Category Archives: Business

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    Endorsements or Smoke and Mirrors

    Category:BusinessTags : 
    Endorsements or Smoke and Mirrors?

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    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Endorsements or Smoke and Mirrors

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.


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    Amazon vs. Netflix the Streaming Debate

    Amazon vs Netflix the Streaming Debate

    Category:BusinessTags : 

    Amazon vs Netflix the Streaming Debate

    “Amazon vs. Netflix. Which would you choose for #streaming?”

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAd6AAAAJGIzYmYxMmE4LTBlOGUtNGRmMS1iODhmLTk5MjQ1ZWU3N2JiMw Amazon vs Netflix the Streaming Debate

    Amazon

    The Big Bang Theory!  Amazon was the place to go to get all the back seasons.   However, not being a  Prime member,  Amazon is starting  to  restrict sales of some items to its members.  Will shows like the Big Bang Theory be one of them?

    Creating another level  within Amazon, will not  increase their sales. The Prime-exclusive membership is just a copy cat of what Netflix has been doing all along.   Except Netflix doesn’t have all the hidden costs.

    The restricting of the non-Amazon produced items is troubling.  Since other online outlets have the non-Amazon items, why would Amazon want to resist them?  It makes me think of the quote “if it isn’t broke – don’t fit it”. 

    Netflix

    Being able to watch as many movies as I want, and the ability to share with up to three people –  Netflix got my attention.  With busy lives, and kids going here and there – it has saved me more than once.  The truth however is, that Netflix doesn’t have the latest and greatest hits rolling out as fast as some of their competitors  (neither does Amazon), but Netflix is at least consistent, and there are no restrictions.   Netflix still has their DVD options to buy, but it is easier to go to Google Play, or a host of other locations  if you want to augment your viewing on demand preferences.

    Unlimited Data

    As someone who uses their mobile data for everything, streaming is important to me.  It doesn’t matter if it is checking my mail, watching the news, downloading/streaming movies, or making a purchase -I want my online experience to be seamless.  The whole opt in/opt out, or become a member / super-prime-mega-star member  scenario is just bad mojo to me.  I don’t want to deal with a business marketing strategy that is built on a copy cat system made up by your competitor, except yours includes hidden fees you added as some kind of bonus.

    Sign up here NOW for a full year!  Other fees and charges may apply!

    Amazon might be cutting off its own foot despite itself.  Amazon doesn’t  control  non-Amazon products.  That is a serious turnoff to a buyer like myself.  The non-Amazon producers should also consider this when they allow someone to lock-up their product.  Or at least have the good sense to list in a variety of other online locations.

    • The Amazon list of movies isn’t any different than Netflix.  They are basically the same, except for their own in-house developed programming.
    • You have to pay for a full year up front with Amazon.
    • Amazon also makes you pay extra for prime shows.   Why, when you can view them elsewhere without a prime membership?
    • Amazon’s recent and popular TV episodes run you an additional  $1.99 to $2.99 per episode.

    With  the upfront  yearly fee, and the addition prime charges, that doesn’t equate to a bargain Amazon.

    Both services allow for watching as many movies as you want , on any number of devices.  Just about the only good thing about Amazon is you can download a movie for later viewing offline, and you get a two-day free shipping on some items.  Which neither are relevant to me.

    One Stop Shopping

    I like one-stop shopping as well as the next person, but I would say buyer beware if Amazon thinks they can control all the markets by shutting out potential buyers.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAkOAAAAJDdhYTAzZThkLTBkNzgtNGY4OS1hZGU0LWEwZDA5MzI5MmJlZA Amazon vs Netflix the Streaming Debate

    There are a host of other online streaming services, like Hulu, and iTunes and HBO,  but they all have some quirky setups and costs that haven’t proved to be of much value to me.

    Getting back to Netflix, I do have some issues with their service.  Netflix could use an upgrade to more current movies and shows.  To be honest I’m not much into the shows they have developed on their own.  Same with Amazon, the shows aren’t all that good.

    Netflix probably has my vote as far as streaming entertainment. You can watch as many movies as you like and you can do that on a host of different devices in your home.

    • Netflix’s new releases for TV are a bit outdated (about a year).  But you can view them without having to have a Prime membership.
    • There is no yearly membership.  It’s monthly and you can easily drop or add service as your budget allows.

    I don’t want to pay an upfront yearly fee to join a service like Amazon  (who also has hidden prime costs).  I will continue to utilize Netflix who has the same shows, but allows me to cancel and re-subscribe anytime I like, and has NO hidden prime costs.

    Television – what’s that?

    For those who don’t watch a lot of television, or do not subscribe to a paid television service,   Netflix does a better job of speaking to these online buyers.  More people are going the route of not subscribing to a paid television service – if  for no other reason than to escape the crappy ads.  If people aren’t watching television, they aren’t going to appreciate the hard sales coming from Amazon, Netflix, or anyone else for that matter.

    The turnoff from high pressured sales  and ads are  just too much for this group of viewers.  They don’t get into to politically run media talking point programs, nor the constant deluge of negative ads about the sick and dying.  That is one reason  why many are dropping out of paying for television services – “it is depressing”.

    While my vote does go to Netflix for offering a steady and solid product, nothing will ever replace a night out at the movies.  Yes, it costs more to go out and see a show, and the popcorn isn’t cheap either – but the benefits are a plus.

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    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Amazon vs Netflix the Streaming Debate

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

     


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    Integrity or Disruptive Employees?

    Category:BusinessTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZhAAAAJDI3YjZjOGEwLTcyNjItNDI0Ny1iMDM4LTA4YTQ0MjQxMzcwMA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?

    Integrity or Disruptive Employees

    Letter writing is an art, so why would anyone  leave their  company reputation in the hands of an unskilled letter writer?  Don't allow  someone who will cause you to look small and loss the respect of others within your organization,  to write your professional correspondence for you.  Check everything! Check it twice! 

    • Here is a Good Example:   When you have a potential hire with years of experience, education, and a successful background in the area they  are applying for - and you the employer  turn around and  list their  skill sets and qualifications in a rejection letter, as a reason for overlooking them.  It is pretty obvious you didn't read the candidates information.  This sets a very unprofessional precedent for your companies, it's  reputation, and your ability to lead effectively. 

    Breath!  Usually these letters are written by someone with NO skill sets in the area they are writing about.  Either that, or they are deliberately writing  to demean and lower your standing in their personal point of view.  Trust me, it has nothing to do with your experience nor your successes.  Your skill sets are probably just fine.  
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVqAAAAJDI4NmU2ZjE1LTA5YWMtNGQwOS1iNTMwLTZiY2JiNDZhYzgyMw Integrity or Disruptive Employees?Unfortunately letters like this generally come from lower level directors of operations who do  not  have a high enough experience level  to write a letter,  that is both professional, and allows the participants some level of integrity.  

    Trust me, it has nothing to do with your experience nor your successes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    Increasing  customer satisfaction should  always be a top priority, we all know that.  Even when you are looking to hire new employees, customer satisfaction still matters.  New employees can also be viewed as  your customers.  It begs the question however, when did appeasing management over the customer concerns become the new norm?  

    Some managers and/or lower level  directors of operations are  masochist who thrives on stress.   We have all seen them, or know one personally.  They never turn off - they are on  24/7.   These  are your disruptive employees. 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAagAAAAJDQwZDE5YzIxLTU3NGMtNDFiNi1iZTkzLTVlZTZjNDI0NDZhYQ Integrity or Disruptive Employees? These types of individuals are frantically working nights and long hours hoping to achieve that “golden child” status. 

    In truth that mentality  is zombie in nature.  What they do is bring that attitude of superiority  back into the office  day-after-day, and that attitude  is exhausting to everyone around them.   To compound the matter, when  administration or other positions of power allow these masochistic employees to write letters to people on the outside, it potentially sets the company up for failure.  

    Tracking  when your directors of operational management  get in the way of progress might be something you need to consider in your business if:

    • Do they demean potential new employees by crafting letters with negativity? 
    • Are they always going after the new guy?
    • Constantly bringing up old issues? Why? 
    • Can you link your customer satisfaction to key management decisions that have been the target of some internal personal issue?  
    • If your top management team isn’t doing a whole lot of work-and your regular employees are supplying most of the data and putting in the work load – who is taking credit for that work? 
    • Are your directors of operation forwarding along other employees hard work  as their own work; and then complaining about those employees who  actually did the work?
    • Does your organization have that disruptive employee environment  from too many derogatory attacks on the general public, potentially new employees and current ones? 
    • Do your operations look like a high school gossip hit squad? 

    No one is able to navigate and survive, let alone negotiate the  business channels under any of the above unnecessary circumstances.   With that type of disruptive environment - expect  the loss of potentially  new and current valuable employees - and the knowledge they possess.   That can, and will affect your bottom line. 

    Management Revolving Door

    If you are  trying to hold on to the staff you have - then you  better be listening to them.  Their  feedback can make or break certain possess. But  If you are constantly throwing  ambiguous tasks (like scraps of meat)
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKrAAAAJDVhZTU5MmQ4LTBmOWUtNDI1OS1iNDQ2LWQ5YzQ1NDI4OTMwNA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?to your employees– don’t wonder why people walk out the door. 
    That type of management style is both exasperating   and non-sustainable.   Like a revolving door, these types of directors of operation  use up people for what they can take from them and pass that information  along as their own.  

    Work-Life Balance

    Your employees understand  that there needs to be a  work-life balance, and if not, they will leave - especially the good ones.  Setting up an environment that is free of negativity is mandatory if you plan on surviving in the real world. Sometimes the answer is as simple as “leave your employees alone and let them do their job”.  But provide them with the necessary tools to do those jobs. 

    Look long and hard at your employees  concerns:

    • Where do your employees go to get answers to questions  that might be needed for projects or communication with real world clients?
    • What grief will employees get for asking questions?
    • Do you play favorites with your employees?
    • Do you allow your current operational staff to craft  letters concerning someone's qualifications on the outside of your organization? How about the inside? 
    • Do managers harass and threaten employees  to choose sides in an organization?
    • What moves your needle when deciding who you will like one day, AAEAAQAAAAAAAANkAAAAJGY1NWI2YWM2LTVkMTQtNDNlOS1iZWU1LTgwMTY5YjM0ZTFiYw Integrity or Disruptive Employees?and dislike  the next?
    • Is integrity written into your plans for operations or have disruptive employees  kind of taken over  the place?...and not in a good way.  

    The Big Idea

    When you begin designing and implementing new processes and procedures, are you thinking in the long term or is the matter a short term “let’s try it out and see if it works” type of process?

    A word of caution:

    • New interviewees will quickly pick up on your lack of organization and decide your  total operations is little more than a deception  designed to sink people into positions that don't have much substance. 
    • Changing up the office landscape and dumping in changes that are made to look  long-term , but really are not,  make  people nervous. 
    • If your company isn’t turning a profit, lofty long-term plans  never feel comfortable to anyone.

    Office Politics

     Everyone wants to feel of value.   But when you have a group of  aggressive employees each with an edge in their own field and you put them into an environment without built in processes, you might find yourself  in a predicament  of being  a stone’s throw away  from a coup. Especially if your employees have already been approached to choose sides by operational managers or directors.  This type of  political maneuvering  is generally introduced quickly, sometimes as early as the interview stage.   Your ship might already be sunk before you get to set sail. 

    Have your employees been asked to choose sides by a manager or director? 

    When your managers are constantly throwing changes into the mix, and  hinting of uncertain futures,  unsurprisingly you  will get people stabbing each other  in back and running the bus back and forth over each other.  Regaining control is hard, and winning back over the trust of those  employees that relied on you is an uphill climb. 

    Moving The Needle

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAANQAAAAJGQyMDU3ODcwLWEwNWItNGRjNi1hZDNhLTIwZWUxZmVlYzk4MA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?Maybe it's time to cut out that layer of masochist operational management and allow your employees who actually produce to carry your projects to completion. Provide employees with the tools they need to be successful as well.   Help encourage  those great employees and potentially new employees to "manage up"  and take on tasks willingly instead of grudgingly.  Then your time can be freed up to  spend on improving products and or processes. Move the needle – get your edge back.   Show integrity in all your dealings. 


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    Worker Bees

    Category:BusinessTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMUAAAAJGViNzg2Yjc3LTQwODktNDI2Yi05OWIyLWEzMzQyNGE3M2M0NA Worker Bees

    Worker Bees

    Thought for the day

      I went to buy  my coffee this morning and  I forgot to grab cash.  It’s 5:00 am and I'm really wanting coffee bad.  All I had were checks and a credit card in my little fanny pack. The coffee shops  credit card machine was down and they didn’t take checks.  About this  time  an older woman  approached the counter and offered to buy my coffee for me.  She said to me “I’m just paying it forward”.    I didn’t argue with her – I let her buy my coffee for me -and I gave her a hug.   Now it’s my turn.   I understand – it is about personal satisfaction. 

    Being able to see the little guy, the worker bees as human beings that matter and have value – that is priceless. Worker bees   are the heart and soul  of an enterprise.  Sometimes we put too much emphasize on the big guy  and we forget that  those under us are actually the ones turning the wheel  that keeps our doors open.  

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAL7AAAAJDgwMzU5YTEzLTYwNzktNDlmMS1iYTQ0LTMyMTU4ZjkwZDdmOA Worker BeesFor instance, what good is administration without teachers.  Or how about  corporate executives without secretaries to provide a level of organization.  You need cooks and waitresses and dishwashers to run a restaurant.  It also helps to have certified electricians to run a power company.   You need tellers at the windows of the bank, and nurses to tend to sick.  The worker bees – they are at heart and soul  of your business, institution, or nonprofit.  They are your most valuable asset and should never become a liability. You need them. 

    In reality, we are all worker bees.  Even those of us who own our own establishment or online practice.  We are answerable to someone, somewhere; could be a bank, shareholders, or the marketplace, etc.  Thus our  work goes on, one worker bee at a time.

    None of us can say without a hint of uncertainty  that we have 100% of every process down, and that the margin of error is so small that nothing could go wrong.  Of course you know the minute you state that, it’s as if Murphy’s Law kicks in and all hell breaks loose.

    How do you combat Murphy’s Law?  First off, except it as fact.  Things happen that are unexpected.   There is a philosophy that moves away from Murphy’s Law and acknowledges that  things will go wrong regardless of how well we plan.  The challenge is of course to make those things that go wrong  part of the plan.  Another idea is to pay it forward.  How do you get coffee without cash? Pay it forward! 

    How do you get coffee without cash?   

    Find a solution, find a work around, be flexible, and ask your worker bees what
    they know.  You will be surprised how often those worker bees understand your organization from a different angle, and possibly enough to save your bacon when the economy begins to move in a direction not in your favor. 

    bee Worker BeesEducation is not a sure fire way to protect yourself against the hardships of this world either.  While getting an education doesn't hurt, it won't mean anything unless you put it into practice. If you never put it into practice it is just a piece of paper on the wall.  

    As well, all the money in the world cannot, and will not take the place of the human connection.  You need to have people in your  life that you trust and rely on - like worker bees.  Building those relationships is key to how successful you will be in your life time.  I'm not talking financially as much as I am in the realm of personal satisfaction.  You can have all the money in the world and still be a miserable old cuss.  People are what make us who we are - especially those worker bees. 

    Been burned?  It’s part of the plan.  Been given the ax?  It’s part of the plan.  As hard as it may sound to do, you have to take  those rough moments in your life and make them part of the master plan.  It’s like learning to roller skate, you AREgoing to fall on a very delicate part of your body and it will hurt.  But, you get back up and do it again, until you are proficient enough to stay up for longer and longer periods of time. 

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAL7AAAAJDgwMzU5YTEzLTYwNzktNDlmMS1iYTQ0LTMyMTU4ZjkwZDdmOA Worker BeesGetting back to our worker bees.  With their help our organizations, and businesses are supported by their skills and knowledge.  When you have worker bees who are trained and understand that  everything is connected, you have a much stronger work environment .   You rely on them, trust them, and need them.  It really is in your best interest to be available to your worker bees.  Make the time to be with your worker bees.  Build in those incentives that keep the bee colony happy.   There is always Murphy’s Law that is quick to remind you of just how valuable your worker bees really are. 

    ..and the buzz is all about Personal Satisfaction. 

     

     


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    Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

    Category:BusinessTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJiAAAAJDQyYjcxOWQzLTA4MzItNGY5Yi04ZGY5LWFhYTJkYjI2YjI5MQ Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

    Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

     Migrating from bureaucracy  or meritocracy  to the world of free commerce is a journey of  new learning, and that learning curve is steep. You quickly learn that the blue collar/white collar tags are real.  The way business is handled within both sectors is uniquely different as day and night.

    Within your institutions you have departments and policies and procedures that govern your everyday operations to a fine line. Job subsidies and cushiony benefits hold  many employees in their place.   In the world of free commerce you have a business plan, and expectations in meeting your next payroll.    Your staff is made up of people from various backgrounds; some from corporations and institutions, and the remaining have never seen  a mission statement or walked the halls of education.  Fed up with the bureaucracy many often  are attempting to take their lives back in a meaningful way.  Through exploring new career paths and innovation, Americans want more than to be spoon fed tasks day in and day out.

    Where we as a society decide to take our country is contingent on the free will of the people to keep bureaucracy at bay. While a cushiony office with the many perks may sound like the ideal dream job,  it’s not without its downside.  When overwhelming policies start to absorb the very creativity of your work force, you end up with corporate zombies.  Those same policies and procedures often bastardize individuals against one another, splitting relationships that were once solid into many pieces.  Bureaucracy is a heartless wheel – and many rats turn upon its squeaky wheel.

    Bureaucracy is a heartless wheel 

    There is a lot to be said about the free market and those who work in that arena.  They still provide this country with a fair amount of innovation and “guts”.  The “guts” to get out there and change the structure of the market with   new ideas and concepts.  Bureaucracy on the other hand wants to own all your ideas and hand those ideas out to others who really have made no contribution.  It’s like writing an essay and giving the guy In the next cubical part of the credit.  It doesn’t work.     

    Hard working free Americans – that is what this country is made up of.   Bureaucracy is not necessarily American.  It is socialist in form, and tends to batter the little guy with its strength.  Money can’t fashion the heart muscle, it can only corrupt it.  When bureaucracy becomes too large, it is used as a weapon to hurt others, all in the name of power. 

    Hard working free Americans – that is what this country is made up of.

    Helping small businesses to succeed – that is the real dream . If you want to put your money somewhere – put it into small business.  Bureaucracy is bloated and needs to get its hands out of the working mans (and women’s) pocket.