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Posts from April 15, 2018 - April 21, 2018

Relevance Matters

My SEO guru friend Steven Ray Marshall shared something with me this morning about Google's search algorithm changing and what it means. 

It comes down to RELEVANCE...For all the years I wrote about VoIP, one of the reasons VoIPWatch ranked on the first page of Google for so long, which is how I got to know Steve when he consulted to 8x8 and then LifeLock was my content had authority.

It had authority because of RELEVANCE. It's also why I don't write about Wine here, vs. on Winescene or why my attempt at remote working, called WorkingAnywhere were all different blogs back in the day.

With Google's change back to RELEVANCE maybe it's time to blog again. But there's more. In my view this latest move is a swipe at Facebook and is Google's way to garner even more ad dollars, and take them away from Facebook when the social network is under fire and attack for so many things they've done. Facebook ads were supposed to be highly personalized delivery while Google search was about authority.

Content marketing. Paid placements and yes, FAKE news all have damaged the reliability of the rankings. Google just changed that, upending the entire SEO world, for the good of Google's most important asset.

YOU.


Relevance Matters

My SEO guru friend Steven Ray Marshall shared something with me this morning about Google's search algorithm changing and what it means. 

It comes down to RELEVANCE...For all the years I wrote about VoIP, one of the reasons VoIPWatch ranked on the first page of Google for so long, which is how I got to know Steve when he consulted to 8x8 and then LifeLock was my content had authority.

It had authority because of RELEVANCE. It's also why I don't write about Wine here, vs. on Winescene or why my attempt at remote working, called WorkingAnywhere were all different blogs back in the day.

With Google's change back to RELEVANCE maybe it's time to blog again. But there's more. In my view this latest move is a swipe at Facebook and is Google's way to garner even more ad dollars, and take them away from Facebook when the social network is under fire and attack for so many things they've done. Facebook ads were supposed to be highly personalized delivery while Google search was about authority.

Content marketing. Paid placements and yes, FAKE news all have damaged the reliability of the rankings. Google just changed that, upending the entire SEO world, for the good of Google's most important asset.

YOU.


Alt Transit Battles Are Like Deja Vu

I'm guessing that when the first horseless carriage arrived there was outrage by public officials, but I don't know as I wasn't around back then. I do know that each time something "new" in transportation comes along that sooner or later some group of public officials challenges their right to be on the streets and sidewalks. It happened, and continues to happen to UBER, and now it's happening to BIRD, LIME and SPIN in San Francisco.

Let's face it. In the words of my 9th grade World History teacher, Royal Black, "history always repeats." So why is anyone, least of all the founders of any of these companies surprised. I'm sure not.

Having ridden a Bird scooter, complete with helmet, I can say its fun. What's more, city officials shouldn't look at the scooters and bikes as "the danger" but instead look at how they reduce traffic, curb carbon emissions, provide exercise and most of all get people out of cars, while reducing the overload on public transportation. 

It's easy to see the dockless bikes and scooters as litter on the sidewalk, but really those scooters and bikes don't linger long. The opportunities and possibilities surrounding these new modes of transportation are endless, starting simply as a way to get around without the hassle of a car, finding a parking spot and still being in control of my own ride vs. in the hands of another driver.

But for today, the battleground of change vs. keeping things status quo is happening, and that has to be deja vu....


Has Starbucks Lost Touch?

I read, as many did, about the Starbucks caused arrest of two men in Philadelphia.  Talk about a PR nightmare...but that's just another example of how Starbucks, like so many other companies today, are losing touch with their customers and their reason for being.

Starbucks coffee shops were designed and built so people could linger, hang out, meet friends. For many, the locations are often known as  "Conference Room S",  a term once shared by a former Starbucks executive who many years ago  lamented that was where so many people from many companies would go to meet when all the conference rooms were booked, hence the nickname. That's why what happened in Philly, where I grew up and spent the first 28 years of my life, is not an isolated situation. It's one that like the United airline mishaps with the Doctor being dragged of the plane or other airlines similar mishandling of situations, becoming more commonplace.  Staff are no longer aware of the brand and what it stands for or stood for.

Yesterday I went to the new Starbucks Reserve on La Brea. Much like the Reserve and Roastery in Seattle, the Reserve is a far more interesting, different and true coffee lover's mecca. But much like the Philadelphia staff's misread of why the two people were there, Starbucks comes across as having lost touch. I pulled in and immediately saw signs of a 20 minute parking lot restriction. That may be good for people who want to grab and go, much like a drive through, but I wanted to enjoy a different and finer grade of Starbucks and not be doing that while driving. Given the residential neighborhood, the fact that it was also Sunday, there wasn't much chance of finding on street parking. 20 minutes I thought..not a lot of time to enjoy the place. I was right.

Here's a beautiful retail environment, with chairs and small tables, a back area for people to work in a communal fashion, and very comfortable chairs.  It's designed to make you want you to linger and enjoy your coffee and likely go for a second cup. I was suitably impressed with the space, the abundance of natural light, the side by side chairs, the task oriented lighting and yes, the Google Wi-Fi. It took about ten minutes to get to the single cashier, but the assortment of coffees, including Jamaican Blue Mountain, which I ordered, was more like a local coffee shop than Starbucks we have all experienced. Having been so impressed in Seattle, I knew what to expect, but hey, this is L.A.  After paying I wandered around remarking to myself how well thought out the Reserve was designed. After about seven or eight minutes my name was called and I grabbed my coffee. I sat down and started to sip the piping hot, freshly ground and just made coffee. I needed to let it cool a bit, and by the time I was ready to drink it, I realized my 20 minutes were up so I left....coffee in hand.

I never really did enjoy my coffee. Just like the two men in Philadelphia didn't either as I can't really hold a coffee, and drive a five speed manual shift car.

Would I go back to the Reserve on La Brea. Maybe in an Uber....but candidly, I can find local coffee shops with an abundance of parking, without a 20 minute limit closer to home, and with coffee that's as good or better, and who also do Chem-X, French Press, Pour Overs and more, like the Reserve does. And since those usually take even longer to deliver than my fresh brewed drip coffee, I guess at the end of the day those 20 minute signs are there as reminders so people order but don't hang out in Starbucks....just ask the guys in Philly what doing that did for them.