Inside Track

My daughter  started a new job last August. She is working for a great small company called Inside Track. They are doing something that I don’t think has been done before. Inside Track  provide success coaches to college students  and they sell the service to the colleges. There was an interesting article about the company in USA Today a few days ago. The article  explains how the Inside Track business model makes a lot of sense. From a student’s point of view having an inside track coach makes a lot of sense too.  It is no wonder  they are growing so fast.

The Power of Blogs

A lot of companies still don’t understand the power of blogs to build awareness and understanding. I participated in the Edelman/Technorati study of study of influential bloggers’ attitudes on communicating with corporations. Among the results that Richard Edelman calls out in his blog are that "Senior company executives who blog are only half as believable (19%) as company employees who blog (35%)" . Edelman asks "What does this mean for PR? I believe that the way we communicate with bloggers will increasingly be central to our success."

Companies need to spend time making sure their employees know what the key important messages are. PR people train executives before they are interviewed. They also need to train regular employees. There is a dual benefit to having employees who are able to clearly articulate the companies message and goals. Not only do those employees spread the word through vehicles like blogs but there can be no doubt that an informed employee who can articulate what the company is doing and why will be a better, more motivated employee. I guess in a word it creates alignment.

Shannon’s BDay Party

Shannon will be 21 next Friday! She was home for the weekend so we had friends over for dinner and a birthday party last night.  I went through all my old pictures and found a bunch of pictures of her over the last 21 years. I went to Kinko’s and had them  blown up to 8×10 and I put them up on the walls all over the house with the happy birthday signs. I know that every parent of a 21 year old says this, but it seems like only yesterday that she was just a cute little kid with lots of personality. I must be in denial because I put 18 candles on her cake!  I am so proud of the adult she has become. It is just so amazing how fast 21 years go by.

It was great to see my friends too. They have all know Shannon since she was born.  Whenever we entertain I always realize how much I enjoy it and  that we should do it more often. When you are really busy you tend to think you just don’t have time but  it really isn’t that hard. I just have to make it happen. I am reminded of a great piece I read by Tom Stienstra in his book California Fishing. I just found it on his web site. It is called Beating the Time Trap.  Basically what he says is that if you enjoy doing things you will only find time for them if you schedule them. Stienstra is talking about outdoors activities but I think it is true for other things like entertaining too. If I want to entertain friends more I just need to schedule it.

Book Club

I went to book club last Tuesday night. The book was Being Dead by Jim Crace. This will be  a short post. Following the principal of if you haven’t got something nice to say don’t say anything,  I haven’t got much to say about this book. It is the story of how a couple in the their mid 50s are murdered on the beach, how their bodies decay over the days until they are found and how their lives led up to the point of their murder. There is no doubt in my mind that Crace is an amazing,  poetic and lyrical writer. But even if he writes beautifully, when he is writing about what happens to the body after death I just don’t need it. Yuck! I must say though that I finished the book. I have a personal rule about not finishing books that I don’t  like but in this case I really wanted to finish the book even though I hated it. I attribute this to morbid curiosity much like how you can’t stop staring at an accident when you drive past it even though you know you shouldn’t be interested in someone else’s misfortune.

PortfolioMinder Sales and Support

a few weeks ago we previewed PortfolioMinder at the conference. It was a huge success! There was a phenomenal amount of interest. I’ve never done so many demos in all my life. There were 5 of us demonstrating PortfolioMinder and we were busy almost all the time.

I told Duke that this is a good news, bad news situation. We may very well sell a lot of PortfolioMinder when we launch. That is the good news. The bad news is that all those people will need set up and support and its my job to provide wow customer care for all of our customers. I guess that’s not really bad news it is just a great opportunity.

We plan to use a unique approach for PortfolioMinder Customer Care and Sales. We will build a PortfolioMinder Sales and Customer Care Network. Advisers in the PortfolioMinder Sales and Customer Care Network will be Intuit agents who sell PortfolioMinder, and provide pre and post sale support for PortfolioMinder. Agents will work on a contract basis and will be paid for their services on a per case basis with pay per case dependent on customer satisfaction and agent responsiveness. Sales compensation will be based on the agent’s PortfolioMinder sales. Agents will be expected to bill Intuit monthly for their services at preapproved rates.

My vision is that financial planners who are either building their practice or want to augment their current practice will support and sell PortfolioMinder and be paid for their services. One of the wonderful things about this is that these people can do this work from anywhere. We have no geographical location requirements.

We want to find a few awesome people to start providing these services. If you know of anyone who might be interested drop me an email or call me at Intuit at 650-944-3919.