Browse Month: September 2008

About Yahoo Image Search

Nobody promised anything, but if you have an image search function it better produce some meaningful results. Since Google Images somehow managed to get blocked at the place where I am sitting right now (probably doing too good finding what you’re not supposed to be looking at), I use Yahoo Image search for blog posts.

Boy, is that a sad picture. No matter what I am looking for, Yahoo Images just dumps dozens of result pages from Flickr. If you run a search for “microsoft commercial“, guess what would you see on pages 2 to 16? A whole bunch of images of military airplanes and helicopters – all from Flickr. Only starting at page 16 there are some easily recognizeable Microsoft-related images.

Given that Flickr is blocked here as well, it’s just an exercise in futility to find any sort of images. But this was worth mentioning, because if it wasn’t for a problem with Google Images I would’ve never thought there is really no alternative.

And you thought Yahoo was doing a good job too, right?

Good Customer Service Equals Bad Sales!

Good Customer Service Equals Bad Sales

Huh? How come? Hear me out, matey! During today’s lunch I went to both J & R and Staples – they are right across from each other in this part of town. There are plenty of sales representatives on the floor. However, whenever I enter J & R the most I get is a little longer then usual eye contact from one of the sales reps. As if he’s saying “Are you sure you don’t need any help? No? Okay, I’ll leave you alone”. Having a professional PC tech background I really appreciate such behavior. Besides, sometimes I just need to dive into the store and look around, touch things. Something I have been missing with the increasing role of web stores in my life.

When I enter Staples the picture gets totally different. Whenever in Staples I always get followed by one or another floor sales reps. They pretend to be adjusting things on the shelves and just pass by me (constantly) avoiding any eye contact whatsoever. Sometimes (probably) the bravest ones approach and ask if there’s anything I might need a help with. When they get my polite decline they still stick around like bad spies from the bad spy movie.

So, today, when I got into Staples, I was immediately followed by yet another sales person. He wasn’t afraid to make eye contact, so I rewarded him with couple of requests of things I was looking for (namely Microsoft Explorer Mouse and specific Fellowes CD tray/shelf that seem to be discontinued). Given that Staples didn’t have neither of things, I thanked and walked out. Perhaps if I wasn’t annoyed that much, I might have spent a little more time in the store and actually bought something (I’ve been known for spontaneous purchases of wired Logitech mice and blank CDs).

Such an experience at Staples has generally made it very undesireable for me to visit their stores. There are still some things that I prefer to buy “live” instead of just ordering them online, but Staples increasingly have made it difficult to indulge.

Given that my supply of stationary hasn’t changed much for last year and half, by the time I will need to visit Staples again – they might be already out of business.

Small Business Will Step Up… Later

There was an article in Sunday NYTimes – Economy to Entrepreneurs: Turn Back (link) discussing how small business owners and entrepreneurs seek refuge in corporate life at the harsh economic times. Given the high fuel cost and tight budgets it is no wonder the profits are shrinking. For small businesses, that operate on much thinner margins now the suffering could be fatal.

However, once the economy will hit the bottom and start getting back up, there will be plenty of opportunity to shine. Seeing successful startups emerging here and there, recently converted corporate types with get back into their entrepreneural mood. Sure, many will decide to remain attached to the safety net and many who did not venture into entrepreneurship before will decide to do so. That’s a whole new market opening.

For years there have been coaches and consultants who suggested how you should run your business. It was, however, a pretty daunting task, since any entrepreneur (especially a newcomer to the scene) is mostly a one man show. Accounting, operation management, general management, sales – everything falls on a single pair of shoulders. That is exactly where the new opportunities arise.

Advising new businesses on tools, techniques and methods, assisting in research and helping with promotion have been around for a while. With internet, web sites, blogs, social networks, various advertising models and ways to reach and serve the customer the ways to do business have changed dramatically. Whoever will catch this ball at the earliest and will run with it will probably reap the biggest reward.