Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Long Weekend!

"Happy Long Weekend" seems to be the most politically correct way to wish you all a nice, relaxing time this weekend. No matter what religion you practice, I hope this weekend is filled with the family you love, good friends, stimulating conversation and yummy food. After all, that is what the whole season should be about - starting with Hannukah and going right through the New Year!

To those of you celebrating on the 25th -- Happy Christmas!

Just a tiny pre-holiday tidbit. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ikea, Masi and Spokesmen

Here are a few tidbits for a chilly New England morning: Ikea appears to be one heck of a green company this year. BikeBiz is reporting that Ikea UK gave away 9,000 folding bikes to its employees this week. In addition to that, they were given 15% off their travel tickets to increase use of public transportation. That's pretty dang cool. It's a great gift for both the person and their health as well as the health of the environment. Not to mention, if the person can commute to work on their bike it will help alleviate some traffic, which is good for everyone's mental health!

Last week I had the pleasure of joining The Spokesmen podcast, which is up for everyone to listen to. As I mentioned, it is a great group of folks talking about all things cycling related. I'm flattered that the guys have voted in this gal and look forward to many more chats with the group.

This episode the Spokesmen (or maybe now the 'Spokespeople'?) discussed topics that we felt were hot in 2006 - cycling related, of course. I chose to discuss how many more companies are now embracing new media including dealers, manufacturers and even the traditional media themselves. As we all know, one of the best examples of this is Masi Bicycles. Long before he was "New York Times Jackson", their brand manager was, simply, "The MasiGuy".

Now, Masiguy is running a video contest. Talk about using the 'new media'! This is great! What started as a spoof of his 'Daily Drive' photo feature by Tim Grahl and then Fritz got into the act with his video. Not to be out done, Phil took the spoof down under to Austrailia and added his video to the mix. Check them out, they are pretty funny.

Well, Tim liked the videos so much that he's running this great contest. Make a video of your daily drive, post it on YouTube and let him know where to find it by the end of January. If he and the other viewers (yes, you get to vote, too!) like your video best you'll win a sweet Masi frame. How cool is that? Check out his announcement for all the details.

Get in on the contest - the prize is fantastic. Our own Cubbie has made a video already so it's 'Game On'! Good luck.

Just some random cycling tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This one's for you Tara!

The thing I like most about the holidays is, inevitably, you hear from someone that you didn't expect to each year. Be it in a card, or a phone call, email and now via blogs. It's always fun to see who it will be each year.

With schedules being what they are, mine being hectic and not being able to keep up with my favorite bloggers as much as I'd like and her starting a company at such a fast pace I don't know how she does it, I haven't kept up with Tara Hunt as much as I'd like. Well, this week she let me know that somewhere along the line I've popped into her brain, she wanted to let me know and wants to know a little bit more about me. She's tagged me so I've got to come up with 5 things you all don't know about me.

And away we go....

1. I love popcorn.
2. My favorite NASCAR driver is Jeff Gordon.
3. I'm not a big fan of cartoons.
4. My favorite author is Dennis Lehane.
5. Rotties are my favorite dog.

Tara, thanks for the unexpected surprise! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Just a little meme tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Me! And You!

Time Magazine's person of the year has been named and it is all of us! In an article written by Lev Grossman, Time talks about YouTube, Second Life, Wikipedia, MySpace and everything else that creates the online community.

"...for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing
the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating
the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

This week on the Bulldog Reporter Audio panel that I participated in we discussed how to get across to management at companies, be it your own or a client, that blogging and new media in general is as significant as it is. Well, I think this appointment by Time will go a long way to showing some of the folks that may still not be aware of the power of new media just what it is all about.

"It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale
never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of
knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network
YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the
many wresting power from the few and helping one
another for nothing and how that will not only change
the world, but also change the way the world changes. "

What a great choice, Time. Bravo!

And bravo to everyone who has made this happen, including YOU!

Just a little tidbit for us all today. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What does a Bulldog Conference and a Cycling Podcast Have In Common??

At the end of this week two things are going to happen that have me very flattered - and give you the opportunity to hear a few things, "straight from the horses mouth", as they say. Whether that is good or bad is up to you to decide.

The first happens Thursday when I'm on a Bulldog Reporter Audio Conference panel. The conference is: "Responding to Crisis Online: Communicators at Top Brands Share Proven Tactics for Responding to Negative Bloggers." I'll be joined on the panel by Bob Pearson, Vice President at Dell and Billy Sanez, Media Spokesperson at American Airlines. These folks have had their share of crisis in the blogosphere, too. I'm just as interested in what they have to say, and learning from them, as our listeners will be, I'm sure.

The moderator is none other than Brian Pittman who is the person behind the popular 'Daily Dog'. We've chatted and emailed a few times in the last week or so. He's fun and energetic to talk to so I think he'll make sure we move along and give listeners some good tips from our experiences. I'm looking forward to it. If you'd like to join us there is still time to sign up on their website.

The second happens on Friday. For a month or so now a group of folks have been asking me to join their podcast but my schedule didn't allow. However, this week they changed their schedule to accommodate me (no pressure there!) so I am very proud to announce that I'll be joining The Spokesmen Podcast this week for their final broadcast of the year. This group consists of David Bernstein of the famed The Fredcast, Carlton Reid editor of BikeBiz, Tim Grahl of Crooked Cog Network, Jeremy from Triathlon Radio and, of course, my good friend, "New York Times"Jackson from Masiguy.

We are going to talk about the stories that were big news in cycling in 2006. We've each chosen a topic, will introduce it and see where the group takes it. As we've discussed many times here, I'm not a bike 'geek' so my topic won't be completely bike related. Check it out to see what we've all chosen. I think David usually goes live with the podcast a day or so after we record. I'm looking forward to joining the guys and they have been super kind about inviting me to join them every time they record, but I wonder how they'll truly feel when a gal invades them? Join us and see!

So, there you have it. I may have been 'quiet' on the blog for a couple of weeks, but there's no stopping me now, right?

Just a couple of tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Time to say "thank you"

No matter what holiday you choose to celebrate, or not, this month in business this is a traditional time to say, 'thank you' to customers, partners and associates. It's the end of a long year and it's a nice time to thank your customers for their patronage - without them your business wouldn't survive. It's nice to thank your vendors and associates, too. Without them, you can't service your customers well. It doesn't have to be much - a card, an email even, a sale or coupon, or maybe just a simple, "thank you, we truly appreciate your business" when you see them. It depends on the type of business you have, what your budgets are and who your clients and vendors are - and, of course, with big corporations, what the laws are.

However, to stay ahead of the competition you need to find ways to stand out to customers. Sometimes it is good to not be traditional and stand apart from the crowd. Your gesture will be remembered far longer and stand out rather than be jumbled in with the crowd. In the last year I've been very fortunate to recieve two huge "thank yous" that completely blew me away. Neither have come in the last month, but both will be remembered and treasured forever.

Last winter I received a letter from the Falmouth Road Race directors. It mentioned that the race was building a 'park' at the finish line with some benches and a brick path. It was something to remind folks at other times of the year that something special happens at that spot each and every August. It is also a place where people can sit and enjoy the ocean view. People could buy bricks and put their names on them or a little message for everyone to see. However, the race directors decided to add some of their own bricks in there for key, long time race workers. The letter was informing me that I would have a brick, too, come May. Wow.

This summer I took a trip with my mother to go see my brick. Here is what we found.

This is a view of the whole 'park'. Great view, huh? This photo was taken at the finish line of the race. It's a great place to be.

This is 'my brick'. Yes, I share it with some other key volunteers, but it is completely fitting that I share it with the Smiths as they are long-time, close friends. Sue is my mentor, she taught me all of the foundations that I needed to work in the business I'm in and be successful at it. She's also the person who brought me into the Falmouth family the first year - 15 years ago.

The second huge "thank you" came in September when I got a call from Dave Perewitz asking me what I was doing that coming Saturday. He asked if I'd come to their shop because he wanted to show me something. In the last year Dave and his family have truly made me feel like part of their family so it would take something very important for me to turn down such a simple request from Dave.

I had no idea what to expect - maybe he had a 'special guest' coming by that he wanted me to meet (you never know who you will run into a Dave's) or maybe he was building a super special motorcycle that he wanted to give me a sneak peek at before it went out the door. No matter what I thought it couldn't prepare me for what was waiting for me. When I arrived at the shop I was completely surprised to be presented with my very own custom painted, flamed (!) trashcan. Yes, I have my very own Perewitz paint job! Holy Moly!

This can is a one-of-a-kind and can not be bought anywhere. No, not just because it has my name on it....Dave doesn't sell these, he only makes them as gifts and as items for charity auctions. Here was my very own. I couldn't believe my eyes. Why did Dave give it to me? Because they wanted to thank me for all the help I'd given them with their charity events, which I gladly did because the beneficiary of all was the National MS Society - an organization that is near and dear to both our hearts. And, let's face it, getting the NASCAR driver signatures for the helmet for the auction wasn't exactly a 'chore'! But, Dave wanted to say 'thanks', in his own special way. Again, WOW! And, by the way, you know I don't use this for trash, right?

Both of these gifts are grand in scale and I am humbled by them. But, the point I was making is that sometimes you don't have to be traditional to make an impact with your 'thank you'. And, your 'thank you' doesn't have to be huge in scale, although, to me, both of these are. They are memorable gifts because of what they are but also the timing - they were given at no particular time of year. The Falmouth directors didn't thank me at the end of the year - if I'm not mistaken, the letter came in February. Random time, but wonderful - a touch of summer in February in New England (brr!). That in and of itself is priceless! Dave didn't thank me at the end of the year, either, rather at a random time, when I least expected it.

Take a note from these folks - sure, feel free to say 'thank you' now, but also think about how you may thank your customers and associates at a different time of year, when they are truly going to remember it, away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Maybe a take on the 'Christmas in July' theme or something equally as non-traditional. Think outside the box, or can, as the case may be.

Just a random tidbit for today and THANK YOU for stopping by.

Where have you been?

Yikes! I've heard that more than once in the last couple of weeks. I didn't mean to abandon the blog, but sometimes it just happens. It stared with a 24-hour flu, which turned into a week and a half cold - neither of which inspired me to blog. I did, however, get addicted to CSI: Miami since there was a marathon on one of the weekends I was out of it with the cold. I started thinking it was hokey (I love the original CSI and have a friend who works on the show, but David Caruso kind of annoyed me), but it was either that or football, football, football. I'm sorry to my football loving friends (you know who you are), but I needed something else. Well, Mr. Caruso and his team grew on me. I'm now addicted. If any of you are interested, they are playing an episode a night on A&E now. It's perfect for us addicts. Hey...there are worse things in life to be attached to, right?

Anywho....I've come across a few things in the last couple of days that made me smile and I wanted to share them with you. First, is the online holiday card from Specialized. I'm normally a traditionalist when it comes to the holiday cards - mail them, please. But this is just fascinating. It's "The Nutcracker Suite" performed on bicycle parts. I'm not kidding. Check it out.

The other thing that I've come across gave me a smile so big I thought my cheeks were going to crack. It started with a Google Alert for "Tyler Hamilton" with the article, "Tyler Hamilton Meets His New Tinkoff Teammates". I clicked on it and found this photo. Rock on, Tyler!

Just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.