Tuesday, July 31, 2007

eBay Tips and Tricks

A little eBay intertainment for you today. A home video of eBay employees doing a lip sync to Weird Al's eBay Song. This was performed at a business competition and won first place.


Here's the words to The "eBay song" By Weird Al
A used ... pink bathrobe
A rare ... mint snowglobe
A Smurf ... TV tray
I bought on eBay
My house ... is filled with this crap
Shows up in bubble wrap
Most every day
What I bought on eBay

Tell me why (I need another pet rock)
Tell me why (I got that Alf alarm clock)
Tell me why (I bid on Shatner's old toupee)
They had it on eBay

I'll buy ... your knick-knack
Just check ... my feedback
" A++!" they all say
They love me on eBay

Gonna buy (a slightly-damaged golf bag)
Gonna buy (some Beanie Babies, new with tag)
(From some guy) I've never met in Norway
Found him on eBay

I am the type who is liable to snipe you
With two seconds left to go, whoa
Got Paypal or Visa, what ever'll please
As long as I've got the dough

I'll buy ... your tchotchkes
Sell me ... your watch, please
I'll buy (I'll buy, I'll buy, I'll buy ...)
I'm highest bidder now

(Junk keeps arriving in the mail)
(From that worldwide garage sale) (Dukes Of Hazzard ashtray)
(Hey! A Dukes Of Hazzard ashtray)
Oh yeah ... (I bought it on eBay)

Wanna buy (a PacMan Fever lunchbox)
Wanna buy (a case off vintage tube socks)
Wanna buy (a Kleenex used by Dr. Dre, Dr. Dre)
(Found it on eBay)

Wanna buy (that Farrah Fawcett poster)
(Pez dispensers and a toaster)
(Don't know why ... the kind of stuff you'd throw away)
(I'll buy on eBay)

What I bought on eBay-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Workplace Princess

I noticed an interesting article in a newspaper that I was reading yesterday. It brought to mind many past coworkers associates, and employees. I think you will find it interesting so I am reprinting it here in it's entirety.

Is there a 'workplace princess' at your firm?
By Greg Kratz
Deseret Morning News
Sunday, July 29, 2007

During a journalism internship about 16 years ago, I met a reporter who taught me a lot by her bad example. Not many writers love seeing their work edited. But this particular reporter was ridiculous. She had written an extremely long feature story for a newspaper wire service, and she repeatedly demanded that her editors not cut a single word. Not only that, but she wanted them to require any newspaper that picked up the story to run it in its entirety, even though that would have taken a commitment of a full newspaper page. Few papers will give that kind of space to a wire story. As I recall, it took the editors days to talk her into writing an abridged version to send out over the wire. She finally agreed, but she grumbled about it for weeks afterward. And this was not an isolated incident for this particular reporter. I was reminded of her recently when I received yet another press release with the results of a somewhat silly, but telling, survey on American work life. According to the survey, almost half of American workers said there was a "workplace princess" at their job site. And 16 percent said that workplace princess was a man. The study was conducted by Rachelle Canter, author of the executive career handbook "Make the Right Career Move." According to the release, her study included a random telephone survey of 506 employed adults 18 years and older living in private households in the United States between March 9 and 12. It has a margin of error of 5 percent. "As part of a larger study, we asked workers a few light-hearted questions just for fun, and one of those questions was whether or not there was a 'workplace princess,' whether man or woman, where they worked," Canter said in the release. "We defined this as a co-worker who had a special sense of entitlement or privilege. We were stunned to find that 48 percent of American workplaces have a 'workplace princess' right on the premises." The study found that 48 percent of these princesses expected special favors from their employers, 47 percent expressed the belief that they were being treated "unfairly" and 35 percent made other people do work for them. This is, of course, a frivolous study. But Canter said in the release that the narcissistic undertone it shows is worrying. Not only do such princesses drive other people crazy, she said, but they also tend to ruin or derail their own careers without ever knowing why. She goes on to offer some warning signs that you may be a workplace princess. Ask yourself:
• Do you start most of your sentences with "I want" or "I need"?
• When was the last time you listened for 30 minutes to a friend or colleague with a problem?
• When was the last time you called a colleague to see how they were doing?
• When things go wrong, do you blame the situation or other workers?
If this self-examination leads you to believe you are a princess, don't fret. Canter said you can be rehabilitated if you first acknowledge that you are self-centered, and then try to break the cycle. For example, she suggests:
• Think first of what you can contribute to others.
• Volunteer to help a colleague with a project and ask for nothing in return.
• Notice others and thank them for their contributions.
• Practice random acts of kindness.
Now, this sensible advice may not change the world, but it could change your workplace — or you, if you're a workplace princess who has seen the error of his (or her) ways. So what do you think? Do you have a workplace princess in your office? Are you a reformed (or not reformed) workplace princess yourself? View the source

Now consider the contrast of the new Workplace Rules of Etiquette as published by Yahoo's Penelope Trunk this past Wednesday.

It leaves something to think about if you feel you aren't getting ahead in your career.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Inspirational Thought

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Photo source: Johnnyjag

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Loose Ends

In light of the recent ups and downs of the stock market, I found this news encouraging and filled with common sense. I thought I would pass it along :

Top Tips: The biggest mistake in a falling stock market
Reprinted from Friday July 27, 5:37 pm ET
By Gerri Willis, CNN

This past Thursday was the second worst day of the year for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But remember, it was just a week ago today that the Dow closed above 14,000 for the first (and only) time.
What it means for 401(k) investors

Fluctuations in the market shouldn't get to the 401(k) investor. Keep in mind your time horizon - most of us are going to be invested in the market until we retire, often decades from now.
On average, stocks move higher - their long term average gain is 10.8 percent each year, according to Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors. Over those long time horizons, stocks will move up and down. It will be nearly impossible for you to call the highs and lows. If you sell now, you run the risk of missing gains and paying fees to re-invest in the market. Here's an example of how damaging moving your money around can be:
  • If you sold your stocks at the market bottom in September of 1998 when the Dow was at 7539.07, you would have missed out on portfolio gains of 21.8 percent by the end of that year.
  • If you sold your stocks at the bottom of the 1987 crash in October, when the Dow was at 1738.74, you would have missed out on 24.7 percent of your portfolio gain by the end of December 1988. That's almost $25,000 missed opportunity on a portfolio with $100,000, says Johnson.
  • Economists we talked to said we're in for at least one sharp sell-off a year. Put your money into the market a little at a time, consistently. That's the way to earn gains - not gambling on where prices will go next. Sit tight and let the bulls and bears ride it out.
  • Selling when the market is falling is not the way to protect yourself or your assets.
    Diversifying your assets is the best solution here. Go to Morningstar.com's Instant X-Ray to see exactly what is in your portfolio.
  • Make sure you are adequately diversified in sectors, company sizes (by market capitalization) and regional distribution. When you're diversified, if one sector or type of company takes a downturn, your whole portfolio won't feel the hit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friday's Fabulous Finds

Well, here it is Friday (almost) and time for me to introduce you to Friday's Fabulous Finds. We're going to make this a weekly thing so come back to check it out every Friday.

What is Friday's Fabulous Finds you ask? It's the one day each week when I will share with you some of the various websites I've stumbled across. The sites listed could vary from a G rating to an R rating (I don't do X rated sites) and they may be funny, interesting, educational, bizzare or just plain enjoyable. Some might be commercial sites and others might be free. There might be a description with the link, or there might not, it all just depends on how much time I have. You might be able to figure out what to expect by the name of the site but some may surprise you. So, from this point forward, proceed with caution, click at your own risk and all those other great disclaimers we've grown to know and love.

1. The Death Clock

2. How Stuff Works

3. Wacky Uses for Common Products

4. I Park Like An Idiot

Personal Journeys

Our journey through life can take us to some beautiful places and introduce us to people and cultures that influence us forever afterwards. I've had the opportunity of visiting the orient (Japan and Korea), a visit to Vancouver, Canada and about two-thirds of the United States. I've been amazed at the variety of landscapes and lifestyles available for us to choose from.

A little over a year and a half ago, my wife and I made the decision to move from our home in Utah. We discussed our options and set out on an internet search of properties. We could go anywhere but we narrowed our selections down based on weather, community, lifestyle, ecomonics, etc. Over time we found ourselves in a little town in Southeast Texas.

We gave up the cold and snowy Utah winters for the hot and humid Texas summers. But we are pleased with our decision. Here's a few photos of our little ranch. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as we enjoy "walking" them!

View from our pond

A couple of the horses in the south pasture

Looking towards the old barn

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Comical Captions

It's time for Comical Captions! Every Wednesday I post a photo that I found somewhere on the web and allow my readers to submit there best comical captions for the photo. It's easy, it's fun, and yes, it's free to play along! So sit back and think up a great comical caption for this weeks photo!

And thanks to all those who submitted a caption last week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Increase Your Sales on eBay

Here are five of the best ways to enhance your descriptions and increase your sales on eBay.

1. Take good pictures – Because buyers can't touch or feel the items you're selling on eBay, your pictures need to be of the best quality possible. Great photo help the buyer to feel confident of the quality of your items. Your pictures need to be in focus and excess areas need to be cropped out before you upload your photo. Don't have distracting objects in the background. If you ever look at your pictures and think, “That’s good enough”, they most likely aren’t. The quality of your pictures directly relates to your quality as a seller. A good picture can be worth a thousand dollars, a bad picture will cost you dollars.

2. Correct grammar and spelling – eBay buyers want to know that they are buying from someone that they can trust. You ruin that trust with poor grammar and spelling mistakes. Always double check your final version before posting it to eBay. Poor grammar hurts your credibility as a seller, which in turn will cost you sales and return customers.

3. Proper formatting – Keep buyers’ attention by keeping your description short, relevant and truthful. Use numbered lists or bullet points when describing the details of your items. Bullet points should be phrases and are usually not complete sentences. Don't make your bullet points into paragraphs as that will tend to draw attention away from your crucial selling points. Use bold and underlining only when necessary, and stay away from rainbow colored descriptions. Just get to the point of why your item is so great.

4. Play nice – Don't become the angry seller. We've all had bad experiences with deadbeat buyers on eBay, but that doesn’t mean that buyers are your enemy. If your description comes across as someone who is angry and is willing to leave negative feedback at the drop of a hat, then buyers will steer clear of you. Always keep your tone positive and buyers will trust that their business with you will be a positive experience.

5. Clearly state your terms and conditions – Don’t leave anything up to the buyers’ imagination. Always state your return policy, even if your policy is no returns. If you hold shipments for people that pay with personal checks, then put that in your payment terms and conditions. Buyers want to know the rules of the game before they play, and the more you hide from them, the less likely they will be willing to set foot in the stadium.

In conclusion, put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. If there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable about your listings, imagine what the buyer feels about doing business with someone whom they’ve never met. These five simple enhancements will help you become a better eBay seller and will help increase your sales.

More eBay tips next Tuesday!

Monday, July 23, 2007

'Deathly Hallows' sells 8.3 million copies in a day

NEW YORK — It is the richest going-away party in history. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final volume of J.K. Rowling's all-conquering fantasy series, sold a mountainous 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours on sale in the United States, according to Scholastic Inc. No other book, not even any of the six previous Potters, has been so desired, so quickly. "Deathly Hallows" averaged more than 300,000 copies in sales per hour — more than 5,000 a minute. The $34.99 book, even allowing for discounts, generated far more revenue than the opening weekend of the latest Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which came out July 10. "The excitement, anticipation and just plain hysteria that came over the entire country this weekend was a bit like the Beatles' first visit to the U.S.," Scholastic President Lisa Holton said in a statement Sunday. "This weekend kids and adults alike are sitting on buses, in the park, on airplanes and in restaurants reading 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.' The conversations the readers have been waiting to have for 10 years have just begun." The numbers are astonishing, but not shocking. "Deathly Hallows" was designed to break records, released Saturday with a first printing of 12 million in the U.S. alone, although Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good acknowledged that some stores already were out of copies. "Our distribution strategy was clearly right on target in order to sell 8.3 million copies in 24 hours," she told The Associated Press. "We are working with retailers to move additional copies to the places they are needed most in the coming days and weeks." The book's British publisher, Bloomsbury, expects to announce sales figures Monday. Earlier Sunday, Borders Group Inc. reported that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" sold 1.2 million copies worldwide in its first day, the biggest single-day number ever for the superstore chain. According to Borders, the previous Potter, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," sold 850,000 copies on its first day of release in 2005. Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble announced that pre-orders exceeded 1 million. In a truly Beatles-esque moment, seven of the top best sellers on Amazon were Potter-related Sunday, including the audio CD of "Deathly Hallows" and a box set of all seven Potters coming out in September. "Deathly Hallows" was so popular that Hollywood studio Warner Bros. acknowledged it took away business from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth Potter movie, because fans were too busy. "They wanted to get that book Saturday, lock themselves in the house and read it, because they didn't want their other friends by Monday telling them who made it and who didn't," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' head of distribution. Reviews for "Deathly Hallows" have been almost universally ecstatic, and reader enthusiasm apparently intact despite, prerelease "spoilers" that proliferated on the Internet. "The book was fascinating, and I think I'll have to read it through at least once more before I get the full scope of it — but I thought it had some of her best, most action-packed, funniest moments in it," says Melissa Anelli, Webmaster for the Potter fan site www.the-leaky-cauldron.org, who said she finished the 759-page book Saturday. "When I closed the book I was overjoyed and devastated — overjoyed at the story, and the way it had played out, but devastated that the tale was complete," she said. "It did feel like a bereavement, like it was saying farewell to a long-trusted friend." Last week, some surprised and lucky readers received early deliveries of their Potters, thanks to a glitch by online retailer DeepDiscount.com. Over the weekend, some unfortunate readers complained that their books from Amazon.com had not arrived on Saturday, as promised. Amazon.com spokesman Sean Sundwall would not confirm or deny reports of delays but said Sunday that anyone who did not receive it on time would automatically be refunded the cost of the $34.99 book, which Amazon sold for $17.99. Potter fan Anna Todd, a film student at the State University of New York's Purchase campus, picked up her book in person at midnight Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan's Union Square. Taking naps off and on, she was finished within 24 hours. "J.K. Rowling does not disappoint; I thought she did brilliantly. It was terrifying; sometimes I was scared to keep reading on. I cried buckets," said Todd, 20, who lamented that "never again will I stay up all night reading a new Harry Potter book, or go to its midnight release party, or invent wild theories about Harry being the Heir of Gryffindor." "That's it," she said. "It's all over. I feel like I just said goodbye forever to my oldest, dearest friend. All I can do is re-read, and in the future when I have children, I'll get to share these books with them. I look forward to that day."
Source: Hillel Italie Associated Press

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Inspirational Thought

“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”
-Christopher Reeve

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maybe it worked too well...?

Loose Ends:

The old saying “the best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry”comes from a line by Scottish poet Robert Burns. It means that no matter how well a project is planned, something may still go wrong. In the case of these plans, what went wrong was…they worked.

Wild Turkey in California

THE PLAN: In 1959 a program was started to aggressively introduce wild turkey populations to California. Officials hoped having the game birds would mean big revenue from local and out-of-state hunters.

IT WORKED…By 1969 there were enough turkeys for a regular hunting season. By the 1980s, there were tens of thousands of them.

…TOO WELL! In 2003 California officials began introducing programs to get rid of wild turkeys. There were more than a quarter million of the birds living in the state, and they were wreaking havoc. Biologists said they were invading habitats of native birds, consuming endangered species of plants and animals, damaging crops, ruining gardens, fouling backyards—and sometimes even attacking children.

Klum to Model Swimsuit for H&M

THE PLAN: In May 2003, German advertising firm JC Decaux presented fashion chain H&M with a marketing plan for a new line of bikini swimwear. The idea was simple: plaster the country with posters of German supermodel Heidi Klum wearing the sexy swimsuits.

IT WORKED…The Klum ads became one of the most successful advertising campaigns in the country’s history. H&M reported huge sales.

…TOO WELL! More than half of the posters were immediately stolen. Not only that, people smashed display cases to get them. JC Decaux president Hans-Peter Bischoff said, “We put up 750 small posters, and they were all gone within a few hours. It’s madness.” The company had to hire guards to protect the display boxes while they figured out a solution. The solution: H&M started giving the posters away for free.

Sunscreen Ad Campaign in Australia

THE PLAN: After a hole was discovered in the ozone layer above Australia in the mid-1980s, the government began aggressive ad campaigns to warn people about the risks of getting too much sun. The ozone layer acts as a filter against the dangerous ultraviolet rays in sunlight, and the country already had the highest skin cancer rates in the world. One of the most popular campaigns was “Slip, Slop, Slap”: “Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, and Slap on a hat!”

IT WORKED…National health associations credited the campaign with making sunscreen usage a normal part of life for many Australians, saving countless lives.

…TOO WELL! In 2000 officials announced that nearly 25% of Australian adults were vitamin D deficient. How do you get vitamin D? Primarily by exposure to sunlight—the skin produces it in reaction to the sun’s rays. Lack of the vitamin can cause a host of health risks, including osteoporosis, and is believed to be linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Boost the Economy with Credit Cards

THE PLAN: To get its citizens to spend money, and thus boost the country’s faltering economy, in 1999 South Korea instituted a program making it easy for anyone to obtain a credit card.

IT WORKED…The nation’s economic growth climbed by 10% in the first year alone.

…TOO WELL! By 2003 the average South Korean worker had four credit cards and consumers had rung up more than $100 billion in debt. There were so many unpaid credit card accounts that the nation’s largest credit company had to stop issuing money from their ATMs and had to get an emergency loan just to stay afloat. Credit card debt was also blamed for a rash of suicides, thefts, kidnappings, and prostitution cases. “Koreans ate a poison pill,” economist Kim Kyeong Won told Time magazine, “It tasted sweet at the time, but was still poison.”

Reprinted from Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader. ©2004 by the Bathroom Reader’s Press.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Comical Captions

Normally, I only play this game on Wednesdays but since I am just starting this new blog and I'm still sitting here on a Friday afternoon I thought it would be fun to post one now before the weekend just for the heck of it!

Here's how it works. I post an obscure photo that I find from somewhere on the internet. It could be political, humorous, in color or in black and white. What you get to do is submit a comical caption in the comment section for whatever photo I put up . Sounds easy doesn't it? Well, it is easy. So put on your comical thinking cap and submit a caption for the photo below. Keep it clean, I won't approve obscene comments.

It's About Time

Maybe I’m a little behind the world when it comes to getting into the blogging arena. It’s been going on for a couple years now and I’m just creating one now.

I will admit that I’ve been reading blogs for some time however and I feel that I will be right at home in creating and maintaining my own. This blog will have a little of everything… business, politics, commentary, and fun. I will try my best to make it someplace that you will want to visit again and again.

I have tried on several occasions to start a blog in conjunction with our website. I tried using WordPress but found their format to be less than what I wanted. I also experienced multiple broken links. After only a couple weeks and a dozen postings I had experienced enough! I switched over to Blogger and I think it will be a good move!

Our main website is: izinginc.com. You can visit us there at anytime. Please do!