Then just over a year ago, I was let go from NewsGator. For the record, it was the right decision, and there are absolutely no bad feelings between myself and NewsGator. They treated me very well while I was there, and I'm still friends with my co-workers.
But that left me in a tight spot: I had to pay the bills with whatever money FeedDemon generated, and as popular as FeedDemon is, it's not popular enough to bring in enough cash through ads alone. And very few people were paying just to get rid of the ads (can you blame them?).
For a year I kept FeedDemon free, and I started work on FeedDemon 4.0 in the hopes I could find a way to keep it free yet still pay the bills. But eventually it was clear that the only way to keep FeedDemon (and myself) going was to start charging for it again, and I figured the best way to do that was to come out with a free ad-supported Lite version with fewer features, along with a for-pay Pro version that had all the features and no ads. That way there would still be a free version, which I knew had to exist, while at the same time there would be a way I could charge for a more feature-rich version.
Then, in his very next post, he lists My Top 20 Minor Annoyances: (emphasis mine)
So, in no particular order, here they are:
- People who blow their nose in restaurants
- Lights that are controlled by more than one switch
- Wearing wet socks
- Dr. Phil
- "New" music which rips off classic rock
- Fitness fanatics who worry about eating too much at Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Fake eyebrows
- People who think you can't see them picking their nose because they're in their car
- Athletes who all-too-obviously thank god when they win a game
- Doorbells that play music
- Anyone who tries to cure your hiccups
- TV commercials that are twice as loud as the show you're watching
- Walking down stairs and thinking there's another step when there isn't one
- Being woken up by the sound of your own snoring
- Food with an unreadable expiration date
- Slow elevators
- Waiting for a long time at a red light when there's no other traffic in sight
- People in an audience who loudly say "Shhhhh!" when everyone is supposed to be quiet
- Clogging up the toilet in someone else's house
In one line, he antagonizes 50 percent of his potential customers, for no real reason.
Sorry, Nick, but I won't be sending you money anytime soon.
Today, about 42 percent of irrigated farmland in the United States uses center pivot machinery or similar mechanized systems, said Terry J. McClain, chief financial officer of Valmont. In some Great Plains states, the system is used to water three-quarters or more of the farmland that uses irrigation.
Its prevalence can perhaps be best recognized from the air, where travelers on cross-country flights can see the landscape converted into a polka dot pattern of irrigated circles inside square fields. ...
Dr. Martin said the center-pivot system allowed for a much more efficient use of water. It also requires less labor and can be used on uneven or hilly terrain where traditional methods of irrigation may not be an option. It is now used around the world and is credited with expanding the acreage of irrigated land and increasing farm productivity.
Including Continental Illinois Shearson Pom Poms Lucky Whip Snow Crop Meister Brau Computer City Phar-Mor Sky Chief Long & Silky Lustre Crème Nail Slickers Mum Rapid Shave Slenderella Changing Times Collier's Punch Saturday Review American Brands H.I.S. Knickerbockers Handi Wrap Rain Barrel Rustler BOAC Braniff Circus World Victrola Allied Signal Infoseek Control Data General Instrument General Cinema
Ad Age talks about one of these brands, Meister Brau:
Meister Brau occupies an important place in U.S beer history as the precursor to Miller Lite -- and, more recently, as the favorite beer of Cousin Eddie, the unforgettable red neck in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movies. Now it can be yours.
The beer label is among 150 trademarks that span 13 categories ranging from toys to personal-care products that will be auctioned off next month in New York. The trademarks -- most of them a lot less known than Meister Brau -- were acquired over the years by Michael Reich, CEO of Brands USA Holdings, who apparently believes now is the best time to sell.
“In recent years, there has been a renewed interest around the world in branding that evokes nostalgia, making this auction of classic trademarks a rare opportunity for investors and forward-thinking companies looking to capitalize on the authenticity that they provide in the global marketplace,” said John Cuticelli, CEO of Racebrook, which is conducting the auction on behalf of Brands USA on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria or via online bidding. ...
Meister Brau was first sold in Chicago in the 1890s at a brewery founded by a Prussian immigrant. A group of investors acquired the brand in the 1960s, and tried to market a low-calorie version. The brand was later sold to Miller Brewing Co. “What [Miller] really wanted was the Lite trademark name, and the rest is history,” said Maureen Ogle, author of “Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.”
From Brand New:
As an evolution, the new Phoenix is a great improvement in all aspects. The head turning outward and front makes more sense — I have yet to find a corporation or organization that prefers anything in their logo looking or moving backward — and is more dynamic. The thicks and thins are better proportioned. The wings are less stubby and more embracing. And the tail is the biggest improvement, because it doesn’t look like the Phoenix is pooping, it actually looks like flamed feathers. The change from that 1970s, tightly spaced serif to a better spaced FF Milo is a very welcome change too.
From the obituary of Theo Albrecht in the Telegraph:
Built up by Theo and his older brother Karl from their mother’s corner shop in the bombed-out rubble of postwar Essen in Germany, the privately controlled Aldi empire now extends to more than 8,000 stores around the world, including 300 in Britain — where its no-frills low-price format rapidly gained popularity during the recession. Though challenged in recent times by rival “discounters” such as Lidl (also German-owned), Aldi achieved sales in 2009 of more than 50 billion euros worldwide.
Little is known of the private lives of the Albrecht family, but Theo’s wealth was estimated by Forbes last year at $16.7 billion, making him the 31st richest person in the world and Germany’s second richest behind Karl at $23.5 billion; the brothers fortunes combined were exceed only by those of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the Mexican Carlos Slim.
The Albrechts’ obsession with privacy — living behind fortress-like security on estates overlooking the Ruhr valley, rarely snapped by paparazzi, never making public statements — derived in part from Theo’s experience in December 1971, when he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Heinz-Joachim Ollenburg, a lawyer with gambling debts, and his accomplice Paul Kron. Theo was held for 17 days in Ollenburg’s Düsseldorf office, but so nondescript was his appearance — he favoured cheap, ill-fitting suits — that the kidnappers demanded to see his ID to make sure they had snatched the right man. He responded by haggling over the ransom sum, which was eventually fixed at seven million Deutschmarks, and was delivered to a highway rendezvous by the Bishop of Essen. Ollenburg and Kron were caught and jailed, but only half of the money was recovered. Albrecht went to court to claim it as a tax-deductible business expense.
An excerpt from Pat Buchanan:
How has China vaulted to the forefront in manufacturing, trade and technology? Export-driven economic nationalism.
Beijing cut the value of its currency in half in 1994, doubling the price of imports, slashing the price of exports and making Chinese labor the best bargain in Asia. Foreign firms were invited to relocate their plants in China and told this was the price of access to the Chinese market. Beijing began looting these firms of technology, as she sent her sons to study in America. Industrial espionage and intellectual property theft became Chinese specialties.
And how has America fared in the new century?
One in every three manufacturing jobs we had in 2000, nearly 6 million, vanished. Some 50,000 U.S. factories shut down. We have run trade deficits totaling $5 trillion since NAFTA passed. The real wages of working Americans have been stagnant for a decade.
While China has resumed her 12 percent growth rate, the United States, with 25 million unemployed or underemployed, appears headed for a double-dip recession.
From Randall Hoven:
I was originally in favor of the concept of mission statements. It is important to know what you are really doing and why it is important. We should be purpose-driven and not just go through the motions or do daily tasks mindlessly.
The trouble usually came from the group meetings. Mission statements resulting from group meetings seemed to have two features in common:
(1) We are saving the world.
(2) We don't seem to do anything specific; the statement could apply as well to a group designing military fighter jets for Boeing as to one assembling toasters for Target.
I recall a typical mission statement as going something like this:
To enhance value for our stakeholders, in partnership with our suppliers and customers, by delivering world-class quality products and services, by empowering our teammates in an environment of mutual respect and diversity, and by fostering sustainable industry-community relationships.
I came to believe we could randomly mix and match phrases using key words like "enhance," "value," "world-class," "quality," "stakeholders," etc. and do just as swell a job.
Story and lesson by Joe Sherlock:
We love stories about climbing a symbolic Mount Everest but in real life most of us will not succeed as mountain climbers. In your business it's a better deal if you stay near sea level and play the odds instead of hoping for miracles. That's why you'll want to concentrate your efforts on those 60 percent - odds are they can be turned into customers.
Since everyone loves stories about success against formidable odds, here's one of mine. I once called on a small company who bought from my competitor. Their purchasing manager took an instant dislike to me. During our visit he remarked, "We'll never buy from you as long as I'm alive." Figuring that there was nothing to lose, I asked, "Well then, do you mind if I telephone once a year to see if you've died?" He got angry and threw me out. I called every year and asked for him by name, reminding him I was just calling to see if he was dead yet or was at least feeling poorly. It got to be a standing joke with us and he started to warm up to me. Five years later, he finally started to order from me.
This makes a wonderful story but it's a terrible example of how to sell. The reality was this guy never really became a large customer, still gave a lot of his business to my competitor and didn't pay his bills very quickly. I would have done much better investing my time and energy elsewhere. In my business career, I've probably wasted too much of my time on hopeless causes. I would have been better off if I had simply concentrated on those prospects who could be reasonably motivated to buy.
Learn from my mistakes. Concentrate your business efforts winning over the folks who can be won over - that magical 60 percent of your market that has a genuine interest in doing business with you but needs a little persuasion. The other 40% will take care of themselves.