A very nice and thought provoking article. I hope it inspires you as well. (via @thinksimplenow)
I remember being really excited in class one day in early October of 1978, when I was in the second grade. My teacher asked me why I had been looking forward to this day so much, and I explained to her that it was the “perfect day”. The NHL hockey season was about to start, and so was the World Series.
Even though I was only seven years old, I was already a pretty big professional sports fan. That year, the Yankees were playing the Dodgers, as they seemed to do so often in the late 70s.
I was for sure the only person in my second grade class who knew that Thurman Munson was the Yankees’ team captain, and that Reggie Jackson was a controversial over paid athlete, even for that time.
I remember rushing home to watch the first game of the World Series on TV that evening.
Last Sunday, on September 21, 2008, the final game was played at Yankee Stadium. Even though the game itself had little statistical merit from a baseball perspective, I watched the entire game from start to finish with great intent. I was very moved by it all.
I reflected on my childhood, and on those grade school memories, and it felt something like a part of your past was slipping away. It reminded me that things don’t last forever, and we are always getting older.
Things we take for granted, like the comfort of watching a Sunday night baseball game from Yankee Stadium, can be here one day and then gone the next.
I thought of how I would be able to use this insight in my life. I might now be more inclined to take risks from a business and professional perspective. I will value my time with friends and family even more than I currently do. Maybe pick up the phone and call my Grandmother just to say hello.
The past 30 years have come and gone in what seems like a heartbeat. Yankee Stadium reminded me that is important to live in the present, and to enjoy the time that we do have. The people and experiences that bring us comfort and happiness in our lives will not last forever.
My wife and I recently downsized to one vehicle from two. While we did reasonably well on a trade of her 2002 Honda Civic, the dealer was not willing to give a lot for my 1999 Ford Explorer XLS, which is why I ended up selling it privately. It ended up taking just under a month from beginning to end, to sell.
As you might guess with gas prices being as high as they are, and with growing popular concern for the environment, the market for used cars, especially SUVs, is very competitive these days. It is most certainly a buyer’s market.
Classified sites like Craigslist, Auto Trader, etc are flooded with used SUVs. I soon realized that I needed to come up with a strategy for selling mine. How would I make it stand out over the others? How can I generate as many leads as possible given the competition? This was my very first time selling something via Craigslist, so I was learning as I went. Here’s what I learned:
- Write a good title for your ad. I highly recommend putting the year, model, and price of the vehicle in your ad title. This will increase the likelihood someone will click through to your ad.
- In your ad copy, provide as much information as possible about the vehicle. When researching competitors’ ads, I was amazed at the sheer lack of information provided. I believe that sharing as much about the vehicle as possible will establish trust between you and the potential buyer, and gets things off to a good start. That potential buyer will be more likely to make an inquiry.
- Take lots of pictures of the vehicle. Craigslist allows you to upload up to 4 photos directly to the ad, so choose 4 of the best and most varied photos you have of the vehicle. Then post the rest on a photo sharing site such as Flickr, and link to those photos from your ad. Or, if you keep a personal website or blog, create a blog post and insert the entire set of photos in a visually appealing way. Web users love photos, and it may help establish emotional and visual connections for the potential buyer.
- Research your price. Autotrader.ca has a research function which contains a “value finder” that provides the high, low and average prices of a certain vehicle, based on pricing information in their current listings. I was easily able to find out an exact range of market pricing for my exact vehicle. I ended up pricing my vehicle towards the lower end of the average pricing I determined in my research. Not surprisingly, I found that price is a considerably important factor in distinguishing your ad from others and getting attention.
- Modify and repost your ad every 2-3 days. I consider Craigslist to be somewhat ‘transient’ in nature — ads are in one door, and out the other, so to speak. After a couple of days, your ad becomes lost in the pile, and becomes harder to find, especially in a very active category. So, I reposted my ad every 2-3 days. Each time, I changed the photos and even lowered the price slightly ($10-20 each revision).
- Bonus tip: Take and upload a video tour. I recently attended a training session by reachd which discussed the power of web video, supported by success stories and best practices and tips. A highlight for me was the provision of a Flip Camera, which was included in the training fees. Although my intention is to use the camera for promoting my business ventures, I decided a good test would be to create a promitional video for the vehicle I was selling. I am convinced that had I posted the video earlier, the car would have sold sooner. It turns out that the car sold less than 2 days after posting the video to Youtube. And, you can link to your video directly from your Craiglist ad. Here is the video I put together:
Although I did try other classified sites — I even bought an ad in the Buy and Sell — Craigslist was the only site which consistently generated leads.
Do you have any tips to share?
I have decided to sell my trusty, reliable old friend, the Blue 1999 Ford Explorer XLS.
This vehicle has been seen me through a lot over the years – from bachelorhood to buying a home, then to marriage. And numerous road trips — at least three to California, several times down the Oregon Coast, Utah, Arizona, Cranbrook, Prince Rupert.
Mechanically, the vehicle has been great — never any major problems. I have kept it very clean both inside and out.
In the day and age of skyrocketing gas prices, why would anyone be interested? Well, it isn’t exactly a 4 cylinder gas miser, but it is a V6, which is powerful enough to tow a boat, but much more economical than its V8 cousins. And if driven efficiently, reasonable fuel economy can be achieved – I personally recommend use of cruise control and the overdrive gear, when driving on the highway. And keeping good care, regular oil changes, etc, will help considerably. It’s one of the most fuel efficient full sized 4×4 SUVs you’ll find anywhere.
Here are the details:
- 4×4, Automatic with Overdrive
- Loaded XLS model with Power Locks, Power Windows, Mirrors, Cruise, Tilt
- Fog Lights,Running Boards
- Aircared until 2010
- MP3 deck with line-in for your iPod or MP3 player
- 6 Cylinder, much better on gas than the V8 models
- 150,000 KM
- Very clean, has been an extremely reliable vehicle
- I am asking $4,500 OBO.
This is one of the cheapest ways to get a reliable 4×4 in great shape.
Please respond via e-mail or call me at 604-218-4678 if interested. I live in Port Moody and can arrange a meeting anytime that works for you.
I recently became a fan of the radio show “The Vinyl Cafe”, which airs on CBC Radio. From Wikipedia:
The Vinyl Cafe is an hour-long radio variety show, hosted by Stuart McLean and broadcast on CBC radio and on several U.S. public radio stations. It airs Sunday at noon on Radio One and Saturday at 10 a.m. on Radio Two. The show features essays, fiction and music; while frequently humorous, the weekly programs are also often wistfully nostalgic. The show also endeavours to introduce listeners to new Canadian musical talent.
For a number of years, I have been a fan of Old Time Radio, and for me, The Vinyl Cafe is a bit of a modern-day flashback to the genre. At times, the Vinyl Cafe reminds me of my 2 favorite OTR shows, Fibber McGee and Molly and The Jack Benny Show. For example, one of McLean’s recurring story characters, known as Dave, reminds me a lot of Fibber McGee. Dave’s wife, Morley, is the level headed one in the relationship, and often gets Dave out of a bind, much like Fibber’s wife Molly.
One of the best things about radio shows like The Vinyl Cafe, is they can really trigger the “theatre of the mind”, as Frosty Forst would say. There’s something magical about sitting around a radio (or in this case, listening to an ipod, or listening on a digital stereo system), listening to stories, and imagining the sights and sounds as they are vividly described in the program.
A relatively new feature of the program is the “Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange”, where Stuart encourages his listening audience to submit short stories, with the possibility of being read on the show. The only 2 rules, as Stuart explains, is that submissions are “something funny or something touching – anything – so long as it’s a true story and so long as it’s short.”
I am not a writer by any means, but I ended up making a submission. Here it is.
Fifteen years ago, I was 22 years old and was starting my second year of college. I lived with a friend in a humble and sparsely furnished basement suite in Burnaby, BC. As we did not have a car, we would frequent businesses within walking distance – the video store, the supermarket, the pizza place, and Elio’s Barber Shop.
The wear and tear of the orange tiled flooring was proof that Elio’s shop was popular. This guy had been in business for more than just a couple of years. The decor left a bit to be desired, but the shop served its utilitarian purpose as a place for a guy to get a haircut and be on his way. Just a radio up on a shelf in the corner, a half dozen chairs for customers to wait their turn, and the usual an assortment of dog-eared magazines.
Elio was a seemingly gentle and quiet man, and back then, it was pretty business-like between us. I‘d sit in the chair, he’d cut my hair, I’d pay for the cut, say “thanks” and that was pretty much it, other than basic small talk. It was more or less like that each month when I came for my haircuts over the next few years.
As time went on, the quality and quantity our conversations increased. I got to know more about Elio—his family, his home in White Rock, his immigration from Italy, his love of soccer, and his knowledge of politics and current events.
One day about five years ago, Elio told me that his wife had surprised him and was taking him to a live performance of a radio show called “The Vinyl Cafe” later that evening. He told me he was a huge fan of this show, and he had been listening to it for years. In fact, that’s precisely what was playing over the shop radio at that exact moment in time. I had no knowledge of the show until that moment, but I can still hear the echo of the CBC when I think back. And I remember how Elio beamed at the thought of attending your performance that night.
About two and a half years ago, I asked Elio about his future plans, and a possible retirement date. He said, “maybe in a few more years”. I had guessed he would be about 60 years old, so this timeframe made sense. But, I could tell that retirement was a decision he was making very carefully, and not one to be made hastily.
On a warm day in the summer of 2005, I was planning to stop at Elio’s for a haircut on my way to an event that evening. Because my home was now a bit of a distance from Elio’s shop, I had to plan my trip and manage my time accordingly. It was a Wednesday, and I knew Elio took Sundays and Mondays off, and it was mid-afternoon, so I figured I would not have to wait long once I got there. Much to my surprise, the door was locked and there was a sign written on a piece of paper—“Closed today, sorry for the inconvenience”. “Inconvenience, hmmph!”, I thought to myself. I left annoyed because, for the first time in nearly 15 years, Elio was not there to serve me when I expected him to be.
Later that week, I dropped by Elio’s once again. To my relief, I could see Elio through the big glass window, as I had many times before. When my turn came up, I asked Elio about the previous Wednesday, and if he was taking some extra time off in the summer. He explained that he was at a doctor’s appointment that day in another part of town. Suffice it to say, I felt a bit selfish about how I had reacted to the shop being closed earlier that week. When I left the shop, I told Elio that I would see him again in a month or so, as always.
When I returned for that haircut, I noticed Elio seemed to be favouring his right leg, and was standing on a special mat as he tended to his customers. I asked him about what I saw. He said the doctors thought it may be side effects from a small stroke or other incident, or perhaps a muscular issue, but they weren’t sure. He mentioned an upcoming appointment that would hopefully lead to a conclusive diagnosis.
On my next visit, Elio’s physical condition seemed to have worsened. The doctors had not yet achieved a firm diagnosis, all they knew for sure was that the problem was getting worse and it meant Elio would have to seriously consider retiring early. Elio told me he had put the shop up for sale and would be retiring as soon as he found a buyer. When I asked him how long that might take, he guessed at least a couple of months. When I left, I shook Elio’s hand and wished him luck in the sale of the business.
When I returned that next month, Elio was not there. Instead, a young woman was standing in his place. She had bought the shop from Elio, and this was her very first week on the job. I asked her about Elio’s condition, and she said he was doing fine, and that he was very gracious in the passing down of his business to her. She showed me the flowers on the ledge next to the barber’s chair that had come from Elio and his wife, sent to congratulate her on her new career.
Elio had operated his barber shop for more than 30 years. Over the final 15 of those years, I have transitioned from starving student to college graduate, have built a successful career, bought my first home, and have found and married my wife Leah. All this time, Elio was a constant in my life.
I recently learned that Elio passed away from a battle with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in October of 2007. Elio was just 62 years old.
I wish that I had taken the time and made the effort to contact Elio upon his retirement, as I do not feel I had a chance to thank him for all of his good years of service. By sharing this story with you and your listeners, I hope to inspire others to recognize these seemingly “ordinary” people and thank and appreciate them for their hard work, and for always being there for us.
I often think of Elio, especially when I hear your voice, Stuart.
Dave Zille, Port Moody BC
I don’t think my chances of having the story read on-air are very high, but I enjoyed the process, and it brought back a lot of memories.
Snoop Dogg was interviewed in the second intermission of last night’s Cup Final Game 2 between the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators:
As one YouTube comment says, Snoop is possibly the coolest guy on the planet. Check out his kids’ bling! I wonder what it would be like to be Snoop Dogg’s kid..
Scott Oake actually did a good job with the interview. Gotta love how D-O-Double G throws it back to Colesey. Nice stuff.
DigitalHome has published an article and a list of HD channels available in Canada. The list includes recent changes; For example, Shaw and StarChoice recently added HDNet to their lineup.
An excerpt (via DigitalHome):
As of April 2007, there are thirty-seven English and nine French language high definition channels available in Canada not including specialty pay per view channels, HD Video on demand and periodic HD sports channels that are bundled with offerings such NFL Sunday Ticket or NHL Centre Ice.
The primary reason for our April update was the following three HD announcements from Cogeco, Star Choice and Shaw Cable. See the following links for more detail.
* Star Choice launches two HD channels today
* Shaw TV Channel line-Up changes start April 11th
* Cogeco announces more HD and VOD
Check the article out here.
I am a heavy e-mail user (aren’t we all) and depend on a solid IMAP client to get the job done. For the past 2 years or so I’ve been a Thunderbird guy. The Mozilla folks recently released Thunderbird 2.0, and I have been spending some time doing reconfiguration.
One task I needed to complete was re-arrange the order under which accounts appear in the folders. Here’s how to accomplish this:
- Find your prefs.js file in your profile folder (C:Documents and Settings<Windows login/user name>Application DataThunderbirdProfiles<Profile name> for XP users)
- Locate the mail.accountmanager.accounts property and modify it accordingly. Each account is represented by a string (eg. account2, account 3, etc). Simply re-order the strings to update the order in which they will appear