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

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.

Vote for your favorite Super Bowl ad


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!

2012 predictions: Tech vacations and slower Facebook growth


Mashable has made seven predictions for social media in 2012. While predictions can be about as accurate as throwing darts or drawing straws, one of Mashable’s predictions is a safe bet. The list of predictions is here.

I agree that Facebook’s explosive growth in terms of new members will flatten in 2012, but the amount each user spends on the site will grow. Just about everyone except my parents has joined Facebook (and I don’t see my parents joining anytime soon).

Now I’m going to ignore what I just said about predictions being hard to make and issue one of my own: People will start to take time off from the digital and virtual realms in 2012. I’ve started to see stories being published urging people to turn off their digital devices for a while or to log off of social media sites like Facebook. Mashable reports that the Caribbean nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines is challenging visitors to leave their gadgets at home as part of a “digital-detox vacation package.” Participants of the low-tech vacation will receive a guidebook telling how to function on a vacation without technology.

I think many people are getting worn out from the constant barrage of social media and texting that’s made possible from smart phones they have with them even when they’re not in front of a computer screen. That’s in addition to mobile phones making it impossible for many employees to leave work at the office.

Ericsson ConsumerLab recently released results from a survey of 2,000 American teens ages 13 to 17. The results showed teens still prefer meeting face-to-face versus texting and checking statuses on Facebook. Teens said they would miss face-to-face communication the most if it were taken away. Texting came second.

While I believe that more people will take time off from Facebook and other digital distractions this year, I will not be one of them. I am one of the statistics who relies on mobile phones, emails, Facebook and more to stay in touch with relatives and friends, and to earn a living (not to mention maintaining my blogs). If you take a digital vacation, I hope you will check out my blog once you return!

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