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I, like many of you am heart broken over the death of Robin Williams. Why? I never met him. I didn’t really know him, clearly. But I grew up with him and he made me laugh, he blew me away with his mind and when he yelled “Good Morning Viet Naaaam” I was transformed.
But this week he lost his battle with depression. Like cancer it can be fatal. And where we get confused is that his job, his gift, his vocation was comedy. So how can someone so funny be depressed. It’s not a weakness, it’s an affliction.
I come home every evening to my 412 square foot apartment – see last blog post – and turn on my DirecTv to watch Jimmy Fallon from the night before. He’s the comic of his generation. So talented, so funny and so kind. No ego. He has surpassed Johnny Carson in my opinion.
When I dialed up the episode tonight I was rooting for him. Jimmy, you cannot not acknowledge this passing, and he did not disappoint. The opening song, “Hey hey hey hey….” Love you Roots – and instead of yelling the episode number…. Questlove yelled, “Nanu Nanu.” Hell yes. That was enough for me. But wait, there’s more. When they cut to the first commercial after the monologue, they showed “Nanu Nanu” on the front of the drum set. Very classy.
Back from commercial. Jimmy took his seat at the desk and gave us the preview of upcoming guests with the glee of a child. He still can’t believe that he gets to host all of the greats, that’s why I love him. But then it happened. And it caught me off guard. He created a pause, and choking back emotion he acknowledged what we were all feeling. Those of us that need levity at the end of the day – that crave it like a drug are feeling the loss of someone who we counted on to give it to us. Jimmy showed a clip of Robin’s first appearance on the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and then ended standing on his desk “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Cut to commercial. Thank you Jimmy.
Robin Williams is gone. His disease killed his gift. And we struggle with it. Because deep down we can relate. As my Nana used to say “God gave each of us a gift, and our DUTY is to give it back to the world,” And sometimes that becomes a burden we cannot bear.
Robin, thank you for sharing your gift for 63 years. That’s enough for me. I get it. When I say rest in peace I mean it. You deserve it man. You gave so much joy to so many people in every performance. You have to be worn out.
Next week I begin my new adventure with Satmetrix, the Net Promoter Score company. It’s a dream come true for me and it means I still get to work with credit unions through the Member Loyalty Group. Yay!
My office is in San Mateo so I’ve rented a studio apartment in the same town. Bay Area real estate is insane. San Francisco is the second most expensive rental market in the US (Honolulu is number one).
My sister Daedre (pronounced daydream – drop the “m”) is the Queen of “vertical” living. IKEA is only 12 miles away. Her plane lands at 7:45 this morning. She flies out at noon tomorrow, I fly to London at 7:30 tomorrow night (for my first week of work).
Our challenge: to create a gorgeous, comfortable, functional living space in 36 hours. We are starting from scratch. I arrived yesterday with my Mazda Millennia packed full of clothes, shoes, my favorite picture of Mark, bathroom stuff and one flying pig.
My sister has a process she uses for every move. She creates a scale floor plan using graph paper and makes little furniture pieces (also to scale) so you can play around with the room without breaking your back. The apartment is basically one big room, with a separate very small kitchen and bathroom. The main room is almost perfectly square and has a huge picture window on one wall with an amazing view.
Daedre asked me what my requirements were. I need a real bed and I don’t want to eat dinner on the couch. So we are going to try and get a bedroom, dining room and living room in 412 square feet. I am writing this from the Marriott Courtyard. And looking at this room, I think we can do it.
I have yet to meet a person in my travels that when asked “So what did you want to be when you grew up?” answered “A credit union employee.” And yet in my 34 years of adulthood I was blessed to be just that.
I have never considered myself to be a cog in a machine. A cube rat. Desk jockey. I will forever refer to credit unions as a movement – not a category. I publicly vowed that I would not let credit unions go down on my watch. And none of that has changed.
The big change in my life that my partner, friend and muse Matt Davis announced yesterday, is my move to Satmetrix. And to San Mateo, California.
I know what some of you are thinking. What? So let me say once and for all, Mark and I are still NOT married. Kidding aside, we are career people. We both chose years ago not to have real children – credit unions are our family and in may ways our children of the corn. A dysfunctional family to be sure. Mark loves working at SECU of NM. Cochiti Lake will always be our home. My office is going to be in California. United Airlines is my commuter tube.
Anyone who has heard me speak since 2008 or read my second book knows my devotion to Net Promoter Score. When my dear friend Rebecca Secor emailed me “You must read this book (The Ultimate Question) it’ll change your life.” Well, it did.
I have been steadfast in my belief that NPS is the missing link for marketers and business development. I mean how can you go tell the world how great your credit union is if you never take the time to find out, from the member/owners, if they agree?
Check it out. I get to manage the NPS community for the founders. If you have not already joined – come play with us – www.netpromoter.com. I also get to coordinate their conferences. The first one will be in jolly old London! I get to play in the sandbox with some of the biggest minds in the loyalty world.
Best part of my excitinb new world? The Member Loyalty Group is a Satmetrix client. Some really smart leaders (Baxter, BECU, San Francisco Fire, Educators (Racine), Addison Avenue and AmericaFirst) founded MLG 5 years ago. They brought the gold standard of NPS to credit unions. Today over 50 and counting have joined the fold.
Last year I found the following saying – it has been framed and sits in my home office. Now I get why it spoke to me.
I’m not worried about what could go wrong, she said. I wonder if I’m in a position where I could handle it if everything goes right.” – Brian Andreas
Sent from my iPad
One of the most difficult concepts for credit unions to grasp today is that of target audience. And yet every single credit union alive today owes their very existence TO a target audience. Firefighters, teachers, postal workers, churches, big employers like Boeing, IBM, GM, and the like. The common bond is what launched our industry and carved a niche in a very crowded marketplace.
But fast forward today and through mega-mergers, charter changes, two recessions and some bad management most credit unions have adopted a community or multiple SEG charter. Their territory – anyone who lives, works or worships in a multiple county area – is confused with target audience.
One of the arguments I hear against declaring a target is the misconception that you will exclude a group of people. After all, everyone needs financial services so why would I turn anyone away?
In my opinion there are two reasons why it is absolutely necessary to take the time today to figure out who your target audience really is:
1. Targeting an audience focuses your very limited resources.
2. Targeting an audience allows you to innovate and make the competition irrelevant – again.
There is one shining example of how a company innovated through targeting and as a result dominates their marketplace. Here’s the story of the iPod.
Steve Jobs readily admits that he came to the MP3 player game late. His passion was video. But when he realized there was evolution of portability and durability happening at a record pace (get it?) he used the power of psychographic targeting to disrupt the music industry.
Most people think of target audience around demographics. Females age 25-35, for example. To really innovate, that’s too broad. A psychographic approach to that same group might be “single moms with toddlers.” Psychographics identifies a problem that exists and aims to solve it. Every time I look to solve a problem I begin my thought process with “How might we……” In the case of the single moms “How might we make the errand of banking joyful for single moms with toddlers?” By asking that question and narrowing the audience I’ll bet you can immediately think of changes you would make to your lobby, service delivery, speed, etc.
Okay – so back to Steve.
Consider the evolution of music. Let’s go way back to the 1970s….
The vinyl record album.
Problem? Durability and portability (you couldn’t play it in a car)
Solution? The 8-track tape and player
The 8-track tape player
Problem? Took us away from the familiar Side A and Side B – music was hard to find on demand. Not as durable as we hoped.
Solution? The cassette tape.
The cassette tape.
Problem? Still had some durability issues but gave us the ability to record our music – the mix tape was born.
Solution? The compact disc (CD)
Problem? The initial roll-out did not allow for recording but the quality was so great, music junkies replaced their vinyl and tape libraries with CDs.
Solution? The audio file format and the MP3 player
Here’s where it gets interesting. As you can see from the evolution of music above, the focus was always on durability, portability and not until the CD format, quality of sound. By now people demanded all of those features. And the person that was most interested was this target audience:
Raise your hand it you were the type of person that would call a radio station, request a song, and then stand by your tape recorder and wait for it to be played so you could record it?
In every audience that I ask this question there are always a small group that fit this profile. The audience always laughs, the “guilty” however are proud of it and when they see who else did it they form a bond – a common bond.
That was the target audience that allowed Apple to truly innovate. It wasn’t the iPod that was revolutionary. Is was iTunes. He knew that there were people so passionate about controlling their music listening experience that they would spend hours making the perfect mix tape. How easy is it to make a mix tape with iTunes? It’s insane.
And so consider this, and this happened two weeks ago. I asked a group of 75 credit union employees to raise their hand if they were the target for iTunes (the song requesting, mix tape making crazy). Only 4 people raised their hands. Then I asked, how many of you have iTunes today?
Every hand went up.
I rest my case.
Now go target an audience before your competition forces you to merge because you are still trying to be all things to all people.
One of the first times I visited Santa Fe I discovered StoryPeople by Brian Andreas. I guess you’d call him a poet/thinker/artist. I get daily “stories” in my email that never cease to amaze and inspire me. Here’s the story for the day:
There is only paying attention
to each quiet morning,
while you hold your cup in the cool air
& then that moment you choose to spread your love
like a cloth upon the table
& invite the whole day in again.
“We played so hard,” Wilson said. “We talked at the beginning of year, `Why not us? Why not us?’ That’s kind of been our mind-set.”
Indeed – here’s my favorite speech of all time that echoes that sentiment:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant? Gorgeous? Talented?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
From the 12th man to the Hawks.
Is it just me or do these mid-week holidays mess you up? And I’m not just talking about the drinking and eating. Here’s why I think we should pass a law against mid-week holidays.
- You experience two Mondays in four days.
- You have to go back to work the “Monday” after the big one which could (should) limit your consumption.
- Your trash day is moved up a day. You know it. I know it. I don’t trust it so I still drag it to the curb on my regular trash day.
- You get two Fridays, but on the first one you get ripped off with only one day off.
- If you’re self-employed everyone you work with or want to work with is out of the office. Which means no emails, no calls, no interaction.
What if we make it a law that Christmas and New Years has to be celebrated on a Friday? No one seems to mind when we have “President’s Day Observed.” There’s no outrage over that. Technically December 25th was not Christ’s actual birthday so we’ve been “observing” it all along.
Thursday businesses close at 2:00pm, Friday is the holiday. Saturday is the recovery day and Sunday is the Lord’s day. Back to work nice and fresh. Nobody gets hurt.
Who’s with me?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
I was thinking this morning that I should write a year in review and I’ll be darned if WordPress didn’t do it for me. Enjoy. Happy New Year!
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
This is the time of year when you cannot avoid the movie It’s a Wonderful Life and are reminded what a credit union used to look like.
Times were so simple then. We had shares and we had loans. And then along came the share draft account. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act signed into law by President Carter in 1980 did not say we HAD to offer checking. It merely said we could.
What if you had never offered checking?
Seriously. Think about it.
- According to the American Banker article published in December of 2011 the average checking account costs around $350 a year and fee income averages around $150 per account.
- PFI (primary financial institution) indicator? Think again. In August of this year Cornerstone consulting reported the median products per household dropped by 28% to 2.52 per household. And one of those is checking.
- Two words: call center. They didn’t exist until we offered the checking account. What percentage of incoming calls are tied to checking? Even though you’ve spent hundreds of thousands on devices to keep them from calling.
- One word: Target. I feel bad that the second largest security breach in US history happened to a retailer I love, but it did. And it’s going to cost some credit unions tons of money to make sure their members’ checking accounts are secure.
Raddon has done the math on this for years. A single service household (checking) is unprofitable. Period. It’s a black hole of expense if you don’t do something with the relationship. PFI doesn’t just happen. You have to be willing to lend to these new unknown entities.
Bank of America, in the wake of the backlash over their proposed $5 a month debit card fee, admitted to being “okay” with single service households moving to a credit union.
What if you dumped checking? Told all of your checking account holders that you were going to help them move to the credit union down the street. Maybe even offer them an incentive? Then show them your interest rates on savings? You could probably pay 50 bp or more. And your loan rates? You guessed it – you could beat everyone. Think of the staff you could reduce. The regulation headaches you could eliminate. The fraud you would avoid.
It’s a wonderful life.
There is nothing more trying on the human spirit than airline travel. What once was considered luxury and only for the very privileged is now a hostage like humiliating experience. Yesterday I was to board a 5:27pm flight from ABQ to DIA, spend a luxurious 30 minutes in the United Club (at $500 a year membership fee) and then off to SEA for business/family/friends/fun long week-end.
Instead I write this from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott in Denver compliments of United Airlines in yesterday’s clothes.
It had nothing to do with weather which is why I was labeled a distressed passenger and provided with complimentary lodging and a $7.00 meal voucher. It was “crew delay.” Not sure if that meant the pilot wasn’t sober or a flight attendant overslept….nevertheless it provided me with less than ten minutes to run the 1/2 mile from Gate B71 to B25 in heels. I have flown 1.2 million miles with the Friendly Skies. I know they use computers because I can see them. I know they have the ability to communicate from the air to the ground because I have heard them. But by the time I got to the gate the door had closed. The airplane was still there. I have been on United flights where we reopened the door for a distressed passenger. So UAL, a question. How many miles do you have to fly for this privilege?
My guess is it is up to the crew. As are most customer service experiences. How do they feel about their employer at that moment of truth? Time to viciously comply with the rules or make a loyal customer’s day? Thanks for subsidizing my $12.95 breakfast buffet. This experience only cost me $5.00 plus tip, $90.00 in cab fare, a business meeting and a chunk of my soul. Keep up the good work.