Monday, July 16, 2007

Visiting Disneyland and California Adventure park this week has impressed upon me the importance of branding and marketing. Like the previous time I visited the parks, I am befuddled by Disneyland's continuing supremacy over California Adventure in terms of popularity. From my view (and everyone else in my party), California seems clearly superior: Newer, faster rides, cleverer design, better food, alcohol served in the park, prettier and of course, less crowded. Still Disneyland has much more people in it and I even overheard someone coming out of California Adventure park saying they 'hated it' because of it 'hardly has any rides' which I can only think is a lack of marketing on California Adventure's part, because I simply can't see how that's the case.

I suppose the other possibility is that California Adventure fills a different niche, specifically age groups. Admittedly, we didn't have any young children with us who might still be captured by the 'magic of Disney' and thus would prefer the shows and all the different animated characters of the movies whereas we were quite happy to jump on fast exciting roller coasters and relax on the pier with a Karl Strauss.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Well I've finally 'upgraded' my Verizon phone that was on its last legs with Verizon's 'new every two [years]' plan. I'm almost a bit surprised at myself that I went with Verizon again when I can see several things wrong with them.
1) They're just plain expensive compared to many other plans
2) They don't have the most exciting selection of phones (3 to be precise)
3) I won't get the special deals for new customers that I could with other carriers
4) If I ever win the lottery, an iPhone will not work for it
5) Most annoyingly I think is the crippling software Verizon phones come with whether it be for ringtones, photos, mp3s or whatever else.

However, there is one area in which Verizon (at least according to Consumer Reports surveys) reigns supreme and that is reception. And I remember one particular summer living in an apartment where I did not get service and that was just unbearable. Even standing on a hill outside my house was awful where conversation where constantly interrupted with static.

Also with a $5 usb cable off of ebay and BitPim software I am able to bypass some of the ridiculous restrictions Verizon put on it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I came across a pretty shocking video today which demonstrates how companies are attempting to post advertisements for job openings in local papers in hopes that they will not receive applicants and therefore be allowed to hire a much less expensive foreign worker through an H-1B visa. In fact, they are not just hoping, they are actually hiring experienced lawyers to tailor job advertisements to succeed in that aim.

When you think about the economics of it all and the prevalence of unethical behavior in the business world, this shouldn't really come any great surprise, but it's still very interesting to see it right there on video. From a prospective employee's standpoint, it does leave one in quite a conundrum as to what field to enter. With outsourcing, at least you could try to enter a field where they need works in the flesh, but if they're importing foreign workers into the country without even looking at domestic applicants first, it doesn't seem to leave much hope for us American workers. I guess the answer is to rely on networking as much as possible, don't end up in the ocean of anonymous job applicants.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Although I have been sufficiently scared into most likely never entering the business world of food and beverage service, I think I have stumbled upon a niche in San Diego recently.

A friend has come to visit us who has a particular penchant for ice cream, and so we've been to Coldstone a couple of times the past week. I hadn't actually been there before but I knew it was similar to an old high school haunt of mine, Marbletop (now unfortunately named 'Mix' due to stupid copyright issues). However after visiting Coldstone a couple of times, I definitely noticed something was missing, and not just that I was no longer 16 and unable to go out to bars with friends. This place was corporate and I'm not one of those people that refuses to ever go to Starbucks based upon some sort of anti-large corporation principles; I mean that it has this feel of a fast food chain. The store had the stereotypical middle-aged manager serving you who was clearly unhappy to be working at a place like this at this stage in their life, all pre-made menu boards with names of sundaes right out of a brainstorming session of overpaid marketing managers and finally, uncomfortable space-saving plastic chairs all in the corporate red and white colors. I think San Diego could definitely use one of these create-your-own ice cream mix places but with some open dining space, comfortable chairs, nice music, soft lighting and a comfortable friendly atmosphere (one place near me that has this down very well is Claire De Lune, a local coffee shop).

Well if I ever do get an itch again to get into the restaurant industry, this is an idea that would probably let me lead a less crazy and stressful life than some others.