Wednesday, January 23, 2013

At what cost humor?

I just searched the inbox of a rarely-used email address in the hope (faint though it was) that I might find an email from CD Baby.  I found it:  

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. 
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. 
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, October 24th. 
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!! 
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little store with the best new independent music

Notice the date.  October 24.  That's October 24, 2007.

How often does a company send a "your product has shipped" email that customers remember?  For five years?  And what made me remember this one?  It warmed my felt made me laugh.  It made me want to teach my very own cd baby to laugh, to love, and to write well.

A perfect blend of information, humor, and quirkiness made such an impression that I have referenced this email in conversations and in classes for over five years.  I've been providing free marketing for an innovative small business.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The value of slowing down

We move at a pace that (too) often takes us right past the important things in life...without even realizing that we've missed them.  Technology has become both our access to anytime, anywhere connectivity and our figurative ball and chain.  I'd forgotten how important it is to disconnect with The World and reconnect with my world--the inner sanctum of who I am (or aspire to be) and who matters to me.

For the first time in years, I took a vacation that did not include checking email or staying connected via technology.  My daughter and I spent time enjoying London and one another, taking the time to focus on the things that matter.

One of my favorite photos from our trip is the doorway of the home of the resident physician at the Tower of London.  There are similar photographs available via an internet search, but this one is special because of who took it (my daughter), the conversation we were having when I asked her to take the photograph, and where we went right after the photograph was taken.

The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula is located a few steps away from the blue doorway, an ironic juxtaposition of the preservation and destruction of human life.  The quiet moments spent inside the chapel touched me deeply as we listened to a Yeoman Warder who worships each Sunday in the chapel.  To Yeoman Warder Steve, the Chapel is hallowed ground both as a memorial to those who died nearby and as a place of personal worship.  Hallowed ground.  Only by slowing down...