jetBlue Just Blew It

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jetBlue just tripped over a dollar to pick up a dime.

Here's the deal. I'm flying to Boston next month. While there are a bunch of other airlines that offer direct flights to Boston and have a much shorter actual 'trip time', I bought a ticket on jetBlue. You see, I used to fiy to NY all the time on jetBlue where their hub is and flying on jetBlue feels something like the home team.

I just got off of the phone with jetBlue customer service. It was an example of complete mistrust and obfuscation which surprised me more than a little. You see, I loved jetBlue...

But I'm not loving jetBlue right now.

You see, when I booked my flight last night I used their online system (good) and made a mistake in booking the date for my return (bad). I'm going to Boston for the weekend and accidently booked by return flight a month later in August instead of the 4 days I was looking for.

Of course their site has a lot of bookings and almost no one makes an error like this. But any UI designer who looks at their site could see that it's absolutly possible since the length of the trip is never revealed except for the flight dates. (I"m arguing that they could put in a little fading header that tells you how long your trip is for.) If' I'd see anywhere that my trip was scheduled for 35 days I'd have immediately know there was an issue. (I could make a simple change to the jetBlue UI that would solve this problem for everyone within a day.)

Today when I looked at my emailed itinerary I immediately spotted the problem and went online to change my ticket. They have a $100 change fee which I paid thinking I'd give them a call and that surely they'd waive that. After all, it wasn't a change I was asking for, it was the ticket I wanted in the first place. It was less than 24 hours and the flight wasn't for a month.

But no.

In speaking to the customer service rep who 'called' a manager. I was informed that I had only a 4 hour window to make any changes and that after that, there was nothing anyone could do. You see, no one at jetBlue customer service has the 'authority' to refuse this fee. It was company policy that they couldn't actually do anything.

What kind of a company has a customer service department that can't service customers?

I was instructed that my 'only recourse' was to submit feedback on their web site. That's it. Evidently they wouldn't even be entering it as a note. I couldn't even talk to the manager. I was just informed what she supposedly said.

Look, I run customer service for Sendside and deal with customers all of the time. I know unreasonable when I hear it. But asking for a change fee to be waived when it's obvious you made a mistake is not unreasonable.

Evidently jetBlue doesn't trust their own employees enough to make any decisions, at least until you get somewhere past the 'Manager' level. That's sad, and indicative of a company that doesn't really value customer service. Customer service should allow the people in the trenches making decisions. jetBlue just became another airline in my view.

I'll cease to sing the jetBlue song. I won't book with them if there's a shorter trip. And I won't give them any preference at all when having all of our corporate travel booked.

So jetBlue will make an additional $100 from me, but they're losing so much more.

Paul Allen: CEOs Who Code

I was reading tonight a Paul Allen post about CEO's who code.

I tried to leave a comment but I think I was unsuccessful. At least I didn't get the 'moderation' confirmation that's common on Wordpress blogs.

Paul's post was dead-on with this.

There’s an amazing feeling of satisfaction when you build something that works – and better yet, something that is used by thousands of people.

Now, I'm not a coder by any means. In fact, any mention of coding by those are not immersed in C+ or Java or Ruby on Rails or whatever is probably too much.

For myself, I've had to learn a little CSS, HTML, SEO and enough of other stuff that I can often cut and paste real code to get things to work the way I need them to.

The first 'application' that I created was cobbled together from some off the shelf shopping cart software and, what was then, newly discovered RSS feeds... but it worked. (Way before Groupon I might add.)

As soon as you have the title of CEO (and it's a real company) it's irresponsible to be coding. A CEO is responsible for the direction fo the entire organization, and that requires that a CEO's head be above the trench line and not down in the Java.

That being said, CEO's who understand how code is developed, structured and what's possible are a huge asset to a technology company. Before you can create something new you must understand what's possible and the shortest, most efficient way to get there.

Can't Buy Happiness Past $60k

$60K a year can make you happy

Psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman says millions of dollars won't buy you happiness, but a job that pays $60,000 a year might help.

Happiness levels increase up to the $60K mark, but "above that it's a flat line," he said.

"Money does not buy you experiential happiness but lack of money certainly buys you misery," he said. But the real trick, Kahneman said, is to spend time with people you like.

Scalability

Products scale quite nicely than you.
Services? Not so much.

While I'm beating the bushes 24/7 at Sendside, I've got some systems in place around launching products that's working quite well, and it's all built on the premise that incremental value is scalable only around products, not services.

I think I know something about this. After all, I was a painter for about 20 years. Artists have perhaps the poorest business model there is. Painting is a huge time investment and you'll need some serious inventory with no assurance that what you're doing will sell. At least to start.

One of my epiphanies came when I entered the limited edition print market. Suddenly I was painting a single painting, but selling it thousands of times. (Incedentally this does drive up the price of the original which is also nice.)

But before I wax too philosophic, let me come back to my point. Products scale. So my crack team organized under my medical spa site at Medical Spa MD is busy creating value by leveraging our expertise to take specific products to market.

Last year we launched a new site that ships wholesale Botox worldwide. In the next month we're launching three new services: Teeth whitening, medical outsourcing, and do it yourself SEO. There are about eight other products, services, and partherships lined up behind those. And that's just for Medical Spa MD.

I've got designs on the artist, painter, headshot photography and actor markets in NY and LA since I've got some experience there as well. While I'm not quite at the four-hour work week with these sidelines, I'm probably close to eight... and I work on weekends.

Of course I couldn't do this myself. I have a team that reside in various locations around the world; California, New York, India... And they do the heavy lifting. I'm just around to provide direction, and to pay the bills. Fortunately, with scale comes profitability.

Climate Change

The Skeptical side claims at least 31,486 dissenters in their ranks, according to the PetitionProject.org. That sounds like a lot. But is it?

Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists?
Of course, not all 12 million US scientists therefore agree with ‘The Consensus’. But this puts the PetitionProject’s 31,486 signatories in some kind of context.

Our maths here is somewhat coarse. Some better data suggests the ‘consensus’ figure is around 97.5% of publishing climatologists and around 90% of all publishing scientists supporting the human-induced climate theory. See this study for more details (PDF – Doran And Zimmerman 2009)

Actually, here’s how some of it looks:

Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists 2

Skeptical Field

Among the climate skeptic scientists, we wondered which fields of science were most represented. We expected climate and earth sciences. But we got…

Climate Consensus: Breakdown of skeptical scientists by field

In fact, when you adjust the PetitionProject’s odd categorisation – they filed ‘chemical engineers’ as chemists and physical engineers as ‘physicists’ – the total number of engineers who signed the petition, by our reckoning, jumps to 49%

Why so many engineers?

informationisbeautiful.net



Sendside Salesforce Appexchange 5 Star Review.

OK, I'm excited. Sendside's integrated with Salesforce CRM and we're now available on Salesforce's Appexchange Marketplace for any business using Salesforce.com. And... we've received our first review, a stunningly well written comment from one of our clients, Vetrazzo, a green manufacturer of high-end recycled glass surfaces.

Here's what Vetrazzo has to say about Sendside in their review of Sendside on the Salesforce Appexchange.

Sendside + Salesforce Appexchange 5 Star Review

Integrating with Salesforce gives Salesforce users all the benefits of Sendside's external communications (multi-dimensional tabbed messaging, Sendside Packages, instant notifications, detailed reporting and analytics) directly from inside a Salesforce account. It's a perfect pairing of two complementary technologies.

The result is that management can see into the sales funnel (which is why businesses implement Salesforce) and gives the sales team a real reason to use Salesforce and close more deals (which the sales guys like).

Here's the copy from Vetrazzo's Appexchange review:

At Vetrazzo, we use the Sendside Packages technology for automated lead follow up on all our web inquiries. We're able to send them a rich content, customized information package that hits the prospect immediately - while they're still excited about Vetrazzo from their website visit.

When we presented Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Surfacing at the Dreamforce Keynote, we received a flood of traffic to our booth on the exhibit floor; people flocked to see the product. All the lead data we captured onsite was gathered through a force.com site and then triggered a Sendside Package full of product content as a follow up. So if you were one of the many hundreds that filled out that form and received a package from Vetrazzo - that's Sendside.

In short, value is great, they've been very supportive and we're working on integrating this tool into our overall marketing strategy more comprehensively.

Very nice to have our first Salesforce integration review of Sendside on the Appexchange be a perfect 5 stars.

12 Extremely Effective Guerrilla Marketing Stunts | Strategic Marketing

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Ad-agencies are finding it more and more difficult today to get through to the average consumer, and marketing saturation only grows with every year. It’s for that reason that guerrilla ad-campaigns are becoming so prevalent in the industry.  Here we take a look at some of the recent, most effective and ingeniously simple guerrilla marketing found since our 8-part series last year.

Simple Ideas

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(images via onthegroundlookingup, gothamist, stephengates)

It doesn’t take much to get a reaction from people when it comes to guerrilla marketing.  Above we see how sandal-maker Havianes used the vibrant colors of their own products to catch eyes in Paris.  Cleverly placed prop-replicas from V For Vendetta caused thought-provoking pause in the step of passers-by, and coffee-giant Folgers had the bright idea to use a manhole in New York to remind city-goers just how good a steaming cup of coffee can look in the morning.  Meanwhile, an adventurous plastic surgeon found success in a local coffeehouse.

Good For Any Purpose

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(images via geckoandfly, arrestedmotion, adofdamonth)

Many public-awareness campaigns are using guerrilla tactics in their ads.  Here we see smoking targeted in a Cancer ad giving us a glimpse of our early demise.  Cities around the globe began spotting graffiti referring to the then-upcoming Watchmen movie, in a bold move that not only mimicked the film and its graphic-novel predecessor, but also made viewers think a little more politically.  DHL took the comedic route in a fun global stunt that showcased their package tracking, by placing large pixelated mouse-pointers on their couriers.

It Shows Up in the Most Unexpected Places

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(images via pzrservices, whatsthecrack, myselectedads, parsons)

Reynolds Wrap had a great idea for inner-cities with their wrapping of storefronts campaign; it was nearly impossible to walk by and not notice the familiar household item now super-sized.  Beach-goers were surprised to find enormous clams scattered about, only to then find an advert for a local eatery sealed inside them.  An Indian BBQ seller got creative with street-drains, while Nationwide Insurance got friendly with a paint company, and created a hilarious, building-sized ad that was absolutely impossible to miss.  It really is the simple things that are most overlooked, unless they’re guerrilla.

Guerrilla marketing somtimes = strategic marketing.

Posted via web from 1 to 1 Strategic Marketing

Sales Automation + Acceleration: Packages flow.

Sales Acceleration

A simple diagram of how Packages work for sales, marketing, and management.

  1. Marketing creates the content.
  2. Sales personalizes and sends as a 1 to 1 'personal' communication with instant read notifications.
  3. Management, Marketing, and Sales can all see the results.

For Marketing

Packages give marketing capabilities they never had before.  In the past, Marketing was responsible for 'getting leads' and then handing them off to sales. It's a 'fire and forget' system that doesnt' give Marketing any feedback into what's actualy working to close deasl. But with Sendside, Marketing can design the individual, personal communications that are being used by Sales, and see exactly how they're being used, and what's working.

For Sales

For a sales rep, Sendside opens up an entirely new world. No more time waste. Instead of wasting time making endless follow-up calls to ask if a prospect has 'had a chance to take a look a those materials", every sales rep is instantly notified when a prospect opens a Package, and knows what they're looking at. The effect is dramatic. Some of our clients are seeing sales acceleration above 50%.

For Management

Sendside's reporting and analytics give sales managers insight into the individual communications that the sales team is sending. What's working. What's not. Management know has the ability to make better decisions because they can actually see how successful deals happened, and they can reproduce that exactly in the future.

Sales Acceleration with Sendside Packages.

Posted via web from Sendsider

For any remaining IE6 users...

Hi, if you are coming to this site via Internet Explorer 6, you might not be getting the best experience possible. Honestly, I can't even begin to think about what your entire experience on the internet must be like? (...probably like riding a bike on the highway while cars blow by you on their way to Costco to get gallons of mayonnaise and 60-inch plasma TV's). How will you ever be able to use this website?????? You wont. You're an asshole and your browser is an asshole. So look, I'm going to be honest: I kind of hate you. BUT we c-a-n make this work. Here is what I am going to need you to do: fire up your Toshiba ShitBook© that weighs about 45 pounds, wipe the Cheeto dust off the screen, download Safari, delete Internet Explorer from your computer, punch yourself in the face, and get me a pulled pork sandwich.

Sales Acceleration

 

Sendside's Sales Acceleration & Sales Automation Platform explained.

The presentation above details some of the value around Sendside's sales accleration for sales teams. The studies discussed are from MIT Sloan School of Management and Kellogg School of Management and were commissioned by insidesales.com.

If you'd like these studies, just fire off an email and we'll be happy to send them to you.

Sendside Packages: Sales Accleration + Sales Automation

We've just finished the Package below that showcases sales acceleration, sales automation, strategic marketing, and customer retention.

 

View this Package.

When you click the link above a new window will open... a Sendside Package.

You'll immediately notice that it's unlike email. It's much more like a web site.

In fact, anything that you can display through a browser can now be sent a a communication that can be controled.

Sendside Packages

Packages presents an entirely new way to respond to new leads and follow up with interested prospects. Rather than sending boring, uneventful emails that don’t offer any insights into prospect interest or delivery status, Packages allow organizations to send pre-bundled content that’s branded, personalized and interactive. Packages take sales collateral to a whole new level.

Designing User Experiences for Social Traction

Designing user experiences.

Take a look at this post from one of the founders of Posterous on how they designed their user experiences to start with interaction and only then move on to account creation:


Being able to post to Posterous without an account was something we designed for from day one, even before the name "Posterous" existed. I didn't want there to be hurdles like registration forms and email confirmations for new users.


Emailing to Posterous without an account is actually great for us in a couple different ways. First is the typical "try before you buy" scenario. It makes more sense for a user to *use* the service and see how great it is, before we ask them to sign up. But obviously, most of our users do eventually sign up to get access to all our advanced features.


But sign-up free posting is also great for group sites. When you setup a group Posterous site, you add contributors by adding their email address in site settings. Those people can now email post@sitename.posterous.com with no account. We do see these people engage with Posterous in the long term with no account, especially users who aren't tech savvy.

Using Posterous without an account isn't just some gimmick we did with email, it's something we believe in through and through. Registrations forms and other hurdles slow down adoption. We want to prove to you how valuable our service is *before* we ask you to sign up. That's why we allow this flow not just through email, but through our Twitter posting API and even our iPhone application.

Asymetrical Sales Acceleration & Strategic Marketing

Sales Automation & Strategic Marketing. Take a look at this image contrasting convetional and irregular warfare strategies.

If you swap 'Users' for Population and 'Management' for Military, it's a pretty good analogy of the way companies sell.

Traditionally, companies have sold into management structures who have then pushed downstream into their users. Installed software companies are a great example of this. If you buy installed software you're making a big investment and taking some risk. The sales focus is on getting the management to buy or adopt. End users usually have no say in what they end up with.

Increasingly, and espectially with SaaS models, the emphasis has changed from selling to management, to selling (through adoption) to end users. The parallels to asymetirical or irregular warfare are striking.

Fight Club is back.

What's Fight Club?

Fight Club is a networking event (usually dinner) for entrepreneurs and startup CEOs who are interested in building their network. Yeah, there are a number of other events around but Fight club is for startups to network with each other.

Why Fight Club?

Geek Dinners already taken. Besides, it's cooler to tell your wife/staff/buddies that you're going to Fight Club than have to ask strangers directions to the Geek Dinner. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Fight Club is about connecting, not selling.

Fight Club Members are entrepreneurs and business owners who understand that people are not the sum of what they can do for you. We're organized to build introductions and relationships between entrepreneurs outside the regular business environment and without the need to immediately sell to everyone.

Read this post on Horizontal Networking for Entrepreneurs.

If you're smart, and Fight Club Members are, you build relationships that give you access to another network and have other members actively looking out for you.

How you fit in.

Fight Club is small on purpose. We want to offer an environment where people can get to know the 'person' they're talking to, before the business. Anyone can come, you just have to attend with and be invited by an existing Fight Club Member the first time.

Fight Club is not an Old Boys Network.

We're just a bunch of similarly situated guys who value semi-inteligent conversation and understand that expanding your network and being of service is also good business.

Fight Club is also about deal flow.

From time to time I expect Angels from the local community to be involved. Certainly I've found it beneficial.