Well, everyone in Naples is getting irritable, and I’m sure it’s only the beginning. The general feeling is, if the damn thing is coming, let it come and get it over with. Unfortunately, Wilma is not cooperating, taking her own sweet time over Cancun before (they say) hitting the open water where she willl intensify and accelerate. In the meantime, the area including the Smart Marketing office is under mandatory evacutation, our equipment is dismantled and stored, and our employees are scattered. The Weather Channel is still broadcasting live from our beach, the stores are largely empty, gas is hard to find, and most iritating of all, we are in the maddening position of hoping and praying that it is all for nothing. In the meantime, TV keeps showing shots of the locals on Duvall Street in Key West where the main strategy seems to be to don a funny wig, get drunk, and wave signs saying "Where’s Wilma?" while singing the theme song from The Flintstones. I am clearly in the wrong town.
As of Friday morning, the threat posed by Hurricane Wilma is very unclear. As I am writing, the storm, still a powerful catagory 4, is almost upon the Yucatan Penninsula in Mexico. Latest forecasts have it arriving in Florida on Monday. No one knows exactly where, or how strong it might be at that time. Naples is still more or less dead center in the projected path, but the storm has slowed, even though it has not weakened. Collier County (where we live and work) has issued a mandatory evacuation order for noon today for all areas west of U.S. 41 (this includes the Smart Marketing office).
I will not bother to recount (at least at this time) the nightmare of the last few days as the Smart Marketing staff scrambled to complete all time-sensitive projects, back up all computers (sending extra hard drives out of state), dismantle pack and transport everything, while at the same time arranging for their own families and property.
The highways out of this area are jammed, the flights are full, and it’s hard to find a bottle of water or a tank of gas. Lesley, Sarah, and their families have left for Orlando. Nichole for Vero Beach on the east coast. Marcia and her daughter fly out to Michigan tonight. Diane wasn’t sure, but might be heading for Georgia. The rest of us are either scattering inland or hunkering down to ride it out. The whole thing could amount to a couple of hours of wind and rain, or a major disaster — no one knows, and we have no choice but to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
As of this writing, Hurricane Wilma is powerful storm that, according to projections, could make a direct hit on Naples, Florida — or miss us by 300 miles.
Nevertheless, we are currently undergoing, and will be undergoing some disruption of service…the staff is currently scrambling to get all ads, postcards, and deadline-sensitive material out the door. You can help us by responding quickly to requests for approvals, or any other communication from our office.
Within a short time, we will have to shut down and pack up all computers, etc. Many of the Smart Marketing staff will be taking flights out of the area, or driving to inland locations. At this point, we have no way of knowing if we will all be back at work as usual in our office Monday morning, or facing an extended period of flooding and no electricity.
Please know we will make every effort to ensure your marketing efforts stay on schedule.
I will update everyone as soon as I know something of significance.
Thank you for your understanding.
My Internet friend Matt Homann’s blog the [non] billable hour was one of the very first blogs that really made me laugh, think, and generally become fascinated with blogs. Now he is hosting a big event for all bloggers from the legal world, BlawgThink 2005. I can’t go because, despite my explicit instructions, he scheduled it to coincide with my son’s 13th birthday. But you can go, and tell me every single thing I missed. Early on, I accused Matt of being a salesman without a product. Now he has this great thing, and I can’t go. I guess he’s getting even.
Readers of my most recent post will remember a reference to "daily emails from people in Nigeria and other exotic locales informing
me that I have won a lottery, or an inheritance, or some other
wonderful thing, if only I will hand over my bank account information." Well, here we are not one day later and I find these wonderful people getting the recognition they deserve! They have won the Ig Nobel prize for literature!
The Ig Nobels, given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research magazine, celebrate the "humorous, creative and odd side of science" not to mention the absurd, ridiculous and downright moronic. The full citation of the award for literature reads: "The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters — General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others — each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them."
A month or so ago, an instant message popped up on my computer screen from someone named "Oldprint" who said "Listening to your podcast in the UK. Excellent!" Of course, I was amazed. I asked a few questions. It turns out that Julien (his name) is an independent financial advisor in London, who was searching for marketing ideas and came across my podcast in the iTunes listing. It staggered me that using this new technology would immediately connect me with a world wide audience.
Then, last night, I received this email:
Smart Marketing’s newest full-time employee is Harry Casimir, who joins Zach Katkin in our Internet Marketing department. Harry is 25 years old and will graduate in December from Florida Gulf Coast University, where he is majoring in Computer Information Science. A computer programmer, Harry is a four-year veteran of the U.S. Navy as a petty officer, and served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Harry’s hiring reflects Smart Marketing’s commitment to ensuring that our clients get the benefit of the newest and most-effective e-marketing strategies — and stay ahead of their competition.
Smart Marketing client Diedre Wachbrit of Los Angeles will appear this Friday on the Dr. Phil show. (Check your local listings for times, because it’s different everywhere.) The topic du jour is "Breastfeeding in Public" (along with condoms in the schools and disciplining other people’s kids) and Diedre is the something-something-something liaison for legal matters for La Leche League in California and Nevada. She appears as an "informed" audience member and cautions everyone that her comments could well end up on the cutting room floor as the show was edited. Still, how many purveyors of professional services would kill to be on national TV? It is said that for authors, one appearance on Oprah is worth 40,000 books sold. Reportedly, Dr. Phil’s staff has asked Diedre to investigate a possible future show on estate planning — families in conflict over inheritances.
It seems to me that this motion for a continuance should be granted.
My Internet friend Thom Singer, an authority on network-building and creating referral relationships, was nice enough to post some of my scribbling as part of his "Guest Blogger Friday." I am currently reading Thom’s book Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships. As soon as I have finished, I will post a review. But as far as I’m concerned, you could get your money’s worth by buying the book and reading the first sentence ten times each day: "All things being equal, people do business with people they know and like."