Monday, February 27, 2017

It's How You Choose to Look at Your Situation

I had a good morning.  I took the later flight out which meant I did not have to get up at 3:30am.  I was able to kiss my kids and wife and get them off to school and work.  I was able to walk the dog.   I was able to get some work done and still get to the airport with plenty of time.   I was upgraded.  It was going to be a good day.

Then, the flight was delayed. Only 30 minutes but with a tight connection, I felt confident I could make it.  As the 30 minutes passed and we still had not boarded, I called the Delta Platinum line and was told I could stay in Tampa until 6:42 and catch a flight to Detroit (It was almost 2pm). I decided to take my chance and get on the plan to Cincinnati. I arrived at 4:08. I made it to my gate by 4:10 (it was only a few gates down but I ran).  The door was closed but the plane was still sitting there.

The gate agent assured me in Tampa they would likely hold the flight if it was close.  Nope.  Not even for a Platinum (I wonder if I was still diamond...?).  I had made it on time but they close the gate 10 minutes early and I know this. So I wasn't too upset except that I had my expectations raised by the gate agent (not her fault).

The gate agent told me not to worry, I was rebooked through Atlanta 2 gates down and they were boarding.  OK, I headed off.  I got to the gate and they were oversold and I was not going to get a seat.  I didn't pitch a fit but I was annoyed.  I just smiled and asked him to make sure I got to PWM tonight or give me the vouchers they were giving everyone else (I somewhat hoped for the voucher).

10 minutes later he had me booked through Detroit to Portland.  I wasn't sure if I was happy or not. I had become a fan of the idea of getting a free ticket for my trouble.  I determined I was disappointed when I realized I lost my first class upgrade.

I stopped and looked at the situation realizing I was getting in about the same time (I had a long layover anyhow) that I had originally planned.  So why did it matter?  It mattered because I had elevated expectations and that was my own doing. I quickly reframed the situation. I was getting to my destination at the right time. I was not stuck in middle seats even if they weren't first class.  I had the sky club to sit in while waiting.

When things aren't going right, ask yourself if your perspective changed if things would be ok?  If so, attempt to reframe your expectation.  It made my night much better.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Simplicity Wins

I just tried to use Cortana to add an appointment to my outlook calendar.  Yuk.  It was clunky and worse it didn't get the date or subject right.

Compare that to my google phone which gets it right 99% of the time and is easier to use.  Microsoft Cortana is way behind, but they will catch up.

Although Google is the best at voice recognition and understanding what I want, I still talk to Alexa more. The reason?  I don't have to press anything.  Yes, I have "OK GOOGLE" on my phone but the phone still has to be awake (screen on) for that to work. I suspect they'll fix that at some point but for now Alexa wins the simplicity battle.

I use Alexa a lot.  I was starting to regret buying the Tap last year after buying the DOT this Christmas.  The always listening feature is really simple and has me adopting more interaction with Amazon.  I've even started buying supplies via Alexa.  I was in the kitchen realizing we were almost out of dog food when I thought, "I'll try Alexa" and told her to reorder.  5 seconds later I was done.  Then I re-ordered 2 more things I might have run to the store for instead of buying from Amazon.

Whatever you are building, you have to keep it simple to build momentum.  Once people use  a tool, they'll ask for more.  It still has to work well (Siri is still very flawed) to be useful which is another reason Alexa kept their features limited at first.

As they've taught for years, Keep It Simple Stupid works now more than ever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Speed of Amazon shipments slowing down?

Have you noticed that 2 day shipping with Amazon is now 3 days most days?  It seems that depending on the day, my 2 day shipment is promised in 3 days instead of 2.  For example, I just ordered some items from Amazon at 3:56pm.  The shipment option during checkout was FREE 2 DAY shipping to arrive Friday (today is Tuesday Sept 27).  In the past, 2 day shipping would have arrived Thursday September 29.

Last week, I ordered a few things and the same thing occurred.  I thought it was a fluke until I saw what happened today.

Last week's order contained an item that while it promised 2 days, it turned out to be 4 days for some reason (stock perhaps?).  I was able to cancel the item because I needed it in 2 days.  Another item I ordered over the weekend qualified for PRIME (not free shipping, actually PRIME) and when I received the confirmation, it wasn't scheduled to arrive until next Monday (all other items were on time).  I was again able to cancel the order and choose a different product from a different vendor.

Amazon remains my favorite place to shop despite this.  Yet, it is something to watch as we get accustomed to getting things in 2 days.   Amazon Prime is a great value and I will keep using it even with the new 3 day shipping (that is supposed to be 2 days).  Their service and return policies are awesome. Pricing is usually very close to the lowest for everything I've ordered and that keeps me from wanting to price shop them too much.

Shipping is going to be a big issue for Amazon and they will have to figure out a way to reduce their shipping costs while keeping us loyal shoppers.  It will be interesting to see if the slower shipping begins to have an impact as their competitors start improving their operations.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The FOCUS of July

Each year I tell my team that the week of July 4th will be the least busy week of the year for the company.  Each year, I find it to be the best week to encourage people to take vacations and enjoy time off.

For those of us who do not take vacation this week, it's a great week to focus.

It is so easy to get caught up in reactive mode during most weeks.  We love the feeling of accomplishment to solve problems.  Yet, we all know we need to focus and contemplate on projects with fewer interruptions to get the best results.

This week is the week for focus.  You will have less customers asking for your assistance (unless you are in hospitality) because many customers are on vacation.  

Use this week wisely.  Enjoy your Focus of July week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A few years ago, I downloaded a free Sudoku app called Sudoku Joy. I had not played Sudoku before this app and I was not sure I would like Sudoku. In fact, I was pretty sure I would not like Sudoku.
Turns out, I was wrong. I like Sudoku quite a bit, and this app is my favorite. As I learned how to play from the app, I quickly realized how this app has great management skills.
1. It made me want to play the game.
It immediately offered me a choice of difficulties, and the easiest level was so easy that I was able to grasp concepts immediately.
2. It gave me progressively more challenging work.
As I improved, I was able to keep challenging myself and accomplish more.
3. It highlighted my accomplishments and motivated me to get better.
After each game, it told me how fast I completed it compared to other people and my best time. If I used hints, it only compared me to people who used hints.
4. It provided hints when I wanted them.
It did not provide the answer. It first points me in the right direction, which helps me learn. If I’m still stuck, I can request another hint, and it gets me closer to the answer. If I’m still stuck, it gives me the answer so I can continue on.

5. It identifies things I’ve done wrong without judgment.
When I ask it to “check entries” if I’ve done something wrong, it tells me where there are incorrect entries and offers to correct them so I can continue on.
What can you do to make your team members more engaged and gently guide them to their potential?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Galaxy S7 - My short review

I've had my S7 for 2 weeks now after upgrading from the S5. My S5 was losing battery quickly giving me less than 1/2 day use. So I bought the S7 hoping to solve that problem.

I felt unsure about the upgrade, after all, other than battery life my S5 was running fine.  Until I realized what I was missing.

The S7 was immediately faster. Significantly faster.  Wait, I said to myself: It has to be due to it being new, once I load the apps it will slow down.  Nope. Still fast.  So much faster.  I had forgotten how much speed makes a difference on a phone and the S7 is blazingly fast.

Battery life is a winner. Only 1 day so far of heavy use has left me needing a charge.  Most days, I have over 40% left at the end of the day.

Camera is taking gorgeous photos and selfies are clearer too.  The camera is faster too.

I took at risk at dinner with friends one night and put my phone in a glass of water completely submerged.  It was fine.  How cool is it to know that if I drop my phone in water, I'll be fine.

There are many other things I like about the Galaxy S7 but the highlights in order for me are:

  • Speed
  • Battery
  • Camera
  • Waterproof
As for things I don't like, I'm still getting used to the headset jack on the bottom.  Otherwise, I haven't found a thing about it I don't like.

The wireless charging is cool too but I wouldn't buy the phone for it.  The case I bought is the best case I've had for a phone so far. Slim, light, good grip, and great price:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why my dad is special

My dad inspires me.  Just this week, I needed my dad.  He was there for me.  This isn’t the first time I needed him and it won’t be the last.   My dad has been there for my sisters too. He’s been there for my children and for many others.

Tuesday night we had my dad over for early Father’s day because I’ll be traveling on Father’s day.  When we sat down for dinner, I asked my kids to think about what makes “Papa” special.  Each of them told stories about what they loved.  What amazed me is the details of the stories they told.  Details of things that happened long ago but that created a bond with him for them.

One of my children talked about the time he (my son) was facing a significant personal challenge and became significantly anxious.  My dad came over and talked with him on 2 different occasions and helped him work through the challenge when I was out of town on business. 

I teared up as my son told the story because my dad has been there for me during my times of challenges. Every time.  Always supporting me, always caring, always available.  As my son finished, I said “ditto” because that is all I could say without crying.

Beyond being there whenever any of his children, grandchildren, or friends need him, my dad is impressive for many other reasons.  For example, despite being 70+, he has not stopped improving himself. He hasn’t stopped looking at other perspectives. He hasn’t stopped listening to see what he might be missing.  In fact, he has done more listening and has become more open-minded.   This trait of his is so inspiring to me and makes him fun to be around.

He is always giving of himself to others.

When my family moved back to Florida 4 years ago, the moving van was late and I had to travel and was not here during the unloading.  We live in a neighborhood with very small 1 way streets, barely enough for a car to drive if someone is parked on the road.  The moving van was not going to be able to make it because of the dozens of cars parked on the road between the entrance to the neighborhood and my house at the back of the neighborhood.  This meant additional expense of another truck and unloading twice.   Rather than let this happen, my dad went door to door and asked people if they would move their cars until all the cars were moved.  I often drive down my streets and think about how my dad did this.  It’s a reflection on who he is and how much he cares for others because while he did this for us, he would not have done this for himself.

My dad is special and I’m so thankful for him every day. 

Happy Father’s day dad! I love you.