Father’s Day Targets the Geek.

It was spotting the snapshot of Woz riding his way into the WWDC and reading the marketing, encouraging me to follow Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman on twitter that got me thinking about the beginning of Apple.

[The path would have been a whole lot straighter, for me, if I hadn’t become distracted by the twitter suggestion.  I was raised in the seventies.  I lived through the John Ehrlichman trial.]

I do not bleed apple, but I do have a lot of respect for what apple has done for the adoption of technology.   I am not a huge M$ fan either, but it is hard to argue with the market saturation of M$ adoption.  I am not a technology loyalist.  I choose the product that best suites my needs to complete a particular task.  Let the early-adopters fight this one out.  I need to be productive but I am not inflexible.   I pay attention to the technology rags and noticed that Father’s Day Week is devoted to nerds.

Apple wants to take over the mobile payment market.  (Brilliant timing!)  Give the geeks the weekend to think about what will be the content of the upcoming Apple WWDC.  (Friday, June 7)

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.  (Monday, June 10)

3E 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo  (Tuesday, June 11)

A marketer’s dream!  You have all of the children trying to find something for Dad, so why not saturate the airwaves with next generation technology you know they will need!  Happy Father’s Day.

Transaction Completed – Finally!

I am pleased.  I was able to get something fixed I have been trying to get fixed for 7 years!  That is a very, very long time.

I was able to log onto the new billing system and get my husband’s name changed on his line.  We are finally ported!  No longer will I be receiving calls from myself.  This is a huge success.

Quite frankly, this transaction actually started a long, long time ago.  My husband had a different provider.  He really liked his old phone.  The different provider began charging for maintaining the  backwards-compatible connection.  It was stupid to be paying that fee!  So I added him to my line at my carrier.  Yay.  We saved money.  BIG money.  Cut our costs in half.  This is a good thing.

Something went astray in that port low those many years ago.  Instead of porting into my provider with his name, his line was renamed to mine.  Okay, no big deal, one would think.  We would try to get it fixed, but every time we made a change it would revert to my name again.  The change never stuck.  This was okay, I knew how to get it masked.  Quite frankly, this was one of the things I thought about when we were thinking of changing  providers.  This was an opportunity to twiddle that bit or flip that switch to have it fixed, once and for all.

Tonight we successfully completed this transaction.  Patience is a virtue.

To be fair.  We probably could have finished the final steps earlier this week.  Guess what?  We have jobs.  We work forty plus hours every week, have family and friends, and this week is father’s day.   Probably my favorite Hallmark holiday!   These are the mundane things I had to take care of between beginning my port out of Yellow and into Magenta.  (Did I tell you I hate pink?)

Regardless, this transaction is finally complete.  So far, I am loving it!

Churned Customer Contact

Part of my rant yesterday was about how BofA could have kept me as a customer. Well, I was way too thoughtful to them. The only response I have heard from them is the reminder that my account balance was below $25. To which I say, ‘Duh!’  In our relationship, I continued to communicate with BofA, thinking someone, somewhere might care.  Wrong!
Sprint, on the other hand, has sent me a note asking me to provide my feedback. Now I know this isn’t much, but it is something. At least I have the opportunity to tell them what went into my decision.

The way I see it:
For over a year now, I have been less than pleased with the performance of my EVO Shift – HTC device. In my job, I am surrounded by technology. It is hard to miss. If you are missing it you aren’t paying attention and maybe you shouldn’t be there.   HTC had acknowledged a bug with my android version and their sense user interface and they had chosen not to fix it.  Fine and dandy.   HTC can be replaced.
I started looking around. I bought an ipad. I like the ipad. Made me at least consider an apple product in my arsenal of data processing tools. I was shopping for hardware.  I was already thinking about upgrading.  Not to be ‘bleeding edge’ but to consume the services that I am already purchasing.  Thanks to the amazing world of technology, this is an anticipated expense.

I remember being thrilled when Hesse took over at Sprint. I was pleased as punch that he was going to make a change. He did. There is no arguing with that fact. He made his mark.  The information systems are better. The tools available for the end-user consumer are marvelous. I appreciate you paying attention to the details that matter to the buyer.  However, it was the coupling of these tools and my domain knowledge that prompted my move. I was paying attention to the noise in the marketplace.

Hesse gave me the tools to analyze my purchase.  I watched as Sprint moved from paper-only to awesome end-user personalization.  The key being the end-user’s individual knowledge.  I liked being able to log in and look at what I wanted to look at, when I wanted to look at it.  I think the difference is I know what I am looking at.  Any service provider bill can be the most confusing thing in the world if you don’t know what you are looking for.  I have some tips on how to decipher the bill so that it matters and Hesse helped to simplify the system available to do the analysis.

I have some constraints when it comes to choosing a wireless service provider.  Sprint was the last of the big 3 that I would even consider.  I was seriously considering going prepaid.  Prepaid doesn’t have the stigma that it had not so long ago.  Some of us choose prepaid so we have more control over the spending.  I see it more as a frugal choice, as opposed to the loser choice that I used to associate with prepaid cards.  Guess the marketing from that product launch is still stuck in my head.

Along comes Legere.  I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan when it was first announced he was at the helm when T-Mobile went public.  I was resistant when I first saw the marketing.  The commercials with the cowboys actually turned me off.  But I follow a number of blogs about changes in the wireless industry, all utilities, actually.  I see wireless service as a utility in my life, because I can’t imagine life without it!

It was the perfect storm.  I hated my device.  Not the hardware, the firmware.  Sprint has provided me the tools to look at what I am getting for the money I am spending for the services I need.  Legere changed the game.  Now Hesse is providing me the opportunity to tell him how I feel.  Kudos to Sprint.  Too bad you waited until I churned, before you asked.

Freedom Day

Despite the universe’s best efforts to prevent me from reaching my goal of exiting BofA today – I did it!  I marched into one of the local branches and extracted my remaining funds.  It was weird.  I don’t know what I thought it would be, but I was amazed at how it felt actually closing my account.  The manager at this particular branch was amazingly good at her job and there is a possibility if I had done my banking here over the past couple of years, I may not have left, but….

It really wasn’t fair to this branch.  They were always nice to me.  I should have gone to the Houghton branch, they are the ones who discriminated against me and started this whole exit process in the first place.  The nice person who ended up having to process the exit was curious about why I was so adamant about my departure, so I shared the story about how poorly I had been treated in December at the Houghton branch and how I had even written to BofA telling them of my plans and that the lack of response clearly communicated to me that my business wasn’t valuable enough to them, so I wanted to go where it is appreciated.

As we were processing the exit paperwork and putting together my cashier’s check, we reminisced about the bank the company used to be before it was acquired by the megalith BofA.  When I moved to this town, I didn’t have much.  My credit was crap.  I was new in town.  I needed a bank.  Seafirst was the only bank that would give me a chance.  That was 16 years ago.  Oh how times have changed!

Seafirst was acquired by BofA long, long ago.  Now, I have my ducks in a row.  I have more than two nickels to rub together and my credit ain’t bad.  Seafirst took a chance on me when no one else would.   This is probably at the core of why I stayed with BofA for so long, I appreciated the actions of Seafirst.  Well BofA long since has cashed in whatever goodwill had been built and I won’t miss dealing with them and their holier than thou staff who wouldn’t know how to provide quality customer service if their lives depended upon it.   I like my new banks.  They know me by name!  They have had the opportunity to lose the business, but so far, they have more than risen to the occasion and that was before I really had made much of a deposit.

As if I needed one more confirmation of my choice, yesterday I noticed there was a charge on my account that shouldn’t have been there.  I picked up the phone.  I called the branch.  It was right at closing time, so there wasn’t really anything they could do at that moment, but I was promised a call back first thing in the morning.  Low and behold, my phone rang at 9 am.  My account had already been reviewed.  The erroneous fee that I had been charged had already been reversed!  Yep, confirmation I had made the right decision!


New Cell Phone Time

Making the decision to buy a new cell phone.

Guess this is how I justify the expense.

We need them.  Ours are both over 2 years old and that is a lifetime  in cellular telephone technology. Bonus!   – this time I won’t have to go to remedial ‘gesture’ camp so I don’t crack the screen.   When we upgraded to the HTC EVO Shifts a couple of years ago it was a huge leap.  I had had a Samsung flip phone forever.  (A phone that I adored!)  When we got the EVOs I couldn’t even answer it.  For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how to swipe quick enough to answer!  All of my calls went straight to voicemail for the first month or so.  Finally, I had a member of my team show me.  I had to spend a weekend practicing before I finally got it right.

Now, two years later, I am pretty good at using my phone.  Add to that I have a Kindle Fire and an ipad, I pretty much have the whole gesture thing down.  I am not a huge Apple fan.  I love facetime – but I can do that on my ipad.  The iphone has serious limitations, in my humble opinion.  I don’t like closed systems.  I like the ability to add more memory to store pictures and ‘stuff’.  The Windows phone is not even in contention.  Droid it will be.

For years I was a Samsung loyalist, but the EVO was just too cool for school when we upgraded that fateful day over 2 years ago.  Based on everything I have read and the phones that I have played with, it looks like I will be going back to the Samsung.  The biggest question will be the carrier.  I am fond of the whole new approach that T-Mobile is trying.  It is refreshing to see a carrier break from tradition, especially when it is to the benefit of the customer.  My guess is when I make the jump, I will buy it outright, which means I wouldn’t be tied to them any longer than what I want to be anyway…..can’t believe I am even considering breaking with my long standing carrier and going to what has long been considered to be the number 4 carrier, but I like their style.

Keep an eye on this spot.  When it happens, I will report it here.

Memorial Day Weekends Past

Memorial Day weekend is full of memories for me…from random to significant, the last full weekend in May has always meant something to me.

As a younger child,I spent every three-day weekend in a camper, towing a boat, and fishing. I have many fond memories of spending time with my family trolling the likes of Blue Mesa when there was a three-day weekend. These were the ‘bonding moments’ and we didn’t truly appreciate them.

My father used to call us ‘spoiled-brats’ and I now understand.
We were complaining about spending our holiday weekend on the lake, with the family, and not a care in the world. We didn’t have to work to make ends meet. We had no idea how great life was, we complained about spending too much time in a boat.  Granted, it wasn’t a boat like what they have here, but we were in the middle of a dry state where what we called “lakes” barely pass as potholes here.

We were blessed because our parents gave us a childhood.  Bless them for that.

My first Memorial Day Weekends Past are all about camping, family and friends.

My father is a veteran and gave more for this country than most.  Many of my ramblings are about my father’s military experience.  Every one of these weekend adventures would include story time where my father and Uncle Bill would regale us with tales that surely they had been told or made up.  At the end of ‘story time’ we would observe a moment of silence for those who had sacrificed so much for our freedom.  Never did I completely understand.

Uncovering what is interesting…

Uncovering what is interesting…

It is no secret that we are always networking.  At the store, at the children’s school, at church, everywhere.  It doesn’t hurt to be able to answer the question ‘What is interesting?’  Be it about yourself, your family, your environment.  My philosophy is to be prepared.  I like this approach to being prepared to share what is interesting about myself.