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The Fun of Vaction

To go along with my [permalink href=”215″]other post[/permalink] I thought I would talk about some of the fun I had on my vacation in Florida.

First, I scheduled my vacation, sort of, so I could go to Megacon and it was a lot of fun. I met Ricard Hatch (Tom Zarek/Apollo from BSG) and I have to say he was the nicest guy there. He wasn’t charging for autographs and he talked to me for at least 20-30 minutes about everything from where I lived to Farscape to Firefly to BSG and Caprica. It was the highlight of the day. Of course I also walked out with a set of Steampunk goggles and hat, some RL Neko ears, a Death Note, and some other cool stuff.

Also, for those of you who did not know, I’m sort of a Disney nut. There is something about a place that on one hand makes people feel like they are a kid in a fantasy land and makes you feel like you are not getting ripped off. When I was younger this was fascinating because I lived so close to such a place and as a I was older I got a sick fascination from watching things from a system analysis point of view. I went to Disney this time on a Tuesday (I know how to pick my days) and we did not stand in line for more than 45 minutes for anything. The only disappointing part of the day was that Pinocchio’s restaurant no longer served hamburgers. My friends and I had a great time, even if they were hesitant to go to the Magic Kingdom again.

To set the stage for this next thing I need you to imagine for a second that you just landed in Juneau. You look around and notice something disturbing, not one chain restaurant to be seen. Ok, there are 3 Subways and 2 McDonald’s and a Domino’s or two, but they don’t count. Getting a ‘great’ hamburger in town is something you do on Friday night with your own grill and bacon. When I landed in Florida within an hour I had hot and fresh Taco Bell in my hand. It was awesome. It didn’t stop there, I went to Longhorn, Applebee’s, Friday’s, Arby’s, Long John Silver’s, Olive Garden, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. This is not to mention the number of local places I simply had to go to because my friends wanted to take me there. I purposefully did not check a scale for 2.5 weeks.

I also went to a shooting range, which I seem to do whenever I am in town. I figured out I prefer the .45 revolver over the automatic. It makes me shoot more slowly and the shells don’t eject into my face. Don’t ask me what I was shooting, I don’t know all the models and there were all a friends. I know one was a revolver worn by British pilots and tank drivers in WWII (it was a single action so the hammer would not get caught on things) and I shot a classic Smith and Wesson from Cowboy movies that you had to load one shell at a time. The .45 auto looked like every .45 auto I’ve ever seen.

The golf range was not as dramatic, though the fact I have not picked up a real club in over a year was readily apparent as I could drive and chip a shot equally about 200 yards and my wicked rightward hook is back, but that trip was more about catching up with people that the golf anyways and the course was a mess (that part of Florida is experiencing a drought so the ‘greens’ are more like ‘sands’).

Lots of other fun stuff happened, thanks for listening to my rambling. I had a great time and will be trying to get back into SL real soon.

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Boxed Chess

Chindogu Happiness Industrial Concern happily presents its newest chess set.

This beautifully sculpted box opens to reveal a working chess set.  The box and board with working lid weigh in at 6 prims while the stone carved pieces come in at one prim each (32 for those of you counting).

The set would look perfect on a coffee table or a park table and is sure to bring you and a friend tons of fun.

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Choice Vendor

Choice Vendor Not earth shattering, just something my friend Ghanie Lane asked me to do.  A simple vendor that allows you to put a bunch of products into it and give your customers the option of what they want.

Ideal for

  1. Low Prim environments
  2. Selling a large number of customized versions of the same item
  3. Selling the same item in different permission sets
  4. Selling slightly different items with the same vendor graphic (she sells sculpted cursive letters, very impressive).

Just $75 and you can get it in world at Chindogu Happiness Industrial Concern (Lithe 186/33/51).  Ghanie’s store is nearby too, you can’t miss it.

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Customer Service

I am sensitive to matters of customer service.  I put myself through under-graduate school with sales and customer service jobs, and doing it well.  I know that the key to good customer service and return business is relatively simple and boils down to being polite, keeping customers informed (before and after the sale) to minimize surprises, being competent, and owning up to your mistakes if you make any.  “I’m sorry” goes a long way.

The flip-side of course is that there can be bad customers and times when customers take all of your efforts at good customer service, ignore them, and in general become more hassle than they are worth.  I learned in real life that customers can cost you more than they bring in and that point you need to sever your ties to them.

Not long ago I had a customer who purchased a product and then a month or more later we had the following exchange (paraphrased):

Him: Hey, I bought this stupid game of yours and it doesn’t do such and such it’s useless.
Me: I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of a house rule and not something I thought to put into it as I don’t play that way.
Him: Well without it the thing is worthless and I spent a ton of money on it [Note, the most expensive thing I sell at this point is L$ 250]
Me: Well, I was going to revisit it soon to make some other enhancements I can see if I can add it then.  You would get an upgrade then since I always upgrade my products for free.
Him: You should, it’s stupid without it.

It was at this point that I refunded the guy’s money and made a note to myself that he would not get an upgrade.  Basically I decided that less than US $1 was worth my time to a player who had already decided he was not going to happy despite the fact that I apologized, the fact that I offered another solution, and the fact that lots of other people had played this game with great success.

Contrast this to another exchange that I had, one that started via IM->e-mail while I was at my day job. Paraphrased again,

Her: Hey I bought your Shuffle Vendor and when I put in 24 hours for the interval or more the display is garbled, does that mean it is still work?
Me:
I’m sorry, I didn’t think of someone putting in more than an hour since that is what I originally used it for. It’s still working, when I get a chance I’ll take a look at the code.
Her:
Thank you so very much.

There was more to the conversation, but the customer was so gracious that I logged into Second Life on my lunch break, upgraded the Shuffle Vendor, and got it out to the customer (upgrades went out to clients later in the week).

My points (and I do have them) are:

If you are a customer and you have a question or a concern, think about the human on the other side of the grid who is generally working for play money.  Be as polite and professional as they are and realize that most ‘problems’ are simply minor inconveniences and over-sites that most people will correct given the chance.

If you are a vendor, recognize the fact that there are customers you are never going to satisfy no matter what you do.  You could transfer your inventory to them for free or work for them pro bona indefinitely  and they would find a reason to complain.  While you are dealing with this customer you are losing others though wasted time and wasted creativity.  Cut these customers lose.  This was particularly hard for me to understand as I saw it as a failure to have a dissatisfied customer.

Customer service goes both ways and it is perfectly acceptable, as a last resort, to cut them loose.

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Shuffle, Not Random

Shuffle Vendor Ad Small When the store was opening I wanted a way to offer special deals throughout the day.  To that end I put together a quick vendor that showed a new item every hour at a discounted price.  It cycled through an entire list of products before it repeats and it did its job reasonably well. I really didn’t think much of it until my friend Ghanie Lane asked for a copy for her store and I gave her a copy.

I didn’t think much more about it until she told me that she had a ton of people asking for a copy.  So, due to popular demand, it is released today.  I am offering two version, identical in every way except that the free edition pays me a 2% commission on sales.  The non-free edition runs $250 and does not have this limitation.  Both are Mod/Copy and the free edition is also transferable.

You can find it exclusively in world at the store (Lithe 182/31/51) and as always I hope you have fun with it and will assist you with it in any way I can.

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The Store Opened

The store opened and I have to say that I was pretty pleased with the turnout. I didn’t plan or announce a big party or anything, but the traffic at my place is picking up enough to keep me encouraged and make me start working on the next add on for the Seymour plant.

I know not everyone is a stats geek like I am, but that is how I like to look at things.  The chart here is of all my visitors from October 30th to November 8th (the end of the ‘Grand Opening’).  I chose the 30th  mainly because that is when I had the StatsCollector in place.  Any ways  what this shows is that the period of the 5-8th had more visitation than the 31st-3rd, and, most important to me, the trend seems to be going in the correct direction (blue line is visitation, black line is trend).

Visitors Oct 4 2009 tru Nov 11 2009

Again I like to over analyze things, but thanks to everyone who stopped by, to everyone who got their free gift, and to everyone who asked ‘where can I get that cool new vendor you had on display?’.  I’m glad you had a good time, took a look around, and that vendor will be ready for sale when my beta tester gives me the thumbs up.

Thanks a million.

CHIC Store Opening

I am very pleased to announce that CHIC will be opening its main store next weekend.  We hope you will all come by, check out the new store, and have a good time.

Seymour

I am extremely proud to introduce my latest project, Seymour.  Seymour is a plant that, when rezzed, automatically generates its own genetic code from around a dozen variables governing everything from flower shape to leaf type and color.  This genetic code combined with environmental factors means that the chances of any two plants being identical are next to zero.  When the plant blooms it automatically rezzes a ‘seed’ with the same genetic code that can be passed along to another user, and when that is over it can be done all over again once more.

The plants themselves also have the ability to read and write status messages to both Plurk and Twitter. This allows you to get regular status updates and to water and feed them from either Plurk or Twitter.

If you need any more information about them you can read their entire manual online and its the same manual owners of the plant see when they ask for help.  If you’d like to see one in world you can do so at my current in world location, where you can see both the beginnings and end of the life cycle.

You can either purchase it at the location above or on XStreet, both locations are currently offering it for L$200.

If you have any questions or comments, as always, I would love to hear from you.

Author’s Note: Updated to point to new store location. 11/11/2009