Video: ‘I Am a Story’

From cave drawings to the invention of the printing press to our digital age, I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino explores how a story has been told in many different ways from the past to today.

Yaccarino is on Twitter @DanYaccarino1, and has a colorful website here.

If you’d like to share this video, here’s the embed code:

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Show Your Staff… Socially

Show Your Staff… Socially

My daughter has been working at the same retail establishment for more than two years. We were shopping there the other day when she handed her employee discount card to the woman at the register, who asked, “You work here?!” It seems that she and the woman had never worked the same shift, so they hadn’t met each other.

While I’d never experienced two co-workers not meeting before, I have experienced longtime customers finally meeting longtime booksellers because their schedules finally jived.

This is why I love the staff photo that the folks at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, KS, took last month. They all donned their Watermark-branded t-shirts during a staff meeting and posed for this cute pic.

Even though the employees are not tagged in the photo that was posted on the store’s Facebook page, I love the way it shows all of the faces involved with customer service. I also like how it illustrates that bookstore and cafe staff alike work for the same company.

It’s been shown time and again that social media posts that include recognizable faces out-perform those that don’t. So have a little fun with your posts, and don’t be afraid to show your stuff, er… staff.

Always Up-To-Date Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at a friend’s computer screen as she was working on Facebook posts for her job. “What’s going on with your layout?” I asked. Her voice was incredulous when she fired back, “Yours hasn’t changed yet?!”

It seems that I was the very last person to receive the latest layout update. Although the updates started a few months ago, mine didn’t occur until last week. And since Facebook rolled them out on a user by user basis, I missed some of the changes that ended up being punted.

Video: Designing Your Life

When I first saw this video, I thought it would be perfect ‘content’ to share with my girls. You see, I officially became an empty nester when I helped my youngest daughter move in with my oldest daughter in their college town this past weekend. [sniff] I don’t want to be the overbearing mom, so I like it when I can stumble upon nice sharable content that allows me to contact them without seeming needy. (Similar to a bookstore/customer relationship.)

So when I started watching this video for Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, I thought they could glean something from both the video and the book. But the more I watched it I thought, ‘Forget the girls. I think need this book.’

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans illustrate how design thinking can help create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

If you want to share this with your daughters, er… customers, here’s the embed code:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Maintaining the Customer Database

Did you know that over 40 million Americans change their address annually? And with email addresses changing to avoid spam and junk mail, not to mention the migration from land lines to mobile devices, the thought of maintaining a healthy customer database is daunting.

But a database is only as good as the effort you put into maintaining it. And when targeted sales, customer service, and personal attention distinguish independent booksellers from all the rest, a strong and accurate customer database is a must.

Here are three steps you can implement now to improve your database.


Step 1: Ask the customer.

One way to maintain it is to question your customers at checkout. Ask if they’re still on North Lincoln Avenue. Find out if their home phone is the best way to reach them, or have they abandoned their land line for mobile. Verify that their email address hasn’t changed recently. If a duplicate record pops up during your customer search, make a note of which record should be deleted when you have a few more minutes.

How often should you ask the customer? If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen them and it feels perfectly natural to ask, ‘Is everything still the same?’

Step 2: Look at your list.

I personally like printing out a physical list and writing any changes directly on the paper. You can break it down into a smaller less-daunting sections and pass them around though the staff.

Someone who’s been around for a while might know that this person moved or that couple is no longer together. And someone who hasn’t been around as long might be able to recognize that a certain zip code was entered with the numbers transposed. Every set of eyes helps.

If you marked changes on the customer list, take the time to make the changes directly in the database.

How often should you look at your list? This takes some effort, so I recommend once or twice a year. If you break it down by the alphabet, you could get through a letter every 2 weeks and get through the list in a year. Or you can do a letter each week and run through the exercise semi-annually.

Step 3: Read the obituaries.

I know this one seems a bit morbid, but if you live in a city of a certain size, and if you know customers by name, it’s a good idea to read the obituaries.

At the most basic level, names should be compared to the names in your database. But then the announcements should be given to someone on staff who really knows your customer base well. Mary Smith might not be in your database, but if you recognize her daughter’s name listed among the survivors as your best event attender, a card from the staff might be in order.

How often should you look at the obituaries? I recommend every day. Because sometimes a card isn’t enough.