Sunday, August 28, 2005

So long Joe...It's been great to know you

I was driving the car home (on the 18th of August 2005) when the newscaster came on and said that there had been an accident in Mendocino and a member of the team that made Toy Story had been killed. I started to slow down and when they said Joe Ranft's name, I practically had a wreck myself.

Instantly I was transported back in time to that day in 1991 when I went to work for PIXAR and began supporting the products that we made at the time, and also when I helped the animation team install software that would allow them to do screen pencil tests for what would eventually become Toy Story.

Joe Ranft was a great guy. He had an awesome sense of humor, and of who he was in the world, at least from my point of view. I rarely during the 6 years that I was at PIXAR saw him in any kind of a down mood, and he was always very pleasant to sit with at lunch. Many times I dropped in and helped him with computer issues as I did with everyone at PIXAR who used a Macintosh. That was my job there. Macintosh Systems Engineer as it says in the credits in Toy Story. It was a great job, and a great time, making the first of what would become many PIXAR movies. PIXAR has become great in the industry.

Things really come home when I went to the memorial for Joe. As I stood there in my Toy Story Jacket (a tribute to you my friend), people who had not seen me since my exodus that August day in 1997 when the Mercury News had put my face on the front of their website proclaiming me as a candidate for CEO of Apple Computer, these people hugged me, we cried together, and it seemed like I had never left. Steve Jobs stood and spoke, Ed Catmull, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Su Joe's wife, many others, as everyone watched images of Joe on the screen. We could feel his spirit there, laughing at all of us from beyond, and crying with us as well.

Joe, we miss you. You're not gone, we just can't quite see you the way we used to. I wish I had seen you in these years since I left PIXAR. I always felt we were friends, just out of touch. You did many wonderful things in your time here, you shall be missed.

I just wanted to put into words my feelings and say "Thanks" for everything. For the jokes, for listening, for sharing, and for being a friend. I hope they got you a comfy seat on the other side, and if you happen to run into a friendly poodle with halitosis, his name is Rusty. Pet him and tell him Maria's Mom Nora sends her love.

God bless ya.

Michael Murdock - your friend.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What's your Marketing Message?

Do you know? Do your website visitors? If not, you're losing sales! (Period)

I think that's a great subject for today. It's a Saturday, people are out shopping for things and marketing or advertising is hitting them in the face every 1 - 3 seconds whether they want it or not.

Are you doing that with your website? Are you hitting your users with ads that inspire them to buy? I doubt it. Even yours truly has an issue with this, so why should you believe what I say? You shouldn't. It's not your experience, it?s mine.

But if I told you that ideas that I have produced have helped companies make billions in revenue would you listen? If I told you that you could make simple, subtle changes to your website and the language used in it, and that would turn the tide of visitors into clients or customers, would you listen?

I think you might. I know I would. But in today's marketplace on the web, what are we seeing? We're seeing ads that claim to deliver thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars for a mere $867.00. Forums that you can go to and in the meantime while you're on our website before you sign up for the big screw, sign up for the little one for only $49,97. Who thinks this crap up? Geniuses do. How do I know? Because more than once I, like you was roped into buying that stuff and now it clutters the floor of the office I am in at this very moment and the wife is asking "When are you going to clean that place up"? Right after I get done with this literary diatribe about how people are missing the simple elements of advertising on their websites and losing customers.

Am going to give you some sage advice. Before you go out and spend hundreds or thousands on the tools that you?re going to in your adventures on the web, look around and smell what they're selling. The really successful people on the web have been doing this for years. They've got what you don?t have. Qualified mailing lists of people who love them and love to get their marketing material and from time to time they buy. They're not getting 10% returns, they make only get a 1 or 2% return on mailings, but in the volume of mailing they are doing, this is a good number.

So what's a person on the web to do about this issue? How do we make a break through? I'll tell you, but you'll have to come back another time to read it...or you can just cut to the chase and run to the following website:

and read what's there. We work with clients all the time to get their message on track and their website from being just a visitor haven, to people who actually come and purchase products and or services. Because after all, that's the reason you put up the website in the first place right?