Monthly Archives: February 2012

Do you Hulu?

I know you are wondering what’s Hulu got to do with business? Let me tell you, a lot. Hulu’s new application  for the Wii console was the white glove challenge to Netflix. Hulu offers streaming TV and Movies and usually in their current season.  This challenges Netflix which only offers TV shows after their season has ended.  The subscription is the same 7.99 offered by Netflix and the offerings are actually a little more pertinent to the business medium. You can find documentaries on both but the financial series options on Hulu actually surprised me.  Shows like “the Business of Innovation”  and “Start-up Junkies”  are worth the fee! The nice feature is you get to try it free for a week and see if it has something that interests you. I’m on my third episode of Start-Up Junkies love it!

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IT’s coming!PhotoShop touch for iPad!

I have drooled over this App for a while. I recently shot a wedding and displayed some of the photos on my iPad at the reception. I wished I could have had a little more control over the images before display. You see I took the hour between wedding and reception to quickly load about 25 images on my iPad to position at the guest book table. I wanted the ability to create a cover for the album with the couples name and wedding date on it or remove odd background items.  The apps I had only allowed basic color correction and cropping. If I was going to pay for an app I wanted it to allow me most of the functions of PhotoShop. You see the better these images looked and the more polished a quick presentation, the more photo orders I would likely receive from friends and relatives. I had already secured a great order from the happy couple, this was my chance to influence the impulse buy of people who would also want these images. People who order from me while still at the wedding, increased my bottom line before the wedding was over, call it the wedding glow!

I knew PhotoShop touch was out there, I was just waiting for the iPad version, now, here it is.

BARCELONA: Adobe Photoshop Express is a great, free and highly usable iOS app for quickly fixing up your digital photos, but it pales in comparison to the desktop version of Photoshop. Last year Adobe introduced a solution: Photoshop Touch, but chose to bring it to the Android Tablet market first. Now, as promised, Adobe is finally bringing that powerful image editing capability to Apple‘s iPad 2. The company will announce the new app today in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress.

Awesome post! I’m going read it this weekend!

Hmm fancy that?

Pinterest, I’m so sorry it’s not you, it’s me. I just want permission to hang out on other sites that let me purchase an outfit right on the site. You see I’ve discovered  “Fancy!”

While I love Pinterest, I love efficiency more. Fancy has beaten Pinterest to the ROI. The items you love, collect and “Fancy” versus “Pin,” can also be bought right on the site. No need to travel to third-party sites to make a purchase. While I’m not an impulse buyer usually, this efficient business model capitalizes on the impulse buy immediately. Why is this a good thing? It is the virtual equivalent of not letting the customer, leave the store. The longer they stay in the store, the more they buy.

When I first found Pinterest I loved being able to share the things I love with friends. However, I also wondered, how the heck do they make money? While there are featured products etc, to serve as advertising, If you send consumers elsewhere to make a purchase there is a greater possibility they won’t finish the transaction. Fancy is smart to keeps the customer in the store and still allowing them to share interest and purchases with friends in a social media platform.

 

The feedback sandwich

As a manager, one of the hardest things to learn is, what performance issues to discuss and how. While being the taskmaster is part of being a manager, learning to weigh items that need necessary correction with those inconsequential flaws is an art form. I have had both the manager who points out every error and the one who is so buried that they give no correction at all. While the former seems annoying, I prefer that to no feedback at all.

I like to write out all the negative things I need to discuss with an employee and then ask four questions about each issue.

  • Is this a procedural issue? Is this simply an error of not following the right steps.
  • Is this a critical behavioral flaw? Were they rude, harassing or socially inappropriate for the workplace.
  • Is this a clash of personality? Are people simply not getting along and needing to learn to play better in the sandbox.
  • Lastly I ask what will happen if I don’t address this now? If the answer here is nothing, I toss it!

Statistically employees who receive feedback will multiply the bad feedback by three. They are also more likely to forget the positive feedback if it is delivered first. I have found an extremely productive way to give feedback is the sandwich approach. I sandwich all tough feedback between two positive comments. I also do so in writing so that when people are rereading my comments; they can actually see that there is more good than bad, literally, twice as much. I also do this regularly. When you share both good and bad feedback on a regular basis, at a ratio of two to one, it is both easier to take and more believable.

Writing workout!

While cruising the web I found some interesting writing exercises. Since writing this blog I have become more and more aware of my writing style. It is a bit conversational. While this is fine for a blog, I found myself looking for ways to stretch my creative thinking and writing. I found this list of exercises that I am enjoying. Writing a 250 word, grammatically correct, sentence is hard, but interesting. You find yourself pulling out punctuation you only read about in school.  Take a look at these exercises for fiction writers.

Have you met TED’s app?

Streaming TED talks is now easier than ever.  First if you don’t know what TED is you need to. TED is an idea consortium. They offer great talks and presentations for free and motivating workshops for a membership. Memberships are not cheap but are beneficial if you want to allow your business to incorporate TED talks into training. TED now has an app that allows these presentation and talk videos to be shared on mobile devices and tablets. It also allows you to save and organize your favorites so you can easily get back to them for reference.  I have used TED talks to shape the ideas behind what kind of leader I want to be, how to maintain happiness as I work and how to motivate others to do their best. Check out TED.com if you want really great resources for effective leadership and team building.

I love this blog! I just wanted to share a great read on confidence today. Have a great Sunday!

Goss Coaching

While off celebrating my 20th anniversary, I’m sharing a few of my favorite blogs that you might have missed.

It’s easy to compare yourself with others, particularly when it looks like they have what you want. A quick way to determine if that is beneficial or not is to look at how it makes you feel.

Does looking at someone else’s journey inspire you? Convince you that you can get the same results? Make you feel like you are that much closer to achieving your goals? If so, by all means continue to look and be inspired.

But, if looking at someone else’s journey makes you feel defeated before you even begin, frustrated that they have it and you don’t, or unworthy because you aren’t doing it “right” or haven’t made enough progress fast enough, then it does not benefit you to keep looking.

Part of “enjoying the journey”…

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Putting glasses on your fisheye lens!

Aahh the love of wide-angle lenses is strong, but the disdain for cone-heads and straight lines that bend is even stronger. PhotoShop CS 5 allows you to correct lens distortion automatically. You no longer need a tilt shift lens to correct building convergence.  This hidden gem tutorial shows you how to correct the distortion, vignetting and coloration variations instantly. Shooting banners and panoramic images just got a lot easier. You can even save and share the presets for your camera and lenses to automatically correct. Love this hidden gem!

An engaged manager remembers

Remembering the little things is often key to earning the trust of your staff. For me that meant knowing what types of assignments people preferred, handling their pet peeves (the work related ones) and letting people you don’t see everyday know you are thinking of them and wishing them well. You see photographers spend the most time out of the newsroom. They need to be out and about for the best news coverage. There is no real way to phone-in the photos for a story. You have to be there. This can lead to people feeling disconnected from the office and sometimes forgotten. I tried to get in the habit of sending regular birthday acknowledgements in the form of e-cards. It is hard when you have a department of 20 or more to keep track and remember to select and send an e-card so I used a service called Birthday Alarm.

Birthday Alarm is a neat service that allows you to load people’s birthdays and e-mail addresses and then starts sending you reminders for birthdays 10 days in advance. You can then click on the link select a card, add a personal greeting and it will send the card on the recipient’s birthday. It remembers every year and makes the task super simple by suggesting age appropriate and often hilarious options for cards. So it allows you to add a personal acknowledgement in a few minutes. It doesn’t add hours to your day and it makes a great statement to that employee you rarely see but who works hard and let’s them know you’re thinking of them.  Birthday Alarm remembers which cards you’ve sent to whom, so duplicates don’t happen and it offers every type of occasion card. There are thank you cards, a great way to say “Job well done!,” holiday cards, nice for sending a holiday greeting to those working abroad. They even have just funny animations to share with colleagues and staff to add a little levity on a slow day.

Today is my wonderful mother-in-law Jan’s 73rd Birthday. She is a woman of great humor and grace whom I love and respect. You can read more about my wonderfully loving and funny relationship with Jan in today’s “Raisin in Minnesota” column on GoodEnoughMother.com Happy Birthday Jan! Check your inbox, today’s card is a hoot!