House-Breaking Your Phone–and Lowering Your Blood Pressure

I was too calm at work.  Something had to be wrong.  Then I realized that I had left my phone at home—on the kitchen counter–probably under the bread wrapper.  It was the same unnerving peace I felt on a vacation last summer–when we left the dog with friends. Smudge is a hybrid, a schnorkie-poo, who, in the thankful absence of rats, is obsessed with one thing—the perfect blend of dye, felt and rubber toxins that is the tennis ball.  He is so completely focused on bringing you that ball for you to obediently throw it across the yard/basement/bathroom that he’ll forgo food, rest and common sense—crashing into fences, couches and unsuspecting two year-olds.  If you don’t follow his escalating sequence of hints (sitting patiently, rolling the ball closer, grumbling, grumbling louder), he’ll finally bark at the perfect frequency to shatter even our cheap wine glasses. When we’re having dinner, he’ll politely wedge the ball under my left buttock, sit… Read More…

New Podcast: Marketing Guru Discusses Google-Ads, App-Creation & Common Mistakes

  Kevin Walsh interviews Sandy Barris, a longtime marketing expert. He is the author of 97 Marketing Secrets to Make More Money and the app, Sales Goal On Fire Pro.  More information at www.SandyBarris.com Sandy shares his lifelong journey and lessons, including: – Writing a book, not to sell but to use as a giant business card of credibility – How Google’s AdWords works, and which words cost the most) – Creating an App (or hiring the right people to do it for you) – Marketing a la carte (one-day turnaround for customers who just need booster-shots) – War stories (successes and failures) – Election Ads (does negativity work?)

Tragedy and Media: Safety in Numbers

Times Square on New Year’s Eve has always seemed a bit too claustrophobic for me. How can anyone enjoy themselves in such a giant crowd?  What’s the attraction?  The image of 26,000 runners heading off together seemed similar–like pedestrian rush-hour. I can’t even shop at the mall at Christmas time. One of the pivotal scenes in Gone with the Wind follows Rhett Butler’s ominous words, “In a town called Gettysburg.”  The scene shifts to a giant crowd gathering at the Atlanta railroad station’s telegraph office to get the long casualty lists arriving from Pennsylvania.   Scarlett reads down to the “W’s” then is crying tears of relief that her beloved Ashley isn’t on the list.  Many grieving families clutched the sheets with their sons’ names as the only connection they had left. Monday at work, when my phone flashed the quick message “Two explosions at finish line of Boston Marathon,”… Read More…

Amazon, My Guilty Conscience and the Decline of Detroit Shopping

I was waiting for some photos to get developed at Meijer–a Michigan-based store where I had done my shopping since they opened in 1977, a short bike ride from my house. It was an enormous place–“Thrifty Acres” they called themselves. Even now, when I walk through the produce area, I remember where the record and 8-track department was. I can still see the “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” cardboard mobiles hanging from the drop ceiling. My favorite memory is the foot-long plastic containers that encased the 8-tracks to discourage shallow-pocketed shoplifters. Meijer also carried darkroom chemicals in their own specialized photo store, inside one of the acres. It was a pretty cool place for a kid creating a darkroom under the basement stairs. I felt naturally drawn down the photo aisle, almost smelling those foul developers, fixers and stop bath solutions I used to mix up in the laundry tub…. Read More…