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Month: August 2008

Microsoft acquires Geenfield

Microsoft acquires Geenfield

Speculation is rife as to why Microsoft has decided to purchase GreenField Online, on online research company. The answer seems to be it that it was really after Ciao, a leading European shopping comparison website that has a large community of follower who shop and leave reviews on the site. This is due to the fact that Microsoft is really planning on selling off the Online Survey division (which incidentally contributes pretty much most of the revenue Greenfield makes) while retaining control of GreenField. They managed to beat another potential buyer (Quadrange) who also had their eye on GreenField.

This may seem strange, however when you consider that Microsoft is sitting on a massive cash mountain you can start to factor in that eyeballs are more important to them than cash. This acquisition gives them access to a European consumer market which they have struggled to penetrate. We’ll see how it pans out; some say that Microsoft will try and push their own products using Ciao, but I think they’re more interested in the audience than in promoting their wares. I would guess their first step would be to integrate Passport with Ciao to consolidate user identities across the two platforms.

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

An interesting post on Whooah.biz recounts the story of Glenmorangie, a Whiskey maker in Scotland who managed to seize the day and make turn an unfortunate situation around. Here’s the story:

Scotland Glenmorangie distilleries found that they had accidentally mixed the wrong sort of whisky. Faced with a dilemma they come up with a clever campaign; they used a direct mail marketing to ask for an official pardon and sold the whisky as a collectors item. The campaign generated a 23 percent response. 8 percent above what you would normally expect.

The best bit is still to come; their direct mail marketing grew. When they launched a special whisky called Arigh Nam Beist (shelter of the beast) for Halloween in 2007 their response rate was 69 percent. Virtually unheard of.

It’s a great story and a valuable anecdote that demonstrates that bad situations *can* be turned around. The whisky producer here decided to come clean with their customers, include them in the process .. and customers say this as a valuable behaviour which they were ready to reward.

Do you know of other great stories like this?

Honesty is the best policy?

Honesty is the best policy?

It was with interest that I read a post by Seth Godin about his Policies, Biases and Conflicts. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really concerned about whether he had any commercial bais in his posts. I consider myself intelligent enough to distinguish between an empty recommendation and real praise for a product or service. However it was interesting to watch someone who in my opinion really manages to keep his blog purely about ideas and concept trying to explain this to his readers. I’m not sure what prompted the action but he obviously felt the need to spell it out for his readers. I hope it doesn’t catch on really. Bloggers *are* open to public scrutiny, but at the same time, their blog is their domain and I think it’s cheeky to expect someone to explain their reasons behind their every action.

Graduation in November

Graduation in November

I finally received the news that I’ve sucessfully completed all the requirements for my MBA. It’s been a great ride and I thank all the professors at Heriot-Watt for everything I’ve learnt. In retrospect I could have done better in some subjects, but considering I held a full-time job, kept busy in my free time, and had a son in the meantime, I’m pretty please with what I’m achieved.

I also now have justification for owning and running this blog 😉

Preparing a business plan

Preparing a business plan

I came across some interesting information for anyone wanting to create a business plan. Whether it’s to take to your bank or just to firm up your ideas, it’s a step-by-step guide that can help you build up a meaningful plan. Here’s the information from BusinessLink:

A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business.

This guide will show you how to prepare a high-quality plan using a number of easy-to-follow steps.

Subjects covered in this guide

Business plans are a great way to help you articulate what you are planning to do, so make the effort and put one together. If you can’t put it down on paper, chances are you won’t be able to explain it to your bank manager either.

Thank you Subway

Thank you Subway

I popped out to get my lunch from Subway today and saw an amazing example of an organisation going out of their way to bend to their customer’s whim.

Here’s what happened: The girl in front of me asked for a “Veggie Patty” Sub. The person behind the counter inquired if she was vegetarian and when the girl confirmed she was, he help up his hands and asked her if should would like him to change his gloves. When she said “yes” and he proceeded to throw away the gloves he was wearing and put on a fresh pair. He also made it a point to ensure that anyone else who handled the sandwich did the same.

Now, you might argue that it wouldn’t really make much of a difference whether the same gloves were used or not. After all, it’s not really like a nut allergy, where a slight trace can have huge consequences. However, the policy Subway have implemented is more about ensuring a customer is happy with the way they are treated, than whether there really were any traces of meat on the gloves. It’s all about providing extra intangible value through optimising the customer’s experience.

The sad thing about today’s story: Even though I was impressed, the girl who got the special treatment didn’t even bother to thank the staff for the extra effort. So I thought I’d post about it and publicly thank Subway for caring about their customer. Great work guys!