Saturday, October 30, 2010

Message to Delta Airlines management

On the 6 a.m. flight last Monday, it was great that the pilot, in his initial announcement, told us that he would be refraining from any unnecessary announcements during the flight. None of the "we are now passing over Ithaca and getting ready to take a left..."

When he told the passengers that "we recognize that many of you will be trying to catch up on some sleep or get some work done, so we'll refrain from any unnecessary announcements," I figured that we'd have some peace and quiet in the back.

So it was a little surprising when the flight attendants, halfway through the flight, made an announcement that they had snacks for sale and in honor of breast cancer awareness month were offering pink martinis for $7. Pink martinis at 7 a.m. on the one-hour flight from New York to Detroit? How many of those have you sold? Was it worth making up 50 passengers every morning to make that sale?

Why do we enter city and state in web forms?

Why do we need to enter city and state in web forms? Once we enter our zip code, why don't city and state get populated?

With just a little more thought in the design of web forms, how much effort could have been saved?

If 100 million people in the US are regular active web users, and they fill in their name and address once every two weeks, and this takes 5 seconds, the total time cost per year is

100,000,000 * 25 episodes per year * 5 seconds per episode * 1 hour / 3600 seconds =

3.5 million person-hours per year

If we value that time at just $10 per hour, that is $35 million per year. Will a programmer please redesign the web form, to ask for the zip first and then perform a lookup for the city and state fields?


If you want to be contacted, include your phone number

I've had this happen many times in the past and experienced it again this week. Someone who wanted to speak to me sent me three or four emails asking me when would be a good time to talk. He wrote, "let me know a good time, and I'll call you."

But he never included his own cellphone number.

I was at the airport Thursday night with my flight delayed, and tried to reach out to him. But when I looked through all the emails he had sent me, no phone number.

Either set up an automatic signature that includes your phone number, or be sure to include your phone number in any communication to clients or other people you hope will get in touch with you.

And while you are creating your email signature, include your email address. Sure, your email address is in the "from" line, but if someone wants to copy and paste your contact info into their contact management software, it certainly makes it easier if they don't have to copy and paste from two places.

Carry stamps and some envelopes in your laptop bag

In the day of email, social networks, twitter, and text messages, nothing stands out like a handwritten letter. Whether it is a letter of gratitude, encouragement, or just saying hello, it will brighten the recipient's day, and it feels great to send one.

If you are frequently on the road, a perfect time to knock out a quick letter is the time between "turn off all electronic devices" and the order to "place your seats and tray tables in the upright position."

Thank the housekeeping staff at the hotel were you just stayed, or the education director of the museum where you took your kid for an event over the weekend, or the author of a book you just read. Or write three sentences to your kids, your spouse, your parents. Or encourage a friend who is going through a rough spot.

The key to enable this all is having some stamps and envelopes in your laptop bag. If you have the stamps and the envelope, you can put the letter in the mail on your way home or on the way to the office.

And the easiest way to buy stamps now, of course, is online at Instead of waiting in line at the post office, you can get any stamps you want with a two-day delivery time.

Flag counter

free counters