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  • Dean Waye 9:40 am on November 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dayton Ohio, Frequent-flyer program, , ITA Software, Orbitz, Recreation, , , United States   

    My Mileage Run 

    Boeing 767-300

    Image via Wikipedia

    (Why I flew to these airports, GSO-IAD-DAY-ORD-MCI-ORD-GSO, in a single day)

    Lately I have been digging into the details of ‘travel hacking’, which is a subset of (mostly business) traveling details where you exploit inefficiencies in how the travel industry operates to get either free flights, free hotel stays, or at least a better level of elite status, in order to get the former.

    I’ve been doing something similar at Hilton hotels for years, because of how they’ve structured their Hilton HHonors program. To get to their Diamond level, you need to stay 60 nights, or 28 stays, in a calendar year. The 60 nights is self-explanatory. The 28 stays is where the inefficiency lies. I don’t travel enough to spend 60 nights at hotels per year. But 28 nights, that’s achievable.

    At Hilton, a stay is a check-in +check-out. It can be of any length, and at any price point. And Hilton has a nice habit of putting their hotels near each other. To reach Diamond, I spend each night per business trip at a different Hilton property. Since most of my recent travel has been to the Washington D.C. area, I have 4 hotels there, and move daily. Most trips last 2 days, so it’s not a big deal to switch hotels once per trip.

    28 nights/stays is still a lot of travel to many people, but it’s been pretty typical for me since I moved to America.

    Note: An irony of doing a lot of business travel is that during your personal time the last thing you want to do is travel, but your family wants to ‘go somewhere’. Fortunately, when kids are small, even a local hotel is a treat, as long as it has a pool and breakfast.

    So, back to travel hacking…

    A few weeks ago I noticed that I could move up from Nobody, to the bottom level of Somebody on United Airlines, by doing the same thing I do at Hilton. I needed either 19,000 miles, or 7 segments, to get to Premier.

    My local airport is Greensboro International, a small airport, and I almost always have to fly very small regional jets, the kind where one side of the plane has just 1 seat, the other side has 2. Small. No legroom. Always cramped. Premier level would let me select exit row seats and give me automatic upgrades, and ensure I always got on the plane before nearly everyone else. My trips are typically short, I only have carry-on luggage, and the front-of-the-line perk meant I’d always have enough overhead storage space (and yes, I know these all sound like small things, but what’s airline travel except many small inconveniences and indignities piled atop each other. Relief from a few of them means a lot).

    In case you don’t fly much, a segment is the equivalent of a hotel stay. When the wheels kiss the runway, you just completed a segment. The price you paid, the length of the trip, the size of the plane, none of these matter. Did the plane land? Good, that’s another segment in your account.

    Remember, to get to Premier, I needed 19,000 miles, or 7 segments, by the end of this calendar year. There was no way I would be flying so many miles. But the segments, that I could work with.

    I knew I had one more planned business trip this year, for 2 segments, so that left 5 segments. I also wanted an extra segment in case I had a dispute with the airline. To book this mileage run (really a segment run), I needed a trip that could be completed in a single Saturday, would include at least 5 segments (6 for a safety margin of one), and it had to be inexpensive.

    To book a trip like that, you don’t use the popular travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz. What I needed was a specialized tool. The travel hacking sites point to ITA, a company bought by Google a few months ago. You can’t buy a ticket there, but if you spend some time learning the different search options, it will find you a trip as crazy as you like. In my case:

    1. I wanted a 6 segment trip

    2. I didn’t want to pay much

    3. I wanted to leave and return home in the same day

    4. And I didn’t care where I went.

    I ended up in Kansas City, Missouri, after trying a few options. Specifically, I started at 6AM in Greensboro, flew to Washington D.C., then to Dayton Ohio, Chicago, Kansas City, back to Chicago, and landed in Greensboro at 9PM the same day (last Saturday). The price was $158 plus tax. Because of how airline pricing works (or doesn’t work), it’s likely that anyone sitting next to me and flying between just two of those destinations paid more than I paid for the entire trip.

    After ITA found me the trip I needed, I booked it at United’s website.


    The next day, the segments posted to my account, and now I’m 1 segment away from Premier. Not bad for under $200.

    Some observations:

    1. It was boring. Many times that day, I thought about how I would have been happy to pay United Airlines the ticket price and stay home. Of course, travel hacking is about inefficiencies, and that option isn’t available. Someone pointed out that my carbon footprint for that day was really, really bad.


    2. I didn’t bring a laptop, for probably the first time in 15 years. I did bring a Kindle, and it’s a great travel companion. I brought an Ipod, and never used it. I brought my Spint Evo cellphone to text my wife every time I landed and to use an app to keep my flights & gates organized. Highly recommend it.

    3. The flight had so many segments, I couldn’t print all my boarding passes from United’s website. It has a maximum of 4 segments per day.

    4. Kansas City has the stupidest layout I have ever seen. Every time you leave your gate area, you can’t return without going through Security (complete with X-ray) all over again. Want to cross the aisle and buy a coffee? That’s a security check when you return to the gate.

    5. I’d probably do it all again, but I hope I don’t have to.

  • Dean Waye 8:06 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brian Gordon, , , , Search Engine Optimization, Social network, , United States   

    Finale: Nobody Finds A Job Alone 

    Adriano Gasparri - My LinkedIn Profile

    [This is the second part of a two part article on finding a job in 2010-11. The first part is here]

    In the first part of this series, I discussed the past decade and how some individuals helped me find new opportunities, and how I had done the same for others. And up until my most recent employer, all these jobs were found in ways that haven’t changed much in the past many years.

    In 2010, there are new tools, and a new (very) general acceptance about using them. Things have changed a bit. Not as much as you might think, or hope. But changed nonetheless. And some new lessons are appropriate.

    Caveat: I’m not 25, and I’m not looking for my first real job. So what I write below might not be as useful for people under 30 as for those over 30. I recently read an interesting article here that might be more helpful for younger folks.

    1. Old but true: You still need to Google yourself occasionally.

    Why? Several reasons:

    • Every day, the likelihood of a potential employer doing it increases.
    • You should know what’s there, before someone else searches for your name and then asks you (or passes on talking to you altogether) because of what’s there.

    But it’s not just about playing defense. You can do a lot to influence what Google puts into those top 10 search results. And don’t think it’s difficult and not worth trying. Search Engine Optimization might be big business, but that’s because if you’re Coke, getting on the top of Pepsi searches is nearly impossible, and therefore expensive.

    You’re not Coke.

    If you have a very common name, like my friend Brian Gordon, you might be able to skip this step, because it really will be hard to float to the top with so many other Brian Gordons out there. The same might even be true if your name isn’t common in the USA, but it is in e.g. India or China, so the result is the same. But the less common your name is, the more important this step becomes, because it is easier to find the real you.

    When I Googled my name last summer, there was basically nothing on the first page that was really me. And the first page is the most important of all, since virtually nobody goes past it to look at page 2. Under my name, there were a couple of Amazon.com reviews I don’t remember writing, a handful of listings for those creepy public record sites that scrape government webpages, and some Usenet postings (see? Usenet. I told you I was over 30).

    Today, the creepy sites are gone, only one Amazon review remains, and everything else is from my blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Much better.

    2. Today, we don’t have privacy, we have content (aka Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and you)

    If I am hiring today, I go take a quick look at what the web shows about you. It’s easy, and since we’re strangers, I’d rather know something about you than nothing at all.

    I won’t dwell here on the obvious things about Facebook, since I doubt beauty pageant winners with grabby boyfriends (or girlfriends), or silly  people who like to photograph binge drinking will ever read this blog. But there’s something subtler at work here, a possibility, that you might appreciate: you’re not a spectator or minor character in your online presence. You’re the movie producer.

    Like a movie producer, you can’t control all the variables (actors!), but you get to set the theme, the overall direction, and to solve the problems. It’s the same with what I see about you online. The best way to influence what I see about you, since you’re never going to be famous and no one else is likely to intentionally write about you, is to crowd the other stuff off the front page. You, my friend, need to write. You need content.

    So write. But do it in a controlled environment, like forums, blogs, personal websites that aren’t blogs (remember those?). And sure, write on Facebook. But let’s be serious here: for as long as you live, Facebook is now a megaphone for you, not a never-ending public conversation. You look outward, the way radio shows and businesses do there. Your days of Liking, commenting, and posting things you wouldn’t want your 9 year old niece to read tomorrow, are over. And whatever you can clean up today, do it. I have spent a lot of time tweaking Facebook privacy settings. You haven’t (be honest). Plus, Facebook changes them all the time. Stop playing chicken, and stop being reckless. The only people who should spend lots of time on Facebook are people who aren’t in the workforce and never will be again.

    PS Same for Twitter, with a twist: if I see that you posted thousands of items and retweets, and the top couple of dozen aren’t quality stuff and interesting links, I might pass on you. Who has that much time to spend on Twitter? BUT, again, you benefit from the same effect I mentioned above about Google’s first page of results. Virtually nobody looks at page two (who has that much time?). So post 25 good quality tweets, to crowd out the other junk you put up there. Then either stop cold turkey, or keep up the good content stream.

    And that brings us to LinkedIn.com

    Older than the others, and smaller too. Much more boring. Incredibly boring. Like 75 million resume-length business cards, LinkedIn is the anti-Facebook. Everyone’s profile on LinkedIn is either non-existent or chock full of descriptions from (apparently) the greatest business people to ever walk the Earth:

    strategic thinker, innovative planner, and hard worker

    – versatile professional with a decade of experience in multi-system global logistics who personally saved $1.2316 million by optimizing throughput in 3rd shift plants (how? where? is that a lot, relative to what you had to work with?)

    –  John Smith, 3 LinkedIn contacts

    Yet, LinkedIn is where the recruiters go. They might look at Facebook second to find bad stuff and save themselves embarrassment, but they go to LinkedIn to find good candidates. So when you are writing your content for your LinkedIn profile, you should lean more toward what you would write on Facebook than what others write on LinkedIn. Like I said, LinkedIn is smaller than FB, but it’s still 75 million strong, and that’s a lot of competition. Plus everyone there is scared of messing up, the place reeks of tension, so it’s easy to be noticeable by loosening up just a little. You need to stand out. Good news for you, everybody else is as boring as heck. So make your content as warm as you can get away with, write as much as you’re allowed to, and if someone writes you a generic recommendation send it back. And you, you write good, memorable recommendations for other people. Write for them first, pay it forward. Sow and reap. Any questions along that theme, read the Part 1 article again.

    LinkedIn is so important, I am going to rephrase what I just said: This is where people find you for new jobs. Be as warm as you can while staying professional. Generate lots of quality content in your profile. Link to, or embed, your other content from your blog/Twitter. And show that you think (I know that you think, so show it). A weakness on LinkedIn is that your competition focuses on saying what they did but in the most generic possible way. You say what you did, but show that you think about stuff too.

    (You can do this. Honest. I know you can. In most of life, ideas alone aren’t worth much, but they are valuable when someone is willing to write them for public view. So show us yours.).

    Some other thoughts about LinkedIn:

    a. Upload a picture. I use a cartoony graphic mainly because I want something that looks the same on computer screens and mobile phones, can be used on my blogs and other profiles, and would generally carry across wherever I was found and be recognizable. Someday I will switch to a photograph again. You should start there, if you can. And in your picture, fill the whole frame, look at me, and smile. Please.

    b. Think about buying a premium membership for a month or two. There are some interesting features included.

    c. Invite me to connect with you (just search for Dean Waye). Don’t use the generic message LinkedIn offers you. Tell me why we might be able to help each other, or be interested in working together someday. Or tell me you want to write a guest post on my blog (these things don’t write themselves, you know 🙂 )

    d. Join some groups, especially groups in your industry and your college. It’s a good way to connect with new people. Don’t join jobseeker groups, though, except maybe for a day or two, to find the recruiters and connect with them. Then quit. Tip: The recruiters are the ones with 9000+ connections.

    Summary (where it all comes together)

    It’s great when someone hassles you to take because they know you’re a great fit. Absent that, you can do a lot with social networking sites to put your best face forward and show that you’re a thinker and a doer who is responsible enough to manage the Internet Age’s replacement for personal privacy on Google and everywhere else. Be personal, post the odd trivial piece, but mainly keep the least impressive parts of your life off Facebook, and swing a little bit the other way on LinkedIn.

    And if you find a great use for Twitter, send it to me? I still don’t truly see the potential there for individuals, yet. Maybe I should think about it…

  • Dean Waye 12:18 am on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Employment, Job Search, Labour economics, , Olive Garden, Red Lobster, United States   

    Nobody Finds A Job Alone 

    University of Central Florida

    Image via Wikipedia

    Nobody finds a job alone.

    I was thinking about this last week, after dinner with a former co-worker on Thursday. Both of us had been brought into my current company by the same man, who was trying to get him to return to the company the rest of us still worked for.

    As I was driving home after dinner, I thought about the dozen or so jobs I had helped people (some friends, some acquaintances) start over the past decade, and I realized that none of them had ever helped me get a job in return.

    But, you know what? I haven’t yet helped the three men who found jobs for me:

    • Neil , a former grad school roommate who moved to America ahead of me and guided me into his company;
    • Marty, who called me for months before I finally agreed to interview;
    • and Mark, who I briefly worked for at Kronos, and who introduced me to my current employer after moving there himself.

    All great men. All, I’m sure, have helped many other besides me. I’m part of their dozen, and others are part of mine.

    Isn’t that strange? It’s as if career assistance is a giant game of pay-it-forward. Three people helped me. I helped a dozen. Hopefully, some of that dozen will help others whom I will likely never meet. And on it goes.

    Which brings me to to 2010. I last looked for a new job in 2007, and I believe the landscape is very different today. For me, 2007 was like 2004, and 2001. The companies and jobs I have found through connectors like Neil Wornes, Marty Wells, and Mark DeArmon, have been good fits, even if I didn’t think they would be at the time. The jobs where I connected through unknown third parties tended to be brief, and bad matches, despite my initial feelings after the interviews (I’m looking at you, Robert Half).

    But 2010 is different, apparently.

    Prior to this year, I didn’t notice much of a social networking component to the job market. I joined LinkedIn in 2003, but only recently have connections there crossed over into the real world. I’m one of the geeks who has 400+ LinkedIn connections and actually knows nearly every one of them personally.

    So I want to to walk you through a decade or so of job search history from age 29 to today, and discuss what worked and didn’t, and what I still recommend and don’t, and a few lessons that I hope are useful to anyone about to start a new job hunt.

    Part 1: Prior to social networking sites.

    Lesson 1. If you are young, and especially if you are in school, get out there early.

    I was lucky (and financially already in trouble) when I started, so I had nothing to lose by taking anything I could.

    When I returned to school after my bachelor’s, I walked directly to the career placement office and told them I wanted whatever odd jobs a technical person could do. That got me two short-term gigs almost immediately, as the ‘computer guy’ for an A/V company at a large annual software conference, and as a trainer for a subsidiary of MCI teaching people basics about MS Office and the web. The first led to my meeting a local event planner, whose small jobs kept me fed while I was in school. The second led to an opportunity to write a 1-day primer course for local telephone company workers who were being introduced to this new Internet thing.

    That 1-day course course, and being the trainer who conducted it, eventually led me to a job at that telephone company. That was my last full-time job before I left for America.

    Lesson 2. If you get the call, jump. Trust your new friends to know you.

    When my former roommate called me from a company in Virginia, and told me I would like working there, I needed convincing. I had never lived in America, and I had about 10 reasons why the timing was wrong. But I decided to live in the States for 2 years, get some experience, and return to Canada.

    [Note: over time, I met a lot of guys who have moved to America without already having family here. Those who remain here seem to fall into 2 groups. They came for a job and stayed for a woman, or came for a woman and stayed for a job. I’m the former)]

    I stayed with that company for two years, but left after talking with a recruiter at another firm about the job of a lifetime that really wasn’t.
    Lesson 3. As soon as you can, start speaking to groups, meeting folks, and helping others get work.

    After a couple of years, including immigration issues and a post 9/11 economy, I met Marty through our accountant, who I think put us together because we were roughly the same age and were ‘computer guys’. We hit it off, in part because we were (and still are) in different parts of the industry; he’s hardware, I’m software.

    Other than a one-time introduction to Darden Restaurants I made for him (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, those guys), which didn’t work out for either of us, I don’t know why Marty kept in touch with me, and kept asking me to join a company he had become a manager with (after meeting the owner on a plane, in first class, of course. Marty’s often lucky like that). But he kept calling, and eventually the budget opened up for a new position, and while I wasn’t sure about the company, I trusted Marty, and joined.

    That job was my first return to management in years, and gave me the chance to help a lot of people get hired (and to hire some myself). I especially focused on helping recent grads and immigrants, spoke at colleges and universities, and at one point offered whatever help I possibly could to a meeting of 400 international students at UCF.That talk at UCF was a valuable lesson for me. I was the last speaker, and it took me half an hour to get out the door after I finished. Those folks were motivated to find work (this was about two years after 9/11, things in Florida were still bad), and a small mob peppered me with questions and requests before letting me leave.

    From my talks at colleges I ended up either placing or directly hiring at least 4 people in my short time working alongside Marty, including one who graduated from UCF and, I swear, called me every 10 minutes for as long as it took to get me to hire her. I am still friends with her and her husband today, they are great people.

    Extra Lesson: You never know where your next connection will come from. That UCF speech was by invitation of a truly amazing lady related to my wife, Melanie Parker. Today’s she’s at MIT, where I’m sure she helps many, many people find jobs after graduation.

    Lesson 4. Know what your salary number needs to be, and especially if it’s a big boost for you, argue for it. Once you accept the job, you join the annual review / salary adjustment track, and might never see a big boost again.

    From working with Marty, I went to KRONOS, and set to work getting more great people hired there. KRONOS was the kind of company where, if you set your mind to it and didn’t mind the travel, you could meet an awful lot of people, both colleagues and clients. I worked with Honeywell, GE, state and county governments, and many, many others. I also worked with a lot of client HR teams while working both with and for KRONOS (I was a KRONOS customer when I worked with Marty), learned a lot about payrolls, and saw the truth of the old adage “People don’t get what they deserve, they get what they negotiate”.

    If you could see who-earns-what in your own company, or the company you are looking at joining, you would be SHOCKED. Many of the hardest-working and critical people in every company earn so little, you can’t believe they actually raise a family on it. And some of the lowest contributors (and least useful) people earn so much, you can’t believe they are kept on. Also, in my experience, especially these days, few people actually rise within a company. And the larger the company is, the truer this becomes.

    Extra Lesson: My busiest day ever at KRONOS was when a large layoff was anounced. I knew several people who were laid off, and from a Jackson, MS airport spent hours on the phone (took a later flight) to call everyone I knew who might have openings, to place people into new companies as quickly as possible. The lesson… somedays, it’s your turn to deliver real stuff to real people. When that day comes, don’t hold back. Don’t hold back. Don’t hold back. Pay it forward.

    Lesson 5. Somedays, it’s your turn to accept the phone call. It never hurts to listen.

    Near the end of my time at KRONOS, Mark DeArmon was hired and became my manager, only to leave six months later. Soon after that, KRONOS went through some major changes. I had been there three years, and decided to accept his introductions to hiring managers at my (now) current employer. Similar to Marty, I don’t know why he singled me out and kept calling me, but he did, and after talking to three different hiring managers, I joined that company.

    Summary of Part 1:

    These are three men. There are people who think they are ordinary, or worse. But they made big dents in my universe. As I made big dents in others’s. No one finds a job (or starts a business, or does anything big) alone. There are people who can make a difference. You already know who they are. Stop putting them off to another day, a better time, or any other excuse you have. Let them help you. If I knew you’d, I’d help. I have to pay it forward, especially since I haven’t helped them yet.

    Next: Part 2: What Social Networking sites change about the job search (and what they don’t).

    • missdisplaced 7:58 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Help out a grad student researching modern job search methods. This is not Spam and I am not promoting anything. It is a real research project.

      Follow the link below and complete my survey. Thank you!

      The following is a survey examining methods employed by individuals in the job search process.

    • derek hoekman (bighook) 6:59 am on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Dean Yeah its me .A ghost from those long ago days in Nfld.Read your blogs and have to say very impressed though not surprised.You always had a way of charming the pants off people.My self included.Anyways continued success in your ventures and I agree with your pay it forward philosphy.It is a much missing moral in todays selfish ,trashtalking, instant gratification society .I especially agree with your comments on facebook as I know an out of control teenager who currently uses it to document her partying life style posting pictures of herself and friends blitzed and showing large bundles of drugs and what not they consumed during a weekend.The Paris Hilton scandal lifestyle choice is really impressive. Oh well nice to see you are alive and well and have prospered in the important aspects of life.Anyways I understand if you are too busy to reply with an email but suffice to say I am still alive and happy to see you are as well.Derek

  • Dean Waye 5:13 pm on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cambodia, Florida, , Google Alerts, Information technology, Outsourcing, South Florida, Southeast Asia, United States, YouTube   

    Brian, Outsource Yourself 

    Location of Southeast Asia. This map primarily...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Brian Gordon, American born and raised, just moved from South Florida to Cambodia, and I am trying to help him reverse the outsourcing dilemma you might be worrying about in your own job.


    It was good to hear from you, and I was glad to see that the move to Cambodia was trouble-free, given how problematic the months leading up to it were.

    Now that you are settled in, and want to find work, consider marketing yourself in a way that takes full advantage of your situation.

    First, I think that your story is compelling. The Great Recession + the Florida housing bust wiped out your equity, and then you got laid off. I used to live in Florida, and so I know you weren’t unusual. It was just bad luck – you weren’t sub-prime, you got crushed by falling prices, like millions of other people. And getting laid off during this recession happened to millions of people too, not just you.

    But what you did next is what makes the story so interesting. You picked a place you visited once before and liked, gave yourself a September 1 deadline to find a new job in America, and when you didn’t, you left.

    Now, you can geo-arbitrage. You can work for American companies (or really any company, anywhere), undercut your on-shore competition by 20-30%, and take advantage of the lower cost of living in Southeast Asia.

    Not many people could make the kind of change you did. And even fewer would even try. But you did it.

    So, now, how do you find clients?

    This is the weak spot in your strategy, since ideally you would have lined something up before leaving, but I don’t fault you for it. A big change like that means sticking to a date no matter what. Otherwise, maybe you would have never had ‘enough’ clients, and therefore never moved.

    The situation is what it is. Let’s just get started.

    1. You have a domain name, and an email address (brian.gordon@kronosreports.com). Put your story on your website, along with the type of reports you have done and can do for clients. Keep it friendly. (Note: Brian’s specialty is creating database-driven reports for HR systems)

    2. Decide on a rate schedule you can live with, and stick to it. If possible, be the second-highest cost provider among your competitors.

    3. Get someone to send you a MagicJack, so you’ll have a US number that you can use and a voicemail box for the calls you can’t take (sounds simple, I know, but it matters). While you are at it, sign up for Google Voice.

    4. Email everyone you know, individually. Especially former clients. Tell them your story, give them your contact info and website and let them know that you can handle their work easily from where you are, at prices they won’t find locally, at least not with the experience level you offer.

    5. Record some high-quality video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. At a minimum, record a 1 minute introduction to your website, again telling your story and how you are able to offer American-style work in a way that benefits the client. Then embed  the video on the front page of your website (this is easier than you think, honest).

    6. Set up Google Alerts for keywords that include your specialty, former employers, and former clients, and when you see new business deals announced, contact the people mentioned and offer to supplement what they are buying with your own offering. We both know the crazy markups that services like report creation have. Some of those companies will be happy to reduce their costs and get the same results.

    7. Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out. Yours is a story that is extreme enough to get media attention, and that sort of publicity will help you get clients and make them more comfortable with you.

    8. Start a blog on WordPress.com, and write about your career adventure. Posts there are picked up by search engines very quickly. I just googled ‘brian gordon‘ and I am pretty sure none of the top results was you. Even ‘brian gordon reports’ didn’t return anything about you. You have a common name (sorry, it’s true), so you need to start getting noticed by Google, buddy. We can’t all be named ‘dean waye‘.   🙂

    9. If one exists, join a group on LinkedIn for people who either do what you do, or are in industries you have sold into. I joined my first 3 groups the other day, and I was blown away by how many project management jobs are listed. Also, post either your website address or this post to Facebook/Twitter, and ask your friends there to pass it along. Mainly for the Google search results help, but it also might you pick up something.

    10. Finally, take a look at the freelancer sites like elance, guru, odesk, and TweetMyJob. They can get you started on something until you get established.

    Also: Dear Reader… yes, you, you right now, reading these words… What do you think? Got a comment, or a suggestion to help Brian?

    • deanwaye 9:14 pm on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Brian, It’s been 4 hours since this was posted, and while ‘brian gordon’ and ‘brian gordon reports’ aren’t showing you yet on Google, you’re number 1 for ‘brian gordon cambodia’. So, that’s a first step.

    • Brian Gordon 2:03 pm on September 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dean – Just wanted to say thanks. I registered on elance and HARO and will submit my story tomorrow…also, I forwarded your article to a few friends and colleagues and this is where I stand

      A former colleague who now recruits technical talent is marketing my background at 4 companies with crystal report projects

      A controller I used to work with is now looking for me to rewrite standard reports from access

      You spelled out perfectly what I need to do.

      As my cost of living in Cambodia is a fraction to the states I can market my expertise in business reporting AND essentially undercut all competition on price….I think I can own this space with quality work and be the best bargain globally for business reporting….and as long as my revenue is below 90K it will be tax free as the US foreign tax exclusion is 90k……

      Thanks again for such a great roadmap.

    • lucythorpe 5:13 am on September 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You are clearly a great friend with some sound advice. We could all do with a new road map every now and again! As someone who gives press and publicity advice I think finding your story and getting it out there is a brilliant start.

  • Dean Waye 5:40 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: airport, , , , , , United States   

    Dear TSA, Do Boarding Passes Matter? 

    Right Date, Wrong Airport

    Dear TSA, do boarding passes matter anymore?

    Last week I posted about being full-body scanned in Raleigh en route to Montreal, and no one looked at my boarding pass to ensure I was supposed to be in the airport in the first place.

    This week’s trip has me flying from Greensboro to D.C. and this time (it is really early, 4 AM-ish) I accidentally handed the wrong boarding pass to the TSA agent that examines boarding passes & IDs. He takes a good long look, he initials that he checked it, and lets me go forward. There is no one behind me in line, so no hurry at all.

    So what was he checking, exactly? He wasn’t confirming that I was in the right airport for that flight. Or that I was on any flight out of Greensboro today.

    If he had given it all a cursory check I could understand. But that’s not the case. He took his time.

    Do boarding passes matter?

  • Dean Waye 8:34 am on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Technology, , United States, USA   

    Dear United Airlines, You Did the Minimum Right Thing 

    United Airlines SFO luggage counter

    Image by rynosoft via Flickr

    Dear United Airlines,

    Just wanted to say thanks for doing the obvious, minimum, and (for me) critically necessary.

    When I checked in online, and saw that my ticket put my name as ‘Dean Dean Mr Waye’ (no, that’s not a typo), your agent, who I found after checking with Get Human, was straightforward and sensible, and changed it to the right name and got rid of the ‘Mr’ part altogether. For free.

    I know, especially to those who don’t deal with airlines often, or maybe live outside the USA, that this sounds like the most mundane ‘Dear… Thanks’ post yet, but you and I know that this was no small thing, and that my odds of getting this fixed in a single call, on a holiday, the day before an international flight, is nothing short of a small miracle.

    So, thanks. I appreciate this. So much so, I listened while the agent ran through her script trying to sell me a United Airlines credit card, just to be polite. And her script about booking a rental car in Montreal. And… well, that’s where I stepped off. Sorry, 2 is my limit these days.

  • Dean Waye 12:00 am on September 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon Kindle, , , , , Seattle, , United States   

    Dear Starbucks Float 

    Dear Starbucks,

    I LIKE the free drink after every 15 coffees. I always use it to buy something  expensive  (in this case, my better half bought a frap, a venti).

    I DON’T LIKE that I have to load my Starbucks card with money first, then pay with that card. I liked it better with the card from last year, the black one with the gold cup on it. Where I got it swiped with every purchase, for the 10% discount, but didn’t have to pre-pay you.

    My shiny gold Starbucks card is nice, it has my name on it too, but the new way just seems sneaky. Do you make much on the float, the time between when I give you my money and the time I use it?

    Is it worth it?

    PS I may have eaten more of your turkey-bacon breakfast sandwiches than anyone else in America… one question, why is it such a production to get it cut in half before wrapping it up? The folks behind the counter never seem to have a food-safe knife. Really, it’s that unusual to want something cut in half? Sometimes I don’t want to eat the whole thing, they’re chewy as heck and very filling.

  • Dean Waye 12:30 am on August 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Filling station, Financial Services, Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing, Insurance, United States   

    Dear AAA, About That Thing I Wrote the Other Day… 

    Gas prices on 2008-04-30. Hess Station in Wilm...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear AAA,

    When I wrote this, I knew there was something else I was missing, but I didn’t ‘have it’ in my fingers at the time. Does that ever happen to you, too?

    Well, I have it now.

    I’m sure you understand this even better than I do, since you live with it every day… AAA has a classic sort of branding problem, doesn’t it? No one thinks about you until they need you, and they rarely need you. You’re about about as exciting as term life insurance. That’s why programs like using the membership to get discounts are so important. And why you always manage to get mentioned on the radio around holiday weekends, predicting how many people will be on the road, and saying  how much gas costs*.

    So, back to the note I wrote the other day. Can you add in gas prices? Or even better, just show me the 3 lowest priced gas stations in a 3 mile radius. Don’t make me download a second app for my Android/iPhone, just add this into the current app.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Why does it always cost more than whatever state I live in, regardless of how often I move? Is that a coincidence, or does Alaska/California always skew the number higher?
  • Dean Waye 7:56 pm on August 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brainstorming, , Government, Innovation, , Muse, Seth Godin, Ships, United States   

    …  from Seth Godin:

    One approach to innovation and brainstorming is to wait for the muse to appear, to hope that it alights on your shoulder, to be ready to write down whatever comes to you.

    The other is to seek it out, will it to appear, train it to arrive on time and on command.

    The first method plays into our fears. After all, if you’re not inspired, it’s not your fault if you don’t ship, it’s not your fault if you don’t do anything remarkable–hey, I don’t have any good ideas, you can’t expect me to speak up if I don’t have any good ideas…

    The second method challenges the fear and announces that you’ve abandoned the resistance and instead prepared to ship. Your first idea might not be good, or even your second or your tenth, but once you dedicate yourself to this cycle, yes, in fact, you will ship and make a difference.

    Simple example: start a blog and post once a day on how your favorite company can improve its products or its service. Do it every day for a month, one new, actionable idea each and every day. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the change in the way you find, process and ship ideas.

  • Dean Waye 10:23 pm on August 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hotels and Motels, , New York City, United States, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Waldorf-Astoria Orlando   

    Dear Hilton, Thanks for the Points 

    Logo of The Waldorf=Astoria Collection

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear Hilton,

    Thanks for the points. Seriously.

    My kids are young enough that staying at a hotel (even one around the corner) is a treat, and if you asked them to name their favorite meal, they would say “hotel breakfast!”. So thanks for the points, because I get a ton of them, they don’t expire, they rarely suffer from inflation (2010 being an exception), and all those accelerators I have (Double Dipping, the Amex Surpass card, staying at a different hotel every night of my trips to hit Diamond faster) all make for a much better customer experience than I ever got from airline points.

    One suggestion… is there ever an opportunity to use money + points for an upgrade, the way airlines do? Just asking…

    Speaking of upgrades, I used points to stay at the brand new Waldorf-Astoria Orlando this month, and it was WONDERFUL. One of the best hotels I have ever seen, and definitely worth 50,000 points (Low Season). My family is looking forward to the ‘real’ Waldorf-Astoria in December. Look out, NYC.

  • Dean Waye 6:39 pm on August 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Tow truck, , United States   

    Dear AAA, Thanks for the Android App 

    The AAA logo

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear AAA,
    It will soon be time for me to renew my subscription. With cars so reliable these days, and roadside assistance available from many providers (including my cell phone company), my AAA membership renewal decision breaks down to 3 components:
    1. I travel for work, so if my wife has car trouble she has someone to call
    2. A small discount on hotels (which I don’t pay for anyway, see #1)
    3. Possible discounts using the ‘Show Your Card’ program at some retailers and other providers.
    For #1, since the same tow truck shows up no matter which roadside assistance plan I belong to, I have decided it’s basically a wash.
    For #2, no one really cares if I save $5/night on a hotel. Choosing a cheaper flight is much more important.
    That leave #3, and this week when I was traveling with my own car and needed new brakes, I didn’t remember to ask, nor was I offered, a discount via AAA. In fact, I am not sure one was available.
    But if I had thought to download the AAA Android app for my phone that could point me to a place that did offer a discount, a single purchase could have saved me enough to justify my annual membership.
    Thanks for the app… did you ever send me anything, telling me it existed?
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