Generally Speaking With A Client

Earth from space - Generally Speaking With A Client - Small Business, marketing and web design blog There is this phrase that I use like it’s a word parasite – “generally speaking”. I use it quite often when I need to point to a big picture. Get on a same page. Explain something in general or layman terms. Simplify things.

Interesting enough, most clients don’t quite get that big picture. Like for example this guy who wanted a six-page web site to sell about 2000 items of merchandise. Not a biggie. Or another group of partners who calculated the industry’s average price per page, then rearranged the information on the site so it would fit into their budget. Then started calling web design studios (us included) to ask for a quote on few pages worth of web site. Turned out they were trying to get a system the size of a Amazon into those few pages.

If you look at any advertising – you can also see what I mean. For example, look at any shampoo ad. You can see a bottle of product, the hair (that most likely belongs to an attractive woman), the zoomed animation that shows how hair is restored by use of shampoo, and all the other stuff. But you are not being sold the bottle of shampoo. Ad doesn’t even try to sell you that bottle, rather it sells you the ability to be attractive, to get that sex appeal. In other words – it sells you happiness, achievable easier than ever by purchasing just that one bottle. If you buy two – there’s a discount available, so it comes with even more happiness. Generally speaking – by buying a bottle of shampoo you are buying happiness. There, now you have it.

Ability to be “generally speaking” is quite rare, as I have found out. Most of the times when I hear someone “generally speaking” I tend to get very quiet and listen. It’s about the big picture, so it must be important.


Kill your cash register!

Kill The RegisterEveryone knows how contemporary cash register looks like. It’s a beast with tiny monochrome screen, full size computer keyboard with credit card reader and printer, that spits out couple of yards of specially crafted cash register paper anytime you go and buy a bag of groceries. God forbid you enter Staples/BestBuy/CompUSA – those will just sink you in a cash register tape. People who man registers look to me like machine gunners of World War II, constantly reloading their things as they run out of ammo. All the registers in the store are tied into a network that stores orders, customer information, any promotions I used ever since the store opened and so on.

Why am I still getting two yards of paper with purchase? Just so the nervously shaking guy with a pen can scribe something on it when I exit the store? Oh, wait, in case I want to exchange something – I need to bring the merchandise and the receipt. No exchange without the receipt. They know where I live, they know which credit card I used, they know my home and work phone numbers, they have a history of my purchases since the Big Bang, they even have the whole process on camera (now there’s cameras everywhere, especially pointing at the cash registers) but they still need those two yards of paper back when I bring back the merchandise. Why?

With so much recording going on, I don’t need to be handed the paper at all. Or at least – don’t have to keep it around. Sure, there’s a need for store security to check on how many items I am carrying out of the store, but that doesn’t require using that much paper. And for return – I should be able to conduct returns/exchanges using the credit card that I purchased the items with. Obviously, people who pay cash should get the full-blown receipt anyhow, but for regular folks who don’t suffer from paranoia and prefer convenience – we shouldn’t be suffering from receipts collection disorder.


Simplicity Power

The following problem is offered to kids admitted to kindergarten or first-grade in some of the Ukrainian schools. I couldn’t solve this problem immediately, had to look for a solution. For readers of this post I’ll let out a small hint – the problem is much simpler then you first think.

8809 = 6
7111 = 0
2172 = 0
6666 = 4
1111 = 0
3213 = 0
7662 = 2
9312 = 1
0000 = 4
2222 = 0
3333 = 0
5555 = 0
8193 = 3
8096 = 5
7777 = 0
9999 = 4
7756 = 1
6855 = 3
9881 = 5
5531 = 0

2581 = ?

If you really must know the solution -I’ll post it tomorrow.