Sunday, 18 December 2011

Spam and Speedo

It's always amusing to me that a brand name can have both a positive and negative meaning.

Take Spam, for example.  No really, take it.  I've got three cans still in my cupboard from the mid-seventies.  Spam is a pork and ham canned meat invented in 1937 by Jay Hormel.  They've sold seven billion cans of it.  But it also has negative connotations as unsolicited emails, and is defined on the web site thus:

"The term spam refers to submitting the same message to a large group of individuals in an effort to force the message onto people who would otherwise choose not to receive this message.

Speedo is another brand new that evokes both positive and negative reactions.  Picture your middle aged uncle in a Speedo.  Sorry about that.  Now imagine a competitive swimmer wearing something other than a Speedo.  Sure, there are other brand names but they are all grouped, in the mind of those who don't care or know, as Speedo.

There's a lesson in this for all of us.  If you figure it out, let me know.   I'm buffaloed.

Friday, 16 December 2011

All my Yesterdays

There's nothing like a silent retreat to cleanse one from all ones obsessions.  In October I spent a week in the wilderness, not completely silent, but all but cut off from the outside world.

Weaning myself and entering into the solitude of my own thoughts, I realised that maybe, just maybe, all the connectivity is actually creating a disconnect.  I have all the opinion I want, 24 hours a day, on Twitter and Facebook, but spend little time forming thoughts of my own.

Humans are the only creature that use a 'net to escape (not recognizing they can be just as trapped in their daily surfing as a dolphin behind a Japanese trawler).

It isn't going away, but for me, here is yesterday's social media:

Twitter - too much.  The name is appropriate, and I like Twitter.  If I could have only one media, it would be Twitter.  Yet the endless self-promotion renders every tweet and link suspect.  If you have to filter for the inevitable come-on it loses its usefulness.

Blogs like this one.  Enough already.  Very few are any good.  If the writer sticks to one area of interest, genuinely imparts original thought based on solid research, and writes with the intent to serve, it's a good blog.  If you read my blog at all you'll immediately recognise that I wouldn't include this it in a list of good blogs.  This thing bounces all over the place!  Cars, management tips, sales opinion, restaurant reviews...what the hell?  But if you like it, hey...there's no accounting for taste.

Dailies are so yesterday.   Does anybody really care what anyone thinks on a daily basis?  This crap about referencing individuals on Twitter  to drive readers to your daily and then to your site is such a colossal fail, it's right up there with writing names on a grain of rice at the county fair.

Newsletters..see dailies.  Sorry, they serve only to promote, not to inform.  Oh, yours is to inform?  My mistake.  I'll do business with you.  The day you recommend your competitor, or publish an unbiased piece that drives me to your competitor I'll read your newsletter.  Heck, I'll recommend it.

Facebook and LinkedIn still serve to keep us current and connected with the person, professionally and personally.  They go off the tracks when users post the same update on both plus Twitter, or when every update is a sales pitch.

We know what yesterday held, how it helped us, and how it's held us back.  Let's get busy on tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Young Men...Some Advice

Guys, I don't mind telling you I'm a little peeved at you.  I won't go so far as to say disappointed, but I think you can do better.  I'm talking now to the young fellows, under the age of thirty or thereabouts.  You guys are pretty cool most of the time, and I like almost everyone of you I meet, but you're innate uncoolness is, well....uncool.  Here's why and remember, this is coming from a guy who has NEVER been cool.

High Priced Razors and Shaving Cream:  Why do I pay more for razors now than I did for a full tank of gas when I was in my twenties?  It's your fault.  Here's the thing - the razor companies are targeting all this high priced smoothness right at you, and you guys walk around with two days of stubble on your faces, so what the heck do you need all those expensive blades for? 

Don't think I don't know the answer to that question - I do know and it's uncool.  It's your business, but when it starts hitting me in the wallet because you're afraid of a little razor burn where it itches, it reluctantly becomes my problem too.

You're Fat:  Too many of you are at least 20 pounds heavier than you should be.  Uncool.  Don't deny it.  And don't blame it on the beer and give it cute names like the "Freshman 15".  It's you and your processed food and your lazy fat asses.  It's not the beer; it's the nachos.  The average dude in his twenties today looks like what we used to call the "fat guy".  Don't believe me?  Look at your dad's high school yearbook and see how many guys you can count in his graduating class who are as heavy as you or your friends.  Now count the heavy dudes in your yearbook.  I rest my case.  It's not cool, and you're killing yourselves.

Personal Responsibility:  Remember that scene in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams tells Matt Damon "it's not your fault" over and over again until Matt's crying like a baby?  Get ready to well up.

"It's not the beer, it's YOUR fault you're fat and in terrible shape; it's not the beer, it's not the beer..."  Crying yet?  Well stop it, and don't expect a hug. 

Hugging it Out:  Guys, did you never learn to shake hands?  A good, firm handshake?  What's that, your dad never taught you, and neither did your mother's boyfriend?  OK, stop with the quivering lip and STOP hugging your friends like you're a couple of schoolgirls.  It's unbelievably uncool.

A Full Day:  If you punch a time clock and work to a schedule, enjoy your 8 hours and enjoy your paycheque because that's all you're getting.  I'm sorry to say that until you get off the time clock, your career ain't a's a job.  Nothing wrong with that if you're not interested in a career.

What motivates you; your goals and aspirations and professional responsibilities, or a ticking clock?

Size Doesn't Matter except when you're comparing.  But it's just a paycheque and some are larger than others.  Don't worry about the size of your buddy's bank account, car or apartment.  As long as you've got a roof over your head and you can meet your obligations, there's no need to take a job or to leave school for a job just because it pays relatively well.  Concentrate on your vocation and do what you love, or do what you have to do until you can do what you love.  The money will follow. 

I'm not your Dad
Look, stop thinking of me as some old guy who sounds like your dad.  I am; but stop.  Think of me as future you coming back to warn present you.  Except I can do more push ups than you can and I'm statistically likely to live to a much older age.  But damn, doesn't your chinstrip face fuzzy thing look cool! 

Actually, it really doesn't.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Road Test - 2011 Kia Soul

Some people might think it unfair to judge a vehicle strictly from the driver's seat after only a couple of days of rental driving, but look at how we buy them.  We can do all the market research we want, but in the end, for most us it comes down to a 20 minute test drive and a 2 hour negotiation.

My opinion of the 2011 Kia Soul is not a good one, with all due respect to those who design and build them. Look, no one's NOT buying a car because of anything I say, except me.  I won't be buying a Kia Soul.  Here's what I thought.

Great - It's got a GREAT turning radius, so if you're into u-turns and mall parking, this is the vehicle for you.  Hello soccer moms, I'm talking to you.  Pick up your child from school, make the u-turn and drive three blocks back home before you load up and head another few blocks to the soccer field.

Good - Funky interior design with all the knobs and buttons in all the right places.  I think the ladies could use a place for their purse.

Room to Grow - Look, this is a pure chick-mobile, but I don't think the average mom-driver is going to like the fuel economy.  It's not good for a car this size.  The combined city/highway mileage on this drive was 11 litres per 100 km.  Heck, my 1996 Thunderbird with a massive 8-cylinder under the hood gets the same on the highway.

Would I buy one?  I don't know how it is in the snow, so I can't promise I'd buy one even if hell froze over.  Not for me, not for my wife.  Next time I'm offered one at the rental counter I'll be asking what's the second choice.   Sorry Kia.  I'm not a Soul-man (who didn't see that coming?)

Watch my One-Minute Review here: