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Kevin Martone
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Kevin Martone

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Anyone have trouble initially starting the broadcast of a scheduled Hangout On Air? My first try was a #fail No "join" or "start broadcast" button ever appeared. Any ideas?

It worked fine when I launched one on demand, but I need to be able to schedule them in advance.
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Kevin Martone

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As the numbers in Google+ continue to increase, it is becoming more important to consider this channel.
 
Great Google+ tips. 

It reminded me to clean up my rel=author stuff on my site.

And I can't wait to check out the shared circle database!
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This year, for the first time ever, my family purchased a season pass for a theme park - Six Flags Great Escape (http://www.sixflags.com/GreatEscape) near Lake George, NY. Yes, it was expensive, but only a few trips to the park would make the investment worth it for the year. And we were excited by the thought of paying up front and not having to worry about additional costs the rest of the season. Boy were we wrong. Despite paying hundreds of dollars, we were consistently bombarded with requests to pay more.

We left the park with a slightly bitter taste, as though we didn't get everything we could from the experience. I blame the park for this  completely. Why?

1) The food in the park is overpriced and of poor quality. For example, we paid over $10 for a salad which was basically a bowl of lettuce. The only dressing available was ranch dressing sitting out in the hot sun.

2) Employees constantly try to draw you (and especially your kids) in to additional purchases. "Play this game for a prize!" "Buy this souvenir drink cup and get cheap refills all season long!"

3) The only way to leave the park is - you guessed it - through the gift shop. We work hard to teach our kids to be thankful for what they have, but it's not easy to steer them through a gift shop without them starting to feel like they missed out on something.

None of this should be very surprising. I imagine most theme parks are like the Great Escape in this way. But the Six Flags brand prides itself on selling an experience, not just a bunch of rides. But they taint that experience by making people feel like they haven't gotten everything they could out of the trip, like they missed out on the real fun at the park.

They also missed the boat by not even responding to my email complaining about the salad and the gift shop departure gate. What kind of customer service doesn't reply to email complaints?

What's the solution?

If Six Flags and other theme parks want to sell themselves as an immersive experience, they need to dial back the up-sells and add-ons throughout the park. Food should be priced more reasonably (and have better choices for families and those trying to eat healthier). You should leave the park with your best feeling of the day, not your worst; remove the gift shop from the exist. Instead have one of their characters taking pictures with guests as they exit. One last memory of the day, a high note that people will mention to their friends when they get home. Wouldn't it be great if your kids left a theme park after meeting their favorite character rather than with a small, cheap trinket (or feeling sad they weren't able to buy that cheap trinket)?

All brands should think about the customer experience and what memory they are leaving their customers with as they leave. Especially brands trying to compete with Disney, which has sold experience for generations.
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This is great! I'll try something like this with the kids for a science experiment.
 
Different Densities of Liquids

Via Reddit at: http://i.imgur.com/Kp3RA.jpg
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Berkshire Bank built a new branch near my home to much fanfare about its new design and customer focus. I wanted to find out more about what they've done, so I stopped in to check it out. What's new?

- No more queued teller lines. Bank staff work at open, high-top tables, not behind a glass partition.

- Free coffee! Keurig cups are available at no charge.

- Free WiFi and a couple of wired desktops for customers to use to get online.

- Huge community room that customers can use for catered meetings, book groups, even yoga classes. The room includes a 60+ inch HD TV. The room is free to use during normal business hours.

- The HD TV includes Xbox controllers for kids to play while their parents take care of banking.

- Most importantly, the staff is very friendly and willing to answer questions. Ken, the branch manager (pictured with the HD TV) offered to bring me on a tour throughout the bank, discussing the features of the branch (and of their accounts).

So, will I move my accounts there?

Probably not. It would require a big difference in service to go through the hassle of moving my accounts. Although I appreciate a bank actually thinking about the customer experience, these changes feel cosmetic.

What would a real design change at a bank include?

What could a bank do to convince me to change providers?

1) More hours outside of normal banking hours.

Why are the banks open during the hours most people are working? Why not shift hours two days each week so that they are open from 4 pm to 10 pm instead of 9 am to 3 pm?

2) Information I really need at the branch and on the website.

I can never remember my account numbers. How about a simple lookup screen on the available computers to find my account number?

I also can never remember my online password for my bank. Every financial institution has their own password rules. Why don't they list those rules on the front page of the website when I'm logging in? I'd be much more likely to remember in that case.

3) Think through customer needs seasonally.

At tax time, why isn't there a link on the homepage of a website to download my tax forms from the bank? I know they are mailed to me, but this is information that can easily be made more available to me online.

Just a little bit more thinking in the shoes of banking customers could go a long way.

What would you like your bank to change in their branch or website design?
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Have him in circles
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Kevin Martone

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I'm still a bit skeptical, since Google has historically failed to combine its tools effectively (for example, why Google Docs and Google Groups weren't combined in the past was always a mystery). Also, Google+ still feels dominated by early adopters, even with it's large growth. Twitter on the other hand has a much more diverse user base (IMO).

However, this article makes some great points. And I am a big believer in Google+ Hangouts for lots of purposes. Thoughts?
 
The coming domination of Google+

FastCompany explains why Google+ may dominate social media. Can I say, "I told you so,"?

http://www.fastcompany.com/3005682/future-google-plus-and-its-path-social-media-domination

Image credit: Mashable
#HolyKaw  

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I've always liked this story.
 
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

author unknown -- happy to attribute if somebody knows
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Do NOT Erase
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Looking forward to reading this from "Long Tail" author Chris Anderson...
 
My new book launches today!

If you liked The Long Tail, you'll love this. It's about what's happening as the Web's innovation model extends to the real world of physical goods. From 3D printing to Kickstarter, the industrialization of the Maker Movement could do for manufacturing what the Web did for content--an explosion of choice, creativity and entrepreneurship.

We've seen what what can happen when regular people get access to extraordinary tools, first with the PC and then with the Web. Now it's manufacturing's turn--the third wave of the digital revolution.

This is my most personal book. It starts with the story of my grandfather, the inventor of the automatic sprinkler system, and my own experience building a Maker community and then a company, 3D Robotics. But it also tells the stories of scores of other Makers who are using everything from desktop fabrication tool to "cloud manufacturing" to create new products and markets -- the Long Tail of Stuff.

I'm really excited about this movement. And I'm really proud of this book. I think you'll like it ;-)
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Here are some useful templates you can use for your #nonprofit on Google Docs.
 
We’ve mentioned several uses of Google Docs to help you stay organized and communicate with your donors, volunteers and team members. Today, we shared a few Google Doc templates our team has created for you to do just that.  Check them out at our blog: http://goo.gl/So7Y2.

Do you have any Google Doc templates that you use to stay organized and communicate with your donors and advocates? If so, please share them with us as a comment on this post. 
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Kevin Martone

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I was planning to post this exact thing about President Obama talking about the importance of storytelling, but +David Meerman Scott beat me to it.

This also has implications for nonprofits, who need to tell a compelling story of their impact.

Thoughts?
 
Obama says his biggest mistake as president has been communication.  during an interview with CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose in the White House Blue Room. 

My thoughts on what this means for CEOs and marketers.
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Introduction
Nonprofit technology program manager, uses tech to solve business problems. Interested in social media and digital communications.
 
Presenter. You can find some of my presentations here: www.slideshare.net/kmartone
 
Loves books on innovation, change, and presentations. I track my latest reads on my LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/kmartone.
 
I share more thoughts and ideas on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kmartone.
 
Husband and Father.
 
Avid Siena Saints fan.
Kevin Martone's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Google Plus 50
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