what do you do? You retrace your keystrokes, look up your intended address and if both of these lead to the same experience you do what? Believe it or not, but these can be defining moments for a Marketing team.

It is in the unexpected moments that deliver an authentic and real response that introduce people to what you are and how you deliver what you say you are. Is your business true to itself and true to what it says it is? If so, how do you render authenticity to your audience in the 404 moments? Do you offer a hand, give them an experience? In every area of your business people are looking to experience something positive with each encounter. Think Disney land for a second and how magical the brand is. Ask yourself why this is.

Well defined moments define success. Joseph Pine (2008), takes this idea a step further and states that every “encounter is an opportunity to move beyond a commodity or a service even to an experience that creates brand loyalty.”

If you are looking in increase your companies brand awareness than consider increasing, the authentic moments that your audience experiences with your product. Consider how Starbucks increased its brand recognition…one cup at a time. They did not start out with a flashy ad, rather a really good cup of coffee to everyone they served and they stood behind what they said.

To steal a line from Hamlet, “To thy own be true and be what you say you are to others.” In return, you will offer your target audience authentic moments that create an experience that they will want to share with others.

 

Uncategorized

Taking the pressure out of sales

sales presentation

Tweet this: “The difference between success and mediocrity is philosophy-Jeffery Gitomer”

Have you ever tried to convince someone of something that they did not believe in? It is not an easy task for even the best sales people. I have been told that I can sell ice to Eskimos on several occasions, but it was not because I changed the other person’s mind about anything. I simply stepped outside of my sales role and sought to address an issue together with the person on the other end of the phone.

Jeffrey Gitomer is regarded as an expert in sales and holds conferences nationally talking about relationship and sales. He states that: “The difference between success and mediocrity is philosophy” (Gitomer, 2005, p. 12). I think what he is getting at is that you need to understand who you are selling to before you can make a sale.  This aligns with the theory known as Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) because through coordinated meaning both sides of a sale have an understanding that makes sense to them through their conversations.

“Pearce and Cronen present CMM as a practical theory crafted to help make life better for real people in a real world” (Griffin, 2012 p. 67). A city manager (in press) eloquently described this idea as a desired form of communication. “The “light bulb” moment for me came when I realized that this project was not about changing people’s minds, but that it was about giving people a way to talk about tough issues” (Pearce & Pearce, 2000). I saw this idea in motion on a daily basis as I discussed the pressing issues of society with public library directors. I have heard what they view to be the tough issues and discussed with them how they can help put the right information in their library to most effectively meet the needs of their patrons.

“Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen (2007) believe that communication is the process by which we collectively create the events and objects of our social worlds. (CMM), states with assertion that persons-in-conversations co-construct their own social realities and are simultaneously shaped by the worlds they create” (Griffin, 2012 p. 67).

I believe this to be true as I have taken part in many conversations as a sales person where a customer has become a friend and our communications are consumed with what we agree on and what we have identified as our goals. Pearce (2007) states that “CCM is a theory that sees ‘communication as a generative: a way of doing things and making things, not just talking about them’” (p. xiv).

By viewing a sales professional’s communication with potential customers through the eyes of the CMM theory, the outcome of the communication is less focused on the outcomes and more on the relationship. In other words, it is not business as usual, but a time to build a relationship that shares ideas and calls into being a better social world with each client.

 

 

Home

Create messages that inspire, persuade, or entertain

hands-typing-2

Our social worlds are made in between two faces of the communication process: coordinating actions and managing meaning. Every conversation has an afterlife no matter what our intention is. “Looking backward in time, we can see that what was said or done in specific moments prefigured the realities in which we live today” (Pearce, 2007). Consider for a moment how Facebook and Timehop deliver posts that are from the past to remind ourselves of what we said or did one to five years ago. These conversations can now be re-shared with our community with a click of a button. Many of these conversations were not created to be recycled, but advanced algorithms have changed how we view information on the Internet and how it is consumed.

“Critical moments occur whenever people make meaning and coordinate actions with each other” (Pearson, 2007). The CMM theory instructs one to take advantage of every opportunity and strive to understand the context in which one communicates. This process of relationship building comes from meaningful communication and making the most of each conversation. By asking the relevant questions such as “What are we offering together?”, “How are we supporting it?”, and “How can we make what you currently provide better?” we help to shape our social world with crucial conversations. If we take the dialog approach, it helps to “resist the temptation to force “their” answers into “our” preconceived templates, and we are better able to hear them” (Pearce, 2007).
In the beginning, social media was more about self-promotion with likes and fans to strength a specific brand. Now social media is more of a place to share information. It should be our goal to create messages that inspire, persuade, or entertain. (Nelson, 2004, pg 58).   This will help us to create a message that our target audience will relate to in some way rather than posting spam invites, which is what is prevalent in social media posts from churches. “CMM envisions persons as engaging in proactive and reactive actions intended to call into being conjoint performances of patterns of communication that they want and precluding the performance of that which they dislike or fear”(Pearce and Pearce, 2000). This concept can be very difficult to embrace as we all bring hidden agendas and personal bias to interpersonal communication rather than connecting with our audience and creating relationships or community on social media.

“Head matters are rarely enough to ignite our hearts. “Receivers of our messages want to know if we believe what we are sharing on social media” (Nelson, 2004, p. 90). Passion drives trust of those who read our messages.  Social media is a place for churches to show that they are doing what they say they are doing and sharing real life examples to an audience who is looking for the real and not the superficial.

I think it is interesting to consider the idea of a relationship as it pertains to how we view our audience. Buber looked at relationships in two ways—I-It versus I-Thou. “In I-It relationships we treat the other person as a thing to be used, an object to be manipulated. Without dialog and exchange, an I-It relationship lacks mutuality” (Griffin, 2012, p. 241). The goal is always to connect with those whom we are reaching with social media. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 Paul talks about changing how we prefer to communicate, so he reaches his audience. This is critical to consider when creating social media messages. You need to be writing messages that are intentionally designed to resonate with your target audience.

References:

Griffin, E. (2012) A first look at communication theory. (8th ed.). New York:

NY.McGraw Hill Publishing.

Nelson, A. E. (2004). Creating messages that connect: 10 secrets of effective

communicators. Loveland, CO: Group Pub.

Pearce, W. Barnett and Pearce, Kimberly A. (2004) Taking a communication perspective

on dialog, Dialog: theorizing differences in communication studies,

California: Sage Publications, Inc.