Why cash is priceless

We have recurring incidents at work were we have to ‘hot’ a Membercard (this is a plastic card similar to a bank card that has a PIN that you use to access funds at an ATM or use on the Interac network to buy something). To ‘hot’ a card means to take away the card’s ability to transact any business. It won’t work anymore.
There are a number of reasons why a financial institution (FI) would do this. One is that there is reason to believe the card has been compromised, which means someone other than yourself has access to your account by means of a fake card. Given that this happens, the most secure means of transacting business is cash. Cash. $$$.
Simply put, withdraw your money at the FI from your favourite teller and pay for everything in cash. Simple, cheap, anonymous and secure. But for most, not convenient. Remember every-time you use your card an electronic record is created. That means there is a cost to do this either for you and/or the merchant. It also means that what you have done is not ‘anonymous’.
Using the plastic has a price. Using cash keeps everything you want in your domain. With cash your privacy remains priceless.

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In your face

Trey Reeme wrote me after posting a comment on Open Source CU. It got me to thinking about what a blog is and what it does especially as it applies to people and businesses. Someone once told me that small credit unions are a conscience for larger credit unions. We have this symbiotic relationship. As organizations grow larger it is apparent that their social conscience diminishes, not out of choice but because their size creates difficulties if not impossibilities on trying to maintain a focused and understood social conscience. That coupled with the new realization that marketing/PR is not appreciated when it is shoved in your face without any regard to who you are or what you think. It’s like most advertising in in ‘black and white’, absolute, with the agenda to BUY. We have changed. Blogs and the internet have begun a very different dialogue between the buyer and the seller -there should be an E-bay rating for all companies.

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This difference produces marketing/PR that is in colour with every hue available. You have to now prove what you state and you don’t get a second chance. You could call it coloured no chance marketing. Because if you are wrong, or if an employee takes a stance that is at odds with what you are trying to idealize and that party that you offended understands blogging then watch out. From their small network someone has started pulling the thread and everything your business has done begins to unravel.

Does it mean much? Absolutely. It is the lethal injection to the word of mouth buzz that is critical. It is permanent. What is posted on the internet is like something written on stone tablets. Pretty tough to erase and there for the world to see for a long time.

Punk Marketing

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This book is one of the most interesting you will read about marketing. Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons. From the very beginning they begin to make statements that you thought about but were too kind to say. Advertising agencies being ‘brand guardians’. Now there is a concept that needs no explanation. They discuss that TV is not the end all it once was. And that the shift in power to consumers (internet, blogs, wikis) is here and we had better take notice (those of us that are selling in the marketplace).

For example Daren Barefoot’s blog on Vancity has now moved into another realm, opensourcecu.com. And where are they? A small company in Piano, Texas just north of Dallas. That is what is happening and it is happening now. They go into pretty much the state of advertising as we are seeing it. There is very little historical information as they put what happened yesterday in context of why it doesn’t really work today. One of the best lines was on page 179 when it was talking about spending ‘Punk Marketers know that not having as much money means you think more than you spend‘. I picked it up at the airport and quickly finnished it. Now it is in the mail to our ad agency Currency. I am waiting for a long lunch discussion!

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is discussed in a recent Atlantic Monthly article – “The Web 2.0 Bubble” by Michael Hirschorn. He talks at length about MySpace and Facebook and tends to make the statement that Web 2.0 = social networking. Sure the big guys are trying to grab a piece of the Web 2.0 hype but probably for all the wrong reasons. Networks and links, groups and friends, exist because we are social animals, plain and simple, and when technology allows us to do this easily and without taking public transit then we will avail ourselves of the gift. It is not a bubble just another evolution of what is happening on the web.

The key question is what is it moving into? Where is this taking us this time? There are endless resources now available that take a huge amount of time to just keep up with. Techcrunch for example. This is a great site that keeps volumes of information available to view what is being released. The complexity of what is offerred continues to be amazing. What we thought impossible 10 years ago is a reality. But is seems that everyone is racing to get the magic app on the web. They want to be the next Flickr, Technorati, or del.icio.us. Is this that what the churn is about? To get an app ready for the big sale? Probably, but in the meantime we mere mortals are awash in a techcircus that delivers entertainment and awe to those that remember lesser days.

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Lots of talk about rain…

You know the rain is getting to everyone here when everyone starts talking about it. Nobody says much just something like “It sure has been raining”. Some people seem to get depressed over this which is understandable. But when you live in a rain forest what can you expect. The sun was out last Saturday in Winnipeg and it was very nice. But it was -19 C so you couldn’t go for a long stroll in a t-shirt.

I see that our esteemed Burnaby School trustees have voted not to allow the distribution of Gideon Bibles, somethat that has been happening for 60 years. They seemed to have reacted to one complaint. That is a great way to govern. One person complains and we change what has not been a problem for over 60 years. Why do we have governments that move so quickly on the politically correct issues yet when it comes to the hard stuff in usually goes to a consultant for more studies? Note to self: find out who voted for this because at the next election they won’t be getting my vote.

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Nashville

The Canucks won tonight with a shutout. The first period was one of the fastest I have ever seen. There were only 2 whistles by the 14 minute mark. They looked very, very crisp. The second period was viewed from the Telus suite’s 32 inch large monitor. Somehow we ended up there and thankfully there were no goals. The last period wasn’t as fast as the first but it was chippy. Cooke is like a maniac on the ice the way he hits people sometimes. Good hockey, well great hockey, when your team wins.

Masses of stuff

WestJet is pretty good. The flight home was delayed but the airline people kept you in the loop and they were very friendly. Just their easy way of saying things was different. Mind you the drink and the pretzel package was pretty skimpy. I wonder if any airline will ask if you want to super-size the handout?

Winnipeg was beautiful Saturday morning. It was cold, clear and sunny. The blue sky with the white snow was a stark contrast to the Vancouver rain. The real beauty is that you know you are leaving the next day to daffodil country so it can get as cold as it wants. But this is the prairies and they do have some raw beauty.

Want to check to see if your website is censored in China? Here is the URL to check it out. The site mentions how the Chinese are becoming more sophisticated in this process of blocking. Not much as to specific details as to how and what they are doing though.

Spending too much time reading blogs? Here is the great Wiki piece to sort you through this dilemma. There are always some neat blogs that loose relevance after awhile but the number does grow. I have 3 separate groups that I read each day. One group is about technology, the second is about GTD and the last the general blogs of interest. Between the three there is ample information and some very interesting ideas. You do need to focus on what is useful and what is entertainment.

I saw an ad for a toothbrush that had some additional feature (like toothbrushes can now be bought with options) to brush your tongue. Seemed like a good idea but last weeks Georgia Straight had an article on toothbrushes. Near the end of the article was this “Don’t brush your tongue…By brushing or scraping your tongue, you will create all kinds of changes to the ecology of your tongue. You scrape off bodies of protection called keratin. That’s the body’s protective mechanism against germs.” Don’t brush your tongue is a better idea.

Winnipeg

Well it is off to Winnipeg for National Synod meeting. It will be interesting to see some new faces and reacquaint with others I haven’t seen for awhile. It is currently -16C which is a bit brisk for a westcoaster. But we won’t be sitting outside.
The Canucks are playing St. Louis and have slipped to a 2-2 tie. It looks like the wind is coming out of those sails. But then no one would be saying that unless they were Canuck fans, right? Then one of the Sedins scores and we win in overtime with a powerplay goal.

Derek Miller has the Northern Voice 2007 poster on his site. That should make Basco5 happy!

The Olimpicks

Michael Geist has written an excellent piece on what the government is doing (Bill C-47) to protect the integrity of this sporting event. Remember it is a sporting event. S-P-O-R-T-I-N-G. Not exactly in the category of something life threatening here. But our caring government has taken the time to make sure that the big ‘O’ will be pristine in every measure. Nothing must tarnish this image.

I’m sorry but what is happening here? Why are we spending this massive amount of $$$ and time for 17 days of watching adults sport in the snow. The truth is that it will probably be more like watching adults in the slush or rain. A friend of ours went to Salt Lake City when the ‘O’ was on. He said that around 45% of the tickets for the opening event were put aside for public dignitaries and the rest of the tickets started at $800 US per seat. I am so waiting for the ticket prices and availability of tickets to be published. By then it will be too late to say anything but it would appear that a very small minority will even be able to afford to attend any event.

Then again there will be such a spirit of co-operation and friendliness that we will all be in a nirvana like state. Until it is over and the bills need to be paid. Before anyone offers any suggestions on what to do we should all re-read the Animal Farm. Somebody is always trying to sell us and then get us to build those windmills.

The Must-Do List

The New York Times editorial today is called the Must-Do List. The piece asks what Bush needs to undo with the first point being to retore Habeas Corpus. I was not aware that this condition existed in the USA. This is unimaginable. To put this writ aside, which is not to determine one’s guilt or innocence but soley to decide if you have been illegally imprisoned serves what purpose? If the charge is valid you go free, if not you stay imprisoned. To tamper with this truly shows how xenophobia continues to be alive and well in our southern neighbour.