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Sometimes It Does Make Sense To Advertise Your Business On Your Garbage Can

Sometimes It Does Make Sense To Advertise Your Business On Your Garbage Can

Believe it or not, this makes sense:

It’s a little hard to see, but the little sign is for “Cara’s School of Irish Dance”.  At first glance I thought, “Why would anyone advertise on their own trash can!”

Then I realized where I was and what I was doing: I was pulling two little girls in a red wagon down an alley in my town. Where I come from alleys are a great place to walk–our brick side walks are very bumpy! So, in fact, Cara is pretty smart: she knows how to get in front of the folks she’s targeting (parents from town)–even if that means advertising on a garbage can.

That’s local marketing innovation!

The Reverse Newspaper, Groupon Style

It’s time for some radical thinking about your local newspaper.

Here’s the problem: my local paper is covering things that aren’t that relevant to me—and when it is relevant, it’s not covered exactly the way I want it covered.

What if we flipped the editorial function on its head? What if we employed the Groupon model or crowdsourcing intent from a community?

Specifically, I think it could work like this:

  • Allow readers to post story ideas
  • Readers could then vote on their favoriate ones.
  • Once a critical mass was achieved, the story would be assigned to a reporter.
Of course, the initial posting of the idea could include detail to provide a clear idea of what the story should achieve.
Isn’t this a way for a paper to always remain relevant to its readership? More importantly, isn’t this a way for a community to get what it wants?
I think it’s worth at least a pilot.
When I worked at a local newspaper, I served on the community relations board. It was a way for us to ensure we were serving the community better. This idea is soooo much better. It’s real-time, it’s democratic, and it’s transparent.
So,, what do you think?
Walk the Alleys–Gain New Perspective

Walk the Alleys–Gain New Perspective

I live in semi-urbia. A big town. A very small city.

Here’s one of the things I love to do: Walk the alleys.

Here’s why: you get to see some interesting stuff.

For example, here’s a little spontaneous micro-landscape design in a veritable pot (really the end of a dormant pipe). Nature’s work is genius… you just have to keep you’re eyes open.


Or how about this crazy paint job. Seriously, can you imagine watching this person flub this project?


Or this plane crash. Shot with Instagram, but without the retro look, it was a pretty wild find.


Or this cat.


So next time you’re walkin’ the streets–take the alleys and find something new.

I Almost Got Into A Fight Over the Word ‘Gerrymander’

This is most certainly true. And for the folks who know me, fisticuffs are not in my DNA.

Of course, this happened when I was younger–and at a brew pub–but the metaphorical significance prevails.

So there I was, gesticulating wildly to an interlocutor, spinning a yarn a mile wide whenI dropped the word ‘gerrymander’. It was admittedly not a perfect fit–but some aspect of it worked for me. I recall needing a word that connoted (not denoted!) ‘defining the shape of something for political ends’.  ‘Gerrymandered’ popped out. Nice, I thought.

Here’s a quick look at what happened next:

Friend-of-a-friend: “Hey, you can’t use gerrymander like that!”

Me: “What?”

Friend-of-a-friend: “Gerrymander means…[insert political science definition here]”

Me: “I know that–but I’m free to make words conform to my needs–language is pliable per user. I get to do what I want!”

Friend-of-a-friend: “That’s ridiculous! And sloppy!”

Me:  “That’s creative–and fun!”

So if you plotted the hostility on a graph it would look like a hockey stick.

All the other ‘friends-of-friends’ had to send us to opposite sides of the brew pub–DINGDINGDINGDING. It was like a boxing match… And somehow, about every 30 minutes, we would cross paths and the debate would burst open like a baked potato in a microwave.

Since I like make the world easy to understand, I’ll make this grand conclusion: Some folks just like to stick to the rules. And some folks (ahem!) think there’s just too much darn fun to be had breaking them.

The world is indeed a black and white cookie.

Customer Service 101: Don’t Be Grumpy

Customer Service 101: Don’t Be Grumpy

I saw this great sign today on my walk to work.  Such a metaphor!

First rule of customer service is to not be grumpy. If you’ve got that, you’re half way to a gold star.

I think a little extra sleep on the part of this sign maker might have yielded something ‘nicer’ like:

  • Sorry, you gotta go that-a-way >
  • Looks like a door–but not really a door. Try around the corner.
  • Sorry! Entrance is actually over there >

I went the extra mile and added a bit of play–always a good idea to try to make someone smile a bit right before you start dealing with a customer service issue, no?

Customer service is about empathy–just inhabit your customer’s mental state and you’ll make friends and provide exceptional experiences.