Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marketing consistency at Lunch

I've mentioned marketing consistency on this blog many times.
A quick example from lunches recently.

Au Bon Pain - allegedly a premium lunch experience, with "artisan bread" and higher end ingredients.
Reality - across the street from Cosi, sandwiches are slightly smaller, several dollars more, and the people behind the sandwich counter are less friendly.

Potato Valley - No expectations, but it's what you would expect. 30+ varieties of potatoes. And, they deliver. The potatoes are as stuffed as physically possible, with many different toppings. The slice of peach might have been overkill, but it's impossible to come away with a feeling other than "that's an extremely stuffed potato".

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Job Hunting Tips

With many colleagues looking, I though I'd put together a list of tips that may prove useful as they look for their next opportunity:

1) Manage your search. Use something like JibberJobber.com or even a plain old spreadsheet, but use something so you have a record of what you're doing and who you're talking with.
2) According to LHH, you'll need to talk to 20 hiring managers (not interviews, people who are in a position to hire someone) before you find your new job. If you're just submitting resumes online, that can take a long time.
3) Between TheLadders.com and Indeed.com you can find most jobs that are out there. Avoid getting endlessly sucked in to searching online.
4) Do something for yourself. Try and go for walks/workout/hit a heavy bag/knit or do something unrelated to your job search.
5) Take inventory. What are you looking for? Do you really want to be doing the exact same thing you're doing now, only somewhere else?
6) Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? It's now the #1 tool of recruiters looking for people in specific fields. Have you asked for recommendations? Do you occasionally answer questions that are posted? For that matter, have you read "I'm on LinkedIn, Now What?"
7) Find an accountability partner.
8) Get the whining out of the way early. Yes, whatever situation you're in now probably is less pleasant than where things were several months ago. You need to get over it, try and stay positive, and move forward.
9) Have a networking plan. Are you talking to people in your industry?
10) Make reasonable requests. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was to have a target list of companies, and ask people if they knew anyone at those companies. It's a lot easier to say "I'm a paid search guru, and am targeting these 20 companies, do you know anyone there?" than "here's my resume, let me know if you hear of anything". In one of these scenarios, you're being proactive and taking charge of things.
11) Be aware of the power of weak connections - Some of the most interesting opportunities will come from people who barely know you. Stay open to this possibility.
12) Read AlleyInsider's guide to surviving layoffs
13) Go talk to people. Networking events can be tough if you're an introvert, but, by definition, people are at them to talk.
14) If you're offered outplacement services, take advantage of them.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dear Google Ad Words

I took a survey for Google AdWords sometime back about how they could improve their product. I had totally forgotten about it, until a package arrived on my doorstep yesterday.
The "duffel bag" they sent is now in the running for worst chotchke of all time. It is a small, flimsy bag. I ran corporate gifts for Discovery for a while, and I'd guess it probably cost between $1-$2. Which is fine, it's a gesture gift. While I would have preferred a donation to a charity, or, really, anything else, I understand the logic.
The real problem is the horrible plastic smell. Last time we encountered something like that, it was a mini trampoline, that had caused an allergic reaction in a friend. I brought it into the office for show and tell, and was immediately encouraged to move it to a well ventilated area :)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How not to place an ad in email

I subscribe to the excellent local e-newsletters from Bisnow.com here in DC. I've seen the same catchy ad from a local watch retailer - Liljenquist & Beckstead. It's a large banner for the "Hublot Big Bang Rose Gold" - a fantastic looking watch. I click through and I come to their home page. I select the HTML version vs. Flash. They have three huge images of watches on this page. None are clickable, only the text below. I can't find the watch anywhere on the site. My expectation was that I'd click, and I'd land on their page featuring the watch... no luck. :(

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hiring at Shop.org

We've just posted a new job we're hiring for at Shop.org - Director, Member Services. Let me know if you have questions.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Shop.org had our Shop@Lunch event yesterday. We had great attendance, and the press coverage was excellent. For the official writeup, check out the blog post.
Some other random thoughts, while greeting 300+ people entering an event -

Cheerfully welcoming people to an event gives you an instant insight into how comfortable people are about attending an event.
People are more than willing to wait in a long line for lunch, as long as you explain how the line works.
Conversely, 1% of people will attempt to make you justify the setup, regardless of how crowded things are. "So, lunch is free? What kind? You got salad? Can I take it to go?" etc... An exaggeration, but only slightly.
Nowhere near Clublife, but we got two or three interesting characters - we may have provided their meal for the day.

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