I’m back!!!! My new blogsite.

Sunset at Birch Bay, WA

Hello, and welcome to my new blog site. I hope I can entertain and educate you. Based on past experience I know full well I will frustrate many who read the muses here. For I have done this before.

For the time being you can still read and view my previous blog site called American Perspective, which was on my soon to be replaced website www.totalbroadcasting.com. When we began to make progress on a new website I decided it wasn’t in the company’s best interest, or my own, to continue to draw people to an inadequate website and blog site since they would both soon be replaced.

Not being one to follow conventional thinking I’m not ready to declare a specific theme to this blog other than “Americana“. But unlike an old book, or piece of art the view expressed here will not be falling into disrepair. They’ll be about American politics, business, self-help, and being that I am an avid sports fan I suspect if I want to pen my perspective on the Seattle Mariners chances of making it to the World Series in 2012 I might just do so.

I hope you will do me the honor of Following or Subscribing to this blog. And while you’re at it Like us on Facebook. I think you’ll be glad you did. Whether you agree with me or not, I’m happy to engage in discussion. I have already posted some articles previously posted elsewhere in order to give you some sense of my writing and views. So…welcome. I hope we become frequent sharers of this space.

Word of Mouth needs a hand.

This article was originally written and published in October 2010. It has been edited and made current.- M Schuett

Michael and his OLD computer

Get to know the internet

I’m going to make a statement that will send shivers down the spine of long time business people. It’ll cause concern and disagreement and it will do so primarily because it will cause all business people to rethink and renew how they go about maintaining their business.Word of mouth advertising doesn’t work any more. At least it doesn’t work without a little help. But fortunately help is available.

Many longtime business owners have always relied on word of mouth advertising as their vehicle to drive home to them new clients. They worked hard to provide good service and a good product and relied on customers to tell others of how wonderful they were. Word of mouth advertising was the best marketing conversion tool they had.

For many or most of these businesses recent years have seen a drop in business. We’re in a national recession (or technically, WERE) so a drop in business can be expected, right? In the mind of the old-time business person all they need to do is hang on and keep providing good service and the economy will bounce back and things will be good as new. But as we emerge from this significant economic slow down anyone who relies only on word of mouth advertising is going to be disappointed to find out that their business may never bounce back to where it was and may eventually suffer enough lack of new business that the business as a whole will fail.

When a referral for a business service comes my way more often than not I’m given little more than a person or companies name and maybe a phone number or a location of business. In determining whether I use this referral my first step is to look them up…on the internet. If out and about my Galaxy Tab tablet computer gives me instant internet access and I punch in what info I have into a Google search

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

. If it can wait until I’m home (or if I’m there already) I do the same. I take the referral information I have and conduct a Google search for the business or service referred.

Now pretend with me for a moment what happens when that business or service cannot be seen or found in my Google search results.

1. Do I call that business anyway?

2. Do I conduct another search using keywords I think might bring the referred business to Google’s attention?

3. Or do I click on a link to another business who has caught my eye in the Google search results?

Option number 1 happens seldom. Option 2 occurs with more frequency. But when it does I’m often still left unsatisfied. Option 3, in which I begin the process of taking my business elsewhere happens more often than the others and with increasing frequency. This process is repeated by normal Americans everyday. And every day business with no internet presence lose that business to those who have an internet presence.

Word of mouth needs a hand because the process I just described is so easy for everyone. Google searches at home or at the office and now out and about on your smart phone or tablet allow all of us to quickly check on all referrals to determine their validity and whether we want to take the next step and call them.

Websites can be the answer to your lack of search engine results. Even a small and undistinguished website can be found by Google. But if you don’t have the time or money to develop or maintain a website, or if your site doesn’t come up first in a Google search the above stated scenario can be repeated.

Word of mouth advertising needs a hand.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

When you open a YouTube account for a company profile video, or a Facebook Fan Page, or a Blog on WordPress or similar site, or you Post a profile page on LinkedIn.com

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

you can spend zero dollars and only a small amount of time. But the results are instantaneous and the problem of having zero internet presence is solved immediately.

Besides the business and social media sites mentioned above, there are an ever increasing number of directories on the internet that may already have some information on your business. But a lot of that information may be wrong and may be minuscule. Sites like Citysearch, Manta, Merchant Circle and others are out their with your information; but unless you claim them and expand on that information they are not likely to appear high in a Google search result. Claim them, and even if you have little else on the internet you can at least count on being found on a first page Google search when someone types in your specific name.

So here is what you do to help your word of mouth advertising. Get a presence on the internet. Start by conducting a Google search for yourself or your business or both. Visit every link in which your information appears; and don’t stop on the first or even the second page. Claim the pages you find with your basic business information. Usually its little more than a name an address and a phone number. Claim it by clicking on the link on the page that reads “Business Owner?” or “Is this your business?” or something similar. Then follow the steps to fill in the information it asks. If it allows you to upload photos, then upload photos. If it allows you to upload video…you’ve struck GOLDUpload a video. No video? Get one.

Fill out all the information completely and thoroughly. Then move on to the next search result, and repeat the process.

Lastly, if typing your name and business produces nothing on a first or even second page Google search result. Do nothing else until you have opened a Fan Page on Facebook, a Google email account and business profile, and a free LinkedIn and Biznik account.

Now you’ve done THE MINIMUM. Now you’ve given word of mouth a fighting chance.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats.

This article was published elsewhere previously. It is edited and made more timely for publishing now. – M Schuett

 

Michael Schuett in New York

M Schuett at Empire St Bldg

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats are willing to give up a little freedom in order to achieve fairness; while Republicans are willing to give up a little fairness in order to achieve freedom.”- George Will, Conservative columnist and commentator
Every tax and every law written is an impingement on individual liberty. By definition if you are required to do or to give something by force or threat of negative consequences your liberty has been diminished. And while being a citizen of a nation founded for the first time in history on the concept of respecting individual liberty and democratic (small d) rule loosing ones liberty ought to not be taken lightly. Lately I think it has been.

However, it goes without saying that in order to live happily in a society free from anarchy some surrender of our individual liberties is a requirement. And thus we come to the wedge of which George Will was referring at the top of this writing. When does Government go too far in governing? When does an individual’s right to liberty become TOO detrimental to society as a whole? And where do you stand?

Do you think it’s some kind of accident or freak of nature that we keep bouncing back and forth throughout our nation’s history between Democratic and Republican Presidents and Congress? It’s no accident. It’s a reflection of who we are. Roughly half of us are or lean Republican or Conservative (big C); while the other half is or leans Democrat or Liberal (some would rather I write “Progressive”, to which I respond “Whatever. Call yourselves whatever you wish. A rose by any other name…”) And really the other side is not evil. Though for most of our 234 year old existence many have continued to paint the other side as doing the work of the devil. I think it comes down to what you value.

I like George Will’s definition of Republican vs. Democrat because I think it’s mostly accurate while not intentionally offensive to either side. But I think there is a more clear values oriented definition of America’s two party system that makes the distinctions plainer. Before giving you my definition lets all recognize a truth. Most of us are what we are because of who are parents are and what their beliefs are or were. By no means is this “truth” 100% carved out of granite. But it might define 70-80 percent of us politically. And if I’m right, what does that say about who we are, what our beliefs are, and for whom we vote? It say’s what voter turnout percentages have screamed for decades. Most of us don’t care. Most elections are lucky if 50 percent of eligible voters vote. Again, in terms of literal definition that means MOST of us don’t care.

Being Conservative or being Liberal in my opinion comes down to whether you value an individual’s right to liberty more or whether you value a specified community’s benefit more. If you value society’s well-being over that of a single individual in that society you are more likely to be a Liberal and/or Democrat. The Conservatives have a tougher task because in standing up for an individuals right Conservatives are repeatedly labeled as advocating selfishness. If you are a caring and loving person of course you would advocate society over individual benefits, right? I say, “Hogwash!’. To advocate society’s or a community’s well-being over that of any individual in that group is the height of arrogance and promotes tyranny.

Promoting community benefit promotes the idea that you know best. It says I know better than you what’s best for you and everybody else in your community. And since you are in effect children we will tell you what to do in order to not hurt yourself or your neighbors. And in order that you grow up and live your life to the level that we would call “the fullest”. Again, because we know better. Ladies and gentleman I give you the definition of Liberal. I also grant you that not a single Liberal thinks of themselves in quite that way.

I laugh when I hear Democrats criticizing Republicans by calling them “Do nothing Republicans”. Dear Lord if only it were true. Democrats just don’t get it. Doing “nothing” is the heart of Conservatism. For doing “Anything” involves one more law, or tax or infringement on liberty. Often doing nothing is what is best, is what is called for; is worth defending.

I believe in individuality. I believe in self-determination. And I believe in selfishness. “Ah ha!” you say. “You reveal your evil intent”. On the contrary, as stated by 18th Century writer Adam Smith in his monolithic book, “The Wealth of Nations” a person acting selfishly will by instinct act toward the benefit of community as a whole because to do otherwise injures the individual’s selfish interests. We have to act in the interest of others for any number of reasons, but primarily if we don’t act in the interest of others while serving our selfish needs nobody else will act in our interest. Like Henry Ford defined in building his Model T at the start of the 20th Century. He believed he had to pay his assembly line workers enough so that they could afford to buy his product. Conversely he also believed he had to build a car that a working “man” could afford. Such a view toward serving the “common man” made Ford an extremely wealthy man, and fulfilled his every SELFISH need and desire.

I fondly remember previous employers who all found me a good hard worker but hard to control. I never thought I needed to be “controlled”. But I still remember my one time team leader telling me she was the only one (of other Team Leaders) who could control me (I wish I could go into greater detail…but I won’t). I was always best when left to my own devises. It’s my overwhelming desire for freedom of thought and freedom of choice that led me to be an independent business owner, answerable to no one but the man in the mirror. And our country is loaded with individuals like me who don’t answer to authority as readily or willingly as do others. And it’s our individuality and right to it that needs to be protected. For if my right to speak my mind is ever quashed, yours will be next. The ever-changing flux of that which is popular dictates it so. I still remember news article in the 1980s detailing the coming third “Ice Age”. Not something Global Warming advocates will even acknowledge today.

The Health Care reform law, commonly known as Obamacare, has me and so many others nervous or outright scared to death. Our individuality is threatened. Without debating specific aspects one over riding undeniable fact about what is happening with it becoming law is that our Government will grow in size and scope tremendously. In doing so my liberty again is chipped away further. And I believe deeply.

Isn’t it sad, in my view, that the rights of the individual weren’t kept foremost in mind throughout the debate. Claims by House Democrats that a Government option was necessary in order to create competition flies in the face of competitions definition. There are 306-million Americans. If the health care industry and the health insurance industry had to actually win the precious dollars of each and every one of us individuals you would then have competition and you would then have affordable health care. Instead we have a debate over health care coverage and its cost, rather than a debate over health care and its cost.

As blasphemous as this sounds, WE ARE NOT ALL EQUAL. Efforts to force us to be equal will only force us into George Orwell’s nightmare “Animal Farm” where the pigs stated without hesitation or fear of consequence that “Some of us are more equal than the others”. The fact that we’re all created equal doesn’t change what we become. Some people and activities are valued more than others. Those who entertain us are valued much more than those who educate us. For reasons that pass understanding those who haul away our garbage are valued considerably less than those who sit in Congress and create additional refuse. The point is an individualized health care system would take into consideration our differences and aim to serve us as individuals instead of as a community.

And when I’m under the scalpel, on the operating table, in a hospital I want my individuality the foremost thought of my care takers…society be damned. That’s my selfish wish. And I defy anyone to embrace anything less.

Comments are welcome. Thanks for visiting.

1980 meets 2010

This post was written and posted on my Facebook Notes in February 2010. – M Schuett

My H.S. Senior Class Portrait

M Schuett at 17

Long lazy weekends like this tend to lead me to daydreaming. Such was the case yesterday.

I was in the shower enjoying the warmth of the water spraying down. After spending an hour reading and relaxing in the hot tub my Saturday morning showers serve as a great opportunity for thinking about what there is to do for the remaining two days of my weekend. My mind was drifting into the chores that lay in front of me when I heard the bathroom door slide open. Hearing no one and deciding I’d soaked myself sufficiently for one day I shut off the water and opened my opaque glass sliding door and reached around for my towel. Finding that I was not alone wasn’t surprising. But finding who was standing there in my bathroom was a surprise.

As our eyes met I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed, though I stood in front of him dripping wet, with nothing but a towel between what God gave me and my visitors emotionless gaze. Though I’d not seen him in 30 years I knew him immediately by the pimpled face, the slender build, and the casual jeans and t-shirt. He was me. He was 16. And he somehow seemed perfectly just and proper being here in this place, at this time.

He said, “Hey”, as a sort of friendly but not too friendly greeting. I said, “Hey” back at him, not wanting to seem uncomfortable. His blank expression turned nervous as I stepped toward him out of the shower. And he looked like he wanted to say something. Towelling off is never a long process for me as the water seems to evaporate off me as it does when a wet skillet is placed on a hot flame. So I hung my towel, squeezed my naked body by him in the doorway and proceeded across my room and got dressed. While I did so he kept glancing at me with an increasingly uncomfortable appearance.

I asked, “What? What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing.”, he lied.
“What?”
“Don’t worry about it”, he said in the typical annoyed voice of a teenager.
As I looked at ME I remained comfortable with the oddity of the situation. And feeling comfortable stated what I was thinking, “Man, I forgot how bad your acne was. It’s a shame Dad never took you to a doctor.”
Obviously hurt and defensive he finally revealed what had clearly been on his mind, “Ya…well I can’t believe how FAT you got!”
Even at a young age I’d mastered the over-the-top biting insult when I felt slighted. Some day I’ll write a manual on the fine art of killing a house fly with a sledgehammer. When it comes to intra-personal relations it’s a skill I’ve sadly perfected since the time in my life when I finally grew out of being a naïve child. At this time I was just staring at that age.
“Woe.” I said, “Take it easy. Being me I thought we could express ourselves openly. I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“Ok, but since you are me perhaps you can be a little more sensitive and remember how embarrassed I am by my pimples?”
He was right. I was insensitive. Trying to lighten the mood I tried to be jovial about his comment and only came out sounding defensive. “OK. Sorry. Ya know at my age I’m really not that fat. You have nothing to worry about. Women love this manly body.”
He hesitated then said, “How can you let yourself get this way? I swore I never want to look like Dad.” He spoke in the present tense, oblivious to the fact that our father had long ago passed away.
I could tell he was uncomfortable with what might be laying ahead of him in the next thirty years. If he hadn’t seen me getting out of the shower maybe he would be more at ease.
I led him out of my bedroom and led him into my office at the bottom of our stairs. My family was gone running errands. So I was alone with myself. In my office he observed my Mariner’s bobble heads, my collection of baseball cards, my miniature Seahawks

Wage the Seahawks Fan

helmet and my cougar painting all decorating my bookshelf.

“What’s wrong with you?” he demanded, “No Sonics’ stuff?”
“I packed it all away when they left town.”
“They left town? Come on?”
In 1980 when this person, ME, was sixteen the  Seattle Supersonics were the defending NBA champs

The final logo of the SuperSonics

The final logo of the SuperSonics

and more important in my life than girls, school, Friday night, or absolutely anything else. It would have to be nearly impossible to grasp that the team he’d dreamed of playing for and later shifted his dream to being the team’s play by-play announcer; was now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You know the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl”, changing the subject while I settled into my desk chair.
Wanting to demonstrate his sports acumen he confidently retorted, “I imagine with that Kingdome crowd cheering them on they went to the Super Bowl a few times.” He was smiling now and had moved past the discomfort of the earlier acne comment upstairs. I didn’t want to bring him down again by mentioning that the Kingdome’s demolition was now more than ten years in the past.
The sixteen year old me asked why I had so many Mariner collectibles. “They suck”, he opined. I told him he was right. Then I told him how Dave Neihaus on the radio had been my only friend through lonely summers nights away from home, by myself, in small towns trying to build a radio career. I tried to explain in terms he could understand that former Yankee Lou Pinella came to town in the 90s and turned one of the all time sorriest sports franchises into a winner. I told him of perhaps the greatest player of a generation having created his stardom in Seattle.
“Ken Griffey is the greatest player of a generation? How old is he? He plays for the Reds. He played for the Big Red Machine.”, he was excited and confused.
OK, I’d missed a spot. “Wait a minute, wait a minute.”, I said,

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997)

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) (Photo credit: iccsports)

Ken Griffey JUNIOR, JUNIOR. He’s the son.”
With that thought followed the realization of how little this kid knew. For instance he didn’t know that he was a kid. At the age of sixteen he knew as much as any adult, or so he thought. As he fiddled with my bobble head collection and quizzically viewed my collection of business and self-help books he tried to hide all the contempt that was welling up inside him. Without saying it I knew he couldn’t understand why I had embraced the more-or-less typical middle class upwardly mobile life that best described the house that the sixteen year old me had just walked through and the room he was now observing. For him at that age my life as he had preliminarily seen in these first few minutes was far from the various dreams he was envisioning for himself in what was his sophomore year in high school at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School. He was still dreaming of being an architect, like Frank Lloyd Wright. He had only recently understood his athletic limitations and realized he would not play in the NBA or even the NFL.
Mini-me interrupted my thoughts pointed to the LCD computer monitor on my desk and asked “What’s that?”
Of course he wouldn’t know. “It’s a computer monitor”, pointing to the PC under my desk.
“Woooooe! You have your own computer?”
Gesturing to the chair across from my desk, “Sit down”, I said, ”I have a lot of ‘splaynan to do”
Obediently he sat and looked at me as I began to explain my life; the stops and starts the failures and what I considered the successes.
“You dropped out of college? Why’d you do that?”
“You were a radio DJ?” With this I seemed to impress him.
“What do you mean country music?” He was no longer impressed.
“Married? Twenty three years? Is she a fox?”
“Wait a minute…I’m married when I’m 23 years old? Do I know this girl?”
Just then the phone rang; my cell phone. My ring tone song filled the room and the young me jumped out of his seat in a startled reaction. I held up my hand and instructed him to sit back down. After quickly dispatching the friendly caller I explained to ME what a cell phone was and that it went with me wherever I went. I then retreated to his computer question and explained that almost everyone had at least one computer in their home. He then asked, “Why?” He caught me by surprise with this one. I couldn’t adequately answer this inquiry.
I decided to leap outside the small world of my existence and tell him what else had changed.
“I married a black woman only you don’t call her black. You call her African-American
“The richest man in the world lives in a house on Lake Washington.”
Ronald Reagan became President and amongst many other things is credited with ushering out the existence of the Soviet Union.”
“We impeached a President in the 90s.”
“Homosexuals want to get married, legally. And in some places already have. And, oh by the way, two of your cousins are gay.”
“No nuclear weapons have been used on anyone, anywhere at any time.” This stymied him. At his age at his time in 1980 thirty years passing without anyone using a nuclear bomb on someone else must have seemed highly unlikely.
“Iran was still an enemy; though we did get the hostages out.”
“Terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and crashed them to rubble on the ground.” “You mean those two tall buildings in the King Kong movie?” “Ya, those buildings.”
Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five was perhaps the biggest entertainer of the previous 30 years. And he recently died.”
Then I said something that really surprised him, “We have a black President. And his name is what?”
He asked about his friends from that time; Bennett Barrick, Lee Gilbert, Jeff Christianson. He was dismayed that I’d not seen Lee or Jeff since graduation night in June 1982, and that I’d not seen Bennett since our 1987 wedding day.
His queries were what you would expect under the farcical situation taking place; and he didn’t seem too uncomfortable. The more we talked the more I realized the truly surprising aspect of now versus then. His worries and want of friends, his insecurities, his enthusiasms and his dreams were the same. They were mine, still. His explosive excitement and displays of annoyance even anger were familiar but largely replaced by a more restrained demeanor in today’s me. The worldly differences, and the technological trickery that we call advancements were momentarily interesting then lost in the fascination of the more personal changes in me and my friends. In summation he was much like my son. He was innocent. But largely the same person. This thought brought a smile to my face. And then he asked the big question.
“So what have we learned? What can you tell me?”
“You want to know what I’d do differently?” I asked.
“No.” he said. “I figure what you’ve learned will answer that question. I just want to know what you’ve learned; how you’ve grown.”
First I said I’ve learned to happily accept friendship wherever it’s offered and never worry too much if the person offering the friendship is the coolest, or the best looking, or even the most fun. Friendship is a treasure under any circumstance.
He asked, “Are you saying I’m a bad guy?”
“No. But you are unfulfilled.” I answered. “Friendships color your world, your life. And you can have more of them.”
Secondly I said I’ve learned to move past disappointments. I’ve learned they are inevitable and that if you embrace them too hard they become part of you. If you let them go they’re only part of the past.
“Anything else?” he asked.
I told him I’ve learned to do what makes me happy. I said, ”Time between where you are in 1980 and where I am in 2010 has been a short period of time. And now I know that the time between now and the day I die, whenever that may be, will be even shorter. The time we have is fleeting and valuable. Spending it being angry, worrying about money, or stagnant with immobilization is a waste of time and a detriment to your happiness.”
“All that seems so simple.” he said.
I closed our encounter by telling the sixteen year old me, “It is simple. And it’s hard.”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.