Converting Amex Points to Facebook Credits
AmericanExpress recently started allowing holders of their points-generating cards to convert points into Facebook ad credits. It’s not a bad deal for businesses that use an Amex business card.
To compare, here are a few items:
- Maggiano’s gift card- $50, 5,000 points ($0.01 value per point)
- Facebook ad credits- $50, 6,750 points ($0.0074 value per point)
- Amex gift card- $50, 7,000 points ($0.071 value per point)
- ipad2, 16g- $499, 94,400 points ($0.0053 value per point)
So unless you want to dine on mass-market food, the facebook credits are a pretty good deal.
To convert the points, login to Amex rewards and search for “facebook ad credits”. Amex will walk you through the rest.
Do note that a “cash back” card may be a better option than any of the above point-generating amex cards- many business credit cards will give you 1% or 1.5% cash back.
Best of Tim Ferriss’ Blog for Entrepreneurship
Also note that while Tim does tend to focus on “muse”-type businesses (automated, relatively high profit but low revenue), many of his tactics can [should] be applied to other, larger businesses as well.
Wharton Biz School - How Niche Retailers are Thriving on Internet 2.0
How can an internet retailer compete in this world- where Amazon is curb-stomping all competitors with their combination of low prices, convenience, and logistics superiority? This article from Wharton offers some clues:
It’s a hugely important topic to internet retailers, as there is a growing gulf between the niche plays that are essentially mom-and-pop-shops, online, and the true players that are trying to grow national or international corporations based on their web retail strengths.
Here are my pull quotes as the most thought-provoking passages:
“Unfortunately, too many small brands don’t view themselves as a specialty,” Fader points out. “They think they can compete with the big guys.” As a result, the company spends too much on broad-based advertising and other attempts to drive scale. Ultimately, Fader says, they “get crushed…. If you admit that you are a small brand, go after the specialty angle and say, ‘People will buy us only occasionally’ — and you keep costs down and keep the message focused — then you can be okay.”
However, Lodish says [Quidsi’s] most important asset is its relationship with new parents, fostered through its own customer service staff, not a remote call center. “Their customers love them,” notes Lodish. “Their reputation with young mothers is better than anybody else by far. People talk about them and refer friends to diapers.com when they have new babies.”
new specialty retailers discover niches and create targeted organizations to meet those customer needs better than the large retailers
The differences between a company like Amazon and a small specialty player illustrate the disparities between a market-share model, designed to serve as many products to as many people as possible, and a customer-focused approach aimed at developing deep loyalty from shoppers
The new breed of Internet specialty retailer is reaching customers by building communities among customers, she adds. In traditional retail, the closest example of this kind of effort is at independent running stores where customers come together to form running clubs and train for races. “In the virtual world you can do that around any interest,” Kahn notes.
Beyond logistics and customer relationships, some of the new web entrepreneurs are focused on creating their own products. Bonobos, a men’s apparel e-tailer, designs, develops, sources and merchandises its own clothing brand. “So unlike Zappos or Quidsi, we are not about offering the deepest selection of brands on the market,” states Bonobos founder Andy Dunn, who started the company in 2007. “Rather, we want to curate brands, and go so far as to actually create and own the very best of those brands.” Dunn calls the strategy “vertical web retailing.”
Notes on Delivering Happiness- Tony Hsieh and Zappos
My highlighted notes from reading Delivering Happiness.
Never outsource your core competency
Pages 64-67 are huge.
64. “Table selection is the most important decision you can make”
65. “Help shape the stories people are telling about you”
Networking vs. building the number and depth of friendships
“[N]ever outsource [your] core competency”
Note- $32M rev in 2002, which was 400% YOY growth
“great companies have greater purpose and bigger vision beyond just making money or being number 1 in a market”
dropship “easy money” no inventory risk, no cash-flow problems- “But we had plenty of customer service challenges”
Culture book is/was completely unedited
Culture book rules
“We view the lifetime value of a customer to be a moving target that can increase if we can create more and more positive emotional associations with our brand through every interaction that a person has with us”
Call center info:
5% of sales from phones
most phone calls do not result in sales
10 ways to instill customer service into your company
Employees must name a co-worker (right or wrong) to log into their computers
“Brand is just a lagging indicator of a company’s culture”
More info on culture and branding
“Our philosophy at Zappos is to WOW with service and experience, not with anything that relates directly to monetary compensation”
“If you are not prepared to deal with constant change, then you probably are not a good fit for the company”
“Over time, we want everyone to develop his gut about business decisions”
Notes on quickly hiring many people, and developing a HR/hiring process from this
Sample interview questions
“[W]e’ll never be done and we’ll never ‘get it right.’… we’ll do our best to ‘get it right,’ and then do it again when we find things have changed”
“The only reason we are not swamped by our competition is because what we do is hard, and we do it better than anyone else.”
One of the most important ingredients separated “good” from “great” companies is a strong company culture- core values are a formalized definition of this
Essay on Vendor relations. Emphasis on respect, friendship, and shared information
“Rather than focusing on individuals as assets, we instead focus on building as our asset a pipeline of people in every single department with varying levels of skills and experience, ranging from entry level all the way up through senior management and leadership positions. Our vision is for almost all of our hires to be entry level, but for the company to provide all the training and mentorship necessary so that any employee has the opportunity to become a senior leader within the company within five to seven years.”
Note on the merchandising program
“If you just focus on making sure that your product or service continually WOWs people, eventually the press will find out about it.”
Zappos Insights and Zappos Insights Live
“Amazon focuses on low prices, vast selection and convenience to make their customers happy, while Zappos does it through developing relationships, creating personal emotional connections, and delivering high-touch (‘WOW’) customer service.”
“people are very bad at predicting what will actually bring them sustained happiness”
“happiness doesn’t primarily from within but, rather, from between”
“most HR surveys show that once people’s basic needs are met, money is farther down the list of importance than intangibles such as the quality of the relationship with one’s manager and professional growth opportunities.”
Three types of happiness
Pleasure - high
Passion - in the zone
Higher purpose - being part of something bigger than yourself