March 2, 2008

Collaborative Kickstart

Stafford & Webb's What is a Wiki? along with Chapter 9 of Wikinomics complement each other nicely in setting the stage for our impending work. The Wikinomics tales of Geek Squad innovation, collaboration via BF2 (exaggerated though it may be), and explosive success after joining forces with Best Buy are exciting - especially with our local connection. Best Buy's own initiatives in creating a more horizontal structure for eliciting ideas and expertise from employees at all levels have to be encouraging to even serious skeptics. The application described by Stafford & Webb for production of their book offers us an example much closer to our own scale. Recognizing each of these as (at least conceptually related) manifestations of the core idea of the Wiki, Benkler's commons-based peer production, we have both theoretical and practical ways to proceed. Between this and our existing outlines and timelines, we should have no problem moving forward confidently and productively.

Inadvertently, I actually read Wikinomics Chapter 9 several weeks ago, and since have casually contemplated wiki as a tool, about how it's scalability and openness might enhance some things within my company. This is the week to think critically about it for the class, and in so doing I find that I really like the possibilities. As an interconnected guidebook for our myriad research procedures, as a list of resources organized geographically, and as a metadata repository for our disparate datasets. Tapping in to the individual specialties and experience of each staff member will make the job easier than the current need for separate sets of instructions, scattered spreadsheets, and worst of all, uncodified personal knowledge not shared with any other personnel. For what it's worth, I see wiki as the most immediately valuable of all the tools and concepts we've surveyed in this class so far. I was already looking forward to seeing what we develop in this class, and after this week I'm also looking forward to translating the concept to my "real-world" business.

February 29, 2008


Wellllllllll...this week I learned what a wikiword is. I had to look it up - after reading the Stafford and Webb article. The readings for this week were very functional, I thought - really cementing in what it is we are doing and working with, for those of us who have never used a wiki before (or blogged before, for that matter). I was happy to see that we are following the suggested protocol from Stafford and Webb including locked off access and self contained sub-topics (p. 2)- it seems we are off to a positive start with our wiki. Some of the technical terms in the article were not explained very thoroughly for those of us who haven't done this stuff before - which was confusing considering their article was a how-to (ie what is a WikiWord I asked???)

I'm really looking forward to the 'doing' part of the project now - not just planning and sharing and learning about the new technology out there. The topic I've claimed is quite interesting to me and I hope we can all learn a bit about the history of bridges in our country via the info I gather. Hisotry is always so interesting because of our tendency to ignore/not be aware of what is around us. We'll see what is out there - I'm afraid it will be stories of bridge collapses that had the same structural malfunction that the 35W bridge did...not that 'we' would get around to checking for the same faults that caused collapses in other places. We'll see. I'm ready to get my hands dirty and hope you all are too. It looks like we have success ahead of us!

I can't wait for more hands-on.

The Wiki Workplace...what a concept. I have worked in the same mundane, hierarchy driven company for 25 years, I cannot fathom being able to have an idea that may actually be implemented. Oh sure, we can have our "skip-level" meetings with managers one step above ours but all that is just smoke and mirrors. They are just trying to appease the masses, make us think that what we say really matters when in actuality, it really doesn't. While this chapter talks about implementing wiki into the workplace to replace these skip level meetings, add valued insights from the people in the trenches, and build a resource available to all employees, I would really like to SEE how it works. The idea is great, and the example of Best Buy's "bottom-up approach" is fascinating, but I still want to SEE how it works. When Krista set up our wiki page, how did she go about it? How are we going to add all the information we have in (and Thinkature)?
I can see how the Team will work, this is the fun part and the most important. If the teamwork is good, the time allocation, decision making, resource allocation, and communication will follow (Tapscott and Williams, 2006. pp. 259-263). The statement made by Ross Mayfiled, CEO of Socialtext says it best, he suggests that part of the reason wikis are popular and useful is inherent in the collaborative tools themselves; asking users to share control, and foster trust. "The more participation that you have...the greater quality you'll have in a project, in the same way that an open source works" (Tapscott and Williams, 2006. p. 254).
On p. 264 in Tapscott and Williams, clear goals, structure, discipline, and leadership in the organization will perhaps be more important in the virtual workplace because of the sub-existence of leadership. I can see that working it's way out in this class. It still confuses me as to where we will end up, but the hands-on learning on how to get there will be the reward.


Especially since this is an online, emerging technology in STC course, I might be about to start a big debate here, but I’m willing to take responsibility.

My technology world runs on Apple. Ever since I started using Apple computers back in elementary school, I have been in love with them. Don’t get me wrong; I think that PCs have a ton of uses, like when you need to turn a ten-minute project into a thirty-minute project, or when you need a hacker magnet. How can you not applaud the fact that Vista takes nearly 2gb of ram to run right of the box, that’s definitely using all of your resources.

All right, I know, I’m being harsh. Mostly that all has to do with programming. I do applaud the work of Mr. Gates, as his dream has become reality, and given us all nightmares. Lets face it; even my phone runs off of a Microsoft OS. I do think that PCs play nice together in the business setting, but I do feel that when it comes to something like Wikis, an Apple is the healthier choice.

In my opinion, Apple has always taken steps to make their computers work for the user, not the other way around. With Apple, each of their programs works with the next.

Now before I sound too much like an Apple ad, I’m going to get to my point. For those of you that don’t know, Apple has developed .Mac, which as I understand it, Apple gives you space on their server, and software to manage it. With this software, you can upload files, photos, and videos, host web pages, and even have your own email. My point in all of this is that this is a major move towards collaboration by a large corporation.

The “What is a Wiki? article by Stafford and Webb, was very well done, and help to fill in the gaps with some of this wiki stuff for me. I do think that it is good that they mention that Wiki’s are “not so good for non-geeks, as you need to be reasonably tech-savvy and familiar with the concept of text markup.? Since everyone isn’t tech savvy, I think that it is good that companies like Apple are creating software that makes it easier for everyone to collaborate online. Apple isn’t the only one; Google is among them as well.

Online collaboration is great, but we need a way to run it. I am very much into modifying cars, and there is a saying that you always want more brakes than you have car. In other words, you always want to have more stopping power than you need. Lots of power is great, but if you don’t have any way to control it, you have problems. My point is that, I think articles like the one written by Stafford and Webb are great, because they really stress the point of being critical about the software that we use. The even caution users about upgrading, saying that “It’s not about the wiki, it’s about the project.? I think that this is a great point to keep in mind as we continue to explore the uncharted waters of Wikis. Know the goal, focus on the project, stay on task and don’t get caught up in making things look good. Just because the car has a nice paint job, doesn’t mean that it will go fast.

P.S. Here is a link to Apple's .Mac, if anyone is interested in taking a further look at it. I just joined a couple of days ago, and am still learning myself.

February 28, 2008

WIKI WIKI WIKI *music to your ears*

When I think of the word Wiki, I think of Wikipedia. Wanna know what else I think of? I think of DJ's spinning records so the sound that comes out is "wiki, wiki, wiki". I thought I'd share my thoughts and hopefully that brought music to your ears. : ) Moreover, Wiki may bring music to anyone's ears. In the reading What is a Wiki , a Wiki is defined as "A wiki is a website where users can add, remove, and edit every page using a web browser. (Stafford & Webb, 2006, p. 1)" It's collaborative and many people are involved. That's like music. It takes not only the melody but the harmony . . . singers and instrumentalists (unless it's a capella [without instrumental accompaniment]). It all comes together to form one piece. I'm not just talking about music, I'm also talking about wiki's. . . All of us in the class are working on a particular area, and we will come together to form one amazing website. If we get it right (and all the areas flow well together), we'll come up with something audible. However, if we get it wrong (and the areas seem mismatched to one another), we'll come up with a scratched record. Try spinning a scratched record. I don't think it would sound like a crisp "wiki, wiki, wiki".

What else was music to my ears when reading this week? From the beginning, I loved reading Chapter 9 of Wikinomics. I was immediately hooked because it mentioned the University of Minnesota and Geek Squad and Best Buy. There are a lot of organizations/companies/institutions mentioned in the book; however, there are millions in this world, and Tapscott & Williams chose to mention those. I love it when I hear about anything that I have ties to. I go to the University of Minnesota! My sister's friends were part of the early team members of Geek Squad! I used to work right by Best Buy Corporate! When I was younger, my family used to take trips to Best Buy for fun! Okay, that was kind of geeky for me to say, but as stated, "[Geek Squad] was acquired by consumer electronics giant Best Buy (Tapscott & Williams, 2006, p. 240)". So, if Best Buy acquired something with the word Geek in it, I think it's all right that I say geeky things every once in a while. :) Besides, those trips were actually very productive--we would get a lot of stuff done there while having fun of course.

In all of this, I think we should remember to have fun. Sometimes having fun is forgotten. Fun should be incorporated in everything we do because I think it makes situations more bearable. We should work hard and play hard/have fun. Think of music. Music is generally fun. Yes, there are some sad songs like "why did s/he break up with me" or "my life is such a mess" or "everything sucks"; however, bringing music into the situation lightens the setting. For example, establishments like bars/clubs/mall retail stores play music. Sometimes when I have a ton of work, I turn music on and get going. Working out at a health club? Look around and you'll see people listening to their iPods/MP3's. Music is fun. Let's have fun. Let our Wiki site be music to our ears!

Predicting the future in 1945

When I first started reading Vannevar Bush’s article, I didn’t realize it had been written in 1945. It mentions war, but it wasn’t until about the fourth paragraph that I had to stop, go back to the top and check out the byline. Once I saw the date, the part about scientists burying their competition in the demand of a common cause made sense because it sure didn’t in regards to the current war—there is still plenty of competition between companies and defense contractors in weapons development.

I know nothing about this gentleman, but he seems to be quite the visionary regarding where technology was heading or where he thought it should go. (According to Wikipedia, he’s the “patron saint of American science.?) Not so much the visionary when it comes to writing as he always uses “he? and “him? for a scientist because the “girls? are languidly keying the stenotype or are armed with key board punches. And yes, I realize he’s a product of the time.

For those of you who didn’t read the article, he discusses ideas regarding dry photography (I’m assuming he meant Polaroid, not digital…would digital be dry photography 2.0?), microphotography, voice recorders and translators, advanced arithmetical machines (calculators?), and the automated telephone. I had to laugh when I read about that. He says, “it could be made extremely fast by substituting thermionic-tube switching for mechanical switching, so that the full selection could be made in one-hundredth of a second. No one would wish to spend the money necessary to make this change in the telephone system? (7). Sorry, Mr. Bush, but I think they did and then they did more.

I thought the part on indexing was right on target (8). He believes the top-down method doesn’t work because “The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association? (8). To fix this, he discusses items being tied together with some coding (tagging?) in the memex, which seems to be a desk-sized computer, but with the internet inside the desk on microfilm. And he can share his information with a friend if he wants…is that a wiki if he reproduces his data and passes it on to a friend who could then code it however he wanted?

I know this is why we are reading this article, but it’s amazing to see what was written 60 years and see how it seems to have come true in some sort of way. When he talks about “trails of interest? (10), it almost sounds like browsing and “ His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important“ sounds like bookmarks (11). The writing style made it a slow read, but it was worth the time.

Moving on to modern times, Jaron Lanier’s essay was great. The idea of a “hive mind? makes a lot of sense, as do his thoughts on the collective. Collectives can be good, or can be stupid, which is really how anything can be given the right circumstances.

And I really liked this quote: “The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we’re devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.? Short of pondering this idea for an hour, I’m having trouble expressing why I like this quote so much. I just do. The internet is way to communicate with family and friends and learn from people I don't know (yet). It's a tool, not a thing.

As for Wikinomics and Best Buy, I think they’ve just become one of my target companies in my upcoming job search…I’d like to work for a progressive company for a change.

Wiki Away

While reading through this weeks assigned readings I found a quote that was really pretty brilliant. On page 243 of Wikinomics Robert Stevens said "I'm now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it" in reference to the communication and collaboration techniques being utilized by the Geek Squad. I have personally seen corporate pecking order destroy creative talent. Stevens' quote really put into perspective how important it is to allow the users to generate and decide the mode of communication. In the case of Geek Squad, they found that communication through playing Battlefield 2 was far more successful then trying to collaborate on the wiki. This concept really brought the readings into focus for me.

Moving backwards a little, the whole concept of the wiki, as introduced by Stafford and Webb was a little narrow. They said that it could be used for writing essays or books but failed to illustrate the other functional aspects of the wiki such as the design example given in Wikinomics. Stafford and Webb spoke about their experience with the wiki while writing a book or the practical aspect of designing an essay in it since wikis let you work without notes. They missed the engineering and artchitectual aspects. The Geek Squaders used their company wiki to design a product that they thought would best serve their customers ( Tapscott 243-244). The wiki was their shared drawing board that had one major advantage, it never runs out of space. The use of the wiki to design the flash drive allowed mass collaboration on a very interesting level. Employees around the world could bring their ideas, drawings, and concepts to a preverbal whiteboard. It was an unlimited space with unlimited potential. Without the wiki only a small group would have been able to participate in the design process, the wiki opened the doors to everyone throughout the country.

Despite Stafford and Webb's lack of scope regarding the use of wikis they did very accurately illustrate the advantages: 1) instant collaboration without regards to location or time 2) One master document that everyone can view, share, and edit which prevents duplicate work and open one person's ideas up to everyone 3) Every page revision is saved and archived which allows the users to monitor the development of the project 4) Everyone has a say. No one is excluded as a result of geographic location or limited meeting space that happens in the standard board rooms. (2)

There was one more thought from Wikinomics that I would like to comment on and that is the concept that the "Net Generation" seeks to dissipate the pre-existing hierarchies in the corporate workplace. Networking, particularly wikis, allows workers to disperse over a greater geographical error which will potentially eliminate the role of the typical boss (246). I thought this was a great thought. Working in the corporate world I can say that I often push our office to adapt new methods of communication and collaboration so that physical boundaries no longer limit us. The internet has brought such a wide range of clients to many companies, why shouldn't it also bring a wide range of employees. i think one day we will see many companies who have employees located all across the country. Most of these employees may never meet each other face-to-face but will probably know each other only through the virtual world. In this completely virtual corporate world bosses will cease to exist and cubicles will be a thing of the past. Working where you want when you want through the use of wikis may be coming in the near future.

The New Economics of Work

While “the days of lifelong employment and pensions are already long gone? (Wikinomics, p.265) that doesn’t mean that one cannot still yearn a day similar to those long gone. The work place is quickly changing and quickly. It still disturbs me when I consider that the Internet as a public place only came into being in the late 1980s to early 1990s. The Internet has changed the world in a very short time putting me into that group of people mentioned by Tapscott and Williams that has to learn how to work with all these new types of web technology. This fact seems odd even to me, considering how technological my life has been since my first experiences with the Apple IIe and Dos. However, computer literacy and experience has little to do with Internet literacy and experience, which is the type of experience that seems to be necessary in these new work environments. Although slowing down the changes in the work environment will probably never be accomplished even if a majority of people wanted it to happen. The work environment is attempting to change in time with the newest technology and is leaving people behind faster and faster. “The shift from cottage industries to the factory system unfolded over the better part of a century. The transition from industrial factories to today’s high-tech office environments took at least a few decades.? (Wikinomics, p.266), and today the transitions are happening even faster, forcing new levels of adaptation upon those of us trying to live in this accelerating environment.

Famous for Being Famous

—Sara 28.02.08

What I’ve learned from this week’s reading is that wikis are wonderful but they don’t measure up to the utopian ideals bestowed upon them by wiki worshipers. For some things, wiki wisdom is great. For others, the wisdom of the collective is really bad. Jaron Lanier, Chris Wilson, and Matt Barton discuss important philosophical and functional shortcomings and misconceptions of wikis and wiki wisdom. Their perspectives are important—knowing the limitations of the collective wisdom helps all Internet users evaluate projects like wikis and leverage their unique capabilities.

The philosophy behind wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies resonates with me: non-hierarchical consensus decision-making, equal access and participation, the people rule ... Reading about the philosophy and operation of PageRank, for example, should make my heart sing: The Google algorithm “ … relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. … PageRank results from a “ballot? among all the other pages on the World Wide Web about how important a page is. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support (Wikipedia “PageRank?).?

If the philosophy of PageRank and the wiki is so lofty and honorable, why does it make me think of Paris Hilton? After reading Lanier’s article, I see the connection. Paris Hilton is famous for being famous. She’s not uniquely talented, smart or especially pretty but if she were a Web page, she would get a lot of “votes.? In the logic of PageRank, that makes her important and valuable.

The phenomenon of Ms. Hilton illustrates Lanier’s argument about the collective wisdom: sometimes it’s really stupid. Tools like wikis assume that consensual processes yield incremental improvements to their resulting products (Lanier “Digital Maosim? pg. 4). In reality, collectivism does not guarantee continuous improvement or quality or authority. That’s why Wikipedia isn’t an acceptable for academic research. That’s why Paris Hilton is famous despite being uninteresting and unimportant.

Lanier warns us that blind faith in the wisdom of the collective is dangerous. He doesn’t have to invoke Maoism to appreciate the negative machinations of the “hive? mentality however. It is evident in the degradation of media and culture treated “collectively.? Lanier argues for example, that digital collectives like Wikipedia and aggregators, in particular, have the effect of averaging content, eliminating the highs and lows, the controversial and unique (Lanier “Digital Maosim? pg. 8). The result is banality or worse—Lanier cites American Idol, popurls. The problem is, quality is by definition never average. Moreover, participation in online collectives is usually anonymous. Consequently, Lanier contends, personal voice and the subtleties that give language full meaning disappear along with authenticity, authority and accountability (Lanier “Digital Maosim? pg. 4). He concludes that “The collective is good at solving problems which demand results that can be evaluated by uncontroversial performance parameters, but it is bad when taste and judgment matter (Lanier “Digital Maosim? pg. 9).?

Chris Wilson augments Lanier’s views, arguing that even exemplary online collectives such as Wikipedia and Digg are neither wise nor collective. He reports that almost all social media sites are controlled by a minority of users and/or designated administrators. In many cases, a small group of the most active participants author the majority of the site’s content. Algorithms tend to favor the most devoted users while magnifying the disproportionate amount of control a tiny elite has over content and rankings. Administrators also adjust algorithms for specific ends in addition to regulating content on an ongoing basis. In practice, Wilson concludes, “ … it is a mistake to assume [these sites owe their] success to the wisdom of the online crowd (Wilson “The Wisdom? pg. 1).?

Matt Barton seems to have come to terms with the contradictions and shortcomings of the wiki way and offers very practical advice on the best uses of wikis. Although he accepts Lanier’s criticism that wikis abolish the notion of authorship and personal voice, his general rule is a more positive: “projects that emphasize authorship or require protection are not proper wiki applications (Barton “Embrace?5.21.04).? Accordingly, Barton rules out using a wiki for creative writing projects, portfolios, editorials or rhetorical argumentation. Projects well-suited to the wiki way include encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks or textbooks, or any type of document authored by a group.

Barton’s perspective is a welcome answer to the disillusionment Janier or Wilson might provoke. Although wikis and the collective wisdom do not add up to the “shining examples of Web democracy? they promise, they are well worth preserving (Wilson “The Wisdom? pg. 1).? Internet users need to understand what wikis do well and what they don’t. Knowing the limitations of the collective wisdom helps all Internet users evaluate projects like wikis and leverage their unique capabilities. In the process, we may all learn something about collaboration and digital democracy.

Barton, Matt. “Embrace the Wiki Way!? 21 May, 2004.
Lanier, Jaron. “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism.? Edge: The Third Culture. 30 May, 2006.
Wilson, Chris. “The Wisdom of the Chaperones.? 22 February, 2008.
Tapscott and Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio Hardcover, 2006.

Geeks + Wiki's = Global Domination

I first noticed the ugly looking black and white beetle with the logo "Geek Squad" impaled on the side of it about five or six years ago. When I asked what they did, the only response I got was "they fix electronics." Over the years I have seen an increasing number of our Geek Squad mobiles roaming around, and it has heightened my curiosity about the company that once was independent. I had no idea that the Geek Squad was taken over by Best Buy, but then again I don't go into Best Buy a lot.

What I thought was interesting and amazing at the same time was the fact that Stephens struggled to set up an agenda that encouraged the collaboration of a systematic wiki so that members could keep in touch and stay focused on the "mission", and it so happens that the techo-weenies were a step ahead of him, but with a slightly different approach. They didn't want to collaborate the boring way, they wanted to brag to each other virtually while they were blowing each other's brains out. I guess the point I am trying to make is that the more engaging and fun the activity is at least in this case, the more collaborative and productive work can be on a global scale....especially among nerds. Stephens comments, "They're talking and they're hanging out, and often they're talking shop and swapping tips" (pg. 243). That is mass-collaboration at its finest.

However, as mass collaboration has matured the past three years with different methods of work strategies including tools like blogs, wikis, chat rooms, peer-to-peer networks and personal broadcasting, the hierarchy of old strategies used in traditional firms have been crumbling. Is this change happening too fast? "Will to much openness and self-organization in the workplace lead to disorganization, confusion, and a lack of focus" (pg. 264). I have been sitting on this question for awhile and I still have not found the answer even after Schmidt's comment, "you tell people what the company's priorities are, and somehow it works out, self-organization is better" (pg. 264). I have concluded that I just need to be in that working atmosphere to find out for myself, instead of taking everyone else's opinions. I am definitely more of a busy worker than a bursty one, so hopefully as our wiki project continues to grow I am able to focus up and rely on the collaboration and knowledge of others to help steer me in the right direction.

Virtual Collaboration

After reading so much the past few weeks about group collaboration it is finally time to begin this as a class. Our ideas and contributions will develop a website that will educate and inform the public. Wikis for the most part are new to me other than occasionally researching a topic and finding it on Wikipedia. Up until now I never realized that anyone could post a wiki to the public, and because of that we must be careful about the content that we choose to provide and how it will be presented.

There are definitely advantages to using a wiki. We can collaborate as a class without having to meet at specific times or keep at the same pace. We are able to keep our ideas in one place so that all can see and add, remove, and edit as we go along. As from the reading I think it can be best described as "A wiki is a website where every page can be edited in a web browser, by whomever happens to be reading it. It's so terrifically easy for people to jump in and revise pages that wikis are becoming known as the tool of choice for large, multiple-participant projects." (Stafford and Webb).

While the advantages to using a wiki are great, it is important to keep in mind that there are also some disadvantages. Since each of us are going to be contributing to this site it is extremely important that it appears uniform and well structured. By that I mean that we want it to be easy to use and not messy, because that may lead us to lose our intended audience.

It is our goal to create an informational site about the 35W bridge collapse to the public. In order to achieve that success we must take important steps to reach our end goal. Last week we each chose a topic to cover and become knowledgeable with. We then each prepared a task list that should keep us on track. Although everyone's list is different, they all keep us on a schedule that best suits our personal goals.

I predict that this class will teach me how to effectively collaborate using today's technology and will in turn help me succeed in the workplace. The web is reshaping workplaces in a profound way. "Increasingly employees are using blogs, wikis, and other new tools to collaborate and form ad hoc communities across departmental and organizational boundaries." (Wikinomics, pg. 240). A perfect example of how wikis can aid in collaboration and innovation in the workplace is the company Geek Squad. These employees use wikis to "brainstorm new ideas, manage projects, swap service tips, ans socialize with their peers." (Wikinomics, pg. 240). At the start this company had 60 employees and was earning $3 million in annual revenue. "Today Geek squad has grown to 12,000 service agents, and under Best Buy's umbrella the division clocks nearly $1 billion in services from over 700 locations across North America, and returns $280 million to Best Buy's bottom line." (Wikinomics, 239).

Companies are moving away from the hierarchial workplaces and implementing more collaborative and socially connected ideas. More and more companies are finding that they are becoming more successful by using the ideas from their employees. As Robert Stevens creator of the Geek Squad learned, " First observe, and then implement. I am deathly afraid of wasting time and energy trying to get people to do something they don't want to do. So next time, before I build that shiny new playground, I'm going to think about how Geek Squad agents are already organizing--it's just more efficient that way." ( Wikinomics, pg. 245).

Today's workplace is becoming more self-organizing. Mass collaboration is being created with the use of wikis and is changing the way good and services are created. Companies that change from a traditional hierarchial structure and allow the use of creativity and technology will be able to have a competitive edge and in turn be more successful.

There's a reason I love Best Buy!

I have to say, since I was a teenager, I loved Best Buy. I would shop there often and would think about the store when I wasnt there. And, still, today I have a desire and drive toward that company more then any other electronics company (nay, company in general). But what is it that drives people like me toward a, still, heartless, profit driven, behemoth beacon of capitalistic nonsense? First and foremost, they have always treated me well. I have purchased products that appeared new, but lacked the contents (due to some punk kid thieves) and was able to exchange copies without any hassel or questions asked. I am always greeted at the door when I enter (whether I want to be or not). They price things like new release movies at a decent sale price where other retailers charge full (or more) for quite some time before the prices are reduced. The reward zone program allows for the customer (namely me) to feel like they are part of the company by giving coupons that equal a certain cash value toward another bestbuy purchase in order to reward people for shopping there. Further this program gives periodic % off coupons for purchases as well.

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