Webconsuls Blog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering the Challenger 1986 and More

The crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pos...Image via Wikipedia
This past week has been filled with historic anniversaries like President John F. Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address and while this is a business blog, I think it is important to sometimes stop and remember the impact of these significant events. When I talk of impact I am not just talking about personal memories, but also how events shape our creativity and spark our willingness to take a chance. In today's world it appears we don't really have to rely on our personal memories or historical facts. Easy enough to "Google it" or search Wikipedia, as our brains have become cluttered with usernames and passwords.

I have written previously about my memory of Man's Walk on the Moon. It was a great day for Americans, important for all mankind, but we should today stop to remember a cold winter day, January 28, 1986, when we watched live as the Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral.

People of my generation were raised on the space program. It is our program. From the very early days families were committed to watching each endeavor on television. We were deeply saddened, horrified even, when on January 27, 1967 (44 years ago yesterday), the crew of Apollo 1 died in a cabin fire during a pre-launch test.

So it was on January 28, 1986, I was living and working in Conway, New Hampshire, and we were all excited that Christa McAuliffe of Concord, NH, was chosen to be the NASA's Teacher in Space.  I for sure was going to watch the lift off.  It was a Tuesday; I believe NASA may have decided to plan this take-off to occur on a school day so that students throughout the nation could watch the event on live TV (CNN).  We had an old black and white television in our work lunch room. At about 11:00AM I walked downstairs and took a seat with my co-workers. There was a lot of excitement in the air. The news cameras actively panned the public observers at Cape Canaveral, including Christa's parents. And as we all watched the final countdown and lift-off the cameras panned back to the crowd and then we knew by the look on Christa's parents' faces something was terribly wrong. The trail in the sky was not normal...and they were gone.

In shock, we continued to watch CNN for a while longer. I reached for the phone and called Dennis. He was watching at home. I went back to my office and throughout the day my co-workers and I took turns monitoring CNN's coverage. And so the day went.

This February 1st we will stop to remember the 8th Anniversary of the Columbia disaster. Yes, I was watching live coverage on that Saturday morning, too. Like I said this is our program and it came to be because of a young president's challenge 50 years ago.

25 years...hard to believe. Here's to the crew: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Resnik.

I would love for you to share your memories...


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Monday, January 24, 2011

T-Shirt Memory Blankets - Why Didn't I Think of That?

Aaron with his Disney t-shirt 1983
We all have "aha" moments. Or better yet, we smack our forehead and say to our self "Why didn't I think of that?" This morning I had one of those moments. I passed by the television which at the time was tuned to MSNBC. A promo ad was playing for MSNBC's Sunday Morning show Your Business highlighting  uBlanket.  Take a minute and watch a video here.



Ok, so now you have watched the video and I hope you have visited uBlanket's website. 'Remember...Reduce, Reuse, Rethread - All uBlankets are MADE IN THE USA!'

It is such a wonderful idea, great gift for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, retirements...the list is endless and it is a functional, cozy memory blanket - a keepsake that tells a story.

I don't want you to think or assume that uBlanket is our client. They are not (yet), but I love what they do and I think they have a great business model. Plus, I get a kick out of how simple the idea is. Think about it, or better yet, get up from your computer right now and walk over to your clothes closet or dresser (I am assuming you are at home or imagine you are at home). How many of these "memory or souvenir t-shirts or sweatshirts" do you own? I am going to bet dozens to 100s.

Here's the thing. Yes, this is a great idea, but it is not original. You know how I know?  As I wrote today to Brett Snowden, Co-founder uBlanket.com:
"about six years ago I was sorting through "stuff" with my younger son and we came across a bag filled with little t-shirts that had belonged to my older son. You know the kind of souvenir t-shirts that you buy babies and children when you are traveling, etc? Well, the older son stopped by the house and the younger son handed him the bag and told him to "do something with these shirts!" About four months later I received a package in the mail, a t-shirt blanket quilt made with the little t-shirts! Aaron and a friend had created the blanket."

But you see, an idea doesn't have to be original to be successful. It has to be acted upon. You have to think it through, plan it out, and do it!  In this case it really seems that Brett Snowden and John Murch are doing it right. They are doing it green and they are helping the homeless, too.  You can follow them on twitter @uBlanket and like them on Facebook.  

Let me know what you think? Do you have an idea you have been thinking about?  Or did you have an idea that you wished you had developed?
Do you see the Disney T-shirt on Aaron's Memory blanket?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reviewing 2010 and Ringing In 2011

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...Image via Wikipedia
Webconsuls' 2010/2011 Winter Newsletter
If 2010 was nothing else, it was a fast year. It seems only yesterday Dick Fay and I were working on our 2009 Winter Newsletter and now here we are writing our 2010/2011 Winter Newsletter. We want to take a few minutes to: Thank our Webconsuls' clients, introduce our newest clients, highlight some marketing and software ideas, suggest two resolutions for you and support our not-for-profit clients who assist children in need.

Thanking our clients...
Webconsuls and our team appreciates our clients. We learn from each and every client by optimizing their sites, designing new sites, building blogs, coaching our clients on new software and responding to their marketing needs. As you may know, we have clients across the United States (actually in 11 states) and in two foreign countries, representing industries from hospitality to law, health care to home maintenance, real estate to retail, sports and recreation to performing arts. There is never a dull day. 

Introducing our clients who joined us in 2010...
We invite you to meet our new clients and visit their websites.

Highlighting some marketing and software suggestions...

We know the internet is fluid. It changes daily. We try to keep our clients abreast of these changes by writing this blog, researching our clients' requests, providing news' feeds on our website, and publishing our newsletter. Over the past few years we have blogged a lot about social media/Google/Twitter. We have built blogs for our clients, we have worked with our clients to establish their Facebook business page.  Additionally, over the past year...
  • Dick has been particularly active assisting our clients by adding shopping carts with either PayPal or Authorize.net functionality.  
  • Dennis worked with clients to add a LIVEPerson feature for online customer engagement.
  • Malik, our lead designer and web developer, is also proficient in designing clients' e-newsletters using Constant Contact and Vertical Response.
  • Keith, our PPC specialist, works closely with several of our PPC clients to utilize phone conversion optimization software.  
  • Alycia, our branding expert, has been focused on improving Client Web 2.0 and specific SEO-related enhancements.
  • Daniel, our Social Media tech continues to sharpen his YOUTube video creation skills. We are sure you will enjoy the video he created for Seaward Inn to commemorate their 2010 Sunday Morning Live Series.


Suggesting two resolutions for you...


The first is to start reading our Webconsuls' blog on a regular basis.  As we said above, with our blog we communicate new information that we think is important to on-line marketing and social media.  

The second is to start and maintain your own blog.  Our clients with blogs generally receive more traffic than clients in similar fields without them.  Blogger now allows you to easily monitor your blog stats.  A blog is easy and relatively inexpensive to create.  Routinely writing posts can be a challenge, but it can  be rewarding with more virtual exposure, traffic, and new business.  You might start by also reading some of our clients' blogs like -  Delytes - A 'green' fine foods company  or Attorney Carilyn Ibsen's blog  or Attorney Will Bruzzo's blog.

Finally supporting our not-for-profit clients...

This year, as in years past, Webconsuls made a donation in honor of our clients to those not-for- profit clients who work to support children and families in need.
Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast MaineThe vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine is successful mentoring relationships for youth in Knox, Lincoln and Waldo Counties, contributing to better schools, stronger communities and brighter future.

The Promises Foundation Miriam's House
The Promises Foundation is committed to restoring hope for families by creating a safe environment for mothers and their children to grow and develop the tools they require to live meaningful and self-sufficient lives.
The Forrest General Healthcare Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Forrest General Hospital. The foundation helps ensure that the hospital's vision of C.A.R.E. becomes a reality for the 17 county region that the hospital serves. Initiatives include the Inpatient Hospice Home Project, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Renovation Project and the Spiritual Grounds at Pine Grove.

We wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year. Let us know if 2011 is the year you want to add some new features to your on-line marketing. We will be happy to discuss these opportunities and plan a strategy with you. 



Sincerely,
Dennis, Dick and Judy
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