Jon Sooy

Going Postal With Outdoor Speakers

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I am working hard on documenting some of the solutions and ideas that I come up with. I recently purchased Camtasia (great application) to help me put together videos. This is the first! More to come.

Written by Jon Sooy

December 11th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

The Path Towards World Domination (Part 1)

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After nearly 44 years of careful consideration and study, I have compiled this brief manifesto for success. We all define success in different ways. I don’t care what motivates you, if you do all of these things your way, you will be a successful person. You will live long. You will prosper.

Be enthusiastic. Be a complete and total spaz. It’s infectious and more impressive to more people than confidence. Think Roberto Benigni’s chair jumping scene at the 71st Annual Oscars. See it here.

Be weird. If you haven’t read Seth Godin’s new book, I highly recommend it: We Are All Weird. We are in the middle of a social revolution that has been spawned by technology and historically unparalleled prosperity. Conformity is no longer a good plan for long term success. Your strength is in your individuality. Embrace your inner weird.

Hire weird people. Find people who innovate and give them the freedom to explore and express their ideas in a non-judgmental environment. Here’s a hint on how to find these people: Everyone is weird. The secret? Hire the right weird person for the job/position you have available and let them be weird.

Work out. According to Richard Branson, this one activity alone will net you 3-4 hours of productivity per day. I never said world domination would be easy.

Say ‘Thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ The trick is to say it only when you really mean it. People can tell when you don’t. Coach your team to do the same.

Take shortcuts. But only take them if they do not compromise quality or service. Another good read here is Tim Ferriss’ book: The 4 Hour Work Week. Design systems and implement them but encourage and accept criticism for these systems from your staff. If they are innovators, they will likely come up with an even better system.

Fire people. Your company is a money making machine. Each employee is a part of that machine. Take the weird people you hired and install them in appropriate positions within your machine. If a part is broken or doesn’t fit, replace it. Sorry to sound cold, but if one of your weirdos is not a good fit, you are not doing yourself or your company any favors by keeping them around. In the end you are doing them a favor too.

Listen with your eyes. Study body language and facial expressions. You will learn more from non-verbal cues than you ever will from the spoken word.

to be continued….

Written by Jon Sooy

November 1st, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Go With The Flow

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A client who recently read a very powerful whitepaper written by Greg Collins and Cal Popken asked me to explain the term ‘Tributary Supply Chain.’

So, I shall paint a picture.

Imagine, if you will, a canoe on the shoulders of a mighty river. Picture this boat as it gently travels atop the fast running and bountiful waterway. It can’t help but trust its’ provider as it bounces playfully along on it’s journey. The river and the canoe are a great analogy for how we should picture our our customers, our business, and how the success of the latter relies heavily on a very long list of tributary products and services. As it applies to a restaurant, the customer enters your door and is counting on a safe and pleasant journey. They want to trust that the river that is to carry them through their experience is equipped to do so. Certainly any disruption can and will disturb the balance that we work so hard to maintain.

For example, if a river has a poor supply of water, the canoe will bump around violently because the water cannot protect it from pronounced boulders or other dangers.  A river’s tributary supply is critical to ensuring that the canoe comes out unscathed by hazards.

Your customers don’t begin their experience by travelling from your small wares provider through a warehouse, loading docks, delivery trucks but rather they start their journey at the widest part of the river. Their ride is wholly dependent on the waters from upstream. If tributary items such as small wares, uniforms, paper goods, pop materials, POS supplies, etc are not flowing efficiently into your river, then the canoe will experience bumps from your teams inability to deliver the promise of a safe journey.

Too many businesses rely on themselves to keep the river flowing. For many small businesses this is possible but as we grow and add more locations, it becomes very difficult to keep that river running smoothly by ourselves. Recognizing that the management of your tributary supply system is an essential part of your growth is critical. It’s is an important step towards a bold and healthy waterway.

Written by Jon Sooy

October 17th, 2011 at 10:38 am

Mini Cooper HomeLink Universal Opener Mod


Cooper Clubman 2011

I have always wanted a Mini Cooper and I finally found a great one. I bought a 2011 Clubman that only had 3800 miles on it. Because I was looking for a good deal, I used a great app on my Android Thunderbolt called ‘Craigs List Notifier.’ Install this app and enter whatever it is you are searching for and whenever someone posts, it let’s you know by placing a notification on your menu bar. Very cool app. Because Coopers are sort of hard to find in the area where I live, getting the exact dream Cooper was a bit difficult. This Craigs List app would let me know when a Mini Cooper Clubman was listed on Craigs List and when the right one popped up, I was the first to pounce on it! The one I bought did not have all of the features I wanted but I knew I could add the amenities myself. For example, one of the options on this car is a rear view mirror that has an integrated HomeLink remote for your garage and/or gates. Since I have 2 gates and a garage door, this is a great feature for me in that it helps prevent having multiple remotes rattling around. Unfortunately, the Cooper I bought did not have one of these mirrors. I looked for this part online and was stunned to learn that they are $300 – $400!

Because I had done this modification on my previous vehicle (2003 Nissan Frontier), I decided to do the same to my Cooper. You can buy HomeLink transmitters on Ebay for less than $40 in most cases and can usually find them in either a tan or black color. I found a black one for $34 and decided to install it in the center light and sunroof control area.

The control area was easy to remove as the outer part simply snapped into place. Underneath the decorative outer part was plastic piece held in by two screws that held the internal parts all together. Since the lights were in this area, I had easy access to the one electrical requirement: a 12 volt power source that is always on (meaning, even when the car is not running, the power is on). Using a test light, I was able to easily figure out which wire to tap into. I grounded the switch to the bolt that holds the visor in place.

Mounting the HomeLink unit took a little bit of consideration. The HomeLink unit was a tight fit and I needed the buttons to mount to the decorative control piece without any obstructions. I used a Dremel tool to remove some of the structure on the inside of the unit to to allow room. I was very careful to avoid scratching or marring the decorative cover and once I was happy with the position of the unit, I put it all back together.

Programming the HomeLink is very simple and I found a videos on YouTube or follow these instructions.

The complete project took me about an hour and I am very pleased with how it turned out!

Written by Jon Sooy

October 8th, 2011 at 8:47 am


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As my thumbs typed this urgent text message into my smartphone (PLS CK ASAP) to our creative department, I reveled in the moment as I realized that I was hip with the cool Millennial lingo. Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post (it’s a short one):

Adopt vs. Adapt – Seth Godin June 21

An early adopter seeks out new ideas and makes them work.

An adapter, on the other hand, puts up with what he has to, begrudgingly.

One is offense, the other is defense. One requires the spark of curiosity, the other is associated with fear, or at least hassle.

Hint: it’s not so easy to sell to the adapt community.

After considering this post, I held my head high as I personally acknowledged my status. I am and always will be an ‘adopter.’ Then I realized that I have received text messages from my kids that have made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Mobile phones were designed for verbal communication but for the Millennial, mobile phones became a text based social device whereby entire conversations could be perpetrated without spelling out an entire word. While I was acting like an adult and taking care of business, our youth was inventing an entire language. It’s sort of like a subset of colloquial and is riddled with clichés and catchy phrases. Here is a webpage I found that has definitions. Caution: many definitions here are a bit “salty.”

Now this lingo is part of business. Am I a situational adapter? Or are there degrees of adoption? I do know the basics (LOL, OMG, etc.) and frankly our interoffice communications are saturated with this clever shorthand. Heck, we even have a job title that I created last year and the initials were a key consideration as I put it all together. It’s much more fun to refer to our elite group of Brand Account Managers as “BAMs” than it is to force my mouth to labor over the full title. We refer to clients by their initials and our enterprise clients refer to us as ‘GP’ or ‘GPS.’ This lingo did not come from our management team; it came from our Millennials.

Some lament and abhor the breakdown of language in emails, instant and text messages. I do agree that outbound correspondence with clients should be reviewed and checked for grammar, spelling and word usage. But as more time passes I suspect that this new language will gain a foothold. Who am I kidding? It already has! These anachronisms or initializations (to be technically correct) are tremendous time savers. As more tech savvy Millennials enter the workforce we have to decide whether or not we (by ‘we’ I mean Gen X-ers and Baby-Boomers) will adopt or adapt to this language that is second nature to them.

Written by Jon Sooy

September 16th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

App Addicts

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App Addicts
Whether you’re an iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Mobile user it has become clear that the ‘app’ is here to stay. What began as goofy gimmicks and games are now a tsunami of options and opportunities for mobile device addicts. As you navigate the marketplace, it is becoming increasingly difficult to figure out what apps are best for your particular business. It is interesting to me that despite the search capabilities within my Android phone, most of my favorite apps have been recommended by friends. Fun apps like HeyTell, Words With Friends, and of course Angry Birds! But what about business and productivity in general? Here are my picks for the top five apps for business:

Tripit – Available on all major platforms, this great app helps you organize your travel plans. Flight, hotel and rental car information is all in one place. You can add maps, directions and even share you itineraries with others. Even for the occasional business traveler, this is a must have app. More features here on the Tripit website.

Expensify – Available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Palm. This app has an incredible number of features. Highlights are the ability to scan receipts and how easy it is to create an expense report. You can also import data from your credit card. For the full rundown of capabilities, visit the Expensify website.

Evernote – Available on virtually every mobile device (not to mention every operating system). Evernote will keep all of your notes synchronized across multiple devices. I am also a Livescribe user and all of my handwritten notes taken with my Livescribe pen are saved to my Evernote account. I don’t know how I ever lived without it! On the road and forgot that contract? If you saved it in Evernote: no problem! Evernote Website.

Dropbox – For all those files that are not in Evernote. The Dropbox application places a folder on your system and everything you put into this folder is synchronized across whatever devices you wish to include. It works on Android, Windows Mobile and the iPhone. Sort of like Evernote, you can easily access documents and files on the go! Basically, any important documents you have on your computer are now in your pocket. The program is free up to 2 gigabytes and above that there is a small per gig charge. Dropbox Website.

Astrid Task – This is an Android only app but there are similar apps for other platforms. I just found this great app a few weeks ago and it’s beauty is in it’s simplicity. The feature rich alternative available on most other devices is “Remember The Milk.” Astrid is a simple task manager/to do list app that can be used as a stand alone or you can set it to synchronize with your Google tasks (which of course can be linked to your Outlook tasks). I was always tied to my Outlook tasks, now I have my list of things to do with me at all times. Available in the Android Market.

Are you an App Addict? What are some of your favorite apps?

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

Written by Jon Sooy

August 6th, 2011 at 8:10 am

Don’t Be Afraid of the Big, Bad QR Code

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I don’t see QR Codes fading into the realm of techno-gimmick anytime soon. A recent article in Print Solutions Magazine provides some compelling data that clearly suggests the opposite. The number of Americans who are only using mobile devices is dramatically increasing. From Print Solutions Magazine: “After all, one in five U.S. mobile phone owners uses the mobile Internet every day (“2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report,” Antenna Software). Not only this but according to On Device Research, 25 percent of U.S. mobile phone users are mobile only. In other words, they do not (or very rarely use) a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Internet.” (full article here on page 24) In other words; Americans are becoming very proficient at navigating our physical and electronic world with our mobile devices acting as our trusted sidekick.

In a few of my public speaking engagements on technology, I have used the example of scanning regular bar codes in retail stores with my cell phone to find out if I find and item for less money at another store. In fact, in a bizaar coincidence, eBay did an Internet commercial to this effect and the actor here (Casey Robertson) happens to be a personal friend:

As our mobile devices become more and more sophisticated, the possibilities are almost limitless with regard to our ability to access information. QR Codes are one of the first mobile innovations that begin to bridge the gap between a brand and our ability to access to more information about that brand. Additionally QR Codes fit very nicely into the concept of engagement marketing (as opposed to interruption marketing) in that we, as the consumer, choose what information to access.

Here is some more data to support the idea that QR Codes are here to stay (taken from Print Solutions, June 2011 issue, page 26):

QR Code Stats

I think QR Codes are like many other great innovations that are just starting to take root. There is skepticism, disbelief and confusion about how they work and how marketers might use them. But, remember what people said about Facebook and Twitter when they made their way into the mainstream. I heard comments like ‘It’s a fad’ or ‘it’s just another MySpace’ or ‘it’s for kids, not business.’ Don’t be left behind with QR Codes because even if they do evolve into a different form down the road, understanding their potential now will put you ahead of your competition.

Written by Jon Sooy

June 19th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

My Head is in the Clouds Again

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Innovators create tools to help people get more work done with less effort. Technology has brought us an amazing array of tools over thousands of years. As new innovations improve upon old ones we see a timeline that is really quite amazing. Consider how we listen to music, and how this has evolved over the last 100 years. It went something like this:

Extend your index finger and touch your monitor above where you personally first connected with this timeline. Fast forward and look at us now! Most of us walk around with our entire music collection in our pockets. Now we are beginning to store and stream music from the cloud. Apple just announced its new system called iCloud. Providers like Pandora, LastFM and Grooveshark enable us to create our own radio stations based on sophisticated metrics that we as individuals provide. Imagine that; a radio station that only plays songs that ONLY YOU like!

GPnet does for supply chain management what the internet is doing for streaming music (and other content, for that matter). With operational and marketing budgets being slashed and competition increasing, it is a simple solution to cutting costs and increasing profitability. Enabling your corporate staff and store locations to do more with less is having a profound effect on the success of some of the best brands in America (and the World). I imagine our GPnet clients have more free time to listen to music. What’s next? Perhaps the iBrain: All my music implanted in my head and all I have to do is think of a song I want to listen to. Need to reorder supplies for business? Just iThink it.

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

Written by Jon Sooy

June 14th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

9 Awesome Ways to Use QR Codes For Your Restaurant


In an earlier post, I discussed QR Codes. I explained what they are and how they work. If you haven’t yet discovered QR Codes or are wondering how you might use them to market your restaurant, here are some ideas:

  1. Take-Out Menus: Print a QR Code on table tents, front door posters or anywhere it’s appropriate. Customers scan the code and are redirected to a digital version of your menu. A hotlink that enables them to call you is included for convenience.
  2. Recipes: Put a small QR Code on your menu next to different dishes. Smartphone users can then scan the code and be taken to the recipe. An alternative is where the user could be taken to a video of your chef preparing the dish.
  3. Coupons: Place QR Codes within your ads, direct mail pieces or anywhere you can imagine and link the code to a coupon.
  4. Facebook: Simply link the code to your Facebook Fan Page and get more followers! To entice them, offer a discount or coupon for clicking the ‘Like Us’ button.
  5. Nutritional Information: Place a QR Code on your menu or on a table tent that links to your nutritional information summary. You could also do individual codes for each menu item.
  6. Interviews: Link to a video of an interview with important characters within your company. This might be a CEO, Executive Chef, Chief Marketing Officer, or even the employee of the month!
  7. Specials: Does your restaurant frequently have specials? Link a code to a virtual ‘Daily Special’ chalk board!
  8. Restaurant Info: Link to basic information about your restaurant: address, phone number or perhaps even the restaurant’s history.
  9. Surveys: Put a QR Code on your receipts and get instant feedback on your customer’s dining experience.

I’m sure more great uses for QR Codes are out there. What ideas do you have? We’d love to hear them!

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

Written by Jon Sooy

April 29th, 2011 at 1:47 pm