The view from near the top

37 Signals brings us this great post on their blog about the advantages of being third in your market. As it turns out, the people in third place are usually making more money because they are not spending as much to stay in first or second. Very interesting.

37 Signals makes the phenomenal online programs Basecamp and Backpack, both of which I use here at Image to stay organized. In fact, I’ll be writing a review of both programs for the January issue of The Business Journal.

Bond is back!

If you haven’t seen Casino Royale yet, please do so. It is a wonderful reintroducing to the James Bond character. It does a fantastic job of finally showing us what drives him and why he is who he is. This necessitates an incredibly dark ending, however it is worth it to restart the character for a new generation.

As a huge Bond fan, I loved it. It’s definitely darker than past installments, but I like the direction they are taking it. It wanted to see another Bond film as soon as the credits rolled, which hasn’t been the case with the past three entries in the series.

Daniel Craig makes possibly the best Bond since Connery. Connery will always be the perfect Bond, but Craig does a great job of giving us a Bond who doesn’t have all the answers. He makes mistakes. He suffers for those mistakes. He also seems dangerous. Timothy Dalton was the last actor to play Bond that actually seemed like he could do all the things he was doing. It’s good to have that edge back.

I even enjoyed the much maligned theme song by Chris Cornell (at least enough to give iTunes .99 for it).

Pre-Christmas gift … to me

Alright, I know it’s probably wrong to buy something for yourself just a month before Christmas, but I couldn’t resist. To go along with my new exercise regimen (by that, I mean actually excercising for once), I bought a new iPod shuffle. I owned an original iPod shuffle, but sold it after I found out I didn’t use it that much. Instead I always opted to use my full-sized iPod to carry all of my music. Well, that didn’t stop my from convincing myself I needed a new one today.

So far I’m incredibly impressed with the compact new design. It even comes with a tiny little dock to sync with iTunes. If someone on your Christmas list wants an iPod, I’d recommend the shuffle has a half-way affordable model.

Hampton 100% Guarantee

This weekend we stayed a night at a Hampton Inn in Fort Worth. I was incredibly impressed with their 100% Guarantee. If you aren’t 100% satisfied, you don’t pay for the room. Now, being in advertising, I understand that this is mainly a marketing gimmick to make people feel good. Generally speaking they would charge your credit card when you arrived, and then if you weren’t satisfied, probably hassle you about a refund and make it as difficult as possible to get.

Hampton was different, however. They did not charge our card until we checked out and they made absolutely sure we were happy. I left feeling like they really did care about my satisfaction and the 100% Guarantee was, in fact, not just a marketing gimmick. Because of that I will probably seek them out whenever we travel from now on.

Consider me 100% satisfied.

Shaken, not stirred

I love it when a new James Bond movie is coming out. I can never get enough of the theme song, and it plays continually in ads and trailers. It’s truly the most wonderful time of year.

Lego the largest tire manufacturer

As a kid, I was fascinated with Legos. My brother and I built everything imaginable with our tub o’ Legos. Now that I have three boys, they’ve inherited the love of building with those multi-colored bricks.

Now comes the history of Legos..

To me one of the most interesting parts was the following quote:
“Over time the wheel would become one of the most ubiquitous of all Lego elements. In fact, by the late 1990’s Lego was producing more than 300 million tires a year, making them the largest tire manufacturer in the world.”


Holiday pounds

Most people complain that holiday weight-gain happens with all the Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings. After last night, I would argue that packing on the holiday pounds starts with the replenishment of the candy drawer on Halloween. I say this as I pound down my second mini-box of Dots today.

Everyone enjoy the post-Halloween binge.