Monday, August 25, 2008

broadcast power

Intel announced yesterday that they have figured out how to broadcast power. They demonstrated this by lighting a 60 watt lightbulb on stage, without batteries or cords.

I had wondered about this months ago. It seems like something we should be able to do. Now I learn that people have been working on this for decades but, in the past, the only way to do it was to essentially shoot bolts of electricity across a space - not the most elegant of solutions.

I find this announcement incredibly exciting. For one, Intel is out there pushing the boundaries of science and making world-changing innovations. Two, imagine the world (or the urban world at least) without the need for cords or batteries.

Good for Intel. My perception of them, which was already pretty high, just increase by orders of magnitude.

And good for people. We keep doing really cool stuff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Escaping connectivity

I have spent about half of my life trying to get connected. From the early days of bulletin boards with a 2400 baud modem, to using Archie and Gopher to try to access the pre-web Internet, to trying to convince my employers that buying a second modem for the agency would not kill productivity.

Now I discover via LifeHacker via Dan Germain that there's software out there that I can install on my Mac whose sole purpose it is to prevent me from being online. And I love the idea.

As much as we'd like to be able to unplug and just focus, it's really freakin' hard. Freedom forces you to not check e-mail or IM or Facebook for as long as you intend to focus.

What a great idea.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Owning your error.

I got this screen today when I tried to access some information in Google Finance.

I love the fact that they owned the error. Right up there at the top, it's not just an error, it's a Google Error.

Now, perhaps that wasn't intentional. But that's the way I read it, and I like it. If you tell someone you'll provide something, and you can't, fess up. It'll work out better for you in the long run.

I wish more companies operated this way.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Something that doesn't suck.

A friend of mine asked me to speak at Interesting Vancouver yesterday. I was curious about what he thought I'd talk about, since I work in marketing and didn't think that Interesting was going to be about marketing. He suggested that I do a few minutes on "things that suck". I found this pretty amusing, but realized that most of the recent entries in my blog have been on things that really do suck. Or, more particularly, customer experiences that suck.

Now, there's a two-part reason for this. First, because customer experience is every bit as much a part of marketing as communications, promotion, visual identity, etc. And yet it tends to be the part to gets left out by marketing departments. The second reason is because these days I'm tending to self-censor my writing since I'm in the midst of a job hunt and, with a few exceptions, such as my Westin and Starbucks entries, don't want to shoot myself in the foot.
Today, to provide a little balance, I want to comment on an experience I just had that didn't suck.

On my recent west coast road trip, where I met with a bunch of Omnicom shops, I had a bit of an accident in Northern California, just south of Redding. A deer ran out in front of me on the I5 and I hit it going about 120. My 4Runner wasn't badly damaged, but it needed repair. The deer didn't fare quite as well.

Colleen and I debated whether we should take it in to a small independent shop or a big chain. In the end we decided to play it safe and took it into Craftsman Collision, part of a regional chain. I didn't have high hopes, thinking that this was an industry where a good experience would be pretty rare.

I was very wrong. Craftsman was great. When taking the truck in they were fast and efficient. They gave me a service loaner - a brand new Corolla without a big dorky sticker on the side. When they called me to let me know that my truck was ready to be picked up early I was worried, as I had taken the service car away for a few days and couldn't get it back right away. They said no problem, just come back Monday. When I picked up my truck the walked me through all the work they'd done, and were very encouraging to come back if there were any issues at all. The exterior of my car had been lightly washed, and the interior had been vacuumed. And, of course, the body work was very well done. Wow!

And whenever I talked to them on the phone they were super-friendly. Not just nice, but really very nice and positive. I actually liked them.

So, Craftsman Collision doesn't suck. In fact, as far as my customer experience with them goes, they get a 9.5 out of 10.

Why'd they lose that 0.5? Because I noticed that one of my fog lights wasn't correctly aligned this evening. I'm going to take it back over the next few days. And I'm happy to do so, because I expect that they'll be great again. So they may even get that 0.5 back.

p.s. Since I can't have a totally crazy positive entry, I will say that Speedy Auto Glass does suck. I won't go on about them, since it's just annoying, but they did a poor job on fixing a chip out of my window.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grizzlies at the peak of Vancouver

Colleen and I went for a little hike on Sunday up Grouse Mountain. We took a less common route to avoid the hordes on The Grind. At the top we visited the Grizzlies, Grinder and Coola. They're one of my favourite sights in Vancouver. How cool is this?