Old sayings that have new meaning!

quote_GANDHI, old sayings, The Myndset digital marketingIn a world of quotations and sayings, it occured to me recently that many of these old dictums have taken on new meaning in this fast-changing world.  Whether because a noun has been co-opted or distorted, or the content of the saying now has a new reference, there are many old sayings that, at the very least, could raise an eyebrow.

Just saying…

Herewith some of my favorites.  I’m sure there are many more, so will be happy to hear about them from you!

  • “A house without books is like a room without windows” (by Heinrich Mann)
  • “All Greek to Me” MD: not anymore with Google Translate?
  • “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” MD: and then some! (by Charles Spurgeon)
  • “Apple of my eye”
  • “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”
  • “I always trust my gut reaction; it’s always right.” (by Kiana Tom) MD: Try big data.
  • “Information is power”
  • “On the Same Page” MD: top 10 results?
  • “Nothing is free”
  • “Quick and Dirty” MD: ePorn
  • “Read a book by its cover” MD: Kindle’s?
  • “Six degrees of separation” MD: check out Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation if you haven’t already
  • “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” (by Abraham Lincoln)  MD: a second at a time…
  • “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” (by Ayn Rand)
  • “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” (by Sydney J. Harris)
  • “The world is your oyster”
  • “The pen is mightier than the sword”

Would love to hear your favorites in the same vein!

Birthday greetings – How might they evolve?

Last year, August 2012, I recorded all the birthday greetings I received via the various channels and posted the details in this article on TheMyndset. This was not an exercise in self-aggrandisement and/or auto-flattery*. It was to see what and how people are communicating on what is, quite appropriately, a personal and nominative affair!  So, this year, I was curious to evaluate the changes, thinking that it might be a way to capture how things have evolved online.  Between this year and last year, the number of people in my network has grown a bit, but other than on Twitter (+500 or so), the growth is not going to be more than 5% for any one network.

Birthday channels

Below is a table that charts the different birthday greetings year/year on a purely numerical basis.  The numbers below include a few of the belated wishes that trickled in the day after (and thanks to everyone for the kind and wonderful wishes!).

Wishes for Birthday, Birthday wishes, Myndset digital marketing

Facebook domination

Facebook birhday, The Myndset digital marketingFacebook remains the prefered channel for birthday greetings by a highway mile.  What you will observe is that, overall, the major difference year over year is down to Facebook: 183 in 2013 versus 86 last year.  And, no, it has nothing to do with having a banner year or being more loved.  Moreover, the 49th versus 48th year celebrations are both rather innocuous, so that neutralizes another potential reason for any differences.

2013 versus 2012

So, what happened?  Essentially, this year, I changed the settings on Facebook to allow people to write directly on my wall.  Last year, all wishes were automatically transformed into personal FB messages. So, this year, the messages were generally dropped onto my wall.  As we all know, Facebook vets what appears on your wall.  Over the summer, they again made changes, introducing new variables and flexibility in their algorithm, all with an intent to promote engagement.  For the birthday wishes that are posted on the wall, Facebook keeps only the posts with attachments (photos) visible (here is my favorite from my friends at Yopps!).  To read the remainder of the individual wall posts you need to find the last of the day’s posts and on the drop-down, View Individual Stories (as below) specifically linked to Birthday Wishes (courtesy of a parsing by Facebook).  The good news is that neither your own timeline nor your close family are besieged by the friendly barrage of messages.

Facebook birthday wishes, The Myndset digital marketing

Final considerations

If Facebook is the dominant and easiest way to send birthday wishes across all communication platforms, it is not the only way.  The remarkable aspect of the FB network (I have just under 2000 “friends”) is the disparate nature of the people that take the time to say hi and send along wishes.  The FB birthday “system” is presumably more indicative of those who are regular users rather than necessarily your nearest and dearest friends.  All the same, the messages were rather varied and, at times, enjoyably surprising.

As for other nuances on the two year’s “campaigns”:

  • Despite a bigger Twitter base, there was no increase in the personal tweets
  • The SMS continues to be the most personal space, although I received far fewer this year, possibly because I now have two mobile numbers?
  • Skype again surprised me with the number and content of messages
  • Snail Mail is completely AWOL (I received an email from a friend saying that a card was in fact on its way!)
  • Business “social CRM” messages remain rather tame and ineffective (and basically unchanged for those that did it both years).

So, in sum, it seems that Facebook is the place to go for birthday greetings.  If you want to create a more personal message, try SMS or snail mail!  And, otherwise, if you want your message to have a lasting effect on Facebook, add a (preferably funny or meaningful) photo.

If there were one birthday wish I might ask for, it would simply be for you to go by the Facebook page in honor of my grandfather and other members of the Greatest Generation, after whom I was named, and like it, if you feel it merits your click.

What’s the best iPhone case?

I wonder how many times an iphone is dropped on average? How often do they fall on their sides, front, corner?  How frequently do they break (broken down by sex, age…)?

Speaking for myself, I drop my iphone roughly twice a month. Half of the time, it’s a fearless drop onto a carpet. The other half of the time I pick it up with a gulp and, when I see the unshattered screen, a massive sigh of relief. Pretty much every time, I tell myself to be more careful next time. However, since the phone is such a regular tool, it’s impossible to be so careful all the time.

So, what’s the best iPhone case out there?  There are a whole lot of super rugged, iron man cases that make the slender phone look more like army gear and unadapted to a breast pocket.  My vote is for the Speck Candyshell case.

iphone 5 Speck case cover, the myndset digital marketing

If my iPhone 5 has lasted this long (I bought it in February), it is because of the Speck case above. Priced at $34.95 (see here), I must say that this case has been worth its weight in gold.  The piece de resistance is the corner reinforcement:

iphone 5 Speck case cover, the myndset digital marketing

If it has just cracked a bit underneath the volume buttons (because I have to change SIM cards when I travel), the structure remains solid.  Hats off to Speck.

What’s your favorite iPhone case?

When collaboration goes wrong – Why the power of your network is vital

In today’s connected world, we have had to learn to find ways to break down silos, to work in networks and to collaborate with others. I believe that the power of your network is keenly related to your ability to survive.  It is a key part of the so-called “web 2.0” world.  Most companies struggle with this because it requires two fundamental shifts:

  • getting internal teams to work together
  • listening to customers

I have long felt that you are as strong as your network, the people you know and the people with whom you are associated. In some countries such as Japan, China or Korea, in order to do business, companies typically need to create partnerships or joint ventures with local players, and it’s not always obvious with whom to partner.

The power of your network in the CLOUD

On my most recent trip to Australia, I flew to Melbourne via Guangzhou.  I am a frequent flyer on Air France, part of the SkyTeam alliance, and for the leg from Guangzhou to Melbourne, flew on China Southern Airlines (CZ – corrected 27 Sept 2013 thanks to Olivier’s comment!).  CZ is one of the 19 partner airlines of SkyTeam.  As such, I assumed that CZ would be of similar quality to AF.  It turns out, from what I understand, that CZ is the largest, but third best airline in China, and a far cry from the AF standards.  Granted, this is from an experience on just two flights (same route), but if CZ is a large organization, boasting the largest fleet and network of routes within China, it is not on par with Air France.  I note, meanwhile, that SkyTeam also has three other Chinese partners.

Skyteam brands, Minter Dialogue

INCONSISTENT MESSAGING

Aside from the fact that the “SkyTeam” pre-roll advertisement on the inflight entertainment directly contradicted my experience boarding (priority boarding was closer to a mass rugby scrum), there were some major disappointments in the level of service on board.  The staff was well meaning, but the caliber of service in business class was substantially weak.

QUALITY IN THE DETAILS

For starters (literally), the appetizer was a rather poor excuse for a starter.  I think the term would be closer to an unappetizer.   Presentation, quantity and choice were below standard.  See for yourself.

China Southern Air Appetizer, Minter Dialogue

THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING

The menu was handed out before take-off.  The CZ process requires that I pre-order my meal before take-off.  The English language version featured a little storytelling.  Aside from the rather primitive story and incompatibility with the meal I was served, I noticed a couple of grammatical errors in the menu.  Can you find them?

China Southern Air menu, Minter Dialogue

I cannot reveal to you the discomfort of the Business Class seat (barely the equivalent of Economy Premium in Air France, with a 3-tier seat that provided an incline of under 120 degrees). It measured just 48cm in width.  Meanwhile, the inflight entertainment system was broken.  Symptomatic of the situation, the “remote” was rather beaten up (see below).  And the choice of films was reminiscent of TV in 1970s with a selection of around 15 English language movies.

Power of your network - China Southern Air Hand Remote, Minter Dialogue

The moral of the story

You are your network.  CZ is clearly pulling down the Sky Team partnership.  In a flat world, companies need a strong coalition to cover the four corners.  I wonder how Sky Team came to the conclusion that they should ink a deal with CZ.  Perhaps they underestimated the need to have partners, thinking that they were able to manage themselves.  Perhaps they were slow to recognize the legitimate interest in BRIC “third world” countries.  Perhaps they were too late to sign up the better alternatives?

China Southern Airline’s motto is “Fly like the first time.”  Clearly, they have forgotten to cater to those who have flown before!  In their trailer, they gently wax: Whichever you trip you take, preparing is like child’s play, featuring kids running around in a backyard.  They even feature a gratuitous Labrador dog in their trailer.  All rather puzzling and unrelated to the business in which they are operating.

As part of the SkyTeam network, there are 520 member business class lounges around the world… I had no major quibbles about the CZ lounge in Guangzhou, but on my return leg, I had to make do with the AF side of the lounge and there were no quiet and/or comfortable seats.  I was disappointed that there was no access to the CZ side!  Here again for SkyTeam members, one expects consistency in quality throughout the network, otherwise, it degrades the value of belonging to the network.

Power of your network

In any event, the formation of Sky Team, is an excellent demonstration of how and why it is critical to choose the right partners and to form strong partnerships.

I know there are many horror stories in travel.  This was far from a horrible experience.  Here, I wanted to illustrate the power of your network, rather than just berate CZ.  The staff on board were indeed well intentioned (and I send a special wing tip to the Purser, Ms Lin, on my return journey).

An Aus-some trip around the world

It’s not very often that I find a serendipitous link to describe so cleanly the relationship between my last three trips. So, I could not help but share with you my aus-some last month.

In the space of 4 weeks, I was at South By Southwest in Austin Texas for a manic few days at the Interactive conference.  Then I hit the slopes at St Christoph, near Innsbruck in Austria for a joyful week of family holidays.  Finally, I sparked off down under to do some sales training in Melbourne, Australia (this week).  A veritably aus-some trip.

Here are a couple of visual representations of the journey.

Aus-some: Austin, Austria & Australia, The Myndset Digital marketing

 

And a different representation, for the fun of it:

Aus-some, Austin, Austria and Australia, The Myndset digital marketing

Could this be part of some higher cosmic sense, or just plain silly?

Interview with Jan Thompson, filmmaker: “Never the Same, The Prisoner-of-War Experience”

Jan Thompson, Never the Same, Bataan Japan POW WWIIJan Thompson, Professor of Radio-Television at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the producer of a new feature-length documentary, “Never The Same: The Prisoner of War Experience,” which is going to premiere this Saturday (April 6) in Chicago, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.  The timing of the premiere is great, as April 9 is the anniversary of the Bataan Death March and National POW Recognition Day.  I am very excited about this film, as I have been long been personally involved in this part of the WWII Asia-Pacific history.

“Never The Same: The Prisoner of War Experience,”

From the Chicago Tribune article

Jan’s documentary features narration by Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Swit (“Hot Lips” of MASH fame), and the voices of an all-star cast of actors including Alec Baldwin, Ed Asner, Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, Robert Loggia, Kathleen Turner, Robert Wagner and Sam Waterston.  The film celebrates and commemorates “courageous men who used ingenuity, creativity and humor to survive one of the most notorious times in history,” said Thompson, whose late father was a POW after his capture on Corregidor (like my grandfather – see my Facebook page in his memory) in the spring of 1942.

You can sign up to the Minter Dialogue podcast here via iTunes.

 

To KNOW MORE ABOUT “NEVER THE SAME”:

OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST

————–

Further resources for the Minter Dialogue Radio Show:

iTunes RSS Minter Dialogue Podcast - Branding Gets Personal

Meanwhile, you can find my other English-speaking interviews on the Minter Dialogue Radio Show on Buzzsprout or via iTunes. Please don’t be shying about rating this podcast on iTunes! And for the francophones reading this, if you want to get more podcasts, you can also find my radio show en français over at : MinterDial.fr, on Buzzsprout or in iTunes.

Words are so revealing: Time says it all!

WIth my long-time love of words, especially when it comes to translation, I thought about how the French translate the word “timing.” The word the French use is “delai” or “delay.” How ironic!  Certain words can have such a way of explaining a culture.  And, since the way we view time is tantamount to the way we view life, anything dealing with TIME is of particular interest. {Click to Tweet this}

frog cool, The mYndset digital marketing and Brand StrategyWhen the Anglo-Saxon talks about the timing for delivery of a product or service, the French refer to the delay.  It’s almost as if we’re inviting the retard, non?

What does that make you think? Doesn’t it give a whole new meaning to the “Parisian 15 minutes,” where the cool Frenchman (aka the dude to the right) is welcome to be late?

Your thoughts, please!

Is your name scrabbled? Do you have a mind-scrabbling name? See what your name say about you!

I have a few Polish friends whose names stand out as exceptional point scores for Scrabble. At least, that is, if you can find a way to throw in a few extra zzz’s into your word. My own name (N Minter Dial) is rather uninteresting from a Scrabble perspective in that it is, for the most part, full of letters with a score of 1!  I have one 3 (M) and one 2 (D).  It is a run of the mill. Nonetheless, I struggled to come up with a long word from those 11 characters. Thanks to the handy online scrabblefinder app, I was able to discover that I have four 9-letter words that can be made out of my name.

Meaning behind a name?

Most of the words are beyond my vocabulary knowledge (ouch and a reminder that there are many unknown words among the 500,000 in the English language).

There was, however, one word that caught my attention: mainliner.

Scrabble finder, The mYndset digital marketing and brand strategy

Some of you might know that my mother’s family comes from St David’s, Pennsylvania, aka the Mainline. I thought that it was rather revealing.  As Proust wrote in Du Cote de Chez Swann, the signs are the signs.  (“Les signes sont dans les cignes” is the exact quote, but I spell out the double entendre).  I also enjoyed the airline word (a good deal more than ailment!)

The question I have for you is: what does your name say about you?

BBC Oops – the irritating rise of websites that… cc @BBCNews

I was intrigued by the BBC OOOPS this morning!

Words and images that catch the eye

The BBC’s front page this morning has an intriguing side story (in the far right column): “OOPS, the irritating rise of websites talking to you like a friend.”  Find it?  Well, when you click on it, you get… (see below).

BBC front page oops, The Myndset Digital Marketing

Ooops, I missed again

Here is a a close up of the H3 title

BBC oops, The Myndset Digital Marketing

404

And the link goes to a 404 (“page not found”)!  And I sincerely thought it was a joke. Ooops, is right!

BBC 404, The Myndset Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy

Fortunately, the tone and timbre of this 404 didn’t sound like they were trying to be my friend.  But, seriously, don’t you find it irritating when a link goes to a 404 page?  If the BBC can get such things wrong, just imagine the amateurs.  Of course, in this case, I consider it a rather funny error, so I chose to blog it.

UPDATE AT 9:03AM (28 Jan 2013)

The 404 has been now fixed.  You can now visit the real Ooops article if you are interested!    The section I liked best about this peice on the rise of unwanted and OTT familiarity (which I agree can be rather ‘grating’ at times):

“Computers were like bouncers. You were the three-sheets-to-the-wind punter swaying glassy-eyed in front of them pleading to continue. They remained impassive saying, “I don’t have to give you a reason. You’re not going into that file and that’s that.”

That’s the funny thing.  The internet is becoming deeply personal.  It is difficult to remain impassive in front of your computer these days!  And for marketers (and digital marketing in particular), brands need to know how to interface with each one of us according to our whims and mores if they want to “connect” with us.  Alternatively, you pick a style that suits your community and those that don’t like it, shove it.  Now, there’s a familiar term!

What’s your iPhone name?

No, I am not talking the name you might give your iPhone. I am refering to the way your name gets changed automatically thanks to the spellchecker in iOS. The most common name for me is “Mintal” rather than “Minter.”  Do you have an iOS name?

Re-definition of who you are

Not knowing what or who is Mintal, I checked and was quite relieved to find, in the Urban Dictionary, the following definition:

Mintal Definition, The Myndset Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy

MINTAL - adjective: to describe an item or act that pleases the viewer whilst evoking emotions of craziness. A hybrid of mint and mental.

I was particularly happy to see the reference to mint.

Marketing or poor customer service?

That said, the point of the article was not to gloat over the inspirational definition.  The point was to say that iPhone and the iOS has a crazy way of seeping into our lives.  And, Apple stubbornly does not let its users go in and adjust the automatic speller.  For the amount of times we use the iPhone, iPad, etc, you would have thought that this irritation would have swollen enough to get their attention.  We all have certain words that just don’t compute.  Granted, the iOS does learn… but, sometimes, you feel it would be even better if you were allowed to suggest words or override how it automatically corrects.

What’s your thinking?  Are they doing a good job not letting us in?