Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did you really answer the question?

I was listening to a radio ad for a university today. They asked "If you could do something to make your life better right now, would you?" And then they launched into a sales pitch for their university ("call the university today to sign up for fall classes, we have...<insert college fare>..."). Then they finished up with a call-to-action something like "call today and register".

There is something very subtle in that commercial. They begin by asking a question, and then go directly into telling us about their product. Problem is, they never really say that their product is the answer to the question. It's like this:

Commercial: "Would you like to know how to bake cookies?"

Me: "Heck yeah! I likes me some cookies!"

Commercial: "OK! We teach math lessons better than anyone else. Call us today for more information!"

Me: "Wha?"

In my example, the business has a great service, and many people could benefit from math lessons. But math lessons don't answer the question "Would you like to know how to bake cookies", nor do they provide a solution if you DO want to know how to bake cookies.

That brings up another point with asking a question at the beginning of a commercial - like what if the answer is not as you anticipated it? Of course it is assumed that a reasonable person would want to make their life better. If a person will do anything to make that happen is the real question. But the purpose of this post is to point out that they don't tie it all together. If you're going to ask me if I want to know how to make cookies, you'd better explain to me how you can help me know how to make cookies.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

What is Twitter? Why would I do it?

I know many of you are tech-savvy and already know about Twitter. Some of you use it and love it :). But if you don't know, check out this website. It is a discussion from an NPR show where the guest does a much better job explaining it than I could. It's about 5 minutes long, but a very easy listen.

If you're interested enough to sign up, follow me at http://twitter.com/matthewtennison/ once you are signed up!

Side note: Have you ever tried to explain Twitter to someone? How have you done it? Did they "get it"?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I like to ride my bike around town. Unfortunately that's not a year-round activity in Michigan. Though I can say that as a kid I would ride my bike occasionally in the winter. That was fun when you hit ice!

I was trying to figure out recently why I like bike riding so much. A few things came to mind:

  • Health benefits - Ok, this one is obvious, but it should be included.
  • No barriers between you and the world. When you're in a car, you have metal and glass separating you from everything else. It encapsulates you. When you're on a bike, you contain the bike in a sense between your legs. That leaves the rest of your body closer to, well, everything else.
  • Freedom - you can access more places on a bike than you can in a car. I've found sidewalks and paths in the middle of the city I never knew about.
  • Photography - I'm not a professional photographer or anything, but I do like taking pictures on occasion. There have been many time where I'll see something driving along, and not be able to capture it because I couldn't get to the camera, or I couldn't stop the car. But if you're on a bike, it's much easier to safely stop somewhere and get all the pictures you want!
I think it also slows me down, and creates opportunity to clear my head and even have some conversation with my wife and kids. It is a choice I make to step away from all of the screens in my house (TV, Computer, PDA (still working on turning the cell phone off)) and take in some of the natural beauty of the world.

Anyone else have a love of biking or walking or running?Technorati Tags: