Operational Excellence with Technology

Verizon Customer Service Fail

One of the “deals” websites I get via RSS had a nice offer on a blue tooth headset from Verizon, so I ordered it.

Got my confirmation email and left for Arizona for a week.

When I got back today, I’m going through my mail and parcels and didn’t see the headset.

So I check the order status on-line.  Status is “cancelled.”  No reason why.  Nothing.

And no notification.  If I hadn't gone on-line to find out where my "will arrive next day" shipment was, I would never have known. 

Think I’ll be switching to Verizon anytime soon?

Neither do I….

Save Money, Refill Ink Cartridges

Ever notice that sometimes you can buy a new printer for less than that replacement ink cartridge for it? The printer manufacturers went to the Gillette School of Marketing—give the printer (razor) away, the real profits are in the ink (razor blades). Take a look at this graph, HP Ink is more expensive than oil or blood!

Worse, most of the cartridges that come with printers are what the industry calls “light loads,” they don’t have a full amount of ink or toner you get with a new cartridge.

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My Health Care Quick Fix

I usually watch political debates like the current one on health care reform with amusement and frustration—frustration about how facts get distorted by both sides, especially those “end of the world” TV ads.

I was at my doctor’s office this past week, visiting my physicians assistant (I can’t remember the last time I actually saw my doctor) for my annual visit so I can get my prescriptions extended for another year.  It takes less than 5 minutes.  Since I have an HSA, high deductible health plan, I saw the actual cost of my visit when I paid it--$140.00!

Build Your Own Wiki

When I got my MBA, for one class I was part of a virtual team of 5. One member was in Bosnia, one in Singapore, and three of us scattered across the US. Every week we wrote a paper using Microsoft Word’s track changes feature and email. That was my first truly global collaboration, but there weren’t great tools readily available.

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Collaborate With Anyone, Anywhere

I believe Ray Ozzie should be named the father of collaboration. Way back he created Lotus Notes, probably the first successful server based collaboration platform. Then he created Groove, a peer to peer collaboration system that doesn’t require any servers. He’s currently Chief Software Architect at Microsoft.

What’s so special about Groove? Jon Udell put it this way back in 2000:

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Become a Travel Expert

Did you know that United Airlines has a “flat tire rule” that says if you miss your flight (within 4 hours) they will rebook you on the next available flight?

Or that there was a double elite qualifying miles promotion from April through June?

One of the powers of Web 2.0 communities is the shared knowledge you can get.

If you fly more than once or twice a year on the same airline, head over to FlyerTalk (

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Find the Best Seats on the Plane

You’ve got a plane ticket, where should you sit? If you fly a certain airline a lot, you figure out there are “special” seats (e.g. on United’s Ted the second exit row, row 11, has more leg room than domestic first class).

But what about that occasional flight on Aeroflot, the Russian national airline? Where are the good seats?

SeatGuru ( has the answer.

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Why do they make it so hard?

I have been helping a friend with a website that is exploding in popularity, was developed in HTML/CSS and has no intention of switching to a CMS, and has a registration/supporters page that has grown too fast to maintain with copy and paste.

I did a quick Excel formula that generated equivalent HTML to what GoLive produced and switched the registration form to a Google form that leaves the results in a Google Apps spreadsheet (eliminating data entry).


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