I just found some notes I wrote just after I moved back to New Zealand after 20 years in the US - bear in mind these are from 2004 - most are pretty tongue in cheek, I mostly knew the real answers:
Things I wonder about:
- why can't I turn left thru a red light? when will I remember to yield to people turning right when I do
- why do people honk at me when I give way to pedestrians? am I somehow letting the other drivers down?
- what are "boy racers"? why are some of them girls? surely they are just "hoons" ("hoonz"?) by another name, has another good kiwi word bitten the dust?
- why are most of the ads on TV and the radio for things at the other end of the country? do they really expect me to hop on a plane and race to Auckland because they are having a 10% off sale?
- what happened to rugby being almost pathologically amateur? didn't they used to kick people out who had the wits to write a book? if they're now a biz why do they want the local city to build them a stadium? they say it will be a boon to local biz but and we should pay more taxes ... but the chamber of commerce of biz round table or whatever it's called isn't asking for biz to pay more taxes
- how come it costs me 5 times as much to call Auckland from Dunedin as it did from India? and 3 times as much as it costs me from my VOIP phone (relayed thru the US)? why do cell phone calls cost 40c a minute when they were 1c a minute in India? someone's making way too much money
- when did bikies become bikers?/why
- what's with the strange company names? is there some contest among the marketing people to get the most generic obtuse name past the owners? what on earth does 'Business New Zealand' sell?
- what's a 'tall white'? why can't I buy a 'non-fat latte'? and why on earth would I want 'green milk' instead?
- who was renamed "chinese gooseberries" to "kiwi fruit" years ago I got sick of americans thinking it funny that I styled myself as a small brown fuzzy fruit .... I want to find the bastard who stole my national identity, track him and do something unmentionable ....
I didn't have a lot of depression - but i was in contact with my workmates in the US every day, and we kept our US phone number in NZ so we stayed in contact with our US friends. On the other hand after 20 years our NZ friends had changed and moved on (they seem to all be positively respectable in ways I'd never have imagined)
Our kids (11 and 13) however just dived right in and didn't look back
Changing the subject slightly - does anyone else find the duty free shop that you have to barge thru in Auckland airport to get to immigration just plain crass? plus you can't avoid the evil perfume counters, I aways arrive with tears streaming down my face
I guess it does matter what business you're in - my new client is building consumer electronics - but isn't big enough to buy in the traditional market (or rather wasn't).
You do have to know your customer and how to reach them - Xero isn't going to be buying late night infomercial space - but you might hit CNBC - these guys might choose the opposite depending on their goals for the quarter
I'm traveling in the US at the moment on a biz trip, someone made the great point today that (here at least) media buys are cheap compared with a year ago - 40% in some cases - this is a good time to be building a brand (assuming you can afford it)
Mind you not if you are paying in NZ$ I guess - is the situation the same (yet) back home?
I've done a lot of (US) startups over the years and while I've largely been on the engineering side I've watched others do this stuff - getting others - especially your potential customers talking about you, even if they don't know what you're doing yet is so useful
In my experience what's particularly great is the ultra-cool blow-their-socks-off we-never-expected-that demo at just the right trade show (best of show at CES is good, an Emmy even better) - front page of the distributor trade press is what you want.
One company I worked for did a particularly good viral campaign when they were hiring their first employees, then clammed up - pretty soon the entire valley was buzzing on the mysterious new arrival - when the time came to announce the press were all over us - this takes real discipline to pull off
There's probably secret "missionary sign" (sort of like hobo signs) scratched on the lamppost outside your house warning others who come - "dog bites", "closet satanist", "turns the hose on you" and now "talks your ear off, never signs up"
I used to have a flat mate in Chch who worked nights - when the mormons came around and disturbed her sleep she'd stand there dazed and just let her robe slip until they ran away .....
Shopkeepers better not get complacent about "go google that" I have a fun app for my (google) phone that lets me wander my local store, scan bar codes off products and look up competing prices, even order them online while I'm still in the store
Only works for US UPC barcodes and Amazon at this point but you can see where this is going ....
Can I just mention how deeply disturbing I find the use of the word Merkin to mean American?
I'm very aware of the other meaning - "'merkin" has been used online as a sneaky way to poke fun at those it describes but who probably don't know the other meaning since, ooo, about the mid 1980s
What is, or are, "Watchmen"?