Webinars are great, but face-to-face meetings are better...
I travel a lot but truth be told, I'm rather a bit of a home body: I like where I live, I like hanging out with my kids, and I have a ton of great friends. Heck, I live in a place where tons of people come on vacation (Boulder, Colorado), and the fact that I can sit in my office and have virtual meetings with colleagues via video, webinars, and teleconferences is pretty cool.
But it's not really the same, and I know that every time I fire up GoToMeeting, jump onto Skype or log in to Calliflower (yeah, that's its name). Like it or not, I believe it'll always be the case that to be successful in business you need to get out of your office, get out of your house and neighborhood, and meet people face-to-face. The more important the deal, or the more you're "fishing for opportunities", the more important it is.
I've written in the past about how attending conferences is all about the social, not the presentation (even though I'm a professional speaker). Certainly when I travel now, I try to use Twitter, Facebook or something else to arrange for some meetings with local businesspeople both to socialize and to see what possible business connections I can make.
That's why when online marketing firm Izea contact me about an opportunity to help promote the British Airways "Business Opportunity Grants" program, I was intrigued and willing. Yes, that means that this is indeed a sponsored post on my blog, but please, read on...
Basically, British Airways is trying to combat the business meme of "with teleconferencing you never have to get on a plane again", for obvious reasons: they're an airline, teleconferences aren't so good for their business. However, as I've said, I already know that they're right and that while many meetings can indeed be held digitally, there are also a lot of meetings that go far, far better if you can look someone in the [real, not virtual] eye and really assess them and whether the deal will be a success.
BA's idea is that to promote face-to-face meetings, they're holding a contest and have a very sweet prize: their Business Opportunity Grant will cover an entire year of business class travel and access to a suite of business services both. More specifically:
I mean, that's a pretty sweet deal, and they're giving away 100 of them, not just one, so I encourage you to go apply before 1 October, 2009 when the contest ends. You might not win, but if you do, it'll sure help your business and you might just find that those old fashioned face-to-face meetings are useful after all.
Join Me at The Social Media Briefing for Executives
As a professional speaker and gadabout, I get involved with a lot of workshops, seminars and conferences, but it's only the occasional one that really sparks my imagination and has me looking forward to the event, not the late night parties.
I am psyched about going to Blogworld and New Media Expo next month in Las Vegas (and I'm speaking too, on the awkwardly titled "Are You Getting The Most Money Out Of Your Blog As You Can?", along with Tim Jones, Chris Pirillo, Michael Jenkins, and, probably, Jim Kukral moderating us. Still, Blogworld's more about parties and socializing than sitting in a room with hundreds of people, listening to presentations.
That's why my friend and colleague Doyle Albee (head of Metzger Associates, a leading PR agency in Colorado with a strong social media practice) and I came up with the Social Media for Executives mastermind briefing the day before Blogworld, also in Las Vegas.
It's exactly the kind of event I most love: a small group of very, very talented people will be hiding out for a day, brainstorming their businesses, rising to their current and future industry challenges, and learning tons from each other. The lineup of speakers? It's world class, really, A+ listers:
Sponsored by Filtrbox, this is going to be one of the best small, private workshops available this year, the best place to really learn the strategy of successful social media, not the how-to that your employees or agency can manage. Aimed at senior executives, I'm really looking forward to this amazing day - and great surprise evening event.
If you'd like to join us, you really do need to act right now as we have a very, very limited number of seats available!
Don't delay, we'd hate to turn you away because it's filled up.
Disney's Blu-Ray Movie Club: The Economics Don't Work
I'm an unabashed Disney fan so when I get an offer via email from the company, I'll give it more than a cursory glance, though it's rarely an interesting deal.
The most recent was the announcement of the Disney Blu-Ray Movie Club, which explained that the offer, as with most 'club memberships', was for a couple of movies at an exceptionally good rate, followed by a requirement to buy more films at a jacked up price to balance out the deal.
In this case, the initial offer is for three Blu-Ray discs for $4.95 each. Not a bad deal for Disney films, but then what?
"As a Disney Movie Club member, all you need to do is buy 5 movies at regular Club prices in the next 24 months (starting at $29.95 per Blu-ray disc), plus shipping and processing of $3.95 for the first title in each order, and $1.49 for each additional title in that same order."
So let's assume that you buy five Blu-Ray discs, at once, for $29.95 per disc, after having bought the initial three at $4.95 each, with free shipping.
( 4.95 * 3 ) + ( 29.95 * 5 ) + 3.95 + (1.49 * 3) = $173.02
Given that's for eight DVDs, that works out to $21.62/disc. Not bad. But then again, a bit of research on Amazon.com reveals that Wall-E on Blu-Ray, for example, costs $19.99 for the two-disc set, Bolt three-disc set is $23.99 and the adult No Country for Old Men is $19.49.
So how does this work? It's all about the mailing and the default action. The "Club" sends out a mailing every four weeks and when you receive that mailing...
"You can choose to receive the Featured Title, an alternate, or no movie at all. If you do not inform us of your choice within 10 days or by the date specified on the card (either by returning the card, visiting the website, or by calling the 800 number on the card), the Featured Title will be automatically shipped to you."
In all likelihood, the featured titles are not going to be the lower-priced $29.95, but rather $35.95 or even higher. Now, let's do that math again, with the assumption that four of those five discs you buy are actually $35.95 instead. Now the grand total for those eight discs is $197.02. Divided out, that's $24.62.
But wait, if you are going to be getting these discs by default one per month, then your shipping goes up too, from $1.49 to $3.95. New total: $206.86. New per disc: $25.85.
And did I mention tax? They don't say, but I expect that with the proliferation of Disney Stores, people in just about every state are going to pay at least 8% sales tax, pushing up those discs to $27.92 each.
Suddenly those $19.99 discs via Amazon.com sound pretty good after all. Get free super-saver shipping from Amazon and you're looking at a total savings of $63.49.
Now those monthly mailings can be pretty fun, I admit: I was a long-time member of the History Book Club because I liked to browse through the catalog, but is it worth $63.49 for that privilege when for $9.95 you can get a year's subscription to Disney Family Fun magazine and, I'm sure, get all the ads and a few decent articles too?
Now I admit that there are probably some errors in my calculations here, and clearly some assumptions about pricing differences, but I'm always intrigued by these sort of offers, so it's quite illustrative to run the numbers and really understand the reality of an offer of this nature.
But that's just me. Perhaps you're already a member? If so, how's it going for you?
Learn about Twitter over breakfast this Friday!
I'm excited to launch a breakfast training series here in Boulder with three of the smartest people I know in Colorado, a series we're calling Stay Sharp! My co-conspirators are Liz Ryan, Joyce Colson and Jeff Finkelstein and we're offering the series of workshops to help you, our fellow Coloradoans, gain the skills and expertise you need in the modern business world to make your business a success and get the job you want.
This Friday, Sept 18, I'm going to be talking all about Twitter and in case you haven't attended any of my workshops before, you'll get a sense of the mood of the workshop when you learn that the title is actually "Twitter? What the heck is Twitter and why should I, as a businessperson, care?"
Our venue of choice is the yummy Eggcredible Cafe at 5397 South Boulder Road and I might even steal a few bites of something while I'm talking and showing people exactly what is so darn interesting about Twitter and also some of its weaknesses and some of the ways that it's growing faster than is perhaps beneficial to us online folk.
On Sept 25 the Stay Sharp! program features web and marketing expert Jeff Finkelstein
In case you don't know my Stay Sharp! colleagues, here's a succinct bio for each:
Jeff Finkelstein is the founder of Boulder-based, Customer Paradigm, an interactive marketing firm that has helped clients including Xcel Energy, 3M, Level 3, BP achieve top rankings through search engine optimization and web marketing. Finkelstein is an adjunct professor for Colorado State University, and has been profiled as a Web Guru in the New York Times.
Joyce Colson, of the Boulder law firm Colson Quinn, has thirty years of experience in the legal trenches, providing corporate and IP advice to a wide range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to startups. Her experience includes negotiating license agreements with most U.S. major energy companies, advising in the sale of a $140 million software company, and providing legal counsel for numerous start-up companies (including her favorite--an organic chocolate company).
Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR exec and leader of the 30,000-member Ask Liz Ryan online community, a syndicated columnist and career expert for Business Week, Yahoo!, NPR and BBC Radio.
I hope to see you at our Twitter workshop in just a few days!
Heading to Vegas? A list of the best buffets...
Yeah, this is a wee bit off my usual topics here on the Business Blog @ Intuitive.com, but since I find myself in Las Vegas 2-3 times each year and since I'm heading there in just a few weeks to co-host an executive workshop (shhh! details to come), followed immediately by speaking at Blogworld and New Media Expo [aff], I paid attention when hotel review site Oyster's PR team sent out a list of its top buffet options in Vegas.
Without further ado (muchly because I haven't been to most of them!) here's their list:
Best Vegas Buffets, 2009-2010
Next time I'm in Vegas, I think I'll try the Bellagio. Who's in?
To pay the piper, here's a blurb on Oyster Hotel Reviews too:
Oyster Hotel Reviews is the only source -- on or off the web -- for the world's most comprehensive, independent, professional hotel reviews. With cameras in hand, their reporters visit each hotel anonymously, and assess it on more than 70 different measures -- everything from best hotel restaurants to the best hotels for celeb sightings. The site offers more than 50,000 photos and covers 100s of hotels. Compare the exaggerations and distortions of the hotels' own Web sites with Oyster's honest reporting and photos, and you'll never stay anywhere without an Oyster reality-check.
Bellagio buffet image from nmgastronome.com.
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