Apology or Statement of Regret?

Why is it so difficult to grasp the concept of Apologies.

An apology requires an admission of wrong-doing on the part of the apologizer.

Seth Godin failed to realize this in one of his latest postings. He offered the following as an example to follow in making an apology:

But is an apology sincere?

Well, I can't imagine how the following sentence could be false if uttered by anyone with a conscience, "I'm really sorry about the way you feel. We work really hard and do our best to avoid problems like this, but it's obvious you feel mistreated and I want to fix it. I'm really sorry about all this."

It's cheap, it works, and it's the right thing. So why not do it?

Seth, that is not an apology that is a statement of regret.

The supposed apologizer has not admitted doing wrong and has implied that the fault lies with the one who feels mistreated. In point of fact, this might even be considered to be an ACCUSATION against the one who thinks that they have been wronged.

If you are not reading my recommendations of articles on Leadership, Integrity and Self-development, please visit Cohesive Reading List.

Losing Visual Credibility

Disclaimer: The photo which accompanies this article is being used under the Fair Use review and criticism clause. Substantial portions of the picture have been blocked out and the name of the product being advertised has been removed in order to comply with the review and criticism clause. This article and the use of this photo should be considered "educational" for copyright purposes.Two photos of an eye

This picture has been screen shot taken from an advertisement which has recently appeared on the internet for a skin treatment product. The product makes no claims (within this advertisement) concerning benefits to the eye.

I am not questioning whether or not the pictures have been post-production altered. I suspect that the discrepancies observable within these two photos are due to pre-production work.

Notice that in the lower photo the model's eye is open wider and the white of the eyes is clear and much whiter than the top photo. Notice also that the green of the iris is more pleasing in the lower photo. Thirdly, notice that both the coloring and the condition of the eyebrow in the lower picture is more groomed and it is possible that the hairs of the eyebrow have been enhanced by makeup.

As a graphic oriented person and as a website coder, I have observed for a long time that the general public is oblivious to details which seem blatantly obvious to me. If you say to the average person who has little experience in the graphic's world ?"Traditionally American newspaper and periodical publication tended to use San-serif fonts for headlines and serif fonts for body text, while traditional European print publication tended to reverse this usage. But in recent years, quite a few of the more trendy and design conscious American publications have been adopting the European approach to font usage." — most would react by either indicating that they have no idea what a serif is or by stating that they had never noticed this.

However, if you show an American newspaper reader two pieces of paper with Serif and San-serif styling used throughout in both the American and European styles and with three column formatting below the masthead — and ask which of the two looks more like an American newspaper, the majority of newspaper readers would point to the paper which uses San-serif headlines and serif body text.

I usually refer to this as the Gestalt Effect.

The graphic which accompanies this article shows two photos of a model's eye. The lower photo is definitely more pleasing to the market audience. Yet what about the Gestalt Effect of these two photos.

The general public may not immediately see the three details which I have singled out, but will still have a Gestalt reaction to these two photos. Although many people may not immediately realize why these two photos seem incongruous they probably will feel a lack of confidence in the reliability of this comparison.

It is comparable to using a font which is intended for use in advertisements which promote the industrial strength of steel to sell silk handkerchiefs. The public does not always know why it looks wrong, but they definitely react negatively to the mismatched font.

Genocide 2006

When will WE ever learn, when will we EVER learn?

Ignoring Hitler did not stop the slaughter of European Jews.
Ignoring Hussein did not stop the Kurdish massacre.
Ignoring Rwanda did not stop the genocide against the Tutsis.
Ignoring Ben-Laden did not prevent the World Trade Center's destruction.

And now get ready for Sudan.

Yet, the same politicians who evacuated Europeans and Americans from Rwanda but were reluctant to resist the Hutu and to rescue native Rwandans are also engaging in the same kind of cowardly uncaring diplomacy as before.

Diplomacy only works when people are honorable and have respect for others. But egocentric dictators and those who will follow such people can not be stopped by diplomats whose idea of diplomacy is morally equivalent to Neville Chamberlain's betrayal of Poland.

Who knows, maybe there will be a movie sequel to Hotel Rwanda. Maybe it will also get nominated for three (Emmys) Academy Awards in the US and win the Audience Award at the AFI Fest. You Think?

Or maybe, there might be another Schindler's List.

I hope that something will be done to forcefully intervene and prevent the need to make another movie about a catastrophe which could have been stopped, if only peaceniks would realize that you can not prevent mass violence by ignoring the perpetrators. But anyone who actually seeks to prevent al-Bashir and his henchmen will be accused of "war-mongering."

Yet the war exists whenever and wherever, the Invader and the Mass Murderer strikes even if your own country sits on its backside and pretends that they are supporting peace. The Japanese Pacific war did not begin in December 1941, but rather in 1937 with the attack upon China.

Remember September 1, 1939

Remember December 7, 1941

Remember September 11, 2001

Do not pretend that there is no war, when Guns are firing and bombs are exploding. As was written over 2500 years ago: "They have healed also the hurt of My people lightly, saying: 'Peace, peace', when there is no peace."

No MS Word, Yes PDF.

There is a very lengthy and very good article on why MS Word documents are bad for email. I personally find them more problematic than many other formats.

Here is a quote that should scare some of you into avoiding using MS Word in emails:

Microsoft Word is often configured by default to automatically track and record changes you make to a document. What many people do not realize is that this record of changes is actually silently embedded in the file every time you save your document. When you send such a document to a third party, it is a trivial matter for them to recover this log and see how the document appeared several revisions ago. Thus compromising or confidential information you thought you removed from a document before sending it may in fact still be accessible to the recipient.

Political Voice of Minorities Threatened

If you are a part of a minority, you need to understand what is going on in California and in Colorado.

By a minority, I am not just speaking of racial minorities. There are many types of minorities. For example, family farms, which are not part of a national corporation are owned by a minority known as farmers. There are fewer farmers in the USA than there are city dwellers, therefore farmers are a minority.

Many times, members of one minority feel that their rights are threatened by another minority receiving help, but the threat that I am addressing in this article will affect many kinds of minorities and will create widespread disenfranchisement.

The founding fathers of the USA were a minority before the USA was established. They were governed from England, but they had little ability to affect the policies of the government which ruled over them. Their recognition of their political plight had an impact years later on the governmental structures which they tried to install into the US Constitution. Some of their efforts have, since their time, been removed or eviscerated.

At the time of the creating of the Constitution, Virginia was much larger than it is today and its percentage of the total US population was also higher. (This would also have been true, even if, population counts had only included white, male citizens. This comment is added because someone might seek to detract from this article due to the fact that Virginia had a very large population of people who were not given the right to vote.) Smaller states, such as Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut, were afraid that there ability to be significantly involved in federal decision-making and policy would be destroyed by the states which had a large population. Therefore, the original US Constitution contained not only language of a democratic nature but also of a geo-political nature.

Some of the geopolitical safeguards which were originally placed within the constitution have already been eliminated or eviscerated. Currently, there is a movement afoot to remove even more geopolitical safeguards.

Why should minorities feel threatened by this?

Because any attempt to remove geopolitical safeguards destroys any minority's ability to be heard.

For example, although there have been several representatives in the US House of Representatives of African-American descent, there have only been three Senators in the last century and only one Governor. Why? Because without geopolitical safeguards, the African-American vote becomes lost in the crowd.

The greatest chance that the African-American vote has of producing a US President whose skin coloring is undeniably dark is the Electoral College, provided that the geopolitical safeguards are reinstated and beefed up.

For example, the winner take all, policy of most states has already destroyed most of the impact of minorities. And California is currently attempting to overwhelm the voice of any minority population to such a degree that those congressional districts which have a dense minority population will never again be able to impact the race for US President.

Imagine if each congressional district was able to elect one elector to the Electoral college independently of all "winner take all" schemes. There might be several congressional districts spread out across many states who could elect a number of minority electors to the Electoral college. This mechanism was NOT required by the original construct for the electoral college, but the subsequent "Winner Take All" schemes have weakened what should have been beefed up.

Each state's overall population should still be allowed to be counted together and awarded two votes apiece in the Electoral College. This was part of the democratic safeguards which were part of the balance between a bi-cameral federal legislature. The number of statewide electors is equivalent to the number of Senators (2) and the number of proportioned electors (as originally conceived) was based on the number of Representatives.

Any state which has a section of the state that is demographically distinct from the rest of the state has already experienced geo-political disenfranchisement on a statewide level, unless the state legislature has labored to prevent such disenfranchisement, but now this destruction of the geo-political voice is gaining national momentum. One example is a state with one or two large metropolitan areas and a much smaller farming population. In several states, the independent farmer's voice is no longer able to be heard because there are fewer geo-political safeguards allowing his or her region to significantly affect the state's political decisions.

Because the purpose of this article is to discuss minority disenfranchisement in Presidential elections, I am not going to discuss in this article, the original purpose of the US Senate except to note that the geo-political impact of the US Senate has been weakened.

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Marshall Goldsmith's Arthur Andersen comment

In June 2006, Marshall Goldsmith posted an article which contains one of the strangest leadership related sentences which I have read this year in a blog by a "thought leader."

At Arthur Andersen, Johnson & Johnson, and Shell International, the heads of the leadership development process have senior-level business experience.

Arthur Andersen's executives failed in their stewardship of their company. It does not matter how senior your leadership development team is, if the culture that they create and the proteges which they develop create the type of situation which led to their prosecution. Although the US Supreme Court overturned the verdict, this company which used to be one of the biggest accounting firms in the US is now involved in managing its defense against civil lawsuits and managing what appears to be the process of corporate dissolution.

Read the context of Marshall Goldsmith's sentence at www.marshallgoldsmithbl...


Keeping Balance When It Comes To Referrals

I am completely opposed to the transactional approach to networking. One of the reasons that I finally after three years dropped out of leads group networking is that only about 20 - 30% of the members seemed to be proactive networkers.

However, it is hard to determine how to respond when a person to whom you have given several referrals, has done nothing to benefit your business. I do not want to refer anyone to someone who has the character trait of being a "taker." At the same time, I do not want to become a person who gives only when I expect to receive something in return.

Steve Harper has written a good article on how to deal with someone who has not been a "giver" in your life, but who may or may not be a giver in other people's lives. Read more atswotvision.blogspot.com...


If You Do Not Have It, Don't List It

Some of you may have heard of the Nine Rules network. They consider themselves to be a very elite network of web content publishers. But I have to say that the Nine Rules need to be amended.

Stick this rule in somewhere, please: If You Do Not Have It, Don't List It!

Allow me to point to a Nine Rules site with a major design flaw. Its name is Your Elevator Pitch

Do you see the main menubar immediately under the website's logo? See the second item? What would you expect to have happen if you click that menu option? Well, try it. Click that menu item.

Was that what you expected to have happen?

Not every website needs to have a this feature. But if you do not have this feature then do not list this feature!

It may be that at some future date, this rant will be obsoleted by the website owner of Your Elevator Speech actually installing this feature. If so, you will just have to take my word for it, (unless the Wayback Machine, gets their first) that on Aug. 21st at 10:00am EDT, There was no search feature on that site.

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An Older which was Better

A comment regarding John Maeda's Maeda's SIMPLICITY: Newer is Worser?

An Older which was Better

Before 1997 (or thereabouts) Altavista had a feature which they discontinued and none of the major search engines has tried to revisit and improve. After a search quesry was made, you were presented with a javascript page that allowed you to eliminate popular words which Altavista had found on the pages which had contained your keyword. The difference between this and user defined negative boolean keywords is that many times the user may not be aware of a word's application within a specific knowledge niche. For example, suppose a non-techie searches for the word "integrity" looking for articles on personal character. There are many knowledge niche meanings of the word "integrity" which have nothing to do with personal character. The old Altavista technology would return a list of words found on websites which contained the word integrity. It would also cluster group these found words based upon statistical analysis of words occurring within the same context. The user could then eliminate or insist on words to improve the relevancy of the "found" pages.

(Note: If you are RSS subscribed to this blog, the purpose of this blog has been changed. It is now being used as a commenting tool allowing me to comment on web pages which do not have the comment feature available.)

Avoid Being a Jerk

( If you subscribe to the web feed for this column, you may want to know that the agenda of this column is now changed. The purpose of this column will now be to make comments concerning other people's writings. )

The Writer: Seth Godin
The Article: Reflexology

In this article, Seth, made reference to two web designers, one who likes roll-overs and the other one who does not. The point of Seth's article is to discuss the "When you have a hammer ..." reflexive approach to finding solutions.

I design websites. I have learned that I can not always have what I desire.

Cool Design or Web Standards. I am not a purist when it comes to web standards, but I am also not one who completely ignores them. ( I wish all of my clients were willing to pay me the higher fees it would take to make their websites more compliant and more accessible, but they are not. ) Sometimes, I have to sacrifice a design that would be "really cool" to be more focused on compliance. Even though, much has been accomplished in the world of table-less designs, there are "cool" things that you can do with tables that are still not doable with a completely table-less design.

I am addicted to Photoshop Montages and also to Bryce 5.5 (Daz Rules!) However, when it comes to creating designs for websites, I have to sacrifice my desire for Graphic creations for the reality of low speed connections. As an example, take a look at the Cohesive Integrity website. At the top of the page, about 200 pixels from the left margin, a graphic compromise begins. ( I hate that compromise! ) I would prefer a 2000 pixel wide graphic, but the state of tech usage in 2006, precludes this.

Also take a look at the left side graphic. The original graphic from which this is taken is 1300 pixels wide and 650 pixels high and includes the Cohesive Integrity Logo as well as the pillar and the word cohesion. I would prefer to display my entire graphic, but neither the size of many monitors nor the fact of low speed connections allow me to do as I wish. In fact, if you watched how this web page loaded, you might notice that the word "Cohesion" loads seperately from the marble pillar which supports it. That is another compromise. I use this marble pillar in several places on this website, but the word which is displayed in red may be "Leadership" or "Becoming" or some other word.

My point is that when you have a hammer, you need to learn to practice what the Greek language of two thousand years ago called "prautes." You need to learn that your preferences and your desires should not rule over wisdom. For those of you who appreciate my Cohesive Integrity work here is a new maxim: "When desires are allowed to drive convictions, your pathway leads towards Denial."

The Viral Mockingbird

No, This is not an article about the Avian Flu. (However, you should learn all that you can about the Avian Flu.)

This article is a direct response to an Article posted yesterday (January 31) on Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell's BNET blog.

Rules? What rules? by BNET's -- Are there rules to marketing? We have our six tenets. Countless books and textbooks describing immutable laws, rules and principles arrive each year from authoritative and [...]

The Tech world is full of many examples which prove that building a vastly superior mousetrap does not equate with market acquisition. It is difficult to get the average consumer to be interested in the superiority of one CPU chip's algorithmic processing or the superiority of one memory storage medium (example: Betamax) over another (example: VHS). Many CEOs and CFOs are more concerned about installation expenses than they are about long term efficiency. (Example: IBM's punch card processing computers of the 1960s versus Univac.)

What makes a product viral is its ability to provoke the passions of the users. All efforts to educate Americans to be more fuel efficient in their car purchases were going nowhere until the gasoline crisis of the late 1970s. And Americans were again purchasing vehicles which were less fuel efficient until Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us just how vulnerable we still are. These events provoked passions, which in turn changed the buying habits of the public.

What makes "To Kill a Mockingbird" viral is that it is both evocative and provocative. People recommend it to others because it stirs up their passions. It succeeds on two vital areas. First, it succeeds in its subject and second, it succeeds in its presentation of its subject (that is to say that Harper Lee is a good word-crafter.)

This is also the reason why Oprah's Book Club is so successful. Oprah Winfrey does not recommend any mediocre author who is willing to pay a product placement fee. You can not BUY an Oprah Winfrey recommendation. Any author who desires an Oprah recommendation must focus on two vital things. One, will your subject (substance) provoke her passion? Two, will your writing ability (presentation) evoke your vision within her while she is reading?

If you are selling a product or service - you need to focus on these two areas also. Will the substance of what you are selling excite the passions of your market and will your presentation of your product or service evoke (resonate) a shared vision in their minds.

If you are a blogger, take a lesson from Oprah. Don't accept product placement fees for mediocre services and products. Recommend those books, products and services which excite you on a personal and a "gut" level and your click through rate will increase and the virality of your blog will also be more successful.

Unassembled Snowmen

Usually when people speak of the law of supply and demand, they focus on how price is affected by this law. However, another thing which is affected by this law is whether or not there is an overabundance of businesses or potential businesses in a given market.

For centuries, investors have purchased products in a country in which there was an overabundance of supply and therefore very little market and ship them across the ocean to countries in which the same product is either rare or non-existent. One of the reasons that Columbus' voyage across the atlantic was a milestone in marketing is that there are many products available in the Americas which were non-existent on the three continents which are sometimes called "The Old World."

Dr. Jeffrey Cornwell, who is the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, posted a picture on December 11, 2005 which very clearly explains what I have tried to say about crowded sandboxes and about the "Bratwurst Rule" of marketing.

It is not sufficient when researching a market to merely discover the level of demand, you also have to look at supply:

Suppose you did some market research and discovered that if 80 people attended an event, 70 of them would want a hamburger and 10 would want a bratwurst. Which business would you decide to get into? The correct answer is "Insufficient data." You next need to know the competition. How many vendors are selling each product? How happy are the consumers with the currst service and quality of product? What available locations are undersupplied based upon the flow of traffic? Etc. Etc.

It is also important to know whether or not the market is oversupplied. This quote is from the conclusion to my article on the "Bratwurst Rule:"

The lessons from this are -

Just because a product or service is popular does not mean it is the most profitable choice.
Market research is key to determining which products or services have the most potential for profit.
If the sandbox is full, play elsewhere.

Portals as a Traffic tactic

For a long time, I have been telling my clients who are interested in increased traffic that creating a Niche Portal is a way to retain old traffic and build up referrals. In an article dated Dec. 8, 2005, eMarketer.com shows that Portals are even more popular than search engines.

Two of the general top portals, Yahoo and MSN, are more popular than Google and retain their audience for longer periods of time.

Although this article does not address Niche market portals, it does look at News and Music portals.

The reason that Portals are popular is that they decrease the amount of time which it takes to locate a topic of interest. The more narrow and specific an audience's interest area is, the less relevant are the results of a general search engine. Very specific interests areas call for very narrow Niche portals.

Two examples of Niche Portals are the Designer News portal on the right hand side of the Hanscot website and the small business and independant professional Portal named "Driven By Success."

The acquisiton and publication of links for such portals is one of the services provided by Qwerty.

Firefox Blazes Brighter

Earlier this year, I switched from IE to Firefox and have been very happy. Firefox has been much more efficient and stable than IE was.

Firefox LogoToday, however, I downloaded the upgraded Firefox 1.5. And I am happy to say that it is even better than Firefox 1 was. If you are not using Firefox, you really really should give it a test run. Its FREE and its much better than IE.

Mahalo Nui Loa

Today, Rosa Say, author of "Managing With Aloha" and founder of Say Leadership Coaching, referenced both this blog and my Cohesive Integrity column on her Talking Story blog.

Mahalo Nui Loa, Rosa.

Jealously guard your brand

In the Greek of 2000 years ago, there were not two separate words for Jealous and Zealous, they were the same word "zelos."

Liz Strauss asked today about the practice of soliciting links from other websites.
You receive an email that reads like this?only yours is from a real domain name.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Would you like to link to us?

Website: http://www.ilinkwithstrangers.com

Thank you very much.

What?s your opinion of this practice?

Whether you are online or whether you are offline, you should exercise extreme caution about who you recommend. When you recommend another person, that person's conduct may taint your brand. Your clients will evaluate your concern for their well-being upon the quality of the people whom you recommend.

Building a brand is important to your long term success. Zealously seek reliable resources which will help your clients and friends and jealously guard your brand from being damaged by reckless referrals.

A website link is a referral and should be treated the way you would treat the giving of recommendations.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Try to find out how pleased your client was with the quality of service they received from your referral. If your client is unhappy with the referral, investigate before giving that person as a referral again.

2. How does the referral handle a crisis? If your client is unhappy and the referral bends over backwards to try and resolve the client's problem, this is a good referral to keep giving.

3. How does the referral treat you? People who are takers and not givers, tend to take from everyone. If someone wants you to feed them but feels no sense of responsibility to try to feed you, then they may also "take advantage" of your clients.

4. If someone who desires to get referrals from you, is sending business your way or is trying to help you, (especially if you have not given anything to him or her yet) this may be the best referral your client receives from you. Although it is true, that there are those who appear to be "giving people" but who are in reality takers who are trying to "prime the pump," a true giver will also seek to truly help your client.

Two books which I recommend regarding the giving and receiving of referrals are:
Dig Your Well Before Your Thirsty by Harvey MacKay
Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

Your brand is too important to be treated lightly. Give referrals which will cause your clients to come back and thank you profusely for helping them find the perfect problem solver.

Becoming your computer's mouse

Those who ascribe to the Zen philosophy talk about become one with the machine or instrument or weapon which you are using. But this posting is not about Zen philosophy.

Before Optical Mice, computer mice contained a ball which, when the mouse was moved, controlled the movements of three rollers, one for horizontal, one for vertical and one for diagonal movement.

Real Mice when kept as pets are sometimes given a running wheel on which to exercise.

One company is hoping that you will want to become a computer mouse by climbing inside a large sphere. Apparently, the US Military thinks that this is an idea worth researching.

Okay, I admit that I am sensationalizing this story, but it is a true story.

Traffic is not the objective: Its a strategy.

Eric Mutta and I are structuring this series with an eye toward what we really need to know as bloggers and what we can let go of. We?re looking for Optimum SEO that will keep the bulk of our time for attending to our readers and the content they deserve.

We?ll talk through the available resources and how things work. We?ll share plenty of information and places to get more. In other words, this will be Practical SEO for Every Blogger. Don?t be surprised if we all become better search engine users by the end of the series. - Liz Strauss

For many website owners, there appears to be a misunderstanding of the role of SEO. SEO is not the objective. Conversion is the objective. On a blog site, you are seeking to convert the first time reader into a loyal subscriber. On an e-commerce site, you seek to convert a browser into a buyer.

The other misunderstanding which is prevalent among small business owners is the idea that "old traffic" is not as important as "new traffic." The fact is that "old traffic" is the source of most of your WOM referrals and the source of most of your profitability. This is especially true if you work hard and building strong bonds of customer appreciation.

Those companies, such as Macromedia, that focus on retaining their after purchase market become strong players. Adobe tried to defeat Macromedia in three areas (GoLive vs. Dreamweaver, Imageready vs. Fireworks, and some product I have forgotten vs. Flash) and finally gave up and purchased Macromedia because they could not compete with Macromedia's after purchase customer retention programs. Macromedia used their website and newsgroups as strategic weaponry in this battle.

Imagine if you will a retailer who pays Big Bucks to rent space in the World's busiest shopping Mall and then neglects the look and feel of the store which is in the Mall. That is how some Website owners are about SEO. Traffic is Good, but Reputation and Sales are better.

"O, ain't you glad you're single"

I am constantly being reminded of the advantages of being a sole consultant. The title to this posting comes from a song that I was taught in music as a boy.

Skip Angel, who is a CTO and only indirectly involved in marketing, is one of my favorite writers of "think" pieces. He also writes articles that don't relate to my areas of interest, but he frequently produces writings that should be read by anyone who is "in business."

He wrote an article entitled "Delivering On Your Promises." The article describes how companies damage customer relations due to promises being made by one individual which the organization at large is either not equipped to handle, does not consider of highest priority or tries to fulfill in panic mode therefore corners are cut to meet the deadline.

The subtext of the article is that Corporate Culture must be guided by policies which help the individual to know the parameters of acceptable commitments while also providing a system for adapting to meet unexpected customer requests. Skip gives a list of guidelines which he believes companies should impose in order that they might be accountable to both their representatives and their clients.

Its a great article. But its also just one more reason to be glad that I am not a part of a large organization. Even a partnership can be a pain in the neck when your values and your partners values clash. I frequently hear "horror" stories about partnerships gone bad.

The one thing that I know that I can deliver my clients is integrity. Even though it means that I turn down a lot of projects (I probably have turned down more projects in the last four years than I have accepted) and even though my integrity requires me to tell a prospect up front things which may jeopardy, I know that no organization or partner can compel me to do something which would compromise my integrity.

Recently, one of my alliance partners, Gilbert Nieuwenhuis, who is a business coach referred a client to me whose website had many problems. I found eight areas in which I could provide immediate assistance to Gilbert's client - however, there was one area in which I could not provide assistance which could cause all my work to be unprofitable to this company. I do not write copy. I have allies who write copy and I am quite willing to refer a client to a writer but this client had set a budget which was too low to accomadate the areas that needed attention on his website and to also purchase the services of a writer.

If I had been part of an organization or a partnership, I would have been duty bound to "go for the sale" regardless of the client's needs. But because I work solo, I was able to write a paragraph at the beginning of my proposal that clearly stated that the client's website needed a writer to be productive.

I still have not heard back from this prospect. And although I really really want this project, I am very happy to know that what I did was right. This has been my attitude since I started this business and it will continue to be my attitude, "Integrity before Revenue."

Sure it means that I make a whole lot less money than I could make, but I have no difficulty living with this choice and my clients are certain of my reliability.

Organizational Integrity is much more complex than personal integrity, but as a solo consultant that is not an issue.

If you are a Solo Consultant who also values your integrity, view this as one of the advantages whenever you start envying "the big boys." If you are a company who uses outsourced resources, remember that even a CEO who possesses personal integrity can not guarantee organizational integrity if the rest of the company is made up of people who do not value personal integrity.

One of the things that Demming taught about Quality is that companies should quit shopping every purchase order for bargain basement prices and instead develop longlasting relations with a small pool of suppliers who consistently deliver quality. Sure, it appears to be costlier when you see the invoice but through the years, quality pays off. Personal Integrity is an intangible form of Quality.

New electronic column

I have started a Column which will be published on Mondays and Thursdays. The Column's website address is Cohesiveintegrity.com.

This column will focus on removing disconnects and internal dissonance from one's life. Many people suffer from the consequences of stress, anxiety and relationship breakdowns due to disconnects and dissonance.

By promoting internal cohesion and personal integrity, this column will help to restore harmony in one's relationships and emotional stability.

Prejudice handicaps the prejudiced

If you turned on a television and randomly selected a channel what might you find? A sports event, a Movie, a sitcom, a documentary, a news broadcast, a symphony performance? Actually you might find any of these or something altogether different.

But what if you judged television based only on sitcoms? You might overlook a documentary or a live performance which better suited your personal preferences. You might decide that all television is vapid and useless, simply because you made a judgement without consulting all the available information.

Many website owners are guilty of this same type of prejudice. They judge all forms of blogging based upon a limited survey of the abilities of blog technology.

Actually they are not completely to blame. There are bloggers who say that if you do not uses such and such a feature then you are not a blogger. There are media reporters who stereotype bloggers and make the same kind of comments that racists make against a person of another ethnic background concerning all bloggers. There are writers who say that a blog is only effective if it does such and such.

EXCUSE ME - but is a television program only effective if it gives the local news first? What if it is NOT a news broadcast? Does a sitcom need a color commentator or does a sports broadcast need a laugh track?

A real estate agent might use parts of the blogging technology, such as RSS feeds and image management simply as a way to add new listings to her website.

A scholar might use blogging software including the trackback feature and yet prevent comments from uninvited visitors.

Blogging is a medium and it is an evolving medium. For example, podcasting is a subset of the blogging medium as, also, are vblogs.

If you are writing a journal blog, you may be able to offer advice to other journal bloggers, but please do not impose your rules for effective journal blogging on people who are using the same software which you are using but for different purposes.

We need to learn from those who have shown us that objects in the physical world may be repurposed and come to realize that items in the software world may also be repurposed.

Prejudice causes you to be blind to possibilities and potentialities. Open your imagination and prepare to be surprised at what may still be done with a technology which is still evolving.

Improve your followup

One of my favorite ezines is Bob Burg's "Winning Without Intimidation." Some time ago, I noticed that Bob's subscription and unsubscription feature was handled by Aweber and I decided to investigate.

Bob Burg is very much into doing the right thing and sure enough, I soon found out why he was using Aweber. Aweber will not allow the owner of an ezine or anyone else for that matter to sign up a new subscriber without first checking with that subscriber by email to verify that this subscriber actually wants to subscribe. I wish more companies did that. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have received a "Thank You For Subscribing" email from some place which I have never visited.

Anyway, one of the things that I discovered while investigating Aweber's services is that they have a really neat autoresponder system that allows a business owner to create a series of responses which are sent out on a scheduled basis. If you are away from your computer when a request comes in, the scheduled response system still makes certain that the request is quickly addressed.

Part of what's neat about Aweber's service is that it can be customised to work with the visitor's actions, so that if a visitor's requests are typical, much of the response work can be handled automatically. Of course, if your inquirer makes an atypical request you still have to handle the response yourself.

( Disclosure: After checking out Aweber's information, I decided to sign up for their affiliate program, so if you select one of the links from this article, you will be listed as being referred by me.)

The Great Free Adventure

My Dad thinks its humourous to have as part of his email signature the statement: "Shewmaker saying: Humans are the craziest people on earth."

When it comes to marketing, humans are definitely strange. Recently, Seth Godin decided to give away some of his materials in order to improve his exposure. Today, Seth posted an email on his blog with the accompanying headline "Is "free" all it's cracked up to be?"

The email is from Acland Brierty who writes concerning an experiment in which Acland's company started giving away their products expecting to make the money back through online advertising. Strangely, the download rate for the product did not increase significantly. Eventually, they went back to charging and both sales and revenues increased.

Have you seen the TV ad for Leptoprin? It features a woman pacing back and forth and back and forth, while she says things like, "When is a diet pill worth 153 dollars?" The commercial NEVER attempts to give any scientific evidence for the quality of the pill, but instead uses the price point, combined with anecdotes to sell the product. I strongly doubt that the pill is worth 15.3 dollars, but apparently pushing the pricepoint is also pushing the sales.

The same thing has historically been true in the sale of Newspapers. Although there is money to be made by the free newspapers which carry a lot of advertising, you may notice that the newspapers with the greatest circulation are those which charge a hefty subscription fee.

For some reason, at least in the USA, if something is free, it is expected to be worthless and if a pill is sold at $153 a lot of Americans assume that it is worth $153.

So, I suppose my Dad is right. Humans are the craziest people on Earth. :-)

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Eyes Wide Open for Niche Opportunity

Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University. Dr. Cornwall's school serves the needs of young people who would prefer to learn how to run a business correctly the first time and who would rather own a business than be the employee of a corporation.

On Sept. 2, Dr. Cornwall posted an article concerning the good deeds which some people and organizations are doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He closed his article with this statement:

We are hearing so much about the bad acts of people in New Orleans. I hope that over time it is the good acts like these that we will remember from these difficult times.

Which brings me to the point of this article.

News outlets whose advertising revenues are tied directly to ratings focus their attention on "bad" news because traditionally such topics have generated higher ratings. However like the Hamburger and Hotdogs vs. Bratwurst illustration, the sandbox has become overcrowded with news outlets chasing the bad news stories.

And until recently that seemed to be the only way to generate sufficient revenue to be profitable. However, the new media outlets, such as podcasting and online news sources, provide opportunities for exploiting other avenues of revenue generation while at the same time providing a under-populated frontier with regards to good news.

For example: CPC ads, such as those placed by Google, do not base their placement on whether you have the highest ratings online. There is plenty of "long-tail" interest from readers who will enjoy such articles. When you combine this with the fact that Microsoft intends to make next year's IE function as an aggregator for both RSS and Atom (although MS intends to call them web feeds instead of using techie talk) and Search Engines are beginning to provide feed queries, the frontier for an entrepreneur who desires to build a news agency dedicated to reporting on the good side of human conduct appears to be wide open.

Success will depend upon both a solid business model and an ability to distinguish between quality journalism and fluff. I would recommend that anyone starting such a news agency begin by assembling a team which would include an editor who has skill sets both in grammar and in "separating the wheat from the chaff," a business manager who knows how to manage the chassis of a business, a marketing expert whose experience is current with today's online marketing reality and experienced journalists whose focus is on objective reporting and not on subjective story-telling.

I would further recommend that the team include a second editor whose focus would be on editing citizen journalist submissions and the followup submissions of those who were involved in one of the reported incidents. In addition to tightening up the content of rambling submissions, this second editor's job would include making certain that the followup stories did not cause what started out as a good news story to degenerate into a bad news story. ( This is not to suggest that clarifications may not sometimes be necessary but rather that peacocks sometimes like to insult others to make themselves look better. )

There may be some who are already exploring this frontier, but the field is not crowded and the buzz is not yet rising above the level of a whisper. Horace Greeley said "Go West" meaning find opportunity in unexplored and under-populated frontiers.