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Jim talks Oscars, t-shirts, and four rules for knowing when to measure metrics.

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Sometimes my podcast is a packed information source that includes a rant, and sometimes it’s a rant that happens to contains a few valuable nuggets. As always, the goal is to entertain and inform.

First up in the podcast is an Oscars rant about bad speeches.

What they do wrong

– Utter shock
How the heck are they in utter shock? It seems as if they are not shocked that they won, but as if surprised their name was called at all. It’s as if they were a contestant on the Price is Right!

My problem is, you KNOW you have a 1 in 5 chance of winning! You’ve known this for a month! Why the utter shock?

– Completely flustered
How do they not know what to say? Why are they like, “Oh wow. Oh geesh.” Here is my problem: THIS IS YOUR JOB. THIS IS WHAT YOU DO.

You did not stumble into the Kodak Theater as a sheetmetal worker or the assistant marketing coordinator or a nanny, thinking you were going to WATCH the movie The Social Network and someone gave you the Oscar. No! You are there because you might win!

You are an ac-tor!
You are an act-tress!

Your entire life purpose is to make public appearances in front of millions. How are you an amateur at this?

Hmmm, what do you do for a living? “I memorize lines and stand up in front of people in public.”
Ok, can you go up and accept this award? “Wha what? How do I do that?”

Really? Here is an example. I consider myself a runner. I run 3-4 times a week. I’ve run races. I’ve been running for 20 years. I think I’m pretty good at running. That’s what I do.

Now what if I won an award – an award that they told me I had a 1 in 5 chance of winning – and they told me a month in advance?

And when I won, they said I had to RUN for 30 seconds. Yes, just run. The thing I do all the time. NOT get up there and do a one legged king pigeon yoga pose… just run.  The thing I do every day.

I think I’d be OK.

Terrible speeches

Listen, there are three things you must do:

1) Thank the right people. Not too short, not too long, don’t forget your spouse, your mom, and your kids.

2) Say something witty. You have an audience. Could you come up with SOMETHING original? A quote? A 15 second joke? A story from making the movie. Something. Anything.

3) Don’t go long. They start playing the music. That makes you more nervous. It makes others nervous. Wrap it up.

My problem: they’ve had this show for 83 YEARS. Have they ever watched it? How do they not prepare?

OK, let’s carry this over to business.

You might be shocked that I have another rant.

I was at H&M this past weekend buying a few t-shirts. I’d been shopping for awhile, the coffee was wearing off, and I just wanted to get in and out and go home.

I should have known better… I was at the SoHo store, a Saturday at 3pm, where there were throngs of New yorkers + foreign tourists + people from outer boroughs coming to city.

Of course, there are at least 10 people in line.

I wait about 15 minutes, I get to the front, and they are using 3 registers out of 6.

So partially joking, partially out of frustration, partially just trying to help, and if you feel that way, partially as a jerk, I muttered to the cashier:

Really? Going with the 3 registers today? Busy Saturday? Long line? Just going with the 3?

The guy kind of reacts. Smiles, doesn’t really get it.

But the manager hears, and she’s not happy.

I continue, with a smile on my face… “You know you’re losing money, right?”

At that point I turn around, and there are now TWENTY people in line. She fliply says “That’s why I’m calling more people to come register” and then later something like “when hiring number costs are limited, you do what you have to.”

But I thought to myself, that didn’t help me or those people.

My rationale is this… at least I’m TELLING them about the line. I’m waiting. I’m trying to HELP. I have to figure that 10-20% MIGHT have bought something, but left because of the line.

But that got me to thinking.

What is the part that makes me angry? 4 things

1) Consistent occurrence
– This happens every single Saturday from noon-5pm. I know it does because I’ve been there.
– We’re not talking the pizza place where the little league team walks in, and suddenly there is a wait
– Not the bar where an entire office floor comes in for someone’s birthday, and suddenly there is a wait

We’re talking EVERY Saturday. Do they not pay attention to trends?

2) Must be a high sample size
– This is not the same if there were 3 customers and 1 checkout person. There had to be dozens and dozens of data points to measure. More data points, more valid.

3) This is a revenue generating activity
It makes me mad because you’re losing money! I want to help you!

4) Influence on customer experience
– Maybe I was just tired. Maybe I’m old. Maybe 24 year old kids from Brooklyn buying skinny jeans or Sven and Svetlana from Sweden are so happy to be in America on vacation, they don’t mind waiting. But I mind.
– What’s worse, is the people they don’t know about. At least I’m telling them I’m upset. Trying to help. How many people just quietly put their $20, $50, or $200 worth of clothing in a pile because they saw the long line, and walked out that door?

Bottom line: How does this NOT make financial sense??
If paying 3 cashiers to process 75% of your customers, having them wait for 20 minutes, is one option, and paying 4 or 5 cashiers to process 100% of your customers is another, one where every person in the store gets to buy what they want, not have to wait forever, has a great customer experience, and might come back again next week, why wouldn’t you always choose that???

How can you use this in your daily life?

One example… is your website.

Consistent occurrence. Especially major sites, you get hundreds, thousands or even millions of visitors daily.

That leads to high sample size. Don’t look at the .5% of people going to the FAQ page… focus on the 75% of people trying to read your blog post or buy your product.

Look at revenue generating activities. Do you want them to just read? Or fill out a form, download a report, or purchase your product?

Envision the customer experience. Do a survey. Watch strangers use your website. Ask for feedback.

To sum up in an Oscar-speech-worthy way… I am honored and thrilled that you have chosen to listen to my podcast or read my blog today. It really is a special day in my life. I’d like to thank the academy, my co-worker Anuja Shah for coming up with the title of the post, my family for constantly supporting my ventures, my bosses at Conde Nast, and especially you, the fan of The Hopkinson Report. Doing this show reminds me of a famous quote by management consultant Peter Drucker, who said ‘What gets measured, gets managed.’  Thank you.

Jim Hopkinson loves ranting, telling stories, entertaining, and helping others so much, he wrote a book on how to get more money when negotiating salary. You can learn more about it at SalaryTutor.com.

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