How I Unplugged and Lived to Tell About It | Michael Hyatt


Earlier this year I predicted 2012 would be a time that people would unplug from the Internet. Here’s a blog post by publishing executive Michael Hyatt discussing his attempt to do just that.

Hyatt’s post:  How I Unplugged and Lived to Tell About It | Michael Hyatt.

My previous post on unplugging: 2012 predictions

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Skeptical of Facebook IPO: Opinion


Was Facebook’s IPO overvalued? Yes. Although a technical glitch marred the opening this past Friday, Facebook’s shares plummeted throughout the day from a high of about $45 to close at $38.23, just 23 cents per share higher than the starting price.

I agree with analyst Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management, who said in this story that Facebook and its underwriters priced the stock at the top range of its potential.

“The underwriters got greedy on behalf of selling shareholders and bumped the price high enough that they didn’t get much of a bump on the first day,” Smead said.

Although Facebook is a large company and has a ton of users, how much growth potential does it have? There are simply some people who will never sign up for Facebook’s status updates and games.

Nor is advertising revenue a given for providing a steady stream of income, with GM’s announcement it was “unfriending” Facebook.

Facebook may yet prove it can avoid the fate of past would-be-giants like AOL and MySpace. But until then, betting your stock investments on Facebook will be risky business.

Leap (Year) into marketing opportunities


This February is extra special because it only comes along once every four years — it’s Leap Year!

Here are some facts and fun trivia about Leap Year.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to reach customers in a new way, consider building a marketing campaign around Feb. 29. Some restaurants give a free meal or dessert to people on their birthday–Feb. 29 would be an excellent day to go the extra mile for people whose birthday only technically comes around once every four years. Restaurant owners: perhaps you should consider giving this Leap Year customer both the meal and a dessert free as a goodwill gesture.

Other businesses can take advantage of the extra day this month. Consider giving a 29 percent discount on items that are normally 25 percent off. Jewelry stores might take advantage of the Irish legend of women proposing to men on Leap Year Day (as mentioned in the movie “Leap Year”), and offer a deal to women on men’s wedding bands.

On another topic, today, Valentine’s Day, is the second birthday of Jason’s Marketing Primer. I launched this blog two years ago today. Read my first post here.

Olive Garden: Cheap eats aren’t always enough


Olive Garden has conceded it needs to make changes to address lackluster sales figures for five quarters in a row.

Although the chain offers “affordable Italian food,” which should be a plus in this economy, it has been suffering from competition from fast-casual chains like Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Motley Fool reports.

One person says Olive Garden plays Dean Martin music and expects that to provide an Italian atmosphere, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Company officials have acknowledged the need to make changes, and plan to introduce healthier, low-cost meals, Yahoo Finance reports. Other changes will include remodeled restaurants and a new ad campaign.

I agree with what one person posted in comment boards on Yahoo Finance: Olive Garden needs to focus on the food. Americans are demanding more healthy, fresh food, not frozen. If you have good food at a reasonable price, you have most of the components in place (along with good marketing to tout these changes). I recently dined at Carrabba’s with my wife, and the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was pleasant.

Oh, and I would ditch Dean Martin for authentic Italian music. Sorry Dean, but the Rat Pack needs a vacation.

Getting paid to drink coffee


I got paid today at a local coffee house for the second time this week.

I found a handful of change in the drive-through at the coffee house while walking to the front entrance: 42 cents in dimes and pennies.

I found 17 cents the other day.

On top of this great find, I’m getting free coffee this month from the coffee chain because I bought into a promotion–buy a particular travel mug, get free coffee in January. That’s what brought me to that coffee house this afternoon. That was a sweet deal!

You may say that 59 cents is just change. Yes, it is. But it adds up over time. I don’t recall ever finding this much change at once, but I always pick up pennies or other change whenever I see them (unless it means risking my life in traffic). I’ve only been fortunate to find dollar bills a few times. My Dad used to find $20 bills, and once, a $100 bill, but that’s been years ago.

My point is this: Paying attention can pay off, literally, whether it’s picking up change from the ground, or paying attention to the details at work. One of my former newspaper employers had a saying: Details make the difference.Your customers expect — and deserve — for you to pay attention to the details. If you take care of the details, you will have happy customers.

My Dad draws industrial blueprints, and companies from around the world demand that he handle their multimillion-dollar projects because he pays attention to the details; the customers know their orders will be taken care of when my Dad handles their project.

And if you don’t want to bother picking up change from the ground, that’s fine by me–it’s your loss and my gain!

Stop #SOPA and #PIPA


Two bills before Congress, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and trample the First Amendment. These bills would impose harmful regulations on American business and would block legitimate uses of the Internet. It’s yet again another power grab by the government against individual liberty.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th.

Wikipedia has removed its content for a 24-hour period today in protest of censorship. If you try to conduct a search on the site, you’re taken to a page where you can search for your Congress representative by ZIP code.

A number of websites have either blacked themselves out today or have posted other commentary concerning SOPA and PIPA. A number of sites provide petitions to urge Congress members to vote down these bills, including:

Here’s a good story about the issue by the New York Times.

The Whopper on wheels


USA Today reports Burger King is doing a test drive of home delivery.

That’s right, the Whopper has its own set of wheels.

But what about cold fries, you ask?

The burger restaurateur has invented a proprietary thermal packaging unit, USA Today reports, to ensure the order stays hot.

If you live in the boonies (as my papaw used to say) and love the Whopper but hate driving to town, don’t start counting your fries before they’re out of the deep-fryer. This is only a test, and Burger King may decide the concept does not work. The test is being conducted in a limited area. And deliveries are limited to within a 10-minute drive from a restaurant.

But hopefully, this test drive will translate into a success. This is a smart business move by Burger King to capture more business from a culture that loves convenience and home delivery of everything from pizzas to videos.

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