Let’s Say Thanks

This site really made my day today. You can select a postcard from a gallery, add a message of your own or select one of the prepared messages and Xerox will print it and Give2TheTroops will include it in the care packages they send to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

My compliments to Xerox for doing this and at the same time showcasing one of their products, which I will plug right now as a courtesy. The Gen3 Digital Production Presses, with SmartSize Technology, revolutionize digital production printing with automatic make-ready and collation, the ability to mix stocks within a run, and built-in intelligence to maintain color fidelity and registration. Customize, personalize, and add more value to every page. Use customer data captured from CRM databases, Web sites, and call centers to drive variable text, images, and graphics in marketing communication materials. Variable information printing enables you to support high-value customer marketing programs and increases customer loyalty and response rates. I totally don’t know what that means but I want it.

It takes less than 2 minutes, why not click on over right now and send a thank you note to someone who has earned it…

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Disconnect and Contrast

I was reading this account of a terrible fuel explosion in Nigeria that killed 260 people; two sentences served to pointedly underscore the worthlessness of Kofi Annan is if for no other reason than how disconnected he is while sequestered away in his Manhattan mansion.

Here’s Annan’s call to arms:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed his condolences and called “for a review of the country’s fuel supply management, as well as a thorough regional review of risks that could lead to other environmental or technological disasters in West Africa,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

Here’s what the residents of this impoverished neighborhood had to say:

Residents blamed greed, graft and poverty for the disaster. (ED: referring to the massive corruption and mismanagement that plagues Nigeria’s dominant export business – oil.)

In this case the residents of Abule Egba called a spade a spade while Annan calls for more reviews and studies of which the results he would no doubt ignore and do more of nothing about. But the news conference will be delivered in a charming foreign accent. Actually, I’m not surprised that Annan doesn’t have much to say about institutional corruption, after all he does oversee one himself. The only good news is that Kofi Annan is gone, I’m anxious to see what the new Secretary General Ban will do differently

More on this topic (What's this?)
Fuel Scarcity in a Land of Oil Abundance
Nigeria Unrest And The Oil Markets
Plus Ca Change...
Read more on Investing in Nigeria, Sino Gas Group LTD at Wikinvest

More WOMA Stating the Obvious…

Puff piece in the NYTimes about a couple of doctors who created some skin care products for kids and generated strong buzz by giving the products away to moms who chatted them up on message boards. I realize that this is a shocking observation, so you should probably sit down and breath deeply.

There is a more subtle conclusion that is unavoidable in all these stories, which is that women tend to use the web to participate in communities while men use it to conduct a transaction.

The real reason that I am posting this is that it occurred to me while reading this article that there are 2 other significant developments that have enabled businesses like the one profiled in this article to flourish. The first is a reliable online payments system and the second is a cost effective shipping and logistics network in the form of UPS and Fedex. While often overlooked the fact remains that both of these developments have enabled small businesses like MD Moms to not be constrained to being just a local business tied to the physical community they are located in.

Online Chat Is a Grapevine That Yields Precious Fruit – New York Times:
Soon after, the founders took their word-of-mouth marketing one step further, giving out products to mothers with the hope that they would mention them on Internet message boards and parenting Web sites. The strategy worked. MD Moms’ products were popping up in online discussions.

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