Monday, February 16, 2009

What do you love?

We, as consumers, have a vested interest in the products and services we use and the stores in which we shop. How much of an interest depends on how we feel about it. The more we love a product, store, or service, the more of a vested interest we have in its long term success.

It is not beneficial to us, as consumers, to fall in love with a dud. (Not all duds are bad products, some are just poorly marketed) If you are the only one to love a product and buy it, or the only customer a particular store has, then there is no possible way for that product or store to survive, long term. You, as the lone consumer, do not have enough buying power to guarantee the success of what you love.

So what happens to the duds? Well, they disappear, of course, leaving you to feel the pain & sorrow of losing something you love. While it might not compare to losing a pet or loved one, it's still painful to lose something you love, no matter what it is.

It's an endless list of things that we have loved and lost, as consumers. I am sure we all can think of at least one product or service that we once enjoyed very much, that we would just about kill to have it once again. A shampoo or conditioner that made your hair look great, that perfect shade of lipstick that stayed on all day without smudging, that nail polish that didn't chip for two weeks, a favorite candy or snack, a brand of shoes that always fit as if they were made just for you, a flavor of yogurt, a dry cleaner that never ruined your clothes and always got every stain out, the Chinese restaurant that had the world's greatest lo mein.

But alas, it's not very likely we will ever have these things again.

credit: Now take a look at the products and services that you currently love. Do enough people love these things to guarantee its success in the marketplace, long term? Are they going to be here tomorrow? Are you going to have to go through the pain of losing another favorite, yet again? Is there anything that you, as a consumer, can do about it?

Yes, there actually is.

There are two things you can do to help.

1. Sharing is caring...tell people about it.

The more people you tell, the more will be introduced to the product or service that may have never heard about it or tried it before. And there are lots of ways and plenty of opportunities to do this.

2. Tell the company responsible for the product or service exactly how you feel about it.

Take the time to write a letter and mail it, the old fashioned way, on paper in an envelope with a stamp on it (perhaps you can even send a thank you card). Popular celebrities shouldn't be the only ones to get fan mail. While sending an email is quick and easy, sending real mail goes the extra mile to show how much you really care.

Now this won't guarantee that a product or service won't disappear at some point, but you will be doing your part to protect your interests in its long term success.

Is there a product or service that you use and love enough to tell me about it, today? Now is your chance to start doing something to protect your vested interest in it, by telling me (and everyone else that will read this page) all about it.

Leave a comment. Consider it an investment in your own consumer happiness.

There is one catch, though...

Please do not advertise your own products, services, or websites. This is for your fans to do today, not you. Instead, tell me about someone else's product or service that you love.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Hey, Boss...Can I have a moment of your time?

I would like the attention of all of you that are business owners, employers, office managers, anyone that is "The Boss". I had this idea and I'd like to hear your thoughts and opinions.

As some of you may know, I am the developer of Instant Boss, a time management/productivity tool for timing work/break cycles. (Windows only)

I released it to the public as donationware, making payment optional, with the amount to be decided upon by the individual user, based on what they feel my software is worth to them, and their ability to pay.

Unfortunately, this hasn't worked out too well in the last year for me. Donations are way down, to the point where I only earned $1 during the month of January, despite all of my software having had a total of over 7000 downloads.

A great many of my software users are starving students that are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt and barely able to make ends meet. They are using my software to help themselves reach their goals and make their dreams come true.

For them, my software is the push they need to get their studying done, papers written, and projects completed on time. I have had a number of PhD students tell me they could not have obtained their degree without my help. Without Instant Boss, their dissertations would never have been finished.

If I am going to keep all of my software available to the public, and continue with the donationware license model that benefits those that need it the most, I am going to have to find a creative way to fund it.

Now here is my idea and my question for you.

In its current form, Instant Boss contains a dialog that pops up at the end of your breaks and tells you to get back to work, featuring a cartoon graphic of an angry yelling boss.

What if I were to replace that graphic with an image of you (the boss), telling your employees to "get back to work!" at the end of their breaks?

Please note, I have not made up my mind if I will actually be offering this, yet. This is not a sales pitch. I am not taking any orders. I just want know if there would be an interest in this sort of thing and at the particular price I am considering. I just want your opinion.


What if I were to license this special edition, at a price of about $25? All of the employees in your company could use this special addition, for that one flat fee. You wouldn't have to pay per employee. $25 would cover all of them, current and future, in all locations in which your company may operate. (if you ever need to change the boss image, or have an additional one made for another department or division, that would be an additional $25)

Besides getting an application that encourages productivity by helping you stay focused on your purpose (work), you also get one that discourages a habit that can lead to lost productivity and increased healthcare costs for your company. Instant Boss can help prevent repetitive stress injuries (RSI) in office workers by encouraging frequent short breaks. And for those employees that are already recovering from RSI, Instant Boss can help them gradually return to full productivity, safely.

Is this worth $25 to you, your employees, and your company?

Would you willing to pay for a custom vanity edition?

That's my dad!

Concept image, final design may differ