My Dilemma – Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Professionally it suites me well, and may not be true. I am a specialist in internet marketing. And I’m happy that I have a diverse background in it (retention, acquisition, B2B, B2C, e-mail, merchandising, testing, social media, PPC, SEO, SEM)—ok let me stop bragging.

My dilemma is personally when it comes to hobbies, interests, and the like. It can get frustrating. It has nothing to with my ability to become a master at anything (cough, cough), but rather my interest wanes before committing to anything fully. It’s not ADD, I don’t think as I am able to concentrate on a given task at a time and complete it.

But it goes like this:

  • I am interested in cars, but not enough to really get under the hood.
  • I am interested in carpentry, but not enough to get good at it or make anything nice.
  • I am interested in computers, but not enough to build my own computer.
  • I am interested in a million other things, but not enough to [fill in the blank].

It’s not isolated on doing things either.

  • I like the Simpsons, but not enough to recite lines from episodes.
  • I like Blink182 (and other a million other bands), but I can’t name you one song. And I’ll never go to a concert. And I don’t know the lyrics. All I know is when I hear them, I think to myself, “this sounds good.”
  • I like baseball, but I can’t rattle off stats like an almanac.
  • I like video games, but I think I finished one or two, probably with help from cheat codes. Actually I do think I was awesome at the original EA NHL Hockey on Sega Genesis. But that was a long time ago. I miss the days of 3 buttons.

I can go on and on and on. It’s kind of like I have such diverse interests that there isn’t enough time in the world to devote to them all. And if I do devote a lot of time to one, that means I take away from others. It’s like my brainpower is wrapped around a million little things instead of a few big ones.

This all sounds fine probably, but I kind of feel like I’m missing an identity. Whenever I bring up an interest in a conversation, there is always someone who’s uber-indulged in it—whom which I can’t carry on a meaningful conversation about that subject.

Person:  “Oh you like the Simpsons. Hey remember that Simpon’s episode, when…”

Me: “No.”
Person (to self): “This Matt guy isn’t a real Simpson’s fan.”

Maybe I shouldn’t use the word dilemma. This doesn’t really case any emotional strife. But I do think about it from time to time.

Also, sometimes I’m not without the focus to devote to something, rather I’m put off by the fanatics. Take for example biking. I love to ride my bike. But I’m NOT going to deck myself out in a spandex uniform or get pedal cleats and the whole nine yards. Can’t a guy just hop on his bike and casually ride? I sure can, yes, but all bike events (like Bike NY which I did a few times) are ridden with weekend warrior types who turn me off. Speaking of Bike NY, I have a funny story about being in the front of the pack along with the Saturn race team (on my 15 year old hybrid bike, wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and sneakers). I’ll write up another post about that soon.

Before you slam a product, consider the user base

I touched on this topic few times before.

Maybe I’m getting crankier with age. I dunno. Or maybe I’m following too many “experts'” blogs and twitters. Because I find myself getting angry at harebrained thoughts and opinions from said experts and thought leaders. In the blogosphere and twitterspere, things seem to either suck or are Godlike, and nothing in between.

My latest pet peeve comes from the backlash Microsoft is getting for their ads that say PCs are more affordable. They are!

The backlash comes from real techies, Apple fanboys, and Microsoft (“big guy”) haters.

Sidenote: I despise haters. Sounds hypocritical, I know…

Guess what? It all comes down to value.

A graphic designer is going to value Macs. Apple fanboys would value a pile of garbage if Apple put it out–which it wouldn’t, I admire Apple’s quality. Techies are going to value any machine that is nanoseconds faster than the other even if the speed isn’t apparent to the naked eye.

There are many more people who value a Mac over a PC. Good for them. As long as you find value, then you’ll pay up until what it’s worth for you.

But you need to shut up and understand why people value PCs.

There is a great remainder of computer users who simply want to boot up, jump on the internet, e-mail, use Word and Excel, save some pictures, and do a lot of other basic things. A PC is of tremendous value to them. Why spend a grand on a mac when you can do what you want on a PC for less than half the cost? Maybe I can take a sip of coffee with the 10 seconds that a PC takes to boot up longer than a Mac.

And about viruses. Knock on wood, I’ve never gotten any. And in the 15+ years I’ve owned and used PCs, I had only one major crash that resulted in some lost data. Hey I learned the importance of backing up–which can also be important in case of theft, fire, flood, etc. Yeah, so there were plenty of not so serious crashes, but they seem to be in line with other devices I’ve owned (gaming systems, cell phones, G1 phone, vcrs, DVRs, DVD players, even cars!). Everything hiccups from time to time. EVERYTHING! Hey didn’t an IPhone update brick phones a while back?

And let me be clear. I’m not loyal to Microsoft (except for Excel which I can’t live without). If something more VALUABLE TO ME comes along, I’ll be on it. Also, I’m a Google junkie (seems like there aren’t a lot of Google junkies who have the same view of Microsoft as I do). So if Google came up with something of equal or greater value, I’ll be on it (Google Docs and Spreadsheets are light years away from Word and Excel).

Idea for Chrome (or other browsers)

Browsers should have a setting to allow multiple profiles.

For example:
I have a Google profile for personal (bookmarks, gmail, calendar, reader, etc) .

But I also have a Google profile for work (adwords, analytics, etc) .

Since I use both throughout the day, I have to use Chrome for personal and general browsing and Firefox or IE for work. Otherwise I’d have to log in and out all day depending on what service I need (work or personal).

I wish Chrome (or the other browsers) would offer a way to maintain different profiles (e.g. work / personal / testing ,etc) where cookie settings and storage, bookmarks, etc. would be unique for each.

So you can use one browser without having to log in and out all day.

Lets Vilify the Nameless and Faceless

I admit, I fell for a little hating on AIG employees getting bonuses. But something about the anger didn’t smell right. Usually when there is an “outcry” over anything, I usually take a step back. Especially when the outcry is politically charged. I despise politicians when they step their high horse onto their higher soapbox.

Here is a letter from one of the “evil” AIG employees in the NY Times:

See. Not responsible for the collapse. See how it went down? I wonder how many of the screamers and yellers will read that and be embarrassed over the lambasting of all AIG employees. Kinda puts things in context when there is a name and face, no?

Introducing my new WTF section, first up HSBC

I’m going to start to write about things that boggle my mind. Not necessarily a vent. Rather I’ll classify these as WTFs.

My first WTF goes out to HSBC. Why? For sending the most cryptic mail correspondence you can imagine. It barely mentioned “HSBC” at all. It was something to the tune of “we’re moving your account to Virginia, so Virginia laws apply.” It was a little different, but not that much.

It also mentioned it’s in reference to a “card” that ends in xxxx (where x are numbers).

Ok, so.

1) We don’t have a card that ends in that number.
2) We don’t even have an account that ends in that number.
3) WTF are they writing about. Virginia? What?
4) Nothing in the letter explains anything in any detail.

That leaves a nervous nelly like me to all of a sudden worry that an account was open in his name somewhere some how.

So this means I have to call CS for them to explain it’s not a card (although the paper said so), but an old line of credit. Why did you mention “card ending in” again???

WTF HSBC. Be clear with your communications. Not too clear as to subject your customers to fraud, but clear enough to explain what a letter is all about if you need to send it. And how about putting a phone number on there in case you have questions. And how about making your brand name stick out some more so it doesn’t look like a cheap hoax.

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