Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Hold mute

You know what would be a huge feature of a phone system that could change people's attitudes on a phone call? Having the ability of toggling the on-hold message on or off. Half of the times when I'm on hold, the message is either loud and annoying, or so repetitive that I want to have a running fit. If I could punch it off, I'd prefer just hanging on the phone silently while I wait, and punching back on occasion to make sure I'm still connected. What I don't need is some peppy spokesperson with swingin' background music up-selling me. Or really bad muzac. Or the local traffic and weather of the place I'm calling. (However, I'm always thankful not to be in Chicago in winter, CDW!)

What an idea - put in a feature that enhances the happiness of the people who will call into your new phone system, so that they like calling you! Radical!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Living life and pondering

Sometimes, life moves too quickly, and you can't sit back and consider some of the options you have before you. Other times, reflection is mandatory, even if there is no time. A friend recently posted a great short snippet of thought that made me once again realize this fact: doing stuff takes doing. While the ready, fire, aim approach can sometimes lead to mistakes and having to smooth some ruffled feathers, getting something out there - out of your mind, out of the realm of maybe - is the only way to see it for yourself and show it to those you care about. If you don't write that story, it will never be read by others. If you never send it to a publication, it will never published. If you don't play that inner song, it will soon go away and be forever unheard.

Years ago, I read a post (in an AOL forum, of all places!) about three friends having a meal together. One was a successful self-employed business consultant. The second (the author of the post) was newly self-employed, struggling, but getting there as a computer consultant. The third was unhappy in his corporate job, wanted to be independent, but kept bringing up countless obstacles that prevented him going out on his on. Finally, the first diner said, "Tell you what. If you agree to follow my directions and to stop complaining about the problems, I will give you the secret to success as a self-employed person." The other two gaped in disbelief, but the complainer said, "Sure." The first removed a business card from his wallet, wrote something on the back of it, and handed it across. While the complainer was reading, the author said, "Wait a minute! You never offered me the secret to success!" The first man smiled, and motioned for the card to be passed to the author. Written in bold strokes was this - "Just Do It." (This was in the 90's - well before Nike appropriated that slogan as a service mark for selling their footwear.) "There will always be problems, roadblocks, excuses, and drawbacks to any business venture. You'll never get past any of them unless you decide to stop analysing, take the plunge and actually do what you're considering."

So, as of now, I'm going to start doing more, rather than just thinking about doing. Like Manton and his trees, results may be slow, but think how long it would take to get results if I never start! I will fail some, but will ultimately succeed more than if I never tried, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For those who are addicted to black notebooks......

....or are searching for the perfect one. I've only been journaling for the past few months using a Moleskine, but there are those out there who believe that this type notebook is the Holy Grail of design. There are others who think it is the ultimate status symbol. Others think it's a good design, burdened by hype that rises above it's true value. Others could care less, and just write on scratch paper pulled out of the wastebasket.

There are groups on flicker, mailing lists, and entire websites dedicated to finding just the right combination of good paper, binding, and usability. The perfect Black Notebook. One such site is reviewing every contender in an effort to find the champion. Their most recent review, the Piccadilly line, is surprising some, because it's half the price of the name brand, yet has a better binding. If you want to join in the search, check out Black Cover. They are in the process of cataloging all the Moleskine alternatives that they have reviewed. Plus, if you just send them an email, you can get an entry into a drawing for three Piccadilly notebooks!

What's your holding your notes?