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Posts Tagged ‘austin business’

PostHeaderIcon Financials of Santa

My 10-year-old son had a friend over this Sunday morning and we were all sitting down at the breakfast table talking when the question of how Santa really could possibly to get to all those houses in one night. We batted around the idea of teleportation and time travel. Eventually, I suggested that I think that because of the costs of feeding and caring for the reindeer year-round, the maintenance on the sleigh not to mention the costs associated with the workshop, Santa might do well to outsource it to all the parents. Give them $100 per kid and he and Mrs. Claus could just hang out and not have to deal with the headache of managing such a large operation.

We then talked about whether or not he was following the proper labor laws with the elves. Are they getting breaks? Is he truly paying them a fair wage? My husband maintains that they are volunteers and voluntarily live and work at the North Pole. I say that sounds more liked forced slave labor. I also wonder about the true age of some of these elves.

I also maintain that there’s no way he can do this for free. This whole Christmas thing is really popular. I bet he gets a cut off of it somehow.

We finally decided that without knowing the true labor laws and taking a deeper look into the old guy’s financials we couldn’t properly make a determination. Perhaps we need to ask to see his tax filings? Hmmm…

What? Okay. Fine. What do YOU talk about at the breakfast table, eh?

PostHeaderIcon A simple little takeaway from the Statesman

I’m a huge fan of our local newspaper here in Austin, The Austin American Statesman. However, I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually touched a newspaper. I’m skeeved out by newsprint. It comes off on your fingers and smudges and well, I’m a diva deep down, I suppose. Aside from that, I prefer to grab my news online, in smaller bites or through my Kindle (yes, I subscribe).

Oh, I could get it from any number of news outlets here in Central Texas, but I’ve stayed pretty true to the Statesman. Why? Simply because they care. It shows in their reporting, and it has for many years. BUT, there’s also a secret reason I adore my local paper. Twitter. No, I’m not kidding. Take a look at their Twitter stream and you’ll see why. There’s no RSS flood of news stories every hour (like some of the news stations – oy!), there’s no starched little headlines. There’s some guy there with his computer or phone or whatever and he’s talking WITH us. He’s telling us what’s going on – and this, my friends, is the part that most other news outlets don’t get – they are replying. If you type in @statesman blah blah blah into Twitter, you can bet they will reply to you. Even if it’s “Oh great, glad you liked that photo” or “yeah, yeah, we’ve had the weather wrong for 3 days now”. I like that they are human on there. The guy running it has a sense of humor. Shocking, I know.

I attended the Statesman’s social media awards over the weekend while I was out at SXSWi where they did tell us that they aren’t struggling like most of the other newspapers out there (and if you read anything about publishing, you know it’s pretty scary out there). I was a little surprised, but in some ways I wasn’t really all that surprised. They get it. They do it right. Not just online, but in the paper itself. I always feel the human element, the fact that they’re listening to their readers.

Anyway… I took away that we all need to do that. To listen to our customers, our readers, our clients, our partners, whomever it is out there that we are trying to reach. I will admit that I’m guilty of getting bogged down in numbers and reports that I sometimes forget that there’s a real human being behind all that mess. Not a bad take away for a simple little ceremony.

PostHeaderIcon Austin Leading in Economic Recovery

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my clients, but this is my 12th year living here in Austin (yes, I realize I never get to be “from” here, always a transplant) and I’ve come to absolutely love this town, the people, the businesses… just everything.

Oh, I never would have believed I’d become one of those people until I actually lived here. There’s something about walking into a local business in Austin. It’s like nothing you can explain. San Francisco has it’s own vibe (I’ve been there and I think I’d totally live there if not here) – BUT – Austin definitely has it’s own drummer, folks 🙂 This was driven home for me lately when I went to find a used clarinet for my son to start to learn to play on. We were referred to a little local shop, Play It Again Music, and the lady in there spent over an hour with us, showing my son what he needed to know. All for a little $200 used clarinet. If you’ve never been to a funky little Austin shop before, you must find one immediately *laughing*

So, when I see things like this video over at CNN, it makes me smile and it makes me pretty darn proud to be from this crazy little big city.  Many thanks to my long-time local client, Robert Grunnah over at Castle Hill Investments, for sending this link to me – check out their blog too.

For those of that live here, the fact that Austin is leading in this economic recovery is no big surprise. Oh, we felt it here, don’t get me wrong, but I think we didn’t feel it quite as bad as some other parts of the country.

Go, Austin, Go! And keep being weird… that’s why I stick around (even if I do tend to stick to my far far Northwest suburban area) 😉

PS – I just saw an article from The Austin-American Statesman that Facebook is opening an Austin office. WooHoo!

PostHeaderIcon The breakfast that wasn’t…

This morning, I was supposed to attend the Social Media Breakfast with a friend and colleague. We left the house at 7am and managed to go 5 miles in 45 minutes. Yeah, we turned around. You see, Austin was getting sleet at that time. So traffic… yeah, it sucked and there was no way we’d get downtown.

So, we took our own little 2-person meeting and went to Kerby Lane, where we sat by a window and watched the flakes float down.

It was a memory I’ll never lose because the conversation was really good and let’s face it, how often does it snow here? Yeah… never.

I’m sure we missed a great presentation, but also made a connection and memory that will last… that seems more important (plus we didn’t have to try to get downtown in that snarled traffic mess!)