The customer is no longer king

When Vista was launched a year ago, there was a lot of talk about how it (the launch) paled in comparison to Windows XP. Well, about a year on, and Vista is still struggling. Microsoft is a technology company. But it is better known for its marketing finesse and its many litgations.

Just saw this article about how Linux was going to benefit from Vista’s struggle to gain acceptance. Frankly, I doubt it. One of the key lessons we all learn early on in our lives as marketers, is the fact that marketing cannot make up for the shortfall of a product’s core capabilities.

Sure, Vista has its challenges. It requires hardware that make it more expensive. It has a slew of options that confuse the heck out of normal, everyday users. It has numerous problems with legacy devices like cameras, digital players and so on. But most importantly, it has not demonstrated its superiority to Windows XP in any clear, convincing manner. So of course, Microsoft is going to kill XP, just so that this new kid on the block is guaranteed a “bright” future.

But Linux is not the golden brick road to computing freedom either. There are enough flavours of Linux out there to make even the most enthusiastic supporter scratch their heads in confusion. But more importantly, Linus has failed to cater to the needs of the everyday computer user at the most important level – ease of use.

So, on the one hand, we have a new operating system that places a heavy demand on hardware expenditure and on the other, we have a contender that does not seem to allow the mere mortal a chance at learning it easily. Doesn’t this make you long for the days when “the customer is king”?

[tags]microsoft, windows vista, linux[/tags]

Another Toy Recall!

This is getting scary! Yet another toy recall. What is worse, the problem this time is not only about toxic substances, the chemicals in question converts in to the “date rape” drug GHB (gamma-hydroxy butyrate) when ingested. That, on a child’s toy?

I found out about this when both Charlene and Marcie blogged it. In fact, it got me so stressed, I was quite happy to find a stress reliever that really works!

[tags]toys, toy recall, aqua dots[/tags]

It’s the Season to be Holidaying!

Confess! How many of you have made Hotel Reservations more than six months ago? Well, you are wise!

But for those who have not, it is not too late! There is still time, especially if you use online booking services. If you check out HotelReservations.com, you will realize that you can practically arrange your entire trip online, and at one convenient location. Better yet, you don’t even have to budge from in front of your computer – better save your energy for that fantastic vacation! Just go take a look at the site, if you don’t believe me.

The site is available in multiple languages, which is a bonus if English is not your forte. But more importantly, the site is well laid out and the things that you will need to do are pretty straightforward. For example, if you wanted to book a hotel, you can fill in the form with your destination city, then put in the dates that you want to be there and when you want to leave. You should also put in how many people are traveling and of course, how many rooms you need. The application then throws up a list of options.

This is almost like having someone do a comprehensive research for you. Each result that is returned gives you a short line on the hotel’s location or it’s most interesting characteristic. It gives you information about the place and a map if you want, they are just a click away. Then of course, the price is right there. You simply scroll down the list and pick the one you fancy or the one that fits your budget. Your choice.

You can do the same for your rental car, air tickets and even entire vacation packages. Just a quick note, use the tabs at the top of the page to navigate when you want to search for rental cars, air ticket or vacation rentals. The tabs inside the middle box don’t work.

So, stop reading and go start booking your holidays if you have not done so!

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[tags]online vacation, hotel reservation, car rental, air ticket[/tags]

Off Topic – Live Healthy!

This is a high stress world that we live in. Whether you are in New York, Hongkong, Singapore or down under in Sydney, it is the same. Big city life is stressful.

One of my friends from India shared that he has decided to go vegetarian and take up meditation. Well, whatever works, I guess. But more interesting, is that he has decided to grow his own sprouts at home. I think I mentioned this sometime before in one of my earlier posts. The point here is, apparently, he has also decided to see if he can spread this healthy lifestyle to more people via the Internet.

Frankly, I think if everyone shared what they have learnt about healthy living, just the sharing alone would be a nice stress relieve. So, let me introduce you to http://www.nurtureyourown.com where you can go learn about healthy living!

[tags]stress, healthy living, healthy lifestyle[/tags]

What’s good for the gander is good for the goose?

You got to be kidding me! Yvonne just posted in her blog that some job recruiters have taken a leaf from speed dating and started speed interviewing!

Remember when a job was something really serious, where we prepared ourselves all through school life in anticipation of? Since when has it become so flippant?

Is this a legitimate technique or is it just recruiters getting lazy to plough through stacks of resumes and matching possible candidates against detailed and relevant JD’s (job descriptions)?

We understand speed dating. It’s fun. It’s just for laughs and hopefully, strike a chord to build some fun friendships. That is a really long shot for marriage though. So you are going to entrust your next year’s marketing budget to the new marketing manager which your HR folks “felt a connection with” in a speed interview session?

You know, this reminds me of the thing about the “modern leader”, where they hide behind group consensus rather than standing up for what they believe in. This might be just another case of irresponsibility disguised as innovation. I don’t know. Anyone tried this yet? Speed interviewing…

OK, Halloween Dress for this! Go see: MomGadget’s Halloween Stuff

[tags]recruitment, job interview, head hunting[/tags]

Safe liposuction for me, please?

I would like to protest a discrimination. You see, every time I see an advertisement on dieting or liposuction, they always seem to speak only to the women.

Liposuction is for me! I mean, I have a spare tire around my middle that is interfering with my tying of shoe laces, if you get my drift. So, why am I excluded from the communications?

Like this company that is advertising its superior liposuction procedure, the MYA clinic, they address only the women. What about poor old me? I too would like to know about procedures that are safe. I too would like to know about the most effective procedure for me. I mean, I hate exercising and I love food; and to top it all, I like to look good. Does that not make me the ideal customer?

So, rather than me walking blindly into any clinic and getting swindled or worse, damaged by supposed doctors and slimming technicians who know nothing, I would really like to know when there is a good, reputable clinic around that provides great slimming services.

Here is a message for all slimming clinics – talk to us! We are sometimes shy to walk into a slimming joint because all the posters and images seem to tell us that we, the guys, are not supposed to be there. How about that? A ready, willing (desperate even) customer who is actually given a message that this is not the place for him. So sad.

Remember, guys want to look good too!

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[tags]liposuction, fat reduction, diet, exercise[/tags]

Do “Long Headlines” Work on TV?

With the Internet and all the online marketing talk going around, it seems that the fun has been taken out of writing short, punchy headlines. There was a time, once, when writing silly headlines was the “in” thing. Then there were those surreal headlines that left everyone scratching their heads and consulting their oracles. Then along came the Internet with its “This is not a headline that works unless it occupies a significant amount of white space and tells you the whole story” type of headlines.

Actually, long headlines do work, online. But I saw a long headline on a TV commercial recently. Very interesting. The ad was running on television, so it was a short, 30 sec commercial. Half of that was a headline, in text that asked: “Would you like to Quit Your Job and still live comfortably for one year?” I cannot remember the full thing, but that was the gist of it. I was caught by “Would you like to quit your job…” But I thought nothing of it till it flashed a second time: “Would you like to Quit Your Job and live comfortably for one year, and enjoy caviar everyday?”

I, of course answered, “Hell, yes!”

Reality’s a bitch. I don’t like caviar. But then, I realised that for the first time in quite a while, I actually noticed a TV commercial that was neither funny, fun, quirky, high octane or contained any of those fancy stuff.

So, as I thought about the significance of this insignificant moment in my life, I realised one thing – long headlines DO work.

Off Topic – Birth Control Pills for Children?

This is way off topic for me. But I just had to point everyone to read Angela’s post on “Offering Birth Control Pills to our CHILDREN?“.

This is really too much. Have our education system become so ineffective that we have to throw in the towel and admit that we don’t know how to teach good morals anymore? Or, since when has good morals become inconsequential? Teachers have better things to do now than to teach our children to be good?

On the other hand, parents cannot, SIMPLY CANNOT, abscond their duties to teach and raise their children properly to the school. School is where you get learnings. Home is where you learn to live. Teachers have enough challenges trying to cover the academic syllabus, where comes the time to cover the other parts of nurture which were originally done by parents?

If you consider yourself an intelligent, logical human being; then you should also realise that your children are also intelligent, logical human beings. If taught the correct values, given the opportunity to learn and grow in a healthy, positive environment; there is no reason for them not to learn the right things.

Think on this, please.

[tags]birth control, children, teachers, school[/tags]