Reader Mail: May 2010

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The Blog Must Go On

I understand that Joel Spolsky must make a choice about how to spend his time [How Hard Could It Be?, March]. But I will miss his posts, and I bet a good number of people feel they know Joel personally because of them. Given a choice between doing business with him and someone else, they would probably choose him because of this connection.

Cynthia Holladay,
principal and CEO, UpRight Marketing
San Mateo, California

I don't believe that Joel Spolsky will stop blogging. He might honestly believe he will, but he had, has, and will have something to say to IT people, and he won't be able to keep it to himself, even if he inadvertently insults some customers in the process.

Yakov Fain
Managing partner, Farata Systems
Manalapan, New Jersey

Productivity Issues

When I read that Mark Cuban handles virtually all communication by e-mail ["The United States of Productivity," March], I wondered if poor writing bothers him. One thing that bugs me more than I can express is the incredibly low quality of written communication that I see in my inbox every day. Most people are incapable of writing coherent sentences or choose not to take the time. And the use of a spell checker is lost on many. How does Mr. Cuban cope?

Vin Sumerlin
Managing member, Carson Valley Ventures
Wellington, Nevada

Based on his profile in Inc.'s feature about productivity, Jordan Zimmerman is the type of guy who is found face-down in his oatmeal. Four hours of sleep is not enough for any human planning on living a long life, especially someone living Mr. Zimmerman's lifestyle.

Bob Jacober
Trainer and life coach
Miami

I was thrilled to read Jane Berentson's account of editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan's discipline in the recent edition of Inc. [Editor's Letter, March]. Now I pray (seriously) Inc. will do a story on Leigh, who could teach this younger generation something realistic about the fascinating experience called work. I recently turned 80 years of age, and I often wish that I were back in the working world, as I believe I learned lessons well from those who made this great nation what it is today. Leigh adds hope to my constant prayer that we will stop listening to the whining generation and get on with the task before us.

Sherwood Macrae
Cookeville, Tennessee

The Day the Music Died

eMusic lost its competitive advantage when it raised its prices [Case Study, March]. I have been a loyal customer for about seven years and loved buying music from artists I had only read about. At about 20 cents a song, I could afford to take a chance on new artists. Now, at just over 40 cents a song, I'm less likely to do so. I might feel differently if eMusic had maintained low prices for songs by developing or alternative artists and raised the cost of songs by major labels.

All of this may be a moot point, because it seems that an increasing amount of revenue is coming from sources other than record sales, such as performances. Is eMusic even more out of step with the future of the music industry?

Bruce Cauthen
Vice president of public relations, St. Joseph's Villa
Richmond, Virginia

Leap of Faith

Thank you for such an inspirational story about Josh James [How I Did It, March]. My husband and I started our company during the recession and have done everything we can to rise above our competition. It is scary to take the leap and do the unproven, but many companies get noticed for taking risks, and hopefully for the better.

Phyllis Cheung
Co-founder and CEO, My Wedding Concierge
San Diego

Think Local

I'm not a big entrepreneur; I just run my own business doing ornamental and architectural metalwork and welding. But I want to say how much I appreciate your publication. Most of the articles don't pertain to my situation, but the few that do always seem to catch my eye. They all end up having dog-eared pages, too. If there was one thing I would like to see more of, it would have to be something dealing with small businesses that aren't so global or national. A lot of companies are cashing in on the Internet and social networking scene, but many of us still work person to person.

Justin Hawker
Owner, Hawker Metalworks
Shelton, Connecticut

Handwritten Letter

Penmanship Lesson
Everything in the magazine is subject to critique.

A Cash Register That Tweets

Max Chafkin's article about getting customers on Facebook and Twitter was great ["Tell Your Friends About Us," March]. I'm really impressed with the point-of-sale connection that Tasti D-Lite created, which allows it to determine exactly how much ROI is coming from Twitter. I've never heard of another way of doing that so well. I could see this becoming the norm, because it is a constant struggle for businesses large and small to justify the time and expense of social media.

Kai Rostcheck
Founder, Free Marketing Made Easy
Hopedale, Massachusetts

Family Matters

I just got the latest issue of Inc. and, as always, went straight to Meg Hirshberg's column, which was about balancing work and kids [Balancing Acts, March]. I have been working on this very issue in my own life. As my business grew and I was away from home more often, my oldest son, age 6, started acting out when his mother arrived home from work.

Since January, I have been setting aside at least one weekday each month to spend time with my son and make it a point to do dad-and-son activities. I also stopped working on Sundays and rarely work on Saturdays. I could make more money if I did, but it would never be enough to replace the time I am investing in my family. Not only has my relationship with my children improved, my wife is happier as well. I am also getting better at not taking my BlackBerry ("Bond Girl") to dinner.

Zack Gallinger
Owner, All American Cleaning & Landscape
Hillsboro, Oregon

Thanks to Meg Hirshberg for her recent column. My husband and I live with our three kids, ages 8 to 12, in the inn we run together. On the side, I do a one-woman show about sex and speak to college students about pleasure education. I go from making beds to skiing with the kids to stepping on a stage. My husband and I hand the baton back and forth, so most of the time one of us can be with the kids while the other is slaying dragons around the inn. It can be tough, but we are grateful that we are both home working and able to stay "present" as much as possible.

Cindy Pierce
President, Pierce's Inn
Etna, New Hampshire

CORRECTION

In March's Case Study about eMusic, we stated that music files sold on Amazon.com featured digital rights management protection, limiting how and where they could be used. Amazon has never sold music with such protection.

To submit a letter, write to mail@inc.com or Inc. Letters, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007-2195. Letters may be edited for space and style. Submission constitutes permission to use. To alert us to an error, send an e-mail to corrections@inc.com.

Last updated: May 1, 2010




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