Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The future is difficult to imagine

I came across the following thought-provoking video:

I apologize if you have already seen it, since it has been out about six months. But one thing about the video that struck me as relevant to this blog is the statements it makes about children, that we're training children for jobs that don't even exist yet, or that they will hold so many jobs before their mid-30s.

Is there a stronger statement of generational differences? And I thought there were a lot of differences between my dad's generation and my own.

Why is this relevant to this blog? Because of what I have said about Big Science Saturday and why I do it. (Or, more accurately, did it.) I can't say that my boys are going to be scientists, nor do I care. But I want them to be able to evaluate situations in a structured, critical way, since there is no way we can predict what they'll be faced with.

On a related note, it is Science Fair season at Crest View Elementary. Ryan's is required this year and Maddox's* is optional, although they're always required at the Earles household. Ryan's not a fan of Science Fairs, maybe because I have required his participation every year when only a few of his classmates also participated. However, we found a topic he enjoys, and we made it a little more interesting by suggesting he blog about it. Feel free to read his posts and comment. He loves getting new comments.

And who knows, maybe he'll really take to blogging. Gina and I are trying to use his blogging as an opportunity to teach some writing techniques, grammar, and spelling. But, even if he gets none of that from blogging, it's still fun to see him put himself out there.

*One of these days, I need to learn how to properly write the possessive form of Maddox: Maddox' or Maddox's.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

24 Hour Fitness just doesn't get it

This morning, my wife met her friend at 24 Hour Fitness to take some kind of cardio kickboxing class. Her friend was a member and had a free guest pass for Gina to use.

This 24 Hour Fitness facility is pretty new in north Boulder, having been open only a few months. As with any of these types of facilities, they have a fairly large, aggressive sales staff, since gyms make the most money off of sales to new members. (Of course, they hope these members don't use the facility so they can oversubscribe their asset base.)

When Gina showed her free guest pass, the salesman began giving his pitch. He asked if she was currently a health club member, to which she replied that she was and that she wasn't interested in joining 24 Hour Fitness. He then told her that she would have to leave!

He explained that they only give out those guest passes to those that are willing to go through the sales pitch. Gina pointed out that the pass said nothing about that, but that didn't seem to matter to him. Since she wanted to attend the class with her (now very embarrassed) friend, Gina agreed to listen to his pitch after the class, since it was about to begin. She ultimately just walked out after the class.

The whole thing just left a very bad taste in her mouth for 24 Hour Fitness. Do you think she's going to recommend that anyone else join that gym? Rather, she's probably going to go out of her way to tell potential members to avoid it.

Would it have been very difficult for the salesperson to say, "We normally provide those guest passes for those that may be interested in joining. However, please enjoy your visit today and make sure to tell your friends what you think?" The incremental cost of allowing her to visit was effectively zero. The incremental cost of trying to apply a rule that should not even have been in place (if you're going to have a rule, state it on the pass) was creating an annoyed, but well-networked, active health club member that knows a lot of other health club members. Seriously dumb.

How's this for a different approach? My friend David (his blog Bluerant is here) markets a kids' TV show called Big Green Rabbit. He saw that some fans posted a video from the show on their blog, so he sent them a little thank you package. Here is their response. What do you think that package cost BGR, maybe $20, including shipping? What do you think the value of that family's BGR evangelism is worth?

Businesses are built one delighted customer at a time. They can be torn down quickly by a handful of people with negative feelings.