A Cut and Conversation

They serve 3,000 regular customers annually. Some come in once a year while others visit monthly or more. All customers have a shared need. Quite simply, their hair grows and when it does they come to Salon Hugo.

I do too. I have dirty blonde hair that has been thinning for years. What remains is fine and when it overgrows I sport clown tufts on either side of my head. Salon Hugo has been my barbershop for over five years. It is located in the village of St. Jovite, Quebec in the Mont Tremblant area.

IMG_8094The first time I visited this quaint yet progressive barbershop, I had my hair cut by Hugo’s father. Little did I know that this gentleman had retired after 38 years of cutting hair but still came in one day a week to service longstanding clients.

I arrived on a Friday when the salon is closed to regular traffic. Ignorantly I entered and sat down while he finished with a regular client. He was kind enough to take me that day and politely explained the situation. From then on I have had my hair cut by either Hugo or Yan. They have a friendly rivalry over my diminishing locks. Both do a great job.

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The Airline Experience: Is it the Seat or Your Seat Mate?

For over 15 years I traveled more than six months annually. This included visiting nearly 40 countries and lots of time in New York. I like to claim I have stayed in every hotel in Manhattan. The latter is bravado as the number is closer to 35 hotels while Manhattan has 258 hotels but I am getting off topic. The point of this piece is to discuss how we get places.

Have you seen photos flight experiences in the 1950’s and 1960’s? They actually carved meat in the aisle and shook fresh martinis! Never mind everything was mixed with cigarette smell. That would be a big trade off for me personally.
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Air travel today is definitely unglamorous. The experience begins with pricing which never makes any sense. I believe airline pricing algorithms are satanic and those administering them are drunk. At the airport you pay at every stop…parking, luggage. Speaking of stops. Getting onto an airplane involves so many lines it is like queuing to get bread and meat in Soviet Russia.

Getting onto an airplane involves so many lines it is like queuing to get bread, meat and batteries in Soviet Russia.

Then you get on the plane. I am a relatively short fellow so legroom is not a problem but my personal space does get invaded. The New York Times reported that, “Seats were 18 inches wide before airline deregulation in the 1970s and have since been whittled to 16 and a half inches. While seat pitch used to be 35 inches and has decreased to about 31 inches. At the same time, the average man is 30 pounds heavier today than he was in 1960 (196 pounds compared with 166 pounds) and the average woman is 26 pounds heavier (166 pounds, up from 140 pounds).”

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Marketers are from Mars

Marketers are from Mars – Consumers are from New Jersey Book Review

This is Jeff’s review from Amazon…

The author has written an eclectic rant. I am in branding, marketing and advertising but had not heard of Bob Hoffman until I happened across this book. Right upfront he recognizes that people in the industry are “funny, cynical and immature bastards”. Based on personal and professional feedback I would seem to fit that criteria. As such, I did enjoy the first third of the book but then it grew so sardonic and acidic that it was hard to appreciate the lessons in the messages.

Advertising is a funny practice and profession. It is revered and reviled in equal amounts. I appreciate the author’s attempt to hold it accountable and I totally agree that it has too long been focused on fancy tricks instead of recognizing the tried and true. Rather than dissect the contents, let me provide a few standout lines that resonated (these are not spoilers):

– Hoffman writes that the marketing industry is under mass delusion that includes “the gross exaggeration of the role of brands; the mangling of the role of ad agencies; the mistaking of gimmicks for trends”

– “Marketers are taught not to think simply.”

– “Advertising has always been 90% lousy, but online advertising has set a new standard for awfulness.”

– “most of what we call ‘brand loyalty’ is simply habit, convenience, mild satisfaction or easy availability.”

The book is a series of short essays and blog posts so you can pick and choose topics that interest you. Coherence and consistency are tested but the feisty and testy ad veteran tone reverberates throughout. He sounds too bitter for someone who made his career in the profession. Having said all that, if you read only one entry, make it, “Here’s to the Bobbleheads.” This one rant will be recognizable to anyone in business.

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