Google Retail blogpost

As many of you read my personal blog -- I thought I'd share my first official Google blog post on the Google Retail blog. It will give you a sense of what I talk to advertisers about on the regular...


Hoover Goffin (1917-2008)

My Grandpa Hoover Goffin passed away this past Friday. After 91 years with us - he now joins my Grandma Ida in what we all believe is a better place.

To me, my Grandpa Hoover was a simple and exceptionally warm-hearted man. "Such a nice man" was uttered several times since he's passed - and while that statement was the first one to pop into my mind when I started to think of what I'd write on this post - there is more to my grandfather than being such a nice man.

While I won't go into all these things - the things that come to mind first are:
  • He was intellectually curious - choosing a lifetime profession in education - after his many degrees in education from Colby College and Columbia.
  • He loved using words in ways that most people did not ... As an example - he'd say "I was able to negotiate the distance between here and there quite successfully" instead of - "I didn't get lost"... (There are A LOT of sayings like this - and family members who read this should definitely include any they'd like in the comment section below)
  • He was globally cultured, having spent a good amount of time stationed around the world on behalf of the US Army - and loved to speak French - even if the people at the same dinner table didn't speak/understand a lick of it.
I heard very recently at a funeral - that when someone you love and respect passes away, the best thing people can do to honor their life, is take a positive trait or two from that person (that also somewhere lies in yourself) - and anytime somebody comments on that trait -- you acknowledge that you learned this trait from the person who has passed...

A trait that is in me that was also a trait that I believe my grandfather lived his life by - was always unselfishly "doing the right thing." In my grandfathers case - he never made waves or wanted anyone to go out of their way for him. He held low expectations of what he "deserved" and conversely was willing to do almost anything asked of him that he could. He didn't pry into others lives - or judge the way others lived their lives. He was even-keeled and believed his way of life was "doing the right thing."

I like to pride myself in "doing the right thing." This isn't to say that I always actually do the right thing -- but it means that, like my Grandfather, I try and remove excess personal judgment or opinions when deciding how I should act in situations. And although my Grandfather was an educator professionally almost his entire life, this is never something he sat me down to teach me. How come? Well - I believe it's because he never wanted to tell either of my parents how to raise their kids or what to teach them. It was what he believed was "the right thing to do."

To me - this is his legacy to me. Sometimes mis-construed or even incorrect - it's not necessarily clear what is right from wrong - but - if what you decide is good natured and "right" is the basis for living your life... well then you should be able to fall asleep with a smile on your face every night.

And so, Grandpa, I know you fell asleep for eternity with a smile on your face. It may have been a few years longer than you expected - but you lived your life as best you could and as good natured as anyone I know. You will be missed and loved and never forgotten.


Scammed, Bam, Thank you Ma'am

Just thought I'd share a life lesson with my loyal readers ... Amy and I were fairly lazy today (weather was horrible), so we decided to try and motivate for our evening ... Joel McHale - the funny host/comedian of "The Soup" was performing at Town Hall in NYC ... We didn't have tickets but thought - what the heck - we'll go check out the scene ... If there are tickets - great, if not - we wasted 30 minutes on a night where we didn't have any plans...

We take a cab uptown that drops us off right in front of the theater .... We take no more than 5 steps out of the cab and are drawn in by the ease and charm of a scalper ... He was willing to give us tickets printed off the internet for $5 less than face value... Amy and I certainly had our skepticism, but, our BS meters clearly were out of order after our day of laziness ... After talking down the guy $10 - and having him pulling out a wad of cash - saying "hey - these are my last tickets of the night ... the show is sold out" ... I gave the guy the cash .... walked 10 feet to the door and heard the unfortunate noise I knew was an option ... The scanner wasn't functioning properly - The tickets were no good ... as soon as I heard it, I started walking towards where we bought the tickets, but I knew we were f'd...

In hind-sight, there is so much I wouldn't have done. I totally gave away money in a stupid, idiotic and sucker-like fashion. I am planning to ask my accountant/father-in-law if I can write it off as "giving to charity" but that's just to make myself feel better for being such an idiot ...

We're not the first nor the last people that this is going to happen to - but - I can tell you all that the while I don't foresee a next time I buy tickets from a scalper ... IF there is.... I am going to have them walk in with me (or at least tell them that I want them to and see their reaction).

Shit happens ... Just gotta hope that we learn from it.


Email Pile-On

If you have worked in a fairly large-sized company in the last 10 year - I'm guessing you've experienced the "Email Pile-on" - but perhaps never known it as such ... It is something that does irritate me, and is a good way for me to think less of you (if I don't know you yet).

An "email pile-on" (a phrase I've totally made up) is when someone sends out a mass email to people (particularly in a business setting - but it doesn't have to be), usually to announce positive news of some kind ... A completed project, a promotion, a big sale, etc ... This mass email I have no problem with ... What I have issue with are the people who feel obligated to "REPLY TO ALL" with something to the form of ... "Great job team!" ... or ... "Congrats - huge win."

The action of replying to the email is not something I have an issue with either... It is the DELIBERATE inclusion of everyone on this 3 word email that bugs me.

First of all - When one person does this - it's like saying to other email pile-on-ers "I care more than you do," which instigates and is clearly the core of the actual PILE-ON ...
Secondly - the action SCREAMS of the need to feel important ... like ... "I approve of this email - and just wanted everyone to know that my approval is important."

Managers often feel like public acknowledgement is something that people crave - and I actually think this is kind of messed up. For me, personally, I'd much rather get a personal email or call from my boss (or better - my bosses boss) saying "Hey - you did a great job with XYZ." For me - it would go a lot further than pressing "Reply to All."

While I definitely understand that the act of pressing "delete" takes less than 1 second - so it shouldn't truly bother me - for me - it's less about the deleting the email and more about what would drive people to see the GOOD in the "email pile-on"...

There are plenty of email correspondence instances that are GREAT "reply to all" cases ... I don't mean to discourage this... and ... Un-intentional "Reply to all" mistakes have happened to me, personally, so no bashing there either ... but that is not what I'm talking about with the "Email Pile-on" annoyance...

If you are an Email Pile-on-er ... Think twice the next time you reply-to-all. Not only is an aggregate waste of time (If the email takes an average of 30 seconds to read - and 100 people read it -- that is almost an hour of aggregated wasted company time) ... but ... It doesn't reflect as positive on you as you may think (in my opinion). ;)