If you’ve got bee problems in Sacramento call Paul

A few days ago we noticed several bees flying around above the front door of our house.  A few bees…no problem, but this was more swarm like.  We’ve had swarms show up in an oak tree in our front yard before, and they usually move on in a few hours.  This time, they didn’t. They were setting up shop in the wall of our house.

This is what it looked like out the window. That’s a lot of bees.

We ended up calling several local “bee removal”  folks and went with Master Pest Patrol and Paul Baumeister.  I can’t recommend this guy highly enough.  He was on time, very professional, and ended up actually costing about 30% below his initial estimate.

You see from the outside we weren’t sure exactly where the bees were building their hive and thought that it might need to be accessed by cutting a hole from the inside of the house.  Now, since, this at the roof line and our entry way is pretty tall, this would be a big job. Here’s a look at the inside of that wall.  See that window at the top? It’s above that.

When Paul got here and took a closer look, he was able to get to the bees by just removing a piece of the framing, OK, not sure if that’s the right term, perhaps the edging right below the roof line.

When he was up on that ladder, this is what he saw:

Yes, that is three separate pieces of honeycomb you see there that the bees created within 3-5 days.

The estimate was that there were maybe 5,000 bees here, which is apparently a smaller group.

Once they were removed, the single piece of wood can now be replaced. So, if you are in Sacramento and a whole bunch of bees show up at your house, call this guy.

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Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 503 – “Tea Leaves”

Image from AMCTV.com

Mad Men continues to include real issues faced by advertising (and yes PR firms) in an incredible show. If I wasn’t in this industry, I’m sure I would still be a fan of the show, but for me I get a bonus. I get to watch situations I encounter all the time dealt with by others.

The agency lesson for me from “Tea Leaves,” is given by Peggy Olson.  She is tasked with hiring a new copywriter for the Mohawk Airlines account, “someone with a penis,” according to Roger.  As Peggy is flipping through portfolios of applicants, art director Stan Rizzo suggests she just choose one, any one.  Peggy’s eye is caught by interesting work by Michael Ginsburg.

Ginsburg is annoying, uncomfortable to be around and…incredibly talented.  Peggy passes up many adequate candidates and chooses Ginsburg. Why?  She thinks he is better than her at writing.  That is a huge business lesson. Hire up.  With better people around you, you’ll create better work and everyone will benefit.

 

How the NY Times tells a story with visuals

A few months ago I was discussing an upcoming graphic assignment with a client, and they said, “I’m not sure exactly what I want, but look at what the NY Times does. I want something like that.”

I just ran across an awesome short from gestalten tv. I found it on Laughing Squid, and they were referred to it by Om Malik.

A few of the points that jumped out at me:

  • According to one editor, “We always have to defend the value of the space we need.”
  • “You can’t make a great graphic unless you have great material.” Amen.
  • At about 3:30 there’s a great sequence on the building of graphic material to support breaking news
  • Does the Times have a visual style book? No, but “There’s a visual language at the Times,  but it is there is no law that governs what that visual language is. There’s just an agreement among the designers here about what works well and is clear.”

Very well done.  Check it out:

April 3rd, Herb Caen, my family, Mike Ness and the next generation of music

It’s my birthday. The birthday of my maternal uncle, one of my favorite writers, and the day my grandmother passed in 2008.

I also recently learned that it’s the birthday of Mike Ness, who turned 50 this year.  Those who know me well, know that Social Distortion has been one my favorite bands for a long, long time. One of my favorite things is sharing music with my daughters.  There are a lot of songs they like, but there is one cover of a Johnny Cash classic, that makes me smile every time they ask for it:

Herb Caen Day Redux

This week I celebrated my birthday with my wife and daughters and her sister’s family in Chicago.  Even though I was in Chicago, as usual, my thoughts were of San Francisco.  Below is a post I wrote on April 4, 2008.

 

Herb Caen Day

Posted on April 4, 2008 by Josh Morgan

Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the birthday of the late Herb Caen. If you aren’t from San Francisco, you may have missed out on Herb. From 1938-1997, he wrote a column that ran almost every day that was full of what he called “items.” Some of the items involved society people, some were about who had dinner with who, some were just strange things and some were social issues that he cared about. What was most important was that he gave almost everyone in San Francisco a little bit of common ground. You could always make a connection with someone by referring to one of Caen’s recent columns.

When he died in 1997, a little bit of San Francisco died too. Yesterday, a little more of San Francisco died as well, when my grandmother, Lucille Clumeck, (everyone called her Mame) passed away at the age of 95. It was somewhat fitting that she passed on April 3rd. My birthday. Her son’s (my uncle) birthday and Herb’s birthday. Two of the most important things in her life were her love of family, and love of San Francisco. Her family moved there in that late 1890′s. They were living there during the earthquake and fire of 1906, and she grew up in the new San Francisco that sprouted after. She was married at the Fairmont in the 30′s, and after moving to the Peninsula to raise her family, moved back to the City in 1978 after her husband passed. She lived there as long she could.

So, if you find yourself with a glass in your hand this weekend. I would appreciate it if you could raise it to Mame. Raise it to Herb, and raise it to San Francisco.

Weber and Home Depot, yes Home Depot, show me the value of real customer service

I am a fan of customer service.  Real customer service is often discussed, but in my mind rarely exhibited.  There’s been a lot of talk recently how ‘customer service is the new marketing.” Sure, it is. Everyone talks about it, but when it really experienced, it can be transformative for the consumer and for their friends.

I grill outside a lot.   I use a Weber Summit Gold grill that was given to me as a gift from my wife eight years ago. This is a nice grill, that if I remember correctly cost approximately $1,000, when she bought it for me for my birthday.  She bought it at a local Weber ‘dealer.’ and I was thankful.  I cook on it regularly and those that know me, know I use it for grilling and smoking several times per week.

This is my grill:

Using my grill several times per week, apparently led to both the ignighter and to the burners getting used up.

You can imagine my sadness, when I was unable to use my grill any longer due to the burners being unable to any longer being able to transfer propane, thank you Hank Hill.  I first went to the ‘dealer,’ where my wife bought the grill. I was told that “we don’t carry those any more, but maybe if you go on their web site, you can order it.”  Not, maybe let us do it for you for you, or here’s what to do.

Next, I went to Home Depot to try and see if they maybe had an interim fix, such as a universal burner I could buy and put in.  This is where I experienced my first level of true customer service.  I went to the BBQ aisle and ran into a customer service rep where I explained what I was looking for.  He said, that they don’t carry the burner and ignighter, but try calling Weber directly, and if the grill was less than ten years old, they would probably replace it.

I called Weber, provided the serial number from the grill, and with no further questions beyond my address recieved:

That is two boxes that included a brand new ignighter and two new burners:

There were three separate things that happened here:

– a ‘dealer’ didn’t know that they could have made me happy by telling me the options available to me;

– an employee at Home Depot didn’t make a sale, but provided exceptional customer service;  and

– Weber took care of a customer, and subsequently has made a customer for life.’

So, thank you Weber, and thank you Home Depot.