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My older son just turned 8 years old last week and among his presents he received a robotic dog toy. I actually can’t remember the name of the manufacturer and don’t know if I would even want to link to them.

He saw it prior to Christmas and expressed an interest for it but Santa probably didn’t have enough to go around so we got him one. It seemed fairly straightforward to use when we pressed the demo buttons in the store and he is quite good at figuring out how things work. After getting my rushed degrees in Engineering and Neurosurgery I finally manage to separate the goods from the packaging and extracted the little bugger. There was more plastic holding the thing in place within the box than the toy is actually made of and there was no opening flap of any kind on any of the six sides of the box. It came with a hefty user’s manual so while he started to play with it we perused the instructions.

This thing is supposedly full of sensors; 12 in fact, and it uses the “latest technology”. For the price we paid it better well be. The toy didn’t want to do any of what it is supposed to. Then all of a sudden it did respond and the boys had some fun with it. My wife had the guide and started to laugh while reading the following passage. I have to admit I found it funny too but the more the boys tried to get this thing to react the more I thought “What a piece of crap” and to cover that fact someone in Marketing was probably ordered to put a spin on this. Here is what the user’s guide says:

“[product name] uses the latest artificial intelligence software. He has the intellect of an 8-week old puppy. Puppies aren’t perfect and neither [product name]. He can have a mind of his own. Sometimes [product name] will respond to your command, and sometimes he will do what he wants to do. It all depends on how he feels and how you are trying to communicate with him.” (grammatical errors as per text)

That paragraph describes the toy perfectly. Is this not the perfect cop out for a piece of junk? The “latest artificial intelligence software” – WOW! Not at M.I.T., NASA or SONY but right here in my son’s new toy! This thing can actually decide to do what it wants … or is it a malfunctioning ripoff? Call me skeptical. My son has given up on the toy and we have an expensive doorstop.

Here is the conversation at the company headquarters as I imagine it:

CEO: what do you mean there is a problem with the software?
VP R&D: well, it isn’t quite doing what we hoped it would.
VP Production: what? We already have 250,000 units made!
CEO: not to mention $2 million spent in R&D.
VP Sales: let’s just move ahead and ship them out anyway.
Everyone stares at him with mouthes gapping.
VP Sales: just get someone in marketing to prove themselves by putting a spin on this and pulling it out of the fire.

Well, I hope that person got the free lunch they deserve. That advanced intelligence doorstop is going back to the store and my son can have any LEGO set of his choice within the same price category. At least I know that will never let him down. I think a letter to the company is in order too.


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If you live in the United States and happen to have a cell phone with T-Mobile, or are thinking of switching carriers, there is a great new offer they have. I understand we will have a similar offer available in Canada this fall. Technologies are finally converging and making sense for consumers. I have long been trying to whittle down to having only 1 telephone number PLUS good coverage wherever I go PLUS combine extremely low cost (free) long distance calls. Right now that means having a combo of cell phone, home phone, office phone and VoIP or a good long distance plan.

Well T-Mobile quietly introduced a new plan in the USA last Friday. I quickly made some calls to local telco contacts and found out we should have something similar in a few months.

Read all about it here.

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We are OFF today!

We are enjoying a relaxing long weekend here and today is day 3.

See you tomorrow!

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We’re working on a nice graphic to depict Real-e-Live People™ in action; as the saying goes: a picture is worth 1000 words! In the mean time here is some VERY simple math to show you what will happen when you add ReLP to your online marketing mix.

How much is increasing your profit worth to you?
Consider this the old method of online business:

  1. You created your web site because you have something to offer; be it a product, service or information.
  2. Your marketing initiatives relentlessly draw visitors to your site.
  3. These visitors are coming because they are interested by this offer, and your success lies in them making a transaction. But how?
  4. Will they pick up the phone? Will they send an email or fill out your form? Will they check out or abandon their shopping cart? The key is in the conviction your site has of persuading them to act.
  5. The only thing you can really do is keep driving traffic and play the numbers game.

THAT was the old way!

Now, to be much more successful at doing business online; repeat points 1 to 3 from above, sprinkle with a bit of point 4, and add Real-e-Live People™ live help to your whole system. Now you can actually reach out to all those visitors.

THIS will be your new way!

“BUT HOW MUCH IS IT?!” you ask. To which we reply “First look at what it does for you!”

Let’s start with some basic assumptions:

• Your site gets 1000 visitors per day
• You currently have a 1% conversion rate; so 10 of those visitors become clients
• You are selling 1 item for $20 to each client from Monday to Friday
• You are spending $100 per day in advertising

10 visitors buy 1 item at $20 each = $200 x 5 days = $1000 in sales

$100 advertising x 5 days = $500 ad expense

$1000 – $500 = $500 per week profit; not too bad.

Now let’s say you implement a new tool to increase your conversion rate by just 1% more:

• so now 20 of those visitors become clients
• all the rest stays the same

20 visitors buy 1 item at $20 each = $400 x 5 days = $2000 in sales

$100 advertising x 5 days = $500 ad expense

$2000 – $500 = $1500 per week profit!!

You have DOUBLED your sales and TRIPLED your profit while maintaining the same number of visitors!!

Conversion table

To summarize the equation we have:

• Old way: $500 per week profit x 4 weeks (per month) = $2000 profit

• New way: $1500 per week profit x 4 weeks (per month) = $6000 profit
(Minus the monthly cost of your Real-e-Live People™ package)

Would this not be worth a reasonable monthly investment?

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