Saturday, October 28, 2006

Montreal, Canada

For last two weeks I was in Montreal, Canada.

The first interesting product placement I noticed was in my hotel's vending machine:

Item C2

Perhaps a closer look?

Trojan Big Daddy Cookie

Next to the vending machine above was this beer vending machine:

Beer Vending Machine

Thanks to Montreal's Japanese Garden, you can also dress up your flat with labels from Sake bottles. 乾杯!

Wallpaper of Sake bottle labels

The garden also do not like Adidas:

No Adidas on Tatamis

In order to enter for this contest to win a trip for two to Italy, you must have basic math skills to solve the problem. I did got the correct answer (it is -2), then I read the fine print about this offer is only valid for Quebec residents.

Trip to Italy Contest Ticket

There is a variety of american airline that can take you there. There is abundance of cheap flights, that make everyone go airlines. The alaskan airlines offer discounts every 2 months, and so do the ata airlines.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Aleksey Vayner's Resume

videos: veoh & wmv

At first, I thought this video was a parody of some sort, but it is not.

This video is part of Yale student Aleksey Vayner’s resume he sent out to potential employers. Since then, it has been circulating among firms of Wall Street financial sector as well as on various websites as a laughing stock.

The almost seven minutes long video showed Vayner weight lifting, playing tennis, ballroom dancing, and smashes several stacked bricks, while he speaks in monotone about “If you're going to work, work. If you're going to train, train. If you're going to dance, then dance, but do it with passion.”

In his 11-page long written resume, he also claimed to the CEO of his own investment firm (then why did he need employment elsewhere?), has knowledge of Chinese medicine, published a book about the Holocaust titled “Women’s Silent Tears”, one of four people qualified to handle nuclear waste in Connecticut, has been previously employed by both the CIA and mafia, and last but not the least, he gave tennis lessons to Harrison Ford.

Of course, idiots like Vayner would never expect employers to do background checks.

All his claims were false. He even plagiarized his own mission statement from another firm.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Are you REALLY interested in Diskeeper?

Several weeks ago I downloaded a copy of Diskeeper from their website and gave it a try. Ever since then, I have been getting emails from Diskeeper’s sales person.

At first I thought, “Wow, how nice of them. They actually care about their customers.”

A few days later, I ran into a problem. Diskeeper was not running and gave me the message of “diskeeper can not initialize”. I called their tech support after went through all the methods in their knowledge base.

They did not have any idea about how to fix it.

Eventually I figured it out myself. Due to a software glitch either in Microsoft Windows XP or Diskeeper, the Windows’ Page File size was set to zero instead of a correct value.

Last Friday, I got another pestering email from Diskeeper’s sales person. I assumed this person was having a bad day when the second sentence in his email was:

“To tell you the truth when I look at the data you left on the Download I don't feel that your particularly interested in Diskeeper for purchase but it is my job to contact you and make sure that the product performed to you satisfaction.”

Here is my reply (I have blackened out his contact information in the pdf file, since he apologized in second email):

Dear Diskeeper Sales Person,

Thank you for all your emails.

Frankly, I am quite annoyed with the way you have been pestering me regarding the demo copy or copies of Diskeeper software I have downloaded. I understand it is part of your job to keep a close contact with potential clients, especially after we have downloaded demo copies of your software. But, when someone does not reply to your inquires, most likely there are three reasons:

1. We are no longer interested in your product. Perhaps your competitors have offered us better deals, or we have found other solutions.

2. We are busy with other projects, replying to your inquire has the lowest priority on our to-do list. If we get really annoyed, a quick "no" reply would only take few seconds.

3. Getting bombarded with "I am just checking in" emails have made your sales-pitch seem desperate, thus forces us to delay our decisions until further evaluation.

When I filled in my contact information in Diskeeper's download page, I did it as professional courtesy. However I did not expect pestering emails like the ones you have sent. They almost sounded like a dumped ex-girlfriend/boyfriend seeking reunification. Clearly we can see who did the actual "dumping".

I am certain that you are a much better sales person than I could ever be, but I thought I would share some tips with you:

1. Don't ever pin the customer into a corner. In sales, when the customer is pinned between making a decision of buying or not buying, unnecessary pressure would push the customer to choose No. The golden rule of sales – The person who has money still in his pocket has the absolute power.

2. Offer alternatives from competitors. This concept may sound dumb, but in practice it is very effective. Since Diskeeper is not the only software out there that does disk defragmentation, in the emails you sent out, you should include information on your competitors' products. Show the customer the weak points and strong points between your product and others. When in doubt, think Progressive, the auto
insurance company.

3. Don't abuse the potential customer contact information. Having a place for customers to filling their contact information is a good way to monitor and collect sales data, but it is a double-edged sword. People communicate with each other fast and often. Many successful businesses are based on the principle of "Word-of-Mouth" advertising. In today's digital age, it is "Word-of-Email" or "Word-of-Blog". Any thing negative or positive about company or product will be public within minutes.

I think I have said enough, or more than what you wanted to hear.

Before I end this, I would like to reply to your original questions. Diskeeper is a good product. There was one instance where I could not run it due to a "diskeeper can not be initialized" error. I have contacted Diskeeper's tech support, but I did not get prompt response. After search on the web, I discovered there is a glitch in either Diskeeper or Microsoft Windows 2000/XP, where the Page File size has changed to zero.