Archives for May 2010

Now running WordPress 3.0 RC1

Decided to go ahead and upgrade now – worked flawlessly. I’m also in the middle of changing themes, so thinks may look a bit scrambled for a bit 🙂

A typically untypical day.

None of my days are typical. Every day brings something new. Some days I wake at 10am and work until 3am. Other days I work until 3am and wake at 7am. Today was one of the latter days, and that’s fine with me. I sleep when I need to and work every moment I can. My company “gets this”.

Today I woke up very early (for me) and drove ~90 miles to meet with a customer that wasn’t 100% satisfied with us. I had talked to him on the phone, and he wasn’t even really sure why he wasn’t happy. So at 9:30 this morning I met him in his office and we talked, briefly. It took all of 30 minutes to understand he did not have a problem with our service, but with how he perceived we perceived him. He thought we had grown too big for him to be important to us.

Until I showed up. The fact I just drove 90 miles changed his mind.

Showing up is the number one thing you can do for your customers. Show up where they need you – in their office, on Twitter, Facebook, or comments on a blog post. Just show up. Showing up is 60% of selling, my dad says. Another 10% is knowing your customer and the other 30% is just caring. You may not agree with the math, but my dad was a top sales producer for decades. I trust his math.

Show up, know your customer. Give a shit. This is really a simple game we tend to make overly complex.

This is Social Media, New Marketing – whatever you want to call it. But it is the same old game, with the same set of rules – we just have better playing fields than my dad did. It is actually easier for us to demonstrate that we care, and that we are listening – and that we are learning. But you still need to occasionally actually be there – in person, with breakfast tacos and a smile.

Why I am a Racker.

Published over on the Rackspace Talent blog, this is a pretty honest and painful to write account of how I came to my current position at Rackspace. Bottom line – I failed first.

Why I am a Racker

I slept only 7 hours in 3 days (and no, I was not at SXSW)

Where was I? In Omaha, Nebraska. Yes, you read that right. I was at Big Omaha.

Why didn’t I sleep?  Because I was surrounded by amazing people that had amazing stories to share.  And I may have shared a few of my own.  They were willing to sit in the courtyard of the Magnolia with me from dusk until dawn and share what they knew (and a bit of brew!)

I made many great new friends in Omaha.  It is an interesting city – much more interesting than I thought it would be, in fact.

But the conference was awesome.  How do you get Matt Mullenweg, Gary Vaynerchuck, Tony Hsieh and others to a second year event in Omaha, Nebraska?

I don’t know.  But Jeff Slobotski does.  It took him over a year, but Jeff got me and Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica to Big Omaha.  And I am thankful that he did.

And I really can’t explain why people were willing to stay up all night and talk to me – and have fun with me.  But they did.  Perhaps it was because we were in Omaha, and they loved having us there – they loved some freaking attention.  And they deserve some.

I’ll be in Omaha again, at least annually.  And before this event there probably was little chance I would ever say that.  Because I knew nothing of Omaha before this past week, except Omaha Steaks.  Oh – Jeff made sure we met the family behind Omaha Steaks as well, and that we got to be friends with them is an additional “Wow”.

Thanks Jeff.  Thanks Omaha.  And thanks to everyone else that forgave sleep for conversations and new-found friendships.

I am no longer in Omaha, but Omaha is now in me 🙂

OMG – My Customer is Pissed!

I talk to a lot of people that deal with people. Social Media people, support people, sales people. Almost everyone I know deals with a customer at some level.

And they almost all hate “dealing with” a pissed customer.

I actually like talking to disappointed customers – it gives me a great opportunity to learn what is important to them, and where our weaknesses are.

It is also an excellent opportunity to make real change happen. If you are empowered to drive it back into the company.

Talking to customers that you haven’t completely satisfied is empowering. They tell you where you have failed them, and why.

If you are only interested in talking to customers you have pleased, you are missing out on both a great educational opportunity and a customer satisfaction opportunity.

Pissed customers are very honest – you can learn more from them than from surveys, I think.

What you are empowered to do with that information is critical. If all you can do is listen, that sucks. But if you are empowered to use that feedback to drive change – well, you have a great job.