Ceud mille failte*, y’all

Ceud mille failte*, y’all: After my recent visit to the Scottish highlands, I guess it’s only appropriate that on Saturday or Sunday, I attend the Tennessee Highland Games. There will be plenty of bagpipes and kilt-wearing (not by me, however) and battle axe throwing competitions (again, not by me). I’ve already tried haggies, so I can skip that if it’s offered. The venue is one of Middle Tennessee’s more unique settings and it should be beautiful weather. The event’s website says, “no pets,” but personally, I think they should make exceptions for certain breeds.

*”A hundred thousand welcomes” (Gaelic)

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That Wal-mart ad won’t leave me alone

That Wal-mart ad won’t leave me alone: Apparently, Wal-mart’s attempt to get cool with a social network for teenage shoppers has folded after ten weeks. (Who could have seen that one coming?) Two things: Wal-mart is calling the defunct site a “promotion,” which I find refreshingly honest, except “demotion” is perhaps a more accurate word. I’m guessing they’ve diverted the budget they’re saving by shuttering TheHub into a Google Adwords campaign specifically targeting me. I think that because every site with Google Adsense display ads I have visited for the past 48 hours has a large version of the Wal-Mart ad displayed to the left of this post. Also, I find it creepy that they have included “Nashville” in such large type (for those merely stumbling upon this blog, Nashville is where I live, not some new type of Wal-Mart music download service). Also strange is that over-powering TM mark. What’s with that?

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Amazon marketing alegbra quiz (If A+S3-A9=X, What is the value of X?)

Amazon marketing alegbra quiz (If A+S3-A9=X, What is the value of X?): I guess the other two people and I who used the A9 Toolbar are scratching our heads wondering why Amazon took down the service when it didn’t “gain traction,” according to reports. Not that the A9 diary I kept of sites I wanted to re-visit was exactly “mission critical,” but it had become a pattern of how I work. It’s not that big a deal, but I liked it and trusted that it would be around — heck, it was Amazon offering it, not some Web 2.0 startup, for goodness sakes. Well, bye-bye A9 tool bar. And bye-bye my diary. I will praise Amazon for at least providing me with a simple way to recover the data I’d been recording — I’d be much more ticked now, if they hadn’t.

But the bigger question is this: What happens if S3, the Amazon strategy to get businesses and individuals to use Amazon servers for all types of mission-critical, business and personal data storage and functions, doesn’t “gain traction” beyond early-adopting geeks who will try anything for a good blog post. (Okay, I plead guilty.) First off, all the savings Jeremy Zawodny can justify for using S3 will need to be balanced against the price of anxiety and prudence one must invest in making “what if” plans for potential future changes in Amazon strategy. Zawodny’s “energy savings” could be negated by investments one should consider in making sure business data is backed up and available locally, as well as on Amazon’s servers. I mean, just in case of the “traction” thing.

Granted, the A9 toolbar is a weak give-away product when compared with the innovative and business-changing potential of S3. Really, S3 is an amazing and bold strategy and could be a huge hit for Amazon, and a tremendous product for businesses and individuals. But what if it isn’t? And pulling A9 right now is a reminder to those of us who follow these types of things that even great companies don’t always get it right 100% of time.

No matter what, I think it’s not the best marketing algebra to add S3 and subtract A9 at the same time.

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