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These stories are always somewhat funny, but hit really close to home based on the fact that the volume of my career’s work has been in telecommunications. I have been in situations like this (albeit not nearly as drastic) where you have to manage through all of the snowball that happens as a result. While it is so incredibly complicated, I think we are all starting to better learn how to navigate these scenarios and remind ourselves how easy it is for the 0.1% of people to derail the boat which is otherwise navigated by the 99.9%.

The one thing that shocked me though? 2 years of service was the alleged reimbursement offer (and 2 subsequent years of free service)… What’s that, a little less than $10k? I know if I were a customer I would be looking for WAY more than that. Right? What do you think – what’s the price on ’embarrassment’ or ‘agony’ now in a digital age where it’s so easy to smear a company and have it go viral?

Til Next Time,

Michael

ebates

Am I the last person to the Ebates party? In case I’m not, anyone who isn’t familiar and shops online should absolutely use it. It’s free to use and gets you actual cash back (well – in my case it’s virtual since I have it dip back into my PayPal). I’m amazed at how this program is structured, as I imagine the back end is extremely complicated. These sorts of third party loyalty/rewards programs that offer real money always seem to be difficult to orchestrate. How does Ebates get the money back from the retailer? Do they provide a monthly report to retailer XYZ that says “We sent 247 customers to your site who ended up spending $3,602, meaning you therefore owe us 3% (2% we gave back to customers and the 1% we keep)”? I know that’s a gross oversimplification, but I always wonder how these sorts of negotiations go when it comes to big box/massive retailers and third party sales/campaign crews. It’s just crazy to think someone like Amazon would give up to 8% cash back via Ebates for particular product categories. It’s a direct cut into their margin, right?

But I won’t complain – as I did cash out pretty nicely after the holidays all cleared up!

LINK TO SIGN UP (selfish disclosure – this is technically a referral link although I think I only get $5 if you actually sign up and use it)

Til Next Time,

Michael

pocket-operators

I know I have continued to shout the “kids should code” argument a lot over my time here on the blog… But here’s a unique way to teach kids the fundamentals of things like code without necessarily making them feel like a computer programmer. I think the more kids we can get into things like music (especially the meticulously constructed kind rather than the passive listening kind), the more we can open up both the right and left brain. And the more we can get kids tapped into the left brain, the more doors open down the road because of their ability to critically and logically analyze any situation (be it in band practice or in the board room) to drive the best possible outcome.

Not saying every kid needs to become a DJ – but hey – it would at least give a pretty solid foundation in something that requires detailed planning and execution rather than letting them Instagram their lives away.

Til Next Time,

Michael

header_best-paying-jobs

A couple weeks back, I was reading Yahoo Finance and one of the side stories caught my eye. It was a story about jobs where you can earn $100k. Now, I’ve always been intrigued by any resources like this story, sites like The Ladders, or any job postings in this elusive income bracket – as it often amazes me how much (or how little) it can take to get to this basically irrelevant level. I call the level irrelevant as there is really no difference between $99k and $101k. Sure, your W-2 has 6 digits to the left of the pennies columns, but it’s not like that puts you into uncharted territory or into some new tax bracket. I guess it’s all psychological maybe?

Either way – I was a little frustrated with Yahoo (via US News & World Report) to have three of those jobs be ones that require significant graduate schooling (Physician, Dentist, Lawyer – duh). However, the other two jobs it mentioned are near and dear to me either because of past work I’ve done or the jobs of some of my most respected colleagues and friends. Those jobs are Marketing Manager and IT Manager. If I have said it before, I’ll say it again. Fields like these are on FIRE right now. And, in my opinion, the barriers to entry are fairly limited. So – if you have any opportunity to adjust your focus area or start to plan for the next phase of school, career, or life in general – please consider these areas!

Til Next Time,

Michael

Stumbled across a pretty unique travel application/site the other day that I wanted to share. The site is Vamo, and their technology allows you to do a myriad of functions, offering you the ability to do highly-customized trips across different geographies with different travel modes, even accounting for layovers or stops along the way. I think we are starting to enter a golden era where the proliferation of customizable search engines (leveraging standardized data such as ITA Software to pull aggregated flight data from reputable carriers) will start to make travel easier/better/more affordable and that is always an exciting “pro” of innovation and technology in my mind.

As an avid traveler and someone who is always looking for my next big trip, I’m very intrigued by what Vamo has to offer. I wonder, though, whether this may prove to simply be an overfunded startup that doesn’t really live up to the hype…  We shall see!

Til Next Time,

Michael

Martin Luther King Day is a huge day where I live (Atlanta), so I wanted to take a chance here on the blog to pay some respect to a very important figure in our national history. What he stood for and the eloquence with which he spoke are something we can all admire, and I am happy that there are people like him that still make up the fabric of this country.

Til Next Time,

Michael


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