Thanks to Rick Klau from FeedBurner, who answered my last post about problems with my stats in the comments. Somehow I hosed my mod_rewrite rules and http://clintsharp.com/feed/ was no longer redirecting to http://feeds.feedburner.com/clintsharp. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Rick.
I’m totally going Rick Segal on your asses tonight. If you’re not reading his blog and you’re in any way, shape, or form involved in business, you should be.
So, we have a name for name for FedEx Kinkos, Head Injuries R’Us. Honestly, I’m not a big Kinkos customer, since I don’t really deal much in paper, but this week while we were down in the Bay Area, we had need for paper versions of several documents, so naturally we ended up at Kinkos.
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt like I needed to invest so much effort to pay someone. We had need for some quick and dirty business cards for me which required printing color on cardstock. This seems like a simple request. I could do it on my inkjet printer at home with little to no effort, so thusly Kinkos should be able to accomplish it in a fraction of the time. Well, long story short, not this Kinkos. They had one color printer down, and the other one was completely backed up. They told us "Come back tomorrow." Who knows how many sales they lost.
To me it seems like a simple queueing issue. I needed 1 sheet of cardstock printed. Whatever else was in the queue then probably consisted of much larger batches with customers who were not in the store at the time. The revenue from my purchase would have been insignificant, but what they’ve done by not training their employees with how to deal with outage situations is to guarantee they will not receive my business when it comes time to do a larger printing. They could have simply printed my page and delayed the other jobs by a minute and I would have been none the wiser and neither, most likely, would the other customers they were printing for that day.
Later in the day, we are at yet another Kinkos, to print up color copies of a document and purchase two binders to place those documents in. We waited for over 10 minutes to pay $6 for the binders. We contemplated laying the cash on the counter and walking out, but we didn’t have the change.
The thing to learn from this experience if you’re running a business, is that every interaction with a customer is valuable. Kinkos is a business which markets to people whose time is valuable. I understand outages and downtime, but your employees must be trained to deal with them. I could have walked out of the store a happy customer had a manager or employee been thinking on their feet about what to do with a 50% capacity loss. Telling a customer to come back tomorrow isn’t good business and it’s likely that I won’t come back again, period. Secondly, if you run a retail/service business, make sure the retail side always has at least one register dedicated to it, rather than tieing up 100% of your capacity to answer service related questions. A customer shouldn’t have to wait 10 minutes to pay for something, otherwise she’s likely to not pay at all.
I’m back from California, which of course i neglected to post to the blog to begin with. We‘re really kicking ass now. I didn’t really get to see much of the Bay Area, but it looks like I could be living there part-time in the next few months. We had some really great meetings while down there. I can’t wait until I can announce what came out of them. Stay tuned.
I’m not a huge stats hound, in fact I only check them once a month. However, imagine my surprise when I logged into my FeedBurner account and saw my subscribers drop from over 100 to around 24. Something is seriously fucked up. I know some of the guys over there, like Rick Klau who I met at Gnomedex, perhaps I should email them. I have over 21 subscribers in Bloglines alone which are currently being shown as 1 subscriber in my Readership stats. Seems to have happened on October 20th. Oh well, I know you’re still reading.
Russell Beattie has discovered video podcasts, and wants to start one of his own. I’m looking forward to it, Russell, but just a word of caution: it’s very time-consuming it’s not particularly easy to make it look good.
The part that’s annoying me these days about the Video iPod is that people seem to have missed that we’ve been doing this “video podcasting” thing for quite some time, only we called it vlogging. Check out the Yahoo! Videoblogging Group, where we’ve been discussing all things Internet video for over a year now. There’s a lot of really good content out there, and my job is to help you find it. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can show everyone our new directory and we can show everyone what “video podcasting” is really all about.
Redwood Virtual (the host I use for my email virtual server) is down again. These guys suck. I hear they live in Seattle. If I was ever able to contact a person there, I’d find out their names so I could personally drive over there and beat the shit out of them. Absolutely no excuse to run a business this way. I hope they die and rot in hell. If you’ve tried to email me today, sorry. In the mean time I’m checking my gmail account (firstname.lastname@example.org… I don’t do spam obfuscation, if they want my email they probably already have it). I’ve gotta get my shit moved somewhere else.
Mark Cuban, Tim Bray, and Chris Pirillo all chime in this weekend about the Google Blogspot splog problem. It’s hitting me as well. Thankfully, they’re not hitting my vanity feeds, because an unknown blogger/vlogger/hacker isn’t worth writing about in splogs, but my hometown and soon to be again residence of Fort Smith, Arkansas, is getting hit mercilessly. I subscribe to a Technorati feed searching for “Fort Smith”, which should bring about about 4 or 5 legitimate posts a day. I’m now getting 20 to 30 splog entries daily. It’s ridiculous. Only 80,000 people live there, don’t they have better things to spam about? I hate to say this, because places like FreeVlog recommend them, but shouldn’t Technorati, Feedster, IceRocket, et. al. just exclude BlogSpot indefinitely until this problem is resolved? How does this factor into the Atom 1.0 API design? Is there facilities for captchas built into the protocol? This will make for an interesting next couple of weeks as this problem comes to a head.
It’s been almost two months since my last video. Here’s an update about what’s going on. More video to come shortly, hopefully, as soon as I find some time.
Click here for video. [ QuickTime ]
Upload Progress Meter for PHP, could come in handy
Conditional GET docs for PHP
I’ve added captchas (authentication images) to my comments now. If you can figure out what it says, the good news is you won’t be moderated anymore. The other good news is I can stop getting a bunch of non-sensical emails and moderating a bunch of stupid-ass spam comments. Argh.