Google Has it Right!
I’m back to traveling again for business. I have often written the Marketing Minutes while in flight, but it’s been a while since that has happened. Life is beginning to return to normal, and I’m currently in the air making my first West Coast business trip in over a year.
Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet have all been extremely effective as a way of keeping in touch with customers. Before Covid, I had never used video conferencing for anything. During Covid, we held countless Voice of the Customer Zoom calls to check our clients’ temperatures (inference intended) as to business health and product needs. At ECO, we used the time to successfully redesign both of our core products (Lighting and Parking Guidance) and significantly added to our staff, as well. Video conferencing is so effective that as we prepare to move into our new facility in a matter of weeks, we decided to add a “Zoom Room” as part of our office setup. While this method of selling will always be a part of our relationship process moving forward, nothing replaces face to face customer touch (6 feet away, of course).
As far as Covid goes, we learned a few lessons. We all must be smart and show concern to one another whether we are in 100 percent agreement with each other or not. Have empathy and see through the politics. We have a control problem in this county centered around power-hungry politicians on both sides of the aisle. Truth has left politics, probably for good, and what once was an honorable way of serving has become self-serving instead. One good thing that Covid did was to nearly eliminate the common flu. Early numbers suggest a massive decrease in conventional flu cases this year. It’s become obvious that as a public, we were careless about spreading our illnesses prior to Covid. Many…MANY…MANY parents have historically sent their kids to school with fevers and colds prior to Covid, masking the symptoms with Tylenol, cold medicine, and strict instructions to not talk about it.
In business, you may be able to get away with a Zoom call to communicate for a while, but there comes a time when you have to touch, feel, and smell. Think about kids meeting over Zoom instead of in person at school. You can’t give a friend a “Flat Tire” on a Zoom call (stepping on the back of the person’s shoes in front of you in the hallway while walking behind them, pulling the shoe off of their foot). We need in-person sports and in-person fans, not piped in crowd noise. Our kids need to learn how to talk their way out of a detention for being late to class and they need to learn to stand up to a guy bullying another person. They also need to learn how to deal with being first or last chosen for a team in gym class. If we don’t connect our children to other children face to face, we will have changed culture forever.
A little grace goes a long way as we continue to navigate these troubled waters. I take a shortcut through a neighborhood on my way home from work every day. The homemade sign in a yard I drive by simply says this: Just Be Kind! I know I don’t agree with their politics because I saw another sign in their yard during the presidential campaign, but I seriously agree with this sign.
Google has it right. Recently, Google was just given the green light on building another 1.3 million square feet of new office and mixed-use space. When your company name becomes a verb like Google has, and like Xerox did years ago, you don’t play by different rules, you make the rules. In a state that is experiencing a mass exodus of people, Google is bullish on the need for people to stay together in not just office spaces, but in tight communities. The amount of business that is still out there is amazing. I don’t recall a busier time in our business than here in the waning days of Covid.
I love the hope that we have for our nation towards a recovery. You don’t have to agree with anything the tech companies stand for politically, but you have to agree that they know how to make money, and if they are bullish on America, so should we be. We are proud to be part of the new Amazon Air HUB garage at the Cincinnati Airport. Amazon is bullish on America’s future…and we are too. As Amazon becomes a force in the air freight world, it continues to be a part of our everyday world. I helped my youngest son Justin hang door tags on hundreds of homes in our community over the weekend, providing home-owners a custom quote to mow their yard. Justin is preparing for college next year and will be having skin in that game. I think it is safe to say that a full 1/3 of all the homes we tagged had packages on their front doorstep delivered by Amazon. I also lost count of the Amazon trucks we saw drive by.
Friends, things are looking up. It’s almost time to remove the masks and see who hasn’t been to the dentist in a while. It’s time to see a smile straight up and not just through squinted eyes. It’s time for us all to have a YES DAY!
Years ago, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, in the rectory where he lived in England, literally wore out two spots in the carpet beside his bed from the time he spent praying for social and spiritual revival for his nation. In 1940, upon a tour of the rectory in Epworth, a young bible student asked the docent about the two spots he had noticed beside the bed. As the bus with the Bible students was about to leave to the next stop on their tour, it was discovered that one student was missing. Checking each room in the house for the student proved unfruitful until they looked in Wesley’s bedroom. There, the group leader found the student kneeling beside the bed in the same two spots where Wesley had worn the rug threadbare. Kneeling there, audibly praying, “Do it again, Lord! Lord, would you do it again? And would you do it again with me?” the leader tapped Billy Graham on the shoulder and said it was time to leave.
What do you believe in today that will change the world? What cause or passion would cause you to wear a carpet bare? It’s safe to say that no-one wants a repeat of 2020, the fear, the uncertainty, the hibernation. It’s time for risk taking! It is not the end of the world and Chicken Little, I don’t know what fake news station you are watching, but the sky is not falling down! I’m choosing to believe in the American spirit, I’m choosing to believe that the best is yet to come.