Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sticky (22) Northstar Wine Club

This blog is a consideration why some products and ideas go viral, survive a long time, become the standard and others don't. It is important to understand that while we generally consider the positive effects, there is also a variant of sticky that is pure poison. There are scads of wineries in Western Washington, but Northstar is my go to for Merlot. And somehow they survived the 2004 movie Sideways with the famous quote, ("If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving, I am NOT drinking any f*cking Merlot!"), that durn near killed Merlot, at least in the USA.

It wasn't even a great movie, it falls in the class of movies that I saw once, do not intend to see again and not because I sometimes drink Merlot.

Northstar makes consistently good Merlot, (and other vintages), and they charge a significant price for them and not just because they are in Walla Walla, (the city so nice you have to say it twice and where you can expect to pay at least $10 more per bottle).

In business, it is wise to be ready to wine and dine and some people don't go for Pinot Noir if you get my drift, so I belong to the wine club which is an assortment of six bottles per year, so Kathy and I share their other vintages and keep the Merlots in that special rack that people keep for visitors right next to the Otis Kenyon.

Now, I know what you are thinking, this doesn't sound sticky to me. Hold on, being a member means you can take a friend, or client to their wine blending class. Everybody I have taken to that has had a blast. Yes, that too is pricey, but you get a tour, the class and the blending lab and get to take home of bottle of your own blend.

Something happened this morning that put them on my sticky list. I received an email: This email confirms that your order has been processed. We will send another email with tracking information when your order has shipped. If you have any questions about your order, please reply to this email or call us at 800-391-1409.

One problem. I am in Hawaii and my wine is headed to Washington, you have to sign for alcohol and I don't really want two $40 bottles sitting on my front porch even if UPS is willing to skip the formality. So I called the 800 number, they stopped the order, are storing our bottles for us, (good thing, one of the bottles was their Petite Verdot and Kathy loves it), and they rescheduled the delivery for the day I get back.

The reason I think this is "sticky"(Simple/Unexpected/Concrete/Credible/Emotional)" 

  • Simple: Join the club, get the case discount when you are in Walla Walla, the bottles find their way back to you.
  • Unexpected: I had no idea it would be so easy to change my shipment.
  • Concrete: "Concrete details allow us to imagine a scene and, crucially, imagine ourselves in it." [Lifehack.org] I have the bottles right in my rack.
  • Credible: This is what they call internal credibility, "Internal credibility is the ability of our ideas themselves to convince through an appeal to our audience’s sense of how the world works and how they see it." [Lifehack.org] They are my "snob bottles". I do not usually spend this much on wine, (a $13 bottle of H3 from Costco serves me just fine), but if someone knows red wine, they know the Northstar winery.
  • Emotional: Now that you know the Sidekick story please join me in feeling like a rebel when you pop a Merlot.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sticky (21) Boston Strong

Just read the article about the Boston Strong banner being displayed on the final stretch of the 120th Boston Marathon next week.  When I read that I got just a bit teary. You know the story, two college students, Nicholas Reynolds and Chris Dobens, came up with the idea of the t-shirts, published it on Facebook and by the time the smoke cleared, earned almost a million dollars for charity. Some claim the phrase is losing steam, but I beg to differ, so does the One Fund.

In the words of Howard Fineman, "Today, rescuers were running toward the wounded on Boylston Street in acts of true heroism -- running toward the sound of the screams.

In the end, the terrorists will fail because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men -- they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind."

Proof that "Boston Strong" is sticky? Easy, almost nobody you meet remembers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but everyone remembers Boston Strong.

The reason I think this is "sticky"(Simple/Unexpected/Concrete/Credible/Emotional)" 

  • Simple: Blue and Yellow, block letters. There are other renditions of course, but this is the core.
  • Unexpected: Two college students, near instant turnaround, it went viral. No way to see that coming.
  • Concrete: "Concrete details allow us to imagine a scene and, crucially, imagine ourselves in it." [Lifehack.org] I have the slogan as a refrigerator magnet and reflect on the heroics and strength of the people of Boston every time I see it.
  • Credible: This is what they call internal credibility, "Internal credibility is the ability of our ideas themselves to convince through an appeal to our audience’s sense of how the world works and how they see it." [Lifehack.org] It is credible! The rescuers ran towards the screams.
  • Emotional: Here is an article with just five of the heroes of the bombing. Feel more than a bit teary? Of course you do. Me too. 

(Stephen Northcutt is the conference chair of SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6. Boston is one of his favorite cities. He is also, as you can see from this blog, a student of stickiness and curious about why some ideas stick while others don't.)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sticky (20) ZeroLemon Solar charger

One of my indulgences is slashdot. So when they featured this I bought it. I am not the real camping type, so I never expected to need the solar charger. A couple weeks ago we chartered a boat for a couple weeks in the Belize lagoon. Kathy's waterproof camera was on the fritz so we bought another one. It was highly rated; it worked fairly well; it was a power hog.

Our Robinson and Caine 384 cat is one of the lower end Moorings models and did not have an inverter or generator. There was one USB port on the boat, but two couples with 5 iPhones between us meant we had to USB buddy breathe bigtime.

Solution: everyday, we put the ZeroLemon in the sun, every evening we charged the waterproof camera and it all worked. It also made a decent flashlight for moving around the boat after lights out.
One complaint, its USB charging port is non-standard. A mini-USB would have been much better, if you misplace the cord you are down to nothing but solar, (which is fine in Belize in March).

I am going to be announcing a cybersecurity covert channel contest later this month as part of my marketing efforts for SANS Boston 2016 August 1 - 6, and I think this will make a nice prize.