Firstly, I saw a fake customer testimonial online during the week. It was so obviously fake I just had to share it. It is from a health shop chain and it is in the bit that says “what our customers say about us”. Have you ever heard yourself or someone else talk about a company like this?

“I’m so pleased I found my BLANK store because I am always treated with care and respect. They help me with unbiased and friendly advice on how to enjoy good health. I know I save money because they pass the benefits of their BLANK group bulk buying on to me, plus I get rewarded with gift vouchers because I’m a good customer.  I pick up a lot of interesting information from the newsletter that they send out and when I need specific help I can always talk to one of their naturopaths.”

Arrrggghhhhhh. That is the most abysmal copy writing I have seen in a long time. They just lost my business because if I cannot trust their marketing, how am I supposed to trust the advice they give in their shop?

Secondly, Facebook release vanity URLs this weekend. This means you can now create a meaningful username to help people find your profile instead of people needing to search through the dozens or hundreds of people with the same name. Some guy in Texas beat me to stevedavis so if you want to find me on Facebook you can go to facebook.com/therealstevedavis.  At the time of writing, if you log in to Facebook, you will find a prompt to lead you through the process.

Now to the websites:

Bing

Microsoft launched its new search engine since our last show and it is called bing. Some people have developed the theory that it stand for “but it’s not google” which is rather cheeky!

It has not won me across from Google yet, primarily because old habits die hard, but there are some interesting features it brings to the table, such as:

  • With some searches you run, it offers a list of contents in the small left column that groups results into certain categories, eg, when I searched on “crows”, it suggested result groups such as crow bird, Adelaide crows, crow bird picture, Sheryl Crow, etc.
  • Another neat feature is the mini preview – as you hold your mouse over your search results, a window pops up with a summary of the site and some menu items which helps you get a sense for whether it is a site worth clicking on, before you click away from the search screen
  • Like Google, Bing gives you some filters at the top of the page to just return images or videos – the interface is very clean and much more enjoyable to use, in my humble opinion.

If you are curious, sean perry Adelaide brought back Perry Management in first slot, Sean interviewing Kelly Noble in second, and the forum, Adelaide Talks Back SA in third.

So, have a play and see what works for you. Just go to bing.com.

The Innovation Indicator Tool

This site is one for small businesses, in particular, and for any would be entrepreneurs listening in. It is from the South Australian government’s Centre For Innovation and it is a tool to give you an indication of how innovative your business or business concept is. This is actually part of a fairly comprehensive suite of tools the Centre makes available.

To give it a run through, I registered as a representative of the Sean Perry Radio Program.

As I worked through the questions, I had to do some guessing in relation to a few of the questions, namely:

  • Do the company’s products provide significant benefits to all customers in the value chain that are superior to the competitors and hard to copy? I said yes, Sean Perry is defintiely “hard to copy.”
  • To what extent does the company utilize Continual Improvement philosophies? I answered that there is some evidence of continual improvement but in a ad-hoc implementation.
  • Do you have an exit strategy? No, Sean plans to stay around
  • Is there a written disaster recovery plan? I answered that there is no formal disaster recovery plan as each program is a mixture of disaster, chaos, and delight!
  • Does the company have well developed systems that make reporting and communications easy? I chose the option that “the company is capable of operating in an e-commerce environment” because Sean sells things on eBay.
  • Is the technology used the most appropriate? I answered that the company has a high level of latest technologies because Sean’s mobile keeps going off in the studio.
  • Does the company use Visual Management Tools? I said that given the amount of time Sean spends on his hair each week the answer is a resounding “yes”!

As a result, your score suggested the Sean Perry Radio Show is about 35 per cent innovative. You can measure your company’s innovation level using the indicator tool.

Winter Solstice

Before I return with another segment, June 21 will arrive, marking winter solstice, or the shortest day of the year. It is also known as Midwinter or Yule.

The significance of the winter solstice is that it is the longest night of the year and it comes when winter is at its peak.

I met a lady who is a witch at one of my workshops recently and she pointed me to the Oak and Mistletoe website which is a Wiccan site for sharing Wiccan information. In the Wiccan tradition the winter solstice marks the re-birth of the sun with the cyclic story of the

death of the Holly King (the king of the waning year) and the re-birth of his son the Oak King (the king of the waxing year).

Some of the rituals that witches will be preparing for include finding a good size log and decorating it with Ivy, and then lighting the log with an unburnt piece of last year’s Yule log to symbolise the kindling light of the re-born sun.
The reason I am mentioning this site is that there is an interesting page called The Wheel Of The Year in which it discusses what to do when your religion’s festivals are based on a northern hemisphere calendar and you are down under. What I find refreshing is that the Wiccans appear to pay attention to the reality of the season and don’t just plough through following a northern hemisphere schedule.
What this means for other religions is that an event like Easter which has Lent in the lead up to it makes less sense down under. In the north, Lent coincided with the last bit of time before Spring and the return of food supplies and warmth and Lent’s fasting helped stretch things out – doesn’t make much sense coming into Autumn because we still have lots of flourishing foods, etc.
However, I am not sure I want Christmas moved to winter – I like the summer holiday and the last thing we need is our workflow interrupted by a Christmas break in June!! What do you think?
You can see the Wiccan approach on the Wheel Of The Year.

Cloud Appreciation Society

Here is a site suggested to me by Kay, a great friend who is a scientist and artist and who has some quirky outlets for her passions, one of which is this website.

The society site introduces itself thus: “At The Cloud Appreciation Society we love clouds, we’re not ashamed to say it and we’ve had enough of people moaning about them. Read our manifesto and see how we are fighting the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking’. If you agree with what we stand for, then join the society for a minimal postage and administration fee and receive your very own official membership certificate and badge.”

I had a look at the manifesto and it is what I expected from people who like clouds – it is a hodge podge soup of misty thoughts and whisps of ideas, such as:

  • WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.
  • We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since  everyone can have a fantastic view of them.<<
  • We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day. (not so sure about this one, clouds are great but blue sky is pure and refreshing)
  • And so we say to all who’ll listen: Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!

Whether or not you join the society, there are some beautiful cloud images to look at in the site’s gallery. So if you want some cloud variety during our winter of greyness, visit the Cloud Appreciation Society.

Sean’s Snapshot

As promised, here is the lovely family shot from Sean’s photo album providing evidence that the she has her father’s eyes!

I live you dad

I love you dad

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