Retroactively using a Package

“How do I schedule a person for a package of three when they have already had one session of that three session package? How do i convert one session that is already past to a multi-session package?”

Among others, this is the question I got in mail which I thought I should make a quick post about, as it is not very obvious. I am sure this situation frequently arises with many of the businesses.  All you need to do is

(i) Select the package and click on 'Edit' icon.

(ii) Click on 'Sales History' tab to see the list of client

s who have bought this package.

(iii) Then from the 'Action' column, click on the icon to 'View History'.  This will show all the usage of the package by that client.  In the same form, you'll notice a list of unpaid appointments/classes scheduled by this client but have not been marked against the package use.  Click on  'Add Usage' which will let you add the appointment/class that you want to use the package for retroactively.

I understand that it is cumbersome.  We'll look into streamlining this soon.

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What's Your Special Power?

I approach pop psychology with a degree of ambivalence, partly because I feel it is more market driven than scholarship driven, imbuing the latest cultural phenomenons with a dash of Freud, a dose of Carl Gustav Jung, and maybe even a little William James in order to profit on readers desperately wanting to have someone tell them what to do. On the other hand, some of these psychological tidbits can be insightful as a stimulation for further thought and approaches to some of the problems we face in the everyday world of business as well as the public and private sphere. Simplifying our thoughts and vast concepts into something manageable and practically applicable to our daily lives and business decisions I believe is often one of the greater challenges we face and any sort of initiative or stimulation is worthwhile.
The latest interview on the Harvard Business Review titled “Power Genes: Understanding Your Power Persona–and How to Wield It at Work” features Maggie Cradock who uses Jung's archetypes to designate four “power types”–i.e. the four main character types pe

ople draw on to inspire others. Cradock locates the origin of these power types within the family since we first learn about power structures within this dynamic. Pleasers are those who “connect with people at a personal level,” often denying their own impulses for the sake of others. Cradock assumes that these types were often unernoticed as children and attempted to gain favor by pleasing their parents through self-sacrifice. Generally pleasers rely on the approval or the lack thereof for their sense of self-sufficiency. The second category are the “charmers” who learn how to manipulate situations or triangulate them to their own advantage, a skill they adapted from early on when they were drawn on for emotional support by a parent from an early age. Then, there is the commander who develops in a family structured around one dominant figure and adopts that central authority in his or her own life. The last power figure mentioned is the “inspirer,” often scientists and artists who grow up in families where children are rewared for challenging and scrutinizing the status quo.

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Making Big Bucks with Groupon

In the last two and a half years the daily deal site Groupon has been picking up momentum at the pace of the internal combustion engine once Gottlieb Daimler invented our prototype of the modern car. Growing at a rate of 2.241% since its inception, earning $94 million dollars in 2008 that has swelled to $664.7 million in the first quarter of 2011 alone, Groupon has been hailed as the fastest growing company ever. Let us put these numbers into perspective: Google grew at a 352% rate in its first several years and Amazon and Ebay grew at a 838% and 724% rate in its first two years respectively.  Needless to say, these are some staggering figures.

As James Surowiecki so perceptively pointed out in December around the time that Groupon turned down Google’s eye-popping six billion dollar offer, Groupon relies on more of an old school business model than the other internet tech and social networking models. Companies like Netflix and Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, as well as Bing and Google (think Gmail and Bing linking Facebook accounts to your searches) grow exponentially with their user base (the more friends you have that join Facebook, the more likely you will be to join Facebook; and the more friends that share their information on Facebook, the more services Facebook models based on that information, again drawing in more users). On the other hand, Groupon offers one service: a purchase option fo

r the deal of the day that are handpicked (not dependent on some arbitrary SEO analysis) and presented in fresh copywriting by Groupon’s staff. Because of the essential human component involved in Groupon’s service, they now have employed an army 7,000 full-time workers, an admirable feat and service in the job market of the world today where the latest and greatest marvels of the digital frontier such as Netflix and Facebook employ roughly 2,000 workers.

Just this last week Groupon announced that it had filed to go public, pursuing an IPO of $750 million. It’s not all buttery gravy despite Groupon’s rapid rise. Some critics are screaming dot.com bubble and citing the somewhat lackluster profit Groupon has reported so far. A net loss of $390 million was posted for 2010 and a net loss of $103 was posted for the first quarter of 2011, and on top of that Groupon has avoided filing marketing costs in the range of $200 million, claiming that in time they will no longer have to market as strenuously in the coming years since by that point they will have developed a solid customer base that will perpetuate itself. Andrew Mason, Groupon’s CEO is not promising any big returns in the near future, but sees long term growth as inevitable. In my estimation, it is Groupon’s service and not its pop-ups that have boosted it so far along, which would be a promising prospect for its continued success.

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Invoices have a new look

One of recent converts to Simplifythis converts, Alex of Akademikas Education Consulting Ltd., did not quite like the looks of the invoices coming out of Simplif

ythis. He just redesigned the invoice and gave us the CSS for a much nicer looking invoice format which we promptly tested and deployed today. Hope you and your clients like it. Thank you again Alex.

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Grouping and Ordering Services and Classes

A quick feature update : Now you can group your services and classes and order them within a group so that it is easier for your clients to look for them.  This also allows you to promote certain services by moving them at the top of the list. Another use is to keep the most frequently booked services at the top.  I'm sure you'll find many reasons to use this feature. Here are a few things to note while using this feature.

  1. To group and order services (or classes), go to the corresponding tab and click on the orange group icon.  You can simply order your services by moving them up and down.
  2. If you would like to group services, simply add a group and drag and drop services

    into that group. Once you have grouped your services, your client(s) will have to first select a group and then they will see the services within that group.

  3. If you have not added a group yet, all services will appear in a 'Default' group. If 'Default' is the only group that you have, your clients will not have to select a group. If you have added other groups and then you still have services that belong to 'Default', they will appear in a group called 'All Others' on your booking page.
  4. When you add a new service, you can create a new group by typing in the name in group selector. You can also add the item to an existing group by selecting the group, or you can leave the group filed blank, in which case it will be added to the 'Default' group.
  5. All new items are added to the top of their group by default.

We hope this feature will prove useful to you.  Please drop us a note if you have any suggestion or feedback.

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What's in Sleep

In our daily lives our routines of eat, sleep, and work are becoming more fragmented and interesting as we have adjusted to doing one, two, or all three of these on the go. We can work while traveling using public transportation, eat while driving to school; and when do we sleep? An older statistic released by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders states that that sleep deprivation costs 150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity while over 1/3 of Americans report sleeping less than seven hours a day. A night's rest has turned into a negligible factor amongst our überconnected world where there is always something to be wide-eyed and awake for.

In earliest human history around the equator, humans dedicated twelve hours of daylight to wakefulness and twelve hours or darkness to sleep. Since the diaspora has driven the race to the far corners of the globe, our patterns of sleep have altered drastically; in regions where seasons of 24 hours of darkness will follow seasons of 24 hours of light, cultures have adapted their schedules of leisure and work around these cycles. Given the opportunity to hole up for extended amounts of time without natural light, humans will choose to fall asleep around 8 o'clock,

sleep for four hours and then wake up for another two hours, which they will follow with four or more hours of sleep. According to A. Roger Ekirch, an Op-Ed Contributor for the NY Times, this pattern of sleep was shared by pre-industrial families: “Until the modern age, most households had two distinct intervals of slumber, known as “first” and “second” sleep, bridged by an hour or more of quiet wakefulness. Usually, people would retire between 9 and 10 o'clock only to stir past midnight to smoke a pipe, brew a tub of ale or even converse with a neighbor.”

Whereas these biphasic or polyphasic sleep patterns might be anachronisms, it is important for us to evaluate our sleeping patterns and think about them critically, choosing a sounder sleep over getting some shut-eye as it comes.

Several sleeping patterns have been cataloged in the Wikipedia entry here for the interested: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep).

Before putting this post to bed; a final quote from Shakespeare:

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, the death of each day's life, sore labor's bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, chief nourisher in life's feast.” –Macbeth/Shakespeare

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Using your own graphic for 'Book Now' button

We recently added the capability to customize the graphic of 'Book Now' and 'View Account' button. So far, you only had the option to use our stock button or link.  While the button does look nice, we understand that it may not blend well with many websites. If you have a graphic to launch the appointment booking page, you can use the following code to display the button on your site.


Just add this code to your web page where you would like to show the button.  Of course, you would have to host the image and css file that contains the definition of css class you would like to apply.

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What to work for?

As with most things in the realm of the human life, we can roughly divide labor into two categories: the creative and the routine. Traditionally, routine labor has relied on an “if/then” causal motivation: If you spread the seeds and till the soil, you will reap a harvest; if you write up case reports, you will be compensated monetarily; and, if you design a web  application, you will be paid handsomely. The animal mind is wired to operate in order to attain a certain reward, until this causal relationship works backwards and the saliva begins to dribble down the dog's snout as soon as Pavlov strikes the bell. Marx has criticized Western Capitalism, explaining via his coined “commodity fetish” that we have replaced “the thing itself”; labor, for an arbitrary numerical value; a wage. And even though we'll probably never be able to get things right by uniting as proletariats, we can rethink our capitalistic foundations so that we don't work for it, but it works for us.
The Open Source projects have become a phenomenon in our time, putting together superior quality journalism, design, and craftsmanship, yet they rely on voluntary cooperation. For most of the workers on projects such as the OS Linux, their motivation is a derivative of being involved in a proj

ect that is worth their time and effort, a project that aspires to greatness. Of course, the greatest creative minds in the world are not going to just volunteer their services while they beg for spare change in their free time. When people have a certain baseline covered; adequate financial stability, can eat moderately well and live underneath a solid roof, their reserve energies can go toward a great work. This rule should apply to any work situation: if you can pay your workers enough to not worry about their pay, they will be more eager to do better work, since they are not preoccupied with worrying about their pay. At this point, the mind is free to ponder creative possibilities, exerting its own autonomy and pursuing some destiny not in order to be paid but to think some great thought, or devise some brilliant application.

So how then to reward “creativity” if not in currency? By providing constructive criticism and recognizing the progress made. Once forward thinking developments are identified and praised both on the managerial/editorial level and on the worker/creator level, the Pavlovian ceremony can be untrained, and the creative mind will begin accustoming itself to working in order to push the envelope and not in order to pay the bills.
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What isn't in a name?

Naming might be one of the most primal occupations humans have devised, and one of the most important as well. Cross-culturally we find strange and beautiful naming traditions and rituals that all contribute to the quality, complexity, and hue of the world we live in, shading objects with moods and intentions. Words, similarly to design, are so completely integrated into our daily life that we often don't recognize how they affect us. For example, I believe almost all Americans in some way have a positive association with Oreo's–a word that is just as delightful to say as the experience of untwisting the chocolate cookie base from the milky bit in the middle and eating them. On the other hand, the knock-off brand “Duplex” cookie that Western Family makes, carries none of the same weight as Oreo, mostly due to the inferior taste of the cookie, but also in large part because of the awkward and the vacuousness of those two syllables to a children's ears. Nobody wants a “Duplex,” but everyone wants an “Oreo.”

Rap music in particular glorifies  brand names and commercial articles  much the way F. Scott Fitzgerald does in “Great Gatsby,” lauding the particular poetry that commercialism offers. I don't think it's insignificant that brands with the most timeless names have remained in some sense successful;

they have buried themselves deep into our psyche, into our unconscious experience of everyday life. Adidas, Kleenex, Xerox, Federal Express, Gatorade, Band-Aid, Mercedes-Benz, Google, Levi's, Rolls Royce, IKEA, Sony, Microsoft Windows; all of these names breathe a certain poetry, the simple act of speaking these names out loud provides a refined pleasure. In the same way that Homer's recurring epithet “rosy fingered dawn” in both the “Iliad” and “the Odyssey” fastens events related in the stories to memory, we make our experiences browsing the web concrete by naming that action googling–it is at the same time our own experience and a corporate (in both senses) experience.

I propose several guidelines for naming in the business sense (and these will be broad rules because depending on the market the intended audience changes):

-Sound is the most important. The name should not be prone to trivialization based on its phonetic piddling. An example: the web based conference portal “Dimdim” does not gain any degree of professionalism or seriousness by the unpersuasive allusions of its simplistic and echoed syllables.

-Describe your service or product in the most simple and direct way without patronizing your audience or being overly obvious. This sounds simple enough, but this quality made the likes of Shakespeare.

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The New Capitalists on the Block

The millennium has seen new and innovative business models pop up like Dutch tulips in April. With a greater democratization of business resources anyone with an idea can launch a business venture these days—and depending on how good the idea is, Mark Zuckerberg type success might greet you. As the Internet exponentially multiplies these opportunities, so do the ideas and proponents of new business models. Despite the excitement of constantly living on the cusp of new possibilities and either better (or worse) ways to live and do business in this world, if you take the time and effort to grapple with some of these ideas you might feel that we’re heading in a million directions and that everything is changing; ergo we aren’t going anywhere and nothing is changing. To counter this phenomenon I believe tools and figures who can discern important information and valuable voices will become more and more integral to a healthy survival and betterment of our cultures and values.

Umair Haque happens to be one of these figures with a bright mind who doesn’t just contribute to the ceaseless driveling of the latest and greatest developments, but rigorously grapples with the background stories, ideologies and processes at play in our age. His ideas which he has collected in his both earnestly and ironically titled book “The New Capitalist Manifesto” confronts corporations who are repackaging Industrial Revolution thinking for the Facebook era—the Disney Company for example (http://www.bubblegeneration.com/2011/02/disney-baby-how-to-create-thin-value.html), will be targeting newborns with cutthroat strategies, capitalizing on the moment of birth by having a bilingual Disney representative provide the baby with a trademarked Disney onesie as they can access them, pressuring the mothers to sign up for their Disney email alerts that should guide the newborn into childhood and then adulthood. Large megalomaniac outfits such as Disney and McDonald’s have been state sanctioned and supported according to Haque because they have never had to compensate for their negative impact on our environments evidenced by obesity and environmentally unfriendly practices. These are the old capitalists who have been living off the fat of the land on the plushy cushions of government bailouts.

The new capitalists like Nike and Unilever have taken a more holistic approach to their production and marketing campaigns, looking to renew their resources to ensure a more enduring business model that won’t run out of its revenue sources, guaranteeing long term advantages and values as the competition is gets wiser with every wikipedia entry. The most characteristic feature of these ventures is their invitation of the public to benefit to a humanitarian or ecological cause while partnering in business transactions.

Haque writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review as well as for his own blog www.bubblegeneration.com.

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