The Wire » SSimon The Wire is a collaborative journey detailing both business and personal inspirations that fuel us daily. Wed, 11 Sep 2013 21:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Are low cost programming packages the answer? Mon, 04 Feb 2013 17:00:33 +0000 Read More »]]> The cable industry has been losing subscribers for various reasons. To fight back and retain a few particular customer segments, MSOs (Multi System Operators) have been experimenting with low-cost programming packages.  And they are now rolling out these packages beyond their local beta markets and trial offers, which I’m extremely excited about. It’s a great step in the right direction to make these budget-friendly packages part of MSOs standard offering, so that mainly more budget-conscious subscribers can be retained and hopefully new ones gained.

Low Cost Programming

These video-only packages, offered by MSOs such as Cox Communications and Time Warner provide subscribers access to various expanded basic cable networks such as Discovery Channel, E! and Nickelodeon. Cox Communication’s “TV Economy” package is $34.99/month and Time Warner’s “TV Essentials” is $40/month. Not bad.

From a financial stand-point, it will be interesting to see if these MSO’s churn and acquisition results improve as this attempt to turn around the industry will most likely only retain and acquire customers who are budget-conscious but still care about having the service. On the other hand, I’d imagine that these packages will have no effect on those subscribers who get all their content online.

At SWIRE, we’ve been battling all of these challenges with our cable partners. So, we’re excited to face the marketing challenges of this offering and maximize results.

However, the big question remains: Are subscribers cutting the cord because they don’t want to pay as much for cable? Or are they cutting the cord because they get their content for free online?

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Fun Sock Thursday – Why Not?! Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:00:06 +0000 Read More »]]> Work environment is critical to me.  One of the first impressions you’ll get of any work environment is when you see what employees wear. Are they all wearing suits and ties? Running shoes, shorts and flip flops? Or maybe simply fun socks…

For some people a “fun day” at the office means wearing Hawaiian shirts on Fridays or an insane project with an impossible deadline. At SWIRE, I started Fun Sock Thursday. You ask why? And why on Thursdays? Well…why not?!

Sometimes you just need to set yourself apart just a little bit. And I felt, the easiest way of doing that is by wearing a fun yet tasteful pair of socks. After all, a little fun goes a long way.

Time will tell how many team members will become a part of FST :)

On Thursdays my socks make a statement. How about yours? Or do you have other cool and fun little things you do at the office?

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Google+ Hangouts – It’s a BIG deal Tue, 07 Aug 2012 17:09:03 +0000 Read More »]]> There are so many ways to communicate with your friends, family, co-workers, and the world. And I’ve used plenty of tools. But a company that’s doing it best across the board, I believe, is Google. I love the integration of my email, calendar, search, documents (drive), social stream via Google+, YouTube, and many other apps.

What’s taking it to the next level for me is Google+ Hangouts! I’ve used mainly Skype for many years but it’s become second best. Google+ Hangouts integrates, allows me to chat, call, talk face-to-face, host virtual meetings, broadcast my conversations, and much more – all in one place.

With it’s recent update and substitution of Gmail Video Chat with Google+ Hangouts, Google keeps stepping it up. I’ve become a big fan. The Gmail team states that “unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality”. This will allow us to not only connect with people when they’re logged in to Gmail but also if they’re on Google+.

Google is making it easy – and that’s a big deal!

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5 Tools to Make Staying on Top of Social Media Easy Fri, 20 Jul 2012 16:51:56 +0000 Read More »]]> It’s hard to avoid social media these days. It’s everywhere and everybody is using it one way or another. Personally, I love it for a few reasons:

  • Stay in touch with family and friends
  • Stay up to date with businesses and causes that I like
  • Connect with like-minded professionals
  • Learn about anything I’m interested in
  • Share content that I think is interesting and beneficial to others

I’m mainly on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – and here are 5 tools that I’m currently using to help me stay on top of it:

1. Sprout Social (

This is where I monitor all my conversations, look at comprehensive reporting, analyse my followers, and discover new interesting people to follow.

2. Buffer (

This is where I handle my social media sharing for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I set up my posting schedule and installed Buffer’s browser extension to easily put interesting content in the posting queue via any site I’m on and Buffer does the rest.

3. SocialOomph (

I’ve been testing this platform mostly for auto follows, auto DMs, automation stats, and keyword search results. It’s been a helpful tool because it’s all automated and doesn’t require any of my attention for the features I’m using.

4. Twitter Counter (

The free version of Twitter counter has been a fantastic tool for me to keep track of my daily Twitter usage statistics such as following, followers, and tweets. I also like the auto posts that go out when I reached a certain milestones. The paid versions seems to be a great upgrade but a little overkill for my personal account.

5. Browser Extensions – Klout (beta) & Kloutify & KloutPlus Google Plus

I love great browser extensions. Klout (beta) simply adds Klout to your timeline. Kloutify displays the Klout score of a Twitter user on any website by hovering over the Twitter username. In addition, KloutPlus Google Plus will display my Klout score on my Google+ profile as well as my friends’ on their Google+ profiles. It’s interesting and important for me to see peoples’ influence in general but particularly when I’m determing whether or not to follow them. And, since all three of these extension require no work once installed, they’re perfect little additions.

I’ll share more details about each of these social media tools, including how I’m using them specifically (and even include enhancement ideas) shortly.

…stay tuned

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A Lot With Little Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:00:05 +0000 Read More »]]> Everybody is inspired by something. One of the things that inspires me the most is people that do a lot with little. I came across the picture below in a magazine during the soccer World Cup in 2010. I probably looked at it for ten minutes straight while just leaning back in my chair thinking about life. Then, I cut it out, and put it up in my office – and it’s still there! This one picture puts everything in perspective for me and gets me fired up!

What is one thing that gets you fired up?

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Healthy = Wealthy Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:00:38 +0000 Read More »]]> Do healthy companies require healthy employees? We think so!

We believe that productivity, teamwork, and team morale increase dramatically when employees are healthy, while certain costs for both the company and team members decrease. However, most importantly, we want to be part of improving our team members’ overall health because it’s simply the right thing to do. Therefore, over the last year, we’ve been working on improving the health and lifestyle of our employees. In order to “walk the talk” we’ve offered more flexible work hours, added some simple workout equipment to our office, bought blenders to make smoothies and soups, and continuously fill our kitchen with fresh fruit, yogurt, juices, granola bars, and other healthy snacks. Then, recently, we layered in a gym membership reimbursement policy to really motivate our team members to become more fit. The perception and excitement among our team has been great and many have already taken the next steps, which we’re super happy about. It’s inspiring…

We believe it’s the little things that matter. What matters to you?

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The Starbucks Experience – The SWIRE Way Tue, 13 Sep 2011 16:45:40 +0000 Read More »]]> Our team has been working super hard and, since all of us appreciate the little things, SWIRE took the Starbucks experience to the next level. It’s the little things that make a big difference in your day. Since a picture tells a thousand words, see below and experience it yourself …

The SWIRE order – oh boy

Creative genius, Karen, had the brilliant idea to utilize a shopping cart – Why Not?!

Me in parking lot traffic with the goods…

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FREE Drives Me Crazy Fri, 18 Mar 2011 09:02:00 +0000 Read More »]]> Remember the last time you picked up a FREE coupon for something? Maybe even for something you never needed before? I’ve noticed that something happens inside me when I see FREE. It’s hard to describe, but it just feels good.

So What’s So Exciting About FREE?

In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely says something very interesting about this subject:

“Zero is not just another price, it turns out. Zero is an emotional hot button – a source of irrational excitement…Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE, we forget the downside and that FREE gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.”

I absolutely agree with Dan because that is exactly what happens to me; however, I’d like to take it a step further and state that there is nothing really FREE in business, the “downside” as Dan states. There is always somewhat of a hidden agenda, that most often has something to do with a company’s advertising efforts or attempts to change my behavior in a certain way. Therefore, FREE is not solely associated with monetary value.

FREE is powerful!

The behavioral change happens to various degrees. For example, when a bank teases you to sign up for a FREE checking account, the product is “sold” to you for literally nothing, but once you look into the details, you’ll find out that there are extraordinarily high hidden fees, and more. Thus, not “FREE” after all. The behavioral change the bank triggered was very light since most people have a checking account. An example of a bigger behavioral change would be a car manufacturer that wants me to switch to an electric car, and will waive all the related fees to motivate me to do so.

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Stop the Off-Boarding Now Tue, 08 Mar 2011 14:24:00 +0000 Read More »]]> So what’s customer off-boarding anyway?

Customer off-boarding is a process where a customer gets SLOWLY detached from a company, mostly as a result of disappointment and distrust. This process presents a great challenge as well as a tremendous opportunity for companies. Customers raise multiple red flags across different customer service channels during the off-boarding process, which can enable companies to turn a bad customer experience into a great one.

Where does social media come in?

With the rise of social media, customer off-boarding has become a greater challenge than ever before. Word-of-mouth has always been the most valuable and powerful marketing tool. And social media has enabled word-of-mouth to spread like wildfire within seconds across the entire world. Therefore, with the power of social media being virtually unlimited, customer off-boarding could make or break a company. Just recently, my wife and I spread the message “never use Spirit Airlines ever” to a thousand or so people, from our mobile devices, via social media, within seconds of a horrible customer experience. And now, you’re reading about it from this blog.

What is the cost of off-boarding?

I don’t know exactly, but I’m confident off-boarding will cost the company hundreds, if not thousands of times more than it would have cost to fix our problem in the first place. If Spirit Airlines would have done “a little bit more”, then our shared message would have been quite different. Had they turned the negative experience positive, we would have likely shared that as well. Customer off-boarding isn’t ideal, but it happens. It’s how the company responds that matters.

Human capital matters.

In my opinion, the key to all of this, at the end of the day, is human capital. You need employees that enjoy their job, believe in the company, and carry out its values DAILY. And, these employees need the tools to create positive moments out of negative customer experiences.

Related Post: A Little Bit More

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The Dilemma of “Keeping Doors Open” Mon, 28 Feb 2011 23:33:37 +0000 Read More »]]> I’ve always tried to cover all my bases and keep as many options as possible in almost everything I’ve done – most people probably do the same. But I’ve always wondered how important keeping all your options or “keeping doors open” really is and whether or not it’s almost counterproductive.

I recently read “Predictably Irrational – The hidden forces that shape our decisions”. I was highly intrigued by the part of the book that talks about our decision making process and why we usually keep as many doors open as possible – sometimes at a great expense. In today’s world, particularly in developed countries, it seems that opportunities (both small and big) knock on the door a lot. Therefore, new doors open a lot. But, by not shutting certain doors, we operate inefficiently and ineffectively (both personally and in business) because we’re never 100% focused and committed.

But why is it so hard to commit and appreciate the moment?
Why does it feel like there is something better out there?

On one hand, it’s the good old American dream–that “we can do anything and be anything we want to be” and therefore, always strive for something better. On the other hand, we simply have a hard time committing, are afraid of failing, and are constantly wondering whether we made the best choice. I’m convinced that we are better off taking a less favorable path, being 100% committed, than a favored path, being not fully committed and wondering what the other paths look like.

What can and should we do?

In my opinion, it’s simple: commit and focus on the current opportunity for a period of time, and don’t be afraid to lose, fail, and shut doors simply because options distract us from our main objective.

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