A Note To Eileen~

News about your abduction traveled quickly, not only to your family and friends, co-workers, police and the media, but also around the print community in general. There were tears & prayers on your behalf. We speculated, wondered and feared for you. But mostly I think, we prayed for you.

You reminded us of our own vulnerability when we remain at work past normal closing hours. Late nights are not unusual in our industry. Others may not understand this and criticize, but as an industry, we know better. It isn’t unusual for men and women alike to stay late into the wee hours either approving a press run or trying to get rush jobs entered into production. We stay because we’re committed to our jobs, our clients…our industry.

Time eases pain, but like a cancer diagnosis or the death of a child; any traumatic experience will change you. Eileen, it will be okay.

QR Codes

QR Codes stand for quick response codes.

To make this easier to explain, think of UPC Codes in the retail and grocery stores. We’ve grown so accustomed to these codes we barely notice them anymore. The codes are created for the retail stores so they’re able to quickly and efficiently scan the product information (and get us through those lines faster!) You can’t get a product into a store anymore without one, and manufacturers and retailers alike have accepted this form of accessing and storing product information.

So, a QR Code is just another form of coded information. Something creates it and then something reads it. So, what creates it? There are web-based QR sites where anybody can create a QR Code. The code can either represent a URL (your website, or specific page on your website) or information; think business card info. After entering the information you want revealed in your QR Code, the programming will create a scrambled box (the QR Code) that you can use in print and when scanned will link up to the information your code is connected to. So, how do you scan an QR Code?

There are applications available you can download by smart phones, ie, web-connected phones. (if you don’t have a web-enabled phone you can’t use this technology) You download these applications for free and then with your smart phone use that application to scan QR Codes you see and it will automatically link (take you) you to the information on the web that the QR Code represents.

Wow…or, hmmm, or whatever, you might think, but, marketers are beginning to use QR Codes. They’re certainly not for everyone, but, what if you had a catalog that normally prints 36 pages and the cost to print and mail is getting too expensive? As a marketer you could create a smaller version of the catalog in say, 8 pages (saving money on print and mailing) and use QR Codes in your shortened version of the catalog to make it easier for your customers to link directly to your website for additional products, colors, sizes. Wow.

Or, a QR Code could be used by Realtors. Using this technology would allow a potential client to scan a QR Code printed on a sign and enter a website directly taking a tour of the home they’re standing in front of. Hmmm?

Or, how about a customer completing a questionnaire after a purchase? (Those pesky instructions for example…maybe somebody could offer up a better way, and the QR Code could take them directly to that suggestion page in your website.)

Okay, I think you get the point. There are many great applications for using QR Codes. Right now their only limitation is our limited experience. I wouldn’t recommend using them to replace something, but to enhance, to grow, to expand. That’s my take anyway…expanding the mind is a good thing even if it means embracing another new technology. whatever. It’s going to happen anyway.

Communication Confusion~

I’m a technology hold-out and I accept this; but sometimes I get tired defending my position on this issue. The truth is, I don’t have a smart phone. (ohmygosh….)

You’d think, because I’m in sales and need to be connected at all times, that I’m just not keeping up with technology. Quite frankly, you’d be correct, but there are reasons why. Sometimes I sit in my office and my cell phone rings, then my office intercom rings and I’m trying to have a conversation with two people and what happens is I’m not communicating efficiently with either. It’s frustrating. “You hold,” “who me?” “no, you” argh, “hold on,” “James, HOLD” “John, I’ll call you back.” Then I hang up the wrong phone. Not really, but that could happen. Ever been on your cell phone in your office and they ask you to choose 2 to save and you hit the 2 on your office phone? It’s funny, but not. (or even worse if you try to use your calculator for the 2 button…but that’s another story)

Same thing with GPS technology, I don’t have a GPS, and I don’t want one. Some friends are truly aghast at this admission. But really, sometimes when I’m lost I stumble across things I’m interested in and didn’t know were there. I value that more than being so over-confident about driving that I don’t pay attention to any of my surroundings.

I know, I know, I’ve heard the arguments for both the smart phone and the GPS. It’s probably the same reason I gave up wearing a watch over two decades ago. (another round of ohmygosh…) I know what time it is and if I don’t want to know, to quote Jerry Jeff, “I couldn’t care less what time it is.” I have a clock on my computer, on my phone, in my car, in my head, in my kitchen. You get the point. After years of living, I can usually tell you what time it is just by the natural passing of time.

All of these electronic ways to communicate has given rise to communication overload and in a sense, of not really communicating at all. I truly enjoy the face-to-face nuances of communication. But, I will this holiday season buy a smart phone. Only because…well, I need it to show customers QR codes, otherwise, I’d still be a hold-out. What’s a QR code? Sigh, more ways to communicate…we’ll talk about that tomorrow.