This topic now on hiatus; new adventure begins.

So I enjoy the idea of blogging so much I have now turned my profession towards helping corporations use blogs to most effectively communicate with their customers. I'll still be blogging, though it'll be a Compendium blog, and hopefully at some point I'll dedicate this space to another topic. I'm very happy to be starting this new adventure, wish me luck! Cheers.


Eight Random Facts

I've been tagged by Nancy of The Zen Birdfeeder share my Eight Random Facts.

Here are the rules for Eight Random Facts:

  1. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
And here are the eight random facts:
  1. My last name is "Bird" and I work for Wild "Birds" Unlimited. (How many times have I been reminded of that?)
  2. In high school, I played varsity baseball. In college, I just played.
  3. I was born in Yokosuka, Japan while my dad was in the Navy, moved all over the west coast and attended three different schools during my 3rd grade. One in California, one in West Virginia, and one in Indiana.
  4. I was a 4-H Junior Leader.
  5. In 9th grade biology class, I once said "circumcised" by mistake while reading aloud from the textbook.
  6. I rode a moped in high school.
  7. I once passed out in an airplane (while waiting on the tarmac) and had to be hauled out, loaded in an ambulance and taken to the hospital. (It's a long story.)
  8. I love to drive my car really fast (in a safe and closed environment, of course).
Tagging these bloggers: (I'm supposed to do eight, whatever.)
Bo over at resourceful.
Dad at Lakeview Golf Course.


Ensuring your customers find you . . .

It's well known that the number one customer acquisition tool for traditional retailers is drive-by, that is, customers find you by driving by your location. But what happens if they're on the internet and want to find you? One way is to provide a map, with the goal of driving traffic to your retail location. This is very common as well and today I learned the power of the Google Map API. Without some intermediate level of programming expertise, you'll want to outsource this function. Today I was in a team meeting speaking to such a programmer who opened my eyes to the power of Google Maps. What a great tool for retailers! To make it even easier to "find a location near you" we talked about a way the interface can automatically display the closest locations based on the users originating IP address. Wow! So now when asked "how did you find us?" the answer more and more will be "I was just surfing by!"


Chipmunk invited to lunch

I'm lucky enough to have an office with a large window out of which distractions often prevent me from focusing on my work. Like Cedar Waxwings feasting on service berries, Canada Geese wandering the parking lot and small families of chipmunks darting in and out of the under brush, one look outside can provide a day's worth of entertainment. ("Focus!" I keep demanding of myself.) Today's entertainment turned very quickly into a horror movie I won't soon forget.

A Cooper's Hawk had seen enough of the playful chipmunks and I assume since it was about time for lunch anyway, decided to invite one of them over for a meal. It was not a pretty sight, that hawk up in the tree feasting on it's prey. I understand this happens every day but come on, right outside my window? Do me a favor and keep this graphic behavior where it belongs, on TV. ;-)

Digital photos to the rescue - another happy customer.

Over the fourth of July holiday my uncle emailed me with a problem. You see, he knows I work for a bird feeding company and can help him find the product he needs. He is trying to find an alternate way to mount his bird feeding setup on his deck. He scoured the internet but just did not find the part he needed right away. What did he do? He email some digital photographs to me, I consulted with one of our in-house product managers and with the help of one of our local stores, the parts were identified, ordered and drop-shipped directly from the supplier. My uncle will have his parts in 5-7 days. And he's a very happy customer. Mind you, he is about 70 years young and lives 2,000 miles from me.

Lesson? Don't think your customer base is not using the internet or is not current with the latest technology. My uncle may not be an technology expert, though he has a digital camera and uses the internet regularly to research and shop. Don't underestimate your customers.


Birdwalks - Don't go into the woods unarmed

Sure, a walk in the woods armed with your binoculars and field guide is standard equipment and is plenty rewarding when you spot a bird or two to add to your life list. What's that you hear? It's a bird chirping, singing a happy song, one that you're not familiar with. You focus your optics in the direction of this wonderful melody. What's that bird? You simply cannot spot it so you continue on. Then there it is again - another bird call you're certain you should know - but you're not armed with on of the latest gadgets to help you identify birds by their song. Available for your iPod, check out birdJam, "A Revolution in Bird Song Identification" or Thayer Birding Software, which includes a feature to export bird songs to your iPod. These tools give you an edge by enabling you to associate birds with their specific call.

I was first exposed to this technology on a recent birdwalk, when the birding expert who was leading us prepared the group by playing several bird songs from his iPod nano slipped into a portable speaker. He knew we were more likely to hear some spring migrants well before we could spot them, and he was right. These bird call identification tools enable even the casual birder to hone their expertise and become more accomplished at identifying birds by sound. So don't go into the woods again without making sure you're properly armed!