So Much Culture, Boy George Is Envious – Zappos

tony hsieh and nan palmero.jpg

Yesterday, a tweet from Mark Ruddock, CEO of Viigo got me thinking about corporate culture.  He said “Playing with Android all weekend … finding myself intrigued by the way corporate cultures are reflected in their products.”  He went on to say “UX (user experience) lacks holistic finesse of iPhone … and core operations (such as eMail) lack UX efficiency of BlackBerry…many facets beautifully engineered behind the scenes … however I have a real sense it was built by geeks for geeks”

I thought these were great points.  Whether you understand what Mark tweeted, the part that stuck out was he could tell the culture of the company simply from an inanimate object.  You likely feel the same way when you pick up a MacBook Pro.  You know that Apple cares about aesthetics, they care about materials, user experience and quality.  Even if your company is service based, your customers can still feel the culture as they interact with the people in your company.

I toured Zappos back in January.  Zappos started life as a shoe company but chose to be a retailer in general, the main thread holding it all together was service.  It showed.  Every room we walked into, the Zappos folks would stop what they were doing, bring out noise makers, clap, or stand up and greet us.  It was a small gesture, but I will forever have a special appreciation for their example of quality service.  Their corporate culture was amazing, contagious and unforgettable.  Yes, I’m also a customer and have received world-class service, too.

Why bother talking about culture at all?  Because your company is going to have one whether you’re doing anything about it or not.  My suggestion is that you make conscious decisions to make your culture remarkable.  If you don’t, the culture is going to be what it becomes and that may or may not be a good thing.  Having made a decision on what your company culture is the first step.  The next step?  Tell your people what the culture is, then develop core values, a purpose and a brand promise that all support this culture.  When you do this, it makes the culture easier to understand and to spread, especially to new hires.  Further, it helps those in the company make the right decisions when facing tough obstacles.  Go on, make your culture remarkable.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the photo, that’s Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.  He takes pictures with famous folks and does bunny ears.  So, naturally, I asked.

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Viigo: Minimizing Email Clutter

Nan the Power User

Welcome back to Nan the Power User, where I blend my passion for BlackBerry use with a bit of a business twist. Today, we’re going to talk about a mashup that I use to minimize my email clutter by using Viigo, my RSS reader of choice. If you are confused about what RSS means to you, look no further than the excellent video explanation from Common Craft. No time? Here’s the quick rundown. Similar to push email on your BlackBerry, instead of you going out to your favorite websites to see if there is new information, the data is pushed to you from your choices. Even though many of us in the BlackBerry Nation love using Viigo, there are still those companies and organizations that send out email newsletters and updates. What I’m excited about is being able to dump those email updates and newsletters into Viigo, so I can minimize the clutter in my inbox. To do so, I use a website called Mailbucket allows me to convert standard email newsletters (actually just about any email) into an RSS feed. I then plug in the RSS (XML) feed into Viigo. So now I not only receive newsletters, but I have also chosen to receive Google Alerts on myself and my clients via Viigo. If you haven’t set up Google Alerts for yourself and your clients, you are missing out on a great opportunity to be a more important part of their lives. When new articles appear for each of your clients, drop them a line to congratulate them on their hard work and achievements; you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll be the first or the only one. This type of honest appreciation for their work can mean the difference you need to beat out your competitor, because you’ve branded yourself as an asset. You should know what information is available about you on the Internet. It gives you a great opportunity to quickly fix any information that may be incorrect.
Another benefit of using Viigo is the timely coverage of important events that it provides. Some of the coverage that Viigo provides includes election coverage, WES and BBDC. These special additions allow attendees of these events to better schedule their conference sessions. Typically, these updates are available with a special download from Viigo. How to create an RSS feed via Say Ashley would like to set up Google Alerts for herself as an RSS feed. She would do the following:

    • Come up with an original name for her email that others might not use such as (it will always be • Go to Google Alerts (, fill out the form and enter the email address as • Now, she would go to Viigo > Add Channel > Enter URL > then she would enter (she could also enter a custom title, such as Google Alerts – Ashley)

One more thing, don’t lose all the feeds you have set up and customized. Your feeds are portable and will come with you as long as you set up a user name and password. Not sure how? Go to the Menu > Options > Account and complete the registration there. As a special treat for all you Power Users out there, here’s a look at how Viigo will look on the upcoming BlackBerry Storm.

Do you have a great way you use your BlackBerry for business that others may not have thought about? Is there a better way of doing what I did? Drop me a line, I might love it and write it up!

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Pack Like a Pro, Save on Baggage Fees – Best Packing Method

The best packing method I’ve found via Red Oxx

Now that you’ve cheated at Priceline and/or Hotwire, you’ve got to pack your bags!  Unfortunately, most domestic airlines charge $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second bag.  To smack those fees down fast, we need to be smarter than the airlines (easy).  Bundle Wrapping benefits you by allowing you to use a smaller bag so you can carry it on with you avoiding baggage fees altogether or allow you to pack everything into one bag versus two, saving you the extra baggage fee.  Additionally, bundle wrapping also reduces wrinkles since you don’t crease any clothing.

Bundle wrapping requires some easy prioritization of your clothing.  Start by having your jackets zipped, shirts buttoned and pants folded in half.  Have your socks, undergarments, dob kit and other soft goods together; this will form your core to bundle your clothing around.

When you begin bundle wrapping, you should keep all shirts and jackets face up, unless it is a tailored jacket, which should travel face down.  Start by laying the jacket out flat first <step 1>, if one is being packed, then lay a shirt in the opposite direction <step 2>.  Continue alternating until you’ve packed all jackets and shirts.  Next, lay the waist of your pants at the under arm portion of the shirt <step 3> and continue alternating until all the pants are packed.  Lay your core <step 4>, the soft goods mentioned above, in the center.  Now, take your pants and wrap them over the core <step 5> and wrap the shirts around the bundle <step 6> that you’ve built.  Wrap the final jacket or shirt around the bundle <step 7> and place it in the suitcase, then strap everything down <step 8> to minimize shifting during travel.

This packing method may seem complicated, but you only need to review the diagram (courtesy of Doug Dyment, once and it becomes a snap.  For your convenience, I’ve included the diagram above as a pdf. Your choice to pack efficiently can now save you the $15 first bag fee that most airlines charge and even the $25 second bag fee.

You’re ready to have a great time on your next trip.  Safe travels on your next adventure!

Viigo on the BlackBerry Storm – Sneek Peak

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing from my friends at Viigo. They have been hard at work getting their Viigo mobile app that does RSS, Weather, Flight Status and and and and… on th BlackBerry Storm. Check out the video here. Look for my piece today talking more about Viigo and how I use it, too!