Snowed In – Why Atlanta Is Freaking Out Over 4″ of Snow

January 12th, 2011 by Greg Goodson 1 comment »

I grew up in New Jersey, and enjoyed skiing the slopes of Vermont, NH, Maine, and Canada. We got a lot of snow living on the “ice coast” as ski bums out west would call it… every winter, we’d get some pretty big storms. Remember turning on the TV in 1996 seeing that monster of a nor’easter climbing up the seaboard towards the northeast? I think we got upwards to 35 inches in my hometown of Randolph, NJ.

I’ll never forget that day: we were driving home from Okemo, a ski and snowboard resort in Vermont. We skipped out of town a day early for fear of being standed. We tried to make it back to Randolph, but the storm hit us like a wall when we hit Albany. We had a Ford Station Wagon (you know, the one you could drive in backwards and make obscene gestures at the people tailgating you?). We made it all the way to Mahwah, NJ before we had to pull off and get a hotel room for the night. It was a crazy car ride… I had a blast! My father’s knuckles have never been whiter.

Long Story Short, It Was A State Of Emergency

Despite the roads being closed, we opted to leave the in the early afternoon. The drive were terrible; the 35 minute commute wound up taking 2+ hours. We probably should have stayed another night at the hotel. We parked our car at a neighbor’s house we had never met (we asked first) and walked through several properties and chest-high snow to get to our garage door. It was a war zone; the plows hadn’t gotten to our house yet. They did later that day though, and the next morning, we paid a guy way too much money to plow our driveway. All in all, we were without road access for 2 days.

During the past two years, I lived in Park City, Utah, a ski town known for being nestled in the Wasatch Mountains. It’s not unusual for the Wasatch to get 4 feet of snow with a single storm. I think it’s not uncommon for Snowbird, a local ski resort to the area, to get over 700 inches a year. While living there, I was surprised that I was rarely snowed in. We typically were forced to deal with roads that were always sketchy, but definitely drivable, but very rarely closed state-of-emergency style. That’s because Park City did such a great job to clearing the streets. Once we got a crazy amount of snow and I couldn’t move my car for about 16 hours, but it’s cool, I wanted to ski anyways.

You Can Probably See Where I Am Going With This

Fast forward to the past four days. We’ve been stuck in our homes in downtown Atlanta since the storm dropped 4 -5 inches. It was really coming down for an hour or two… it was pretty awesome! But by the time it was all said and done, we got about 4 inches of snow, and maybe an inch of wintry mix (sleet, freezing rain).

I’m sure we all went outside and danced in the snow between timeouts of the BC / Nevada Bowl game, right? The snow stopped, and was pretty much done for the night. We all knew we were going to get ice on top of that, and we all knew that it would shut things down. Atlanta very rarely gets this much snow though, so let’s enjoy it! But wait, did anyone check to see what the weather would be like for the next 5 days? Below 35 degrees you say? Through Friday? Hmm.

The combination of that much snow and ice was rare for Atlanta. But then you throw in the temperature over the next 5 days and you got what we have… #snowpocolypse2011. I’m sure the city of Atlanta is doing what they can, planning what roads to work on with the limited resources they have. Did anyone really expect this? Maybe. After seeing how cold it was going to be for the next 5 days, I have to admit I thought we’d be stuck inside for a while (onwards, Cpt. Hindsight!). I thought I would have a fun time being snowed in for 4 days. Boy I was wrong there. Pretty bored!

But Can You Point Your Fingers At The City Of Atlanta?

I bet if you spread it out over a ten year time span, Atlanta is snowed in by the hour just as much as Randolph, NJ is, and just as much as Park City, UT is. In my 7 years of living in Atlanta, this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of snow. I would expect the ratio of snowfall predicted in Atlanta would be equivalent to the amount of snow-removal equipment and resources. Could you imagine if Atlanta went out and bought as many snow plows as the city of Boston? Where would we put them all? How much money would be wasted?

I feel like it’s a matter of statistics. The amount of time we’re stuck snowed in (as in can’t-move-from-our-house-snowed-in,) in Atlanta is the same amount of time someone might be snowed-in in Boston, New York, Erie, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, Tahoe, etc. Put some numbers together:

Please statisticians out there, feel free to correct me. I know enough statistics to get by. It’s probably fuzzy math. *Edit – If there’s one factor I failed to include in this, it’s the amount of opportunity cost lost for businesses suffering in this downtime. I guess that’s something you have to throw into the mix.

Bottom Line

All of this being frustrated about being snowed in is out of our control. Don’t point fingers at the city of Atlanta. If we were over-prepared for this, wouldn’t you be suspicious how we were able to clear off all the roads within the perimeter in 24 hours? Just be patient, wait for the roads to clear in the next 24-48 hours, and be happy we only have to put up with this “white crap” for once a decade.

And to the people in Utah, Buffalo, New Jersey, Maine, and other places who are so proud of getting 99x the amount of snow Atlanta gets: dude, the roads here are really bad. I’ve driven some slick roads over the past 2 years in Utah. I drove to Target on Tuesday, and it wasn’t fun. Have you seen the video of the guy ice skating down Peachtree St.? Trust me, these roads are bad.

 

High Heel Shoe Guitar Tab | Bryan Sutton

September 21st, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Here is a tab for a song called ‘High Heel Shoe’ by Bryan Sutton. From my understanding, it’s a traditional fiddle tune. It wasn’t written by Bryan Sutton, but this tab is what he plays on his album ‘Bluegrass Guitar’. I’ve tabbed it out to the best of my abilities.

The tab below is broken out into three parts (A, B, and C). I’ve also included a video below the tabs. The tab and video might not be perfect (it’s as close as I could get), but I’ve looked everywhere for a good tab of this song and couldn’t find one.

If you’re interested in the chords for this song, it goes something like this:

  • A part (key of G) – G G D G
  • B part (key of G) – G G D G
  • C part (key of C) – C C C C C G C

So here’s the tab:

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes [ 0-1/2 ] |
notes [ 3-1-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-0-3/2 ] |
notes [ 7/1 3-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-5/2 3/1 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 2/1 3/2 0/1 3/2 ] [ 1-3/2 0-2/1 ] |
notes [ 3-2-5-2/1 ] [ 3/1 3-0-1/2 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 3-1-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-0-3/2 ] |
notes [ 7/1 3-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-5/2 3/1 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 2/1 3/2 0/1 3/2 ] [ 1/2 2/3 0/2 0/3 ] |
notes [ 2-0/3 4s5/4 ] :q 0/3 :8 [ 0-4/4 ] |

Here is the ‘B’ part:

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 0/3 3/2 0/3 3/2 ] :q 4/3 5/3 |
notes :8 [ 3-5-3/2 4/3 ] [ 0/3 0/4 0/3 0/2 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 1-0-1-0/2 ] [ 2-0-2s4/3 ] |
notes [ 3-5-3/2 4/3 ] [ 0/3 0/4 4s5/4 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | [ 0/3 3/2 0/3 3/2 ] :q 4/3 5/3 |
notes :8 [ 3-5-3/2 4/3 ] [ 0/3 0-2s4/4 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :q
notes | 3/2 :8 [ 3/2 0/1 ] [ 2-3-5-2/1 ] |
notes :q 3/1 0/3 :8 [ 1-0/1 3s5/2 ] |

Here is the ‘C’ part:

tabstave notation=true
notes :q
notes | 0/1 3/2 :8 [ 1/2 2-0/3 3/4 ] |
notes [ 0-1-2/4 0/3 ] [ 1-3s5/2 3/1 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :q
notes | 5-3/1 :8 [ 4-5/2 ] :q 3/1 |
notes :8 [ 3-5-3/1 4/2 ] [ 5-3s1/2 2/3 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :q
notes | 0/3 :8 [ 2-0/3 ] [ 3-2-0-2/4 ] |
notes [ 3/4 0-2/3 3/4 ] [ 0-2/3 0-1/2 ] |

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes | 3/2 :q 1/2 :8 3/2 :q 1/2 :8 3s5/2 |

VexFlow TabDiv Software

September 17th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Testing this thing I stumbled upon for guitar tabs. Mad props to the guys building it… check em out here – VexFlow TabDiv.

Currently tabbing out some flatpicking bluegrass songs.

Anyways, more to come on this. Testing it out now.

tabstave notation=true
notes :8
notes [ 0-1/2 ] |
notes [ 3-1-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-0-3/2 ] |
notes [ 7/1 3-0-3/2 ] [ 3/1 3-5/2 3/1 ] |

How To Make Outgoing Calls With Google Voice

September 15th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Ok – this wasn’t completely obvious to me, but this should clear up how to make outgoing calls with Google Voice.

Here it is – easy step by step format:

  1. Call your Google Voice # with your cell phone
  2. Type in your pin #
  3. Press 2
  4. Dial the number you wish to call
  5. Done.

Totally easy and painless.

Google Introduces ‘Seller Rating Extensions’ On Google Adwords Ads.

June 28th, 2010 by Greg Goodson 1 comment »

I think this is fairly new for advertisers in the US. Maybe I missed a press release somewhere, but it looks like Google quietly launched a new feature in Adwords: a Google Product Search Rating OneBox:

I just did a search for ‘showers pass jacket’ and I saw an ad for REI. The ad is interesting because when you click on the text “rated”, it takes you to a Google Product Search rating page for the merchant. If you keep clicking, you will more than likely wind up on the retailer’s page, free of charge. Heck, in some cases, the folks like Bizrate.com may get some money out of this. I clicked through from the Google SERP to the GPS ratings page to a review on Bizrate all the way through to REI’s homepage (via a PPC link on Bizrate).

It’s an interesting move on Google’s part. Maybe draw some more eyes towards paid search ads, maybe draw more attention to Google Product Search, maybe give the user a sense of trust for the retailer being rated (and a sense of trust with Google), maybe to help keep the advertisers honest, maybe a mix of everything.

Should be fun to see where this goes and how various advertisers react.

Update: I just read the post on the Inside AdWords (maybe I should have came here first… ha!) These are officially called seller rating extensions. And wow – what a plan this sounds like. From Google:

If your online store is rated in Google Product Search, you have 4 or more stars, and you have at least 30 reviews, you’ll automatically get seller ratings with your ads. What’s more, you’ll only be charged if someone clicks on the headline of your ad – clicks on the review link are free.

All e-tailers, start your engines… this could be fun! The ads are rolling out over the next 24 hours. This is another way to owning more SERP real estate. I predict an onslaught of accounts being open with Bizrate (and other various rating sites that GPS crawls). I wonder if you can opt out of this (for whatever reason).

I think this is fairly new for advertisers in the US. Maybe I missed a press release somewhere, but it looks like Google quietly launched a new feature in Adwords: a Google Product Search Rating OneBox:

I just did a search for ‘showers pass jacket’ and I saw an ad for REI. The ad is interesting because when you click on the text “rated”, it takes you to a Google Product Search rating page for the merchant. If you keep clicking, you will more than likely wind up on the retailer’s page, free of charge. Heck, in some cases, the folks like Bizrate.com may get some money out of this. I clicked through from the Google SERP to the GPS ratings page to a review on Bizrate all the way through to REI’s homepage (via a PPC link on Bizrate).

It’s an interesting move on Google’s part. Maybe draw some more eyes towards paid search ads, maybe draw more attention to Google Product Search, maybe give the user a sense of trust for the retailer being rated (and a sense of trust with Google), maybe a mix of everything.

Should be fun to see where this goes and how various advertisers react.

Update: I just read the post on the Inside AdWords (maybe I should have came here first… ha!) These are officially called seller rating extensions. And wow – what a plan this sounds like. From Google:

If your online store is rated in Google Product Search, you have 4 or more stars, and you have at least 30 reviews, you’ll automatically get seller ratings with your ads. What’s more, you’ll only be charged if someone clicks on the headline of your ad – clicks on the review link are free.

All e-tailers, start your engines! This could be fun. The ads are rolling out over the next 24 hours. This is another way to owning more SERP real estate. I predict an onslaught of accounts being open with Bizrate.

‘Delivering Happiness’ Book Review And Thoughts

June 21st, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

I was excited when I received a package from Amazon a week ago with a copy of Tony Hsieh’s book ‘Delivering Happiness’. I actually got a copy for free because of some contest on twitter or something back in April or May. I thought it was a scam, like one of those banners that say “Congrats! You’re the 999,999th visitor!” Apparently, they gave away many copies to folks who signed up on their website and tweeted about the book. I guess it does pay to be on twitter.

Having heard all the buzz about Zappos for the last 4 years and seeing all the PR that the company was getting, I knew that it was a book that I was going to pick it up. During my several years working at Backcountry.com, I remember folks coming to my desk telling me that they had seen Zappos ads running on keywords that we were bidding on. Their ads read something like “Free Overnight Shipping, free return shipping”. I’ll be honest, it’s tough to compete with that! I had to know the deal behind this company in Las Vegas.

The book is organized into three sections and reads very well. The first hundred pages of the book were very entertaining. Tony told a lot of stories about his businesses when he was young, starting with a worm farm, progressing into a button mail-order company. Some of the companies did well, others not so much, but it was fun to read through all of his ventures and what he learned from each one. Hsieh attended Harvard, and had some great stories about his ventures in college as well, which included running a pizzeria in the bottom of his dorm.

Tony was always taking risks, from buying supplies for the worm farm from his allowance to throwing down a few thousand dollars to buy a pizza oven. When Tony got out of college, he took a job with Oracle, only to take another big risk 4 months later by leaving and starting up a web-design company with his college buddy and roommate Sanjay, who also worked at Oracle. Push comes to shove, they focused their efforts on an idea they called LinkExchange, which they built up and sold to Microsoft for $265MM.

While LinkExchange was growing, he realized that he was hiring people who were smart and passionate, but not passionate for the right reasons. I would say this is a turning point in the book where he began to realize that creating a company culture was underrated and would pay off in so many ways in the long-run.

I won’t give a play by play for the rest of the book, but Tony writes a great story of Zappos going through their ups and downs from when they were a small company in San Francisco to the time they sold the company in 2009 to Amazon. He tells us everything he has learned in his 10 years at Zappos; everything from creating a company culture, to the mistakes he’s made, and how happiness plays such a key role in the way he runs his business.

The book flows nicely all the way through the Amazon/Zappos deal in the summer of 2009, which I remember distinctly. When working at Backcountry.com, the day they announced this deal, our whole office was buzzing. Everybody in the office that day had their eyes glued to various news websites and blogs, reading the buzz that this acquisition was producing. I would be lying if I said we all weren’t a little envious of Zappos’ tactics.

For anyone out there working at a retail or ecommerce store, I highly recommend this book. On top of it being a fun read, I took away a lot of wisdom. Heck, you don’t need to work in retail to enjoy this book. If you’re interested in wondering how to bring happiness to your employees, to your customers, to yourself, and to the world, pick up the book. I’d put this book up there with ‘Good to Great’ and ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ The book has changed my outlook on a lot of subjects, and I hope to make changes to the way I run my business moving forward based on the stories and lessons found here.

Thanks for writing this, Tony! It was a tough book to put down.

For more info, check out these links:

Zappos home page

‘Delivering Happiness’ website

How Twitter Can Make You A Better (and Happier) Person

Woman Sues Google for bad Google Maps Walking Directions

May 31st, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

So a woman got directions on Google Maps from her Blackberry telling her the best walking route in Park City from a residential home to a hotel. She took the directions (about 2 miles from start to finish), and along her way, she was struck by oncoming traffic. She is suing both the driver of the car and Google. Here’s a good link to an article: http://searchengineland.com/woman-follows-google-maps-walking-directions-gets-hit-sues-43212

I’ve run down this road a few times when I lived in Park City… probably not the most pedestrian friendly road, but I probably wouldn’t go down this road walking from A to B in her case because a) there is free public transportation in Park City and b) while those pictures posted in the article above are nice, there are massive snowbanks on the side of the road in January in Park City… you can bet that dirt path wasn’t there when she got struck.

If she was from Park City, she should have known better (I’ve read other news reports that she is a resident there).

This reminds me of The Office episode where Michael drives his rental car into the lake because the GPS said for him to turn right (also the episode where the employees receive blackberries).

I guess I’ll make it a Memorial Day adventure (happy Memorial Day by the way!) to find “dangerous” directions on Google Maps in the city of Atlanta. If I am lucky, I’ll get hit and then try to sue Google.

Not really sure who is at fault, but I thought this article was funny.

Google Product Search: 10 Reasons Why It’s Great and Why It Will Always Be Free

May 24th, 2010 by Greg Goodson 1 comment »

Quality score. Inbound links. Broad match vs. phrase match. Robots.txt. Universal search. A/B split testing.  All of these terms are familiar to you if you are a search engine marketer. SEM and SEO get a lot of play these days in blogs, webinars, and tweets. I’d like to take this time to discuss a Google product that doesn’t get a lot of play in the internet marketing world, yet if you are a retailer, you know or should know how important it is. As a CSE consultant, I’m still shocked on how little some retailers know about Google Product Search.
» Read more: Google Product Search: 10 Reasons Why It’s Great and Why It Will Always Be Free

A Career vs. a Job: What’s the Difference?

May 19th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

What is a job?

–noun: a piece of work, esp. a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.

What is a career?

–noun: an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework: He sought a career as a lawyer.

What do you think of when you hear the word “job”? What about “career”? When I think of a ‘job’, the first thing that comes to mind is maybe emptying the dishwasher, or raking the leaves, or shoveling the snow off my driveway. When I think of a ‘career’, I think of a profession, a path that gets you from your college diploma and your off-campus apartment to your Maserati and your house on the golf course.

This is why I cringe when I look at the footer of websites of companies who are hiring, and instead of labeling their available employment slots as ‘careers’, they list them as ‘jobs’. I think you send the wrong message when your site shows ‘jobs’ vs. ‘careers’ (unless you are just hiring for a job, like a seasonal employee at a ski resort for example). If you don’t like either word, then what about using the phrase “employment”?

Anyways, if you are applying for a very specific ‘job’ opening at a company, be sure to ask what the career path is, because job paths don’t really exist. Companies that have ‘job’ listings are looking for a peg to fit a hole, while companies looking for a folks to have a career with them sounds a heck of a lot better. When the day comes and we hire our first employee, I’ll see that ‘jobs’ isn’t listed on our website. I want someone that can be molded, someone who performs a collection of different duties, and someone who is flexible and can learn different subjects, all while keeping their focus on where they want to be in 5 or 10 years. In return, I’ll see that we can offer the ability for the individual to grow.

Ultimately, I feel that it’s the company’s responsibility to give the employee a road map to having a successful career path. It’s the people that make the company revolve. Next time you go to interview for a ‘job’ vs. a ‘career’, play cautiously. Ask very specific questions on how the company helps it’s employees achieve their career goals.

A career is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals.

A job is an activity through which an individual can earn money. It is a regular activity in exchange of payment.

Career = good, job = bad. Just a heads up!

Back In The ATL

April 27th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

After visiting some friends along the way and a healthy 2800+ miles on my Rav4, I made it back to Atlanta safe and sound. The last week has been hectic, but I am finally settling in. We got a great 2 bed 2 bath apartment in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta… address is:

1080 Euclid Avenue NE, Apartment 804, Atlanta GA 30307

It’s a loft apartment, meaning high ceilings, big windows, and open areas. I am sitting at the local Barnes and Noble right now, getting some work done, researching various utility options for our apartment, and trying to get caught up on e-mails. If you’ve e-mailed me and I haven’t responded, I apologize! Moving is such a pain in this regard…

I miss the mountains of Utah a lot, but the greenery and the warm weather of the south has welcomed me back with open arms. A quick weekend up in the N. Georgia mountains was in store last weekend… after 30ish miles on the Appalachian Trail, I feel at home!

Really looking forward to getting started with being a full time consultant and putting a lot of time and effort into this start-up idea that we’ve been discussing. More to follow :)