You’ve seen the adverts, they all follow a similar script

Drivers who switch from insurance company x to insurance company y save on average ??? dollars. Then insurance company y also claim that if you switch to them from company x you save about the same so how is this possible?

Here’s an example of how this works
100 customers of company x call company y for an insurance quote, half the quotes are higher and half are lower. The half for whom the quote is higher say no thanks, the half that get a lower quote say yes (possibly…)

Note the advert said that customers who switch to them save on average…, not customers who call them save on average…

The fact is that on average, company x and company y charge around the same though it will vary depending on various attributes. All the advert is telling you is that it’s worthwhile shopping around, they just twist that to make themselves sound cheaper.

Earlier I noted that if the quote is lower the customer will only switch sometimes, the reason for this is that if you are told you will save $5 per year, do you go through the trouble of switching providers? probably not.
So now there is a new variable, how much cheaper does the quote have to be for you to be persuaded to switch? Would you switch from Geico to a lesser known provider for less than $100?

So if the ad says drivers who switch from State Farm save on average $400 and drivers who switch from Geico save $350, does this mean Geico is on average cheaper than State Farm or that Geico customers will switch for less?


There are some things people will / can give up and some things they wont when times are hard. Some things are much harder than others and even much more inconvenient. Since most phone users are on set plans it’s not even very easy to reduce your costs, you can go onto a lower plan but you don’t normally save all that much and one month where you go over your minutes can wipe out the savings.

Not buying a new car is easy, cutting down the number of times you go out is easy, buying less new clothes / accessories is easy.

Right now you want to be working for a phone company, an internet / TV provider or as a mechanic. However, as soon as the recession is over there will be a huge boom in car sales as all the people who have been holding off buying a car rush out to replace their ancient 5 year old cars. Also since a load of auto sales places have gone bust the remaining ones will do even better.

OK, so maybe not (or maybe?) but what if they did?, Microsoft’s biggest rivals Google and Yahoo derive pretty much all their income from online advertising, disable that and those 2 will go down the tubes pretty quickly.

Microsoft has something tangible, it sells software so it can afford to offer free services like search and email as a way of promoting it’s brand, but Yahoo and Google have very little in this regard, if all adsense ads were blocked by the vast majority of browsers then Google would lose money fast.

I guess this is why Google is so keen to get their Chrome browser adopted at a greater rate.

Google spends a lot of time and effort trying to stop people selling links on high pageRank websites so why does it reveal the pagerank?

I see no need for it to be revealed, website owners will know how well their site is doing in google search by the number of visitors google sends. The only use of pagerank is to say hey, my pagerank is x which then becomes a commodity.

Build Your Own Elmo Live

October 23, 2008

Wouldn’t it be great of someone released a generic, programmable robot that was designed to be covered.

Something like
(which is the real Elmo live with no cover.

You could then take this generic robot along with any suitable sized stuffed toy and swap the stuffing for the robot, resulting in your own live anything.

Then a community of like minded people could create suitable programs including voice quotes and songs recorded from TV which you would upload to the robot via a USB cable along with some animation sequences.

Or give it wifi like the nabaztag, then a parent who is away on a business trip could read a bedtime story to their child through an application on their laptop or iPhone that could also work in both directions via a microphone and camera in the robot.

For businesses
1. Layoff bad staff – people who cost more than they benefit the business. If someone’s really expensive but provides more benefit than they cost then keep them – it’s all about the ROI.
2. Make sure people know the formula for who stays and who doesn’t – make it clear that the company needs them to pull together to get through this dip.
3. Re-negotiate everything; whatever you currently pay for electricity, phones, paperclips, internet access, outsourced services… Now is the time to renegotiate a lower rate – it’s harder to compete if your competitors have lower costs.
4. Set targets – you should do this anyway but during these times it’s important to have clear targets and goals, let people know what’s expected of them.
5. Cut costs…
– Print reduction project, encourage users to print less
– power down anything unused including PC’s overnight
– investigate free software alternatives – 7zip is better than winzip and it’s completely free
– reduce meetings – meetings should have agendas and clear objectives, more productive meetings leads to less meetings (don’t make people stand)
– If your sales go down 10% then your sales staff levels should go down 10% too; if required, make it quite clear that the bottom performer goes at the end of the month – you’re not a charity.
6. Retarget your product – create a sales pitch that explains why your product / service is even more valuable during a recession and get the word out now.

For Individuals
1.Blog about surviving the recession – there will be more unemployed people to read your blog and they will be interested in the recession – how to save money, how to get a job etc
2. Cut costs now – save just in case – if you don’t lose your job then you can have one heck of a party / holiday when the recession is over, if you do then you will have a bit of a buffer to get by on.
3. Read blogs about living cheaply 🙂 – you can survive on a heck of a lot less than you realise.
4. Go through your bank statements and see where the money goes – trim where possible.
5. If you have debt then renegotiate rates with lenders – most people don’t realize this is possible – not always, but sometimes and certainly worth a try.

On February 17, 2009, analog TV broadcasting will stop and many older TV’s that get their signal over the air will need a converter box.

Do you know anyone in your family that isn’t ready? – have you got them a Christmas present yet?

Problems solved.