Archive for June, 2009

Comments Off on If You Don’t Think Your Product Is the Best, Read This

Acer takes top 2 spotThe news that taiwanese company Acer is taking over Dell as the number two PC maker has some folks rattled because Acer’s quality is considered by many to be inferior. Even their main US web site is, mildly speaking, not the cream of the crop. It just doesn’t feel or function like a top PC maker’s web site.

Some people confuse making quality products with being number one or two but that’s simply not the case.

GM was the number one car maker for many, many years. But GM wasn’t exactly known for its stellar quality vehicles for the past 20 years or so.
Price and marketing matter far more than making the best quality product, unfortunately.

This matters to you if you are working for a company (or own one) and you don’t think you are currently producing the greatest/shiniest/sexiest/most advanced/…/ product or service possible.

It’s a noble thing to strive for perfection, or even “just” excellence. And it’s true that excellent products and services have a much better chance to thrive in the market place.

But even if you’re lacking somewhat don’t let this be an excuse to slack off and not put forward your best effort.

If you make a very good product, or offer a very good service, that may be enough to succeed, provided your marketing, tenacity, and (probably) pricing are top notch. Mediocre or even crappy doesn’t cut it. I’m talking truly, honest to goodness “good enough“. And the consumer decides if it is good enough, not you.*

If you do some digging, and I mean real, open minded research, you’ll discover how all top brands are quite flawed in one form or another. You have heard fanboi-ish accolades for virtually every Apple product, and many of its followers could truly be considered fanatics who would not dare to acknowledge any product faults, but then you’ll find there are about just as many problems with them than with its competitors.

Mercedes Benz has been getting mostly praise for the past, oh, 100 years or so but dig deeper and you’ll find some very interesting facts about recalls, shotty workmanship, and other “goodies” that are not very well known to the general public.

Same with Myspace, Twitter, BMW, and pretty much any other brand that currently enjoys top spot status.

Point is, don’t give up if you are not quite at the peak yet. Be as good as you can be, and then show your best, most tenacious marketing effort.

Learn about building a (fanatical) following (Apple), creating addictive/ viral worthy brands or services (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), and dominating distribution outlets (Acer, …Megan Fox).

You might just become the next Acer.

* Just be careful – GM was making vehicles that were “good enough” for a long time. So did Penthouse. So did Lehman Brothers. At one point your product or service may not be good enough any longer and before this happens you must adapt or die.

Comments Off on Forget this and the Customers will forget You

There is one easily overlooked and yet ultra crucial aspect a lot of e-commerce sites are missing, and it’s costing them a lot of sales.

Even many technologically sound sites don’t do this. This doesn’t apply to adult sites but to everyone else this is really, really important.

It’s accepting customer payments via PayPal.

This is now more important than ever before as a large number of internet savvy consumers already have a working PayPal account.

Tom's ShoesTo give you an example of how important PayPal is let me tell you my experience of trying to buy shoes from Tom’s Shoes last night.

Like others, Tom’s grossly underestimates the laziness of its customers (like me) and the power of impulse purchases.

As so many consumers, I often purchase stuff I want (more than need) and do so on an impulse basis. I had seen the Tom’s Shoes commercial where the owner tells the viewer that for every pair of shoes they sell, one pair will be given for free to a child in need.

Last night I remembered I needed some new casual footwear for my home office and Tom’s Shoes came to mind. After realizing that those guys really only have one type of shoes I figured I’d give it a shot anyways and put a pair in my shopping cart. I’m nowhere near my wallet. It’s 3 AM and I’m getting sleepy – a perfect time to sell me pretty much anything I might remotely want.

When I was ready to check out and purchase I realized Tom’s didn’t offer to let me pay with PayPal. This is how I usually buy stuff on a whim – click the PayPal button, type in my username and password, hit the authorization button, and I got stuff.

So now Tom’s wants me to fill out their customer forms and, worse yet, requires me to find my wallet, dig out my credit card, try to read the worn-off numbers on it, and send my financial info into the unknown. All for a pair of cheap linen shoes.

I figure I’d come back later and do that. At that time I just didn’t feel like going through the credit card hassle.

Actually, I never do. Nobody does.

And that’s the problem – I abandoned my shopping cart (this is aptly called the “ abandonment rate” to retailers) and chances are I will never come back and complete the purchase because once I had some time to think about it I realize $50 for a pair of linen shoes that may or may not fit plus ten bucks shipping might not really be worth it. Instead I got hit by Amazon with some sweet deals I just couldn’t say no to.

And Amazon (they are the kings in my book) does this right – not only does it suggest stuff I might actually want, it also makes buying everything super easy. One click and I’m done. Awesome.

Tom’s (and the countless other retailers who didn’t let me pay with PayPal, Google Checkout, or another convenient payment method that doesn’t require me to grab my credit cards) lost a sale. How many times per day do you think this happens to them?

How many times per day does this happen to you?

Do you make it ultra convenient to pay for your goods and services? Do you force customers to fill out a bunch of forms before they can make a purchase?

Don’t discount this. My little story sounds simple but this is how in fact a large percentage of sales happen – on impulse. The retailer who offers the quickest, most convenient way to buy, wins. Always.

Link: PayPal for business

Seinfeld Porn Parody

Comments Off on Seinfeld Porn Parody

Normally I’m not into porn spoofs but they do have their place. Now, this one here is actually really well done – a porn parody of Seinfeld, starring James Deen as Seinfeld and a slew of other cast members who actually do a great job in satirizing Seinfeld’s show and still pulling off a porn flick worth watching. And it’s got Ashlynn Brooke in it so that’s always good in my book.

Adult directors and producers: notice how well done the sets are – lighting, staging, costumes, blocking, and audio are all beyond the ordinary porn fare. I dare say some parts actually look damn close to the actual Seinfeld show.

One can tell that these guys actually took pride and care in their work. They realize it’s a different game now. Ordinary and half-baked doesn’t cut it anymore.

New Sensations is the company behind this. They’ve been doing great work for years so I’m happy to see them still in the game and doing well. They acquired a bunch of adult sites and combined them into one massive affiliate program (NSCash). Probably one of the better ones, overall.

Check out the Seinfeld XXX Parody trailer here. Looks pretty well done, doesn’t it?

Comments Off on Optimizing Windows 7 for Content Creation

Win 7 optimizationAs I keep installing Windows 7 RC on several systems I remember that I wanted to quickly point out a few things you should do if you plan on using Windows 7 on your editing / content production systems.

1) After installing Windows 7 go ahead and disable automatic defragmentation, automatic download and installation of updates, search indexing, and tone down some of the visual stuff like fading in and out of boxes, animated windows and all that. By default scheduled defragmentation is on and you do not want this stuff to start up right when you’re in the middle of editing or exporting your movies.

Don’t animate / rotate your wallpapers. Choose one and stick to it.

Disable any services you don’t need. I usually get rid of any printing and spooling services, touchscreen features, games, and XPS services. Windows 7 makes this very easy: Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off

Automatic updates sometimes force an automatic reboot – you don’t want that either. Search indexing can slow things down. And removing some of the visual stuff will help with performance as well.

2) Right after installing Windows 7, run Windows Update and install any drivers and updates that are suggested to you. Restart when you’re prompted to, then keep coming back to Windows Update until there’s nothing more you need to install (language packs and other non-essentials can be skipped). AFTER you’ve installed all important updates and drivers disable the automatic downloading and installing of any updates (see above as to why).

3) Before you install any of your programs (Premiere, Avid, Photoshop, whatever) download and install any and all drivers you might need. Windows 7 is very good at detecting and, if necessary, offering you to get the latest drivers for your graphics cards, monitors and so forth but it could miss it. Also download drivers for your audio cards, and any other peripherals you might have attached.

4) This is one hard pill to swallow for many of you but do not install any anti-virus software on your production system. That stuff just causes more problems than they’re worth. I have not used any anti-virus software in four years on my editing systems and never had a problem. I do scan every few weeks, just to be safe. Never once did I get hit with a virus or spyware. Just don’t go online unless you really have to, and only go to reputable sites. Not having anti-virus junk hog your computer’s resources will make a huge difference.

5) Do not install iTunes, Roxio, Nero, or any other application you don’t absolutely need. No email programs either. A surprisingly large number of programs hog resources and run unneeded stuff in the background. The more junk runs in the background the more problems you will have.

I’ll write a more in-depth guide on optimizing Windows 7 for Content Creation soon.

Comments Off on Palm Pre Launch Email Goes Nowhere – Be Prepared

What Not To Do In Marketing

So I get an email from Sprint just after midnight 06/06/2009 – As expected, the Palm Pre is now officially available.
After the hype Palm and Sprint have been building you’d expect those guys to put some extra care into the launch.

All pages should be up and running, all links working, all graphics carefully selected and positioned, purchasing information and opportunities should be aplenty, and everything should just be ready for the consumer.

This is always important and particularly so during any major product launch or site change. To get the email you had to have filled out a form at Sprint.com to be notified of the Pre’s availability, making those consumers who received this launch email prime customers – exactly the kind  Sprint and Palm need to stay alive during these times.

But when I clicked the link in the email, instead of wowing me with some sexy presentation and an opportunity to buy this highly anticipated gadget right then and there on Sprint’s site I get an almost blank page that just says “We’re Updating…”

If an important launch like that is so unorganized and unreliable, what else is?

How this Relates to You the Webmaster / Marketer

Just because sending emails doesn’t cost money doesn’t mean it should be used without care.
Are you making sure all your links work in every piece of communication you send out or publish? Did you make sure that every page your visitors go to is entirely free of broken links, outdated information, and other stuff that can cost you sales?

Double and triple check your stuff. Pretend you’re the person you are marketing to – would you take action, (would you buy, would you sign up, would you leave your email, would you…)? Are you even able to?

Comments Off on NEC 43 Inch Curved Monitor a Video Editors Dream

OMG I so want one of these! For around $8000 NEC now offers this 43 inch curved (!), ultra- wide monitor.

As someone who constantly works with horizontally elongated timelines (editing and music production software mainly), NEC CRV43 would be fantastic to have. I was giddy when I got my first wide screen 24 inch monitor five years ago but this…oh my.

Let’s see what NEC’s competition can come up with. Either way, the price will come down. But can I wait that long? Hmmm….

Press release for the NEC CRV43 is here

NEC 43 inch curved widescreen monitor

Comments Off on Bing.com Site Submission URL

Microsoft’s Bing.com is causing quite the stir already because…well, it’s very good. Some very nice features, good design, and relevant search results. Check it out and starting learning because I have a feeling Bing.com will become quite important to webmasters in the near future.

Click here to submit your URL to Bing.com

Not really necessary but just in case you’re still doing that sort of thing :)

Here is the webmaster forum for Bing.com. Start learning.

Comments Off on Adobe CS4 Update: Premiere Pro 4.1.0, Media Encoder, AE

Premiere Pro update 4.1.0Fire up your favorite Adobe CS4 application and rejoice – the long anticipated update to Premiere Pro is here (4.1.0), along with updates to Adobe Media Encoder and After Effects.

Premiere Pro 4.1.0 has been expected to be released late May of this year so Adobe is pretty close. This update is important as is (supposedly) addresses numerous severe problems with Premiere Pro CS4.

We’ll see after a few weeks of using this new version if the update actually fixes these problems. Without going into too much detail (plenty of hate threads online about this) Premiere Pro CS4 was definitely not what it could have been and what it should have been.

Maybe…hopefully…today will change that.

Installation Notes

Adobe’s updater is notorious for being crap. Don’t get frustrated if your downloads or (more likely) installation of the updates fails on the first try. Simply go here to manually download and install all the latest Adobe fixes.

You also need to close all Adobe programs and probably manually kill the “processcoordinationserver.exe” process via the Task Manager.

Good luck and let me know about your experiences with these new updates.

MacDrive 8 for Windows 7Looks like Mediafour’s MacDrive 8 will support Windows 7. The MacDrive8 beta is already available for you to download.

This is great news for video editors like myself who couldn’t wait and already migrated everything over the Windows 7. The only thing missing for me was MacDrive.

Click here to download the MacDrive 8 beta for Windows 7

Note: there is a big difference between HFS Explorer and MacDrive. The former is a very basic utility that lets you open up HFS formatted hard drives and copy (“extract”) files to your PC. It doesn’t work the other way around and you can’t use it to, say, edit directly off of the HFS drives.

MacDrive allows your PC to see HFS formatted drives to be seen just like any other hard drive. You can edit straight off of those kind of drives with Premiere Pro, Avid, Vegas etc. if you wanted to.

Comments Off on Windows 7 beta shutting down – Beginning Today

Windows 7 Beta

Reminder: if you’re using the Windows 7 beta your computer will begin shutting down every two hours beginning today, June 1st 2009.
If you haven’t already, go ahead and download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) now.

Bing.com

Also on the Microsoft front, their new search engine, Bing.com is now live. I’m impressed so far, the layout and suggestions are excellent, the speed is incredible. We’ll see how that pans out for them.

Why this Matters

Right out of the gate Bing.com (stupid name) is already a very strong contender as the next serious Google competitor. This matters to you if you are running web sites or doing any type of SEO work because if Bing keeps it up and gains momentum you need to start working on “optimizing” for it too.

Don’t freak out just yet but keep Bing.com in mind and start reading up on how it works and how you could take advantage of it.

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