Monday, November 26, 2012

QR codes are bad for your brand

The much hyped QR code has crashed as fast as The Philadelphia Eagles season.  But unlike the Eagles, I like the QR code and believe it has it's place (I suppose the Eagles have their place too hopefully helping teams like the Bucs earn a wildcard spot.  Go Bucs!).  But I digress.

Putting a QR code on a promotional product is bad for your brand.  A QR code essentially hides valuable information and requires someone to scan the code to find the information (and that requires someone to have the app installed and know how to use it).  When it comes to using promotional products, this is not such a great idea. Why fill space with an image no one will scan?  The power of promotional products it to promote your brand. Put a logo in that space, not a QR code.

Sure, there are exceptions, but they are very few and far between.  And there are ways to make it work, but why?

QR codes are not all that great even on paper, but at least on paper they make more sense.  Here are a few potentially good uses of QR codes:

  • Put a QR code on the back of your business card with all your contact information.  This allows someone to scan your contact details rather than rekey it.
  • Put QR codes on packaging to take someone directly to a webpage on a site related to the item purchased.  This is great for wines and food to help provide more details about the product or to take someone to a product manual.
  • Put QR codes on posters to make it easy to get more information.

Very few people will take the time to scan a QR code.  Very few.  In fact, I personally prefer a short URL like http://ow.ly/fA3PT.  You can have your own custom URL tool from services like bit.ly which allows you to buy your own URL shortner (so Geiger could buy Geiger.co and all Geiger links could be something like geiger.co/x34s2).

So don't waste your clients brand putting a QR code on promotional products.  Recommend they steer clear of them unless you are managing their packaging or other print related materials.  Or just ask them when was the last time they scanned a QR code?


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treat or Trick? 11 pieces of candy for you

It's tough to write the blog for Halloween day since most of the ideas that come to mind involve cliche's and I hate cliche's.  So at least I swapped Trick & Treat, so original I am...  (ht to Yoda)

But so much has happened in the last 2 weeks in technology, it makes sense to do a quick recap of some of the new devices and software.  Here are my positions on 10 technology items that you might (or should) be considering.  Most are new, but there are a few you should always be thinking about.

Treat or Trick

Treat or Trick?


  1. iPad Mini -- I would have called this a trick but it is a TREAT based on everything I am reading.  Ironically, tablets are shrinking while smartphones are getting bigger.  Yes there are cheaper 7" tablets but as I've said before, apple tablets/phones work extremely well and are smooth for all users.  The idea of a 7 " tablet has grown on me too.  Since tablets are used mostly for entertainment, a 7" tablet would be more convenient.
  2. Microsoft Surface -- TRICK. I have it and I want it to work. I'm forcing myself to work with it and find it very annoying.  It's a good long term move, but there is work to be done.  I need a few more weeks but for now, I recommend waiting until there is more support.
  3. Nexus 7 -- TREAT.  Another 7" tablet but with Android.  If you've ever wanted to try an android device, this is the one.  And since it comes directly from Google, you'll get the latest OS updates constantly.  I'm asking Santa for one, at $199 I think he can afford it. But if you are a die-hard Amazon fan, you can't go wrong with a Kindle 7" at the same price.  You will, however, give up the OS upgrades which is why I recommend the Nexus 7 over the Kindle Fire.
  4. iPhone 5 -- TRICK.  Yup, I said it.  Ok, it is a GREAT phone, but worth upgrading if  you have a 4S?  Nope, not really.  If you upgrade your 4S to IOS6 you get most of the features.  If you have a 3 or 4, you'll like it but it is not a leap forward.  And then there is that new lightning adaptor breaking all your existing accessories.  I say wait for the next iPhone.
  5. Windows 8 -- Trick & Treat.  Windows 8 is like giving kids candy and still having them toilet paper your house.  It's both a trick and a treat.  I like and dislike Windows 8.  I like it because soon, I will have an operating system that gives me my great keyboard and touchscreen use.  In fact, some touch screen laptops (the original tablets but now the name means more) are going to make it nice.   BEWARE the learning curve is steep and there is no huge upside to moving to Windows 8.  So I'm recommending people wait, much like on the surface, and only move to Windows 8 when your current pc requires it.
  6. Nexus 4 phone -- TRICK.  I can't believe Google is releasing a new phone without LTE support.
  7. Cloud backup -- TREAT.  Hurricane Sandy probably wiped out a few computers in flooding and people have now lost their family photo's like I did when a drive went bad.  Buy a long term online backup solution and keep your family and personal life safe.  Even though chances are slim you'll need it, the price is well worth it.  I personally like Crashplan.
  8. Zaggsparq -- TREAT.  Everyone needs one of these.  I have the old model but the new one is so great.  I use mine on planes or when I'm running out and forgot to charge my phone.  This device charges your phone, ipad or any usb charged item without being plugged in.  If you lost power in the storm, you could have had 1-4 more charges on your phone if you had this. 
  9. Samsung Note 10.1 -- TREAT.  I don't own it and I haven't played with one, but if I buy a 10" android tablet, this is the one.  LOVE the stylus and features it brings.  If you are considering an android tablet, try this one.  
  10. Kindle Fire HD -- TREAT.  I still prefer the Samsung, but if you need "always on" internet for your device, you can't beat the $49 1 year LTE option for the $499 Kindle fire.
  11. TRICK -- I only had 9 pieces of candy, this one is just an empty wrapper that I threw in to make you think I was giving you 10 pieces...    But here is a neat visual trick for you.
The Ebbinghaus illusion, a well-known illusion in which two circles of the same size are each surrounded by circular 'petals'; one of the circles is surrounded by larger petals, the other by smaller petals. Most people will see the first circle as smaller than the second one. (Credit: UCL)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Sad Story of Supplier Tweets

Promotional Products suppliers stink at Twitter. 

It's a shame, as suppliers are missing an opportunity to feed promotional distributors great content to feed to buyers.  Instead, it's a random special or product of the day or worse, begging for votes on the latest award (yes, I got more than 20 tweets last week from a certain large CA supplier begging for votes.  I stopped following, they don't understand social media).

Just check out the clever infographic with meaningless statistics that I made up to prove a point (Hey, you don't question where other's numbers come from so don't question mine). (AND MORE OF MY RANT AFTER THE GRAPHIC)





I started a new twitter account to focus on industry news, @GeigerCIO, and I have yet to find a supplier who knows how to use twitter well.  I've found several distributors (@motivatorsPP, @rightsleeve, among others) that "get it" but I have not found a supplier who provides interesting tweets.   Some staff members at suppliers are doing some interesting things such as Dana Zezzo (I'm glad he has moved from hotel pictures to showing his products in use).

Some suppliers started tweeting and stopped over a year ago.  This is bad for their brand as anyone who looks at the account sees a "dead" account.  Spend 10 minutes a week posting something interesting or delete the account.

Suppliers need to do the following on social networks and stop wasting time (and the time of anyone who follows).  
  1. Write some original content at least once per week.
  2. Ensure the content can be tweeted/re-posted by distributors to their followers.
  3. Provide some truly special offers that are exclusive to your followers (and for best response, limit the response time).
  4. Have an interesting and useful pintrest page.
  5. Don't feel the need to tweet/post every day unless you have something worthwhile to say (but don't go too long without posting either).
  6. Engage your followers by retweeting them and talking to them on twitter.  
I know I'm one of the few industry people on twitter but all the more reason suppliers should either bail out of twitter altogether or do it right.  The people on twitter know better than to follow suppliers that blatantly sell with every tweet.

And last but not least, you should not care about the # of followers or Likes you have.  To quote the brilliant Mark Graham (@heymarkgraham): "Your Internet strategy should focus as much on engagement as on Ecommerce". So stop selling and start engaging.


Follow me on twitter @GeigerCIO and tell me which suppliers are tweeting something interesting.  Thanks for listening to this rant.



Monday, September 10, 2012

Me AND (in) My Speedo (Warning, Picture Included)


Although I don’t approve of Jean shorts, I am a sucker for a Speedo.  Yes, I sport my  Speedo every chance I can.    My  Speedo is more than clothing to me, it is protection.  Yes, my  Speedo is a swim shirt and protects my pale skin from skin damage (and protects everyone else from seeing a 40+ year old father of 4 who could spend a little more time doing P90x!).


Enjoying the Jamaican Sunset In My Speedo
Hopefully you use sun protection as well but it doesn’t have to be a  Speedo or any sort of swim shirt, it might be sunscreen or just avoiding the sun such as anyone who lives in Seattle does.    Here are  few tips to keep you protected from things where the sun doesn’t shine.
  1. Stop paying for anti-virus software
    • You need anti-virus but Microsoft has a great free solution for personal computers called Microsoft Security Essentials.  It works great and doesn't slow your computer down.  Get it now and save yourself $40 or more per year (feel free to send me $10 each year so I can buy a new Speedo).
  2. Stop using the same password everywhere
    • Create 3 complex passwords that you can remember.  Try your parents or best friends address (ie, 123HickoryDr) but avoid your address, birthdays, kids names, etc.  And don’t think using @ for “A” is a good idea, the hackers have built that and other common tricks like ! for “1” into their schemes.
    • Use the simplest of the 3 for all your logins that don’t keep any sensitive information (things like newsletters, etc.).
    • Use the 2nd most complicated for things that have your personal or credit card information on file and your email logins.
    • Use the most complicated for your banking passwords.  Even if you have 5 banking logins, as long as you use a very complicated one you are probably ok.  Sure it is best to have 5 different ones, but 90% of people use the same bank password as other logins.
Another even better option is to use a secure password manager which allows you to have a master password that is (hopefully) very complex and then can generate and remember your passwords for every site.  Leave a comment on this blog and I’ll let you know which the best to use is and how to use it safely.


                

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jean shorts are NOT OK!


Jean shorts are not ok!  



In the 90’s, I rocked a pair of stonewashed denim jean shorts.  I looked so good in them I had 2 pair!  Now, no pair of jean shorts looks good on me (or anyone else for that matter) and there are several other things that are no longer acceptable.
  1. Bluetooth headsets when not in use.  Bluetooth headsets are not cool.  But I see the use occasionally and I love Bluetooth in my car. But lose the headset when you are not using it.  It really won’t take you that long to put it on if your phone rings.  Better yet, ditch it altogether and get a ZAGG headset with great quality sound and cords that don’t tangle.
  2. Not recycling your old electronics.  Either because I spend too much time in earth aware Maine or because I have 4 kids, but I recycle every chance I get.  And if you throw away any electronic, you are doing a HUGE disservice.  Take a minute and put your electronics where they belong.

  3. Not using your speech to text on your smartphone.  If you are typing everything, you are missing a huge productivity saver.  iPhone 4s has siri who will type everything for you and schedule meetings.  Droid has it built in but did not name the feature although a nice app called speaktoitassistant puts a nice interface on the capability.
  4. Not using HDMI cables for your computer and TV.  The simplicity and quality of HDMI is remarkable compared to VGA.  HDMI cables are inexpensive if purchased from Amazon and they are truly plug and play.  If you don't have an HDMI in on your monitor or out on your PCI, get a DVI adapter.
  5. Any computer with less than 4 gig of memory.  Memory is CHEAP.  If you are using a computer with less than 4 GIG of memory (RAM), you are torturing yourself.  And if you are using a really old laptop with less than 4 GIG that can’t be upgraded, you are really torturing yourself because a new laptop with 4 GIG of memory can be had for $350.  Seriously, if you have less than 4 GIG, you are losing hours per day waiting on your computer.
  6. Not unsubscribing from emails you don’t read.  You’ve got mail!  Remember when we loved that sound?  That was so 90’s.  Now we drown in email, yet we are too busy to unsubscribe from the email so we end up drowning from exponential overload.  Do you really need all that junk email?  Take a few minutes each day and click unsubscribe.
  7. Buying a droid tablet instead of an iPad.  Oh No You Di’n’t!  But if you did, give it up and get an iPad.  You’ll be glad you did (I have a droid phone for the record and love it) No droid tablet has touched the iPad due to the lack of tablet apps for droids.  Samsung is making nice tablets and Google’s latest is nice too but nothing beats the iPad, yet.
  8. sent from my [network name here] iPad/iPhone/droid” as your email tag line.  Take 40 seconds and change it to something less gimmicky.  I prefer “Sent from my mobile device, please forgive brevity and typos”.
  9. Reading 50 shades of grey in a non-electronic format in public.  Read it on your kindle and keep it to yourself!
Now, I'm off to party in my new jean shorts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Digging Beneath the "Surface"

Bad pun aside, no doubt you have heard the announcement regarding the Microsoft Surface tablet computer. There are many interesting things about this announcement but as usual, I care about how it effects us going forward.

Surface is a game changer as long as Microsoft executes well (and I believe they will). Here are a few reasons why.

Windows 8
People are going to use windows 8 on their office/home PC, they are going to be come familiar with the system for using on the tablet.  I've been using Windows 8 for a few months now on my home PC and I don't really care for it much but mostly because it is designed for a tablet.  Fortunately, I can run the "Windows 7" style from the PC easily so it's almost like an extra feature rather than the operating system making the transition to Windows 8 smoother.  

Windows Phone
The current Windows Phone has been getting some pretty great reviews by consumers and professionals alike.  So while way behind iPhone and Droid, it's beginning to build a name for the brand.  Most important, Windows 8 Phone will be compatible with your Windows 8 PC and Tablet.

Design
Microsoft has received numerous accolades for the design.  They did this one right.

Keyboard cover
Part of the great design is including a usable keyboard as part of the cover.  I haven't used it but am reading very positive reviews.  And one of my biggest complaints about my iPad is that it is much easier to consume than to create. Give me a great keyboard and MS Office applications and why do I need a laptop?

XBOX
Kinect voice and gesture recognition is amazing and makes navigating through menus easy.   I'm sure some/most of that technology will be embedded.  Xbox already access media from my Windows 7 machine and is a great device for much more than games.  But they've also announced how you can use Surface to interact with your XBOX games with an app called SmartGlass which will let users stream content straight from consoles to mobile devices.  They just drew in a big crowd of young gamers and made Nintendo even less relevant.

SKYPE
Many people use SKYPE. PC, MAC, IPAD, DROID, Windows Phone.  You name it.  Facetime only works with other "i" devices.  So Skype has a huge user population that you'll be able to video call with no matter what device.

Price
The price is going to be key to success and rumors are between $599 and $999.  So why pay more?  Well, it's not really more when you compare the amount of storage and what apps will be included.  Throw in the cost of the keyboard and/or cover and you are less than the cost of an iPad.  But this point is still open for debate, because value or not, $399 is much easier to spend than $599.  This one will take time for people to overcome and may slow consumer adoption but businesses should be ok.

Even the Geeks will be happy.
No proprietary connectors or hardware preventing Geeks from supporting the devices and making cables, etc interchangeable.  And your office IT staff, if you have one, will like that there will be better security management that ties to their existing infrastructure.

There is an app for that!
Windows 8 apps will be compatible with your tablet, phone & PC, any app you buy for your PC will (theoretically) run on your phone & tablet.  Most of us will eventually buy a new PC (an ultrabook is my next personal purchase) and it will have Windows 8.  And then we'll want apps to run on that PC that will come from the Microsoft Window App Store. 

It is no slam dunk. Microsoft can blow this but for the first time in as long as I can remember, I think they have a real winner here.  Much of their corporate business remains challenged so this is too critical for them to botch and they know it.

WHAT TO DO?
PC -- If your PC is really old, go ahead and buy the cheapest Windows 7 machine.  Windows 7 is great and you'll find good use for it.  Dell and Best Buy have great desktops and even laptops for under $400 that will serve you well for a few years.  But if you can wait, Windows 8 is to be released in Fall of this year and you could have the latest hardware and software.

Mobile Phone -- You should really wait to buy your next phone.  Once you buy a phone you are locked in for 2 years.  I love my droid but I will probably switch to the Windows 8 phone based on what I see.  Slated for a Fall 2012 release and lest you think it will be a "beta" phone, the Windows 7.5 release is very stable so you can safely buy the Windows 8 phone (but don't buy any current Windows phone, Windows 8 will not be compatible with existing devices).  When released, I expect great deals to motivate you to switch.

Tablet -- Go ahead and buy an iPad for $399 (skip the latest $499 generation).  It's a great device and you can always sell it for $300 if you wish to switch to Microsoft Surface.  But you'll probably wait until the 2nd Surface is available so you'll get a good year or two out of your iPad before you buy Surface.  Once the hype goes away and the real picture of what the Surface can do is clear, make your own decision.




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I got spammed by Promotions East :(


This is post not popular with Promotions East, but I am posting anyhow as what happened is annoying to me and probably hundreds of you who attended Promotions East.  I registered for the show a few weeks ago and the week before the show I began to get SPAM from more than 10 suppliers each day and it continues on. 

Unfortunately, although I had properly registered to avoid these emails, my name was provided to suppliers anyhow.  Worse, SAAGNY/Promotions East did not send these messages on behalf of suppliers, they provided my email to the suppliers!  So now I have to manually unsubscribe to each supplier email that is coming through.   Fortunately, we use Postini (from Google) at Geiger and it has caught every one of these emails.  But I still go through the list of junk mail when time allows and now it is MUCH longer than ever.

Before I published this post, I shared it with a friend at SAAGNY and while he is not happy with me, I have corrected factual errors from my first draft.  What I have said above is correct but in talking with SAAGNY, I now know WHY this happened and it was an HONEST mistake.  No harm intended and I'm impressed with the quick response SAAGNY provided along with the admission of the mistake.

During registration there were 2 places to provide an email address.  One was for show registration information and one was for suppliers.  I left the supplier field blank thinking I was protecting myself.  In the OPT OUT, I left it as the default so that I could receive the show emails.  But during the export to suppliers there was a mistake in the settings and provided my personal email to every exhibiting supplier.

Here is the screenshot from the registration form.


I applaud SAAGNY for being so responsive to my inquiry and helping me get the facts straight although they have not yet confirmed that the mistake was on their side.  Organizations make mistakes and it's how you react that determines the quality of the organization.  SAAGNY is a great organization and more importantly has great people.  When my family recently went through a very serious medical issue with a family member, SAAGNY people were some of the most helpful and caring.

Given PPAI is running EXPO East in 2013, I am confident the problem will be resolved as I successfully registered and attended The Expo 2012 and have not been spammed.

So while I'm upset about this mistake, I still appreciate all the good things SAAGNY does including the foundation and a great show that I enjoyed attending.   I'll get unsubscribed from all the annoying lists and move on (Except I will push show organizers to make it much tougher to provide suppliers our email addresses on pre and post show lists).  You should do the same.  But the next time you register for a show, follow these suggestions to reduce your chance of spam.

1.  Use a secondary email address for all trade show registrations and newsletter registrations.  You can get a free one from yahoo, Hotmail, gmail or more.
2.  Get a gmail address and you can add "+tradeshowname" at the end of your email to filter junk and determine where it is coming from.  So if your name is madeupname@gmail.com, you can use madeupname+saagny@gmail.com to track the source as well as make it easier to filter.
3.  Use a great spam filter like postini.
4.  Carefully check the OPT out whenever registering.
5.  Have a 2nd set of business cards for shows and only give your main card to people you really want to talk with.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google Voice, How I love thee, let me count the ways

  1. It's free (I started here because you are very cheap and will read the rest of this with more interest).
  2. All my text messages are on my phone, my iPad and my computer.  And they are free so no need for a text message plan.
  3. All voice mails are transcribed to text so I can read my voice mails.
  4. When I get a phone call to my Google voice #, it can ring any phone.
  5. I can block unwanted callers (Which is why I never take your calls Dana Zezzo...)
  6. I can call internationally from my cell phone for very low rates.
  7. Google voice blocks known spam calls from ever reaching me.
  8. I got a cool # by picking it from a list of #'s (My wife's # ends in 4KIM).

There are many other reasons I like this app, but those reasons alone are well worth using it for.  There are a few drawbacks with it, mainly with text messages not sending MMS messages but that's ok with me.  Also, the voice transcription is quite funny to read, but I still get the key points of the message without having to listen to it.

Also, some of the features work far better on Android than on an iPhone (for example on an iPhone it's more difficult to call out using your Google voice #).  So if you are an iPhone user, you will find a few things not so great about it, but still worth having.

This app really will change the way you make and receive calls and texts.  You can still have people call your old # and (if you are using android) you can decide when to make calls with Google voice and when to use your regular line (so that the proper caller ID shows up).

You can also have a Google CALL ME widget on your webpage so people can call you.  It's a neat option although risky.  But using the features, you can filter calls by group and even tell it not to ring you at certain times and your # stays private so once you remove it, people can't reach you anymore.

It's free and very useful. So even if you just get it to understand it, it's worth your time.  Even if you only use the Google voice # for giving it to service people or websites for screening purposes, it's extremely useful.  But I use it for all my calls.  As long as you have an @gmail.com account, it is very easy to get started.  Just visit http://bit.ly/L0BGIK to get started and be sure to drop me a comment below and share your thoughts. 

BONUS TIP:  If you really want to impress your clients you can set up individual voice mail greetings for people.  




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cold calling jerks

20 calls a week.  No lie.  Probably more that don't leave messages.  Tactics that include:

  • "Gene" told me to give you a call == I got Gene on the phone and he said he didn't make those decisions you did (or worse, they just know Gene's name).
  • I wanted to finish up our conversation last week = Your so busy you don't remember we didn't talk so I'll play the guilt card.
  • Unsolicited LinkedIn invitations followed up by an email to my personal email.
I know, cold calling is a part of the job.  And if you want to succeed, you've got to bang on some doors.  But unless you have something SO unique, I'm not going to have time for your call.  And if you do have something unique, I'll probably find it if I need it.

The worst cold caller is the one that acts like my friend.  I immediately get rude when you try this tactic with me. 

As someone who has been responsible for sales much of my career, I'm NOT advocating that you stop making cold calls completely.  Instead, just recognize more what is happening to your prospect.  They can't possibly get their job done.

Instead, warm up your cold calls.  If you really want to reach someone, find a connection FIRST.  I've had several people succeed in reaching me that I would have completely turned down had they cold call me.  How?  Through existing personal relationships (sometimes evidenced through LinkedIn), trade shows and even well placed advertising (online or direct mail usually but also magazine ads).

One of the easiest ways to warm up your cold call is to follow people on twitter.  First of all, following them usually alerts them to who you are.  Second, you can see what they are facing.  If you retweet their posts or reply to their posts, you get further exposure to them.  Once you have made a connection, you can try connecting on LinkedIn or perhaps an email to them further introducing yourself.

The best cold calls are warm and the people most likely to get my business usually earn it over time through a series of steps, not a cold call.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dale's quick guide to buying your next PC/Laptop/Tablet/Phone


I hate when people ask me what pc/laptop to buy.  That’s like asking what promotional product someone should buy without understanding budget, goals or other information.  Yet, people don’t know the right questions to ask and sometimes just want an answer. So here is my opinion with caveats.

Computer on a budget – Buy Dell Inspiron desktop– preferably from Dell outlet store. 
I bought my home computer for $300 and it screams and has everything I need for home computing (except Microsoft office).  Buying from the outlet provides the same full warranty plus free shipping and my machine was essentially brand new but $100 cheaper.  http://www.dell.com/outlet (horrible site, but the savings are worth it).  Any machine you can buy on this site is great for most basic functions. Spend between $300 & $500 for a great budget machine.

Best laptop for the money – Dell Inspiron 14z http://dell.to/qmPDZL staring at $499.

Best phone – iPhone. I love my Droid Bionic, but iPhone is better for most of the population. 

Best tablet – iPad 2 –It’s amazing how great this device is.  No Droid touches the value.  The new iPad retina display is not worth it so stick with the 16 gig iPad 2 for $399.

Basic configuration you need for any computer.
·         Windows 7.
·         4 Gigabytes (GB) of Ram.
·         100 GB hard drive (more is great if you need it but 100 GB is fine).
·         Video card with ½ GB of RAM on the video card preferably HDMI compatible.
·         Support for dual monitors.

Enhancing your computer –
·         8 GB of RAM, a great investment for a small price.
·         100 GB SSD (Solid State Drive) will pay for itself 10 times over but adds $150.
·         1 GB internal drive for storing large files (pictures, videos).
·         Dual monitors – It will change your life!
·         1 GB of memory on your video card – well worth it even for casual use.   (Best to buy as part of a new machine configuration rather than upgrading an existing machine.)

Software for your computer
·         Office 2010 home – Yes, I know Google Docs is great but Office 2010 is still worth it. 
·         Crashplan.com – unlimited online backup (best value). You MUST backup online. 

The following are all free
·         Microsoft Security Essentials – Free antivirus that works very well.
·         Dropbox – It just works and 5 GB free. 
·         Evernote – Free and awesome but too difficult to explain in 1 sentence.
·         Firefox – fast and compatible browser.
·         Lastpass – remembers all your passwords.  Free (good for most) or $12 for premium.

Best home office printer – Epson workforce 645 multi-function (wireless including from iPad)

Best place to buy accessories – Amazon.com
·         Logitech is my favorite for most accessories.

What about Macs?
I don’t recommend MacBook’s.  They are beautiful and do amazing things but the price is too high for me to recommend for MOST people.   Don’t send me hate mail telling me all the reasons I’m wrong, I’ve done the research, and the cost only justifies it for people who want a Mac.  Same reason I love my iPad compared to ANY other tablet.  You get more for your money.  I don’t hate Apple, I like value.

What about upgrades?
Don’t.   The hassle is just not worth it.  If you are a bit technical or if you have a technical sibling/friend who is willing to help you, there are a few things worth upgrading.  
·         Making sure you have 4 GB of RAM (If you have 64bit windows, 8GB and if you don’t know what that means, you should not be upgrading…)
·         Installing an SSD drive will make your old computer essentially as fast as any new computer.  $100 for a 100 GB SSD drive is a great investment.  But moving/copying and installing requires a geek.

When to buy? 
If your machine is really slow and painful, buy now. The increased productivity is worth it.  But if you are pretty happy, wait.  Windows 8 is coming later this year and new and lower prices will hit in December to get you to upgrade.  So wait.  In the meantime, download CCleaner http://bit.ly/Kfunrs and clean up your junk files to make your system perform a bit better.

If you need a tablet or a phone, don’t wait to buy the iPad.  The next version likely won’t hit until March 2013.  But wait on the iPhone until November of this year to get the latest if you can.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Be Social, Don't DO Social

The more you SELL,

the less you will sell.


Having a company page on Facebook is great but remember, if people like your page, your posts will show up in their FB feed.  So if you are annoying, they'll either UNlike you or HIDE you (HIDING you is worse since you think they are following you).

So you have to be relevant and interesting.  Stop selling.  Sure, it's ok to post a product or special on occasion but you have to be interesting with it.  And post things that are useful to get people thinking.  Even if you didn't sell the promotion, talk about current uses of promotional products in big launches and big events.  And include snippets to great AND RELEVANT articles and a link to the original article.

The same is true for Twitter, Google + and all other social networks.  It has to be interesting.  
To be interesting, include spontaneous, personal, human, light-hearted, interesting, funny, timely, and photo-driven content.

The one site you MIGHT get away with being very product focused is PININTEREST.  Pininterest is all visual so having cool, cooky and unique promotional products is actually a part of being social. And it transfers well to Facebook.

But, I still prefer, for most distributor and supplier salespeople, to be friends with the person.  If that person is interesting.   You don't want to be a star, you just want to be interesting enough to have people not be annoyed when they see your posts.

Don't SELL and you will sell more.

One more thing, people still go to your website more often than facebook so you have to keep both up to date or include a widget with your facebook status updates to keep them aware of postings.  My wife went to the Falmouth library site to check hours and showed up to a closed library.  I had seen their Facebook post earlier in the day that they were close for Patriots day.  Which, not being from Maine we had to look up...