Monthly Archives: January 2009

Taxation

It really annoys me when I see these commercials on TV where people owed the IRS $3 million, but through some lawyer type they were able to settle for $1 million. They look so smug. Whenever I see them all I can think is well now you conned me out of $2 million. Me being the tax payer, of course. If they owed $3 million they must have earned a heap and so they should have to pay it.

I live in New Hampshire which keeps bleating on about no income tax and no sales tax. Great, but the property taxes kill you! Since I work in Massachusetts I have to pay income tax there and still get whammied by the property taxes in NH. Yes, my fault for being so cheap as to only afford a decent house in NH, I know!

During the recent election, (remember that?), everyone was against anyone in NH who even whispered the prospect of an income tax. I don’t get why they think this is so great. As far as I can see, income tax is the fairest redistribution of money from those who can afford it to those who need it.

Property taxes can unfairly affect the seniors who aren’t earning an increasing wage to cover the increasing taxes. I know they get some kind of break, but I am sure it isn’t that great. So say I buy a house for $50,000 and nobody lives around me. Then 20 years down the road some development grows out towards me and up pop a bunch of McMansions. Now my property taxes go way up because the area is now better, but I haven’t changed. Sure, my property value might have gone up a bit, but I now have a house that is 20 years older. And maybe I am retired now. So how do I afford these nasty taxes?

I think an income tax is a patriotic duty. There, I said it.

I don’t even feel I get much value from my proprty taxes anyway – they seem to all go on schools. What do I care – I have to pay for trash pickup. I have to light my street just so nobody drives into my mailbox! I guess the road plowing is good – they do seem to come around 20 times each snowstorm.

Maybe they should give the tax credit to people who don’t have kids – hah! That would reduce the school population, reduce the carbon footprint, reduce trash and sewage, reduce health insurance. Oh yes, now it is making sense! Don’t see it happening anytime soon though – lol.

Maybe I am alone in my defense of the income tax, but what you don’t really see, you don’t really miss. It comes out of my paycheck before I notice and I just care about the final amount, not the gross amount. As long as the goverment is not wasting it on stupid earmarks and pork barrel spending schemes then I have to assume it is doing some good.

Oh well, that is my rant over for another Monday morning.

Changing Times

I was lying in bed last night, as you do when you are supposed to be falling asleep, and I got to thinking about how almost impossible it was to remember a world before the internet. This did not help the falling asleep process at all! Just thinking about Twitter and how to apply it for business, etc got me amazed at how quickly things have come into our lives that we now take for granted.

I know washing machines and toasters were big inventions in their day, but it wasn’t like there was a mass adoption of these appliances all at once. Looking at the internet – it took a while to catch on, but once someone figured out a decent interface and some applications, it was moving.

Every month there seems to be another social media application that comes out and spreads like wildfire. Can almost be a bit overwhelming to keep up with, but it is also very exciting. I love digging around to see what is new and what it could be used for.

I just figured out you can have twitter automatically fed with your lastest blog posts – part of what prompted me to write this – a test! We had been looking at using a blog for Customer Support to communicate with customers. Now that would be even more valuable because the blog could generate tweets as well. Marketing is meeting with me today to brainstorm about ways to use Twitter for customer generation.

I like that we can use the same tool for both areas of the business. Marketing wants new customers and Support wants to develop the relationship with existing customers. I used to produce a monthly e-newsletter for Support and it got some good feedback. Who better to tell you what they want, than the users!

Blogs and Twitter might just get us to an even closer relationship with the customers – many of whom become the strongest advocates of our products.

So I will continue to surf around and play with the new cool toys just so I can get our business running the best it can!

Using Twitter for business

I have been aware of Twitter for some time, but I didn’t really see how it was of much use unless you had a huge amount of friends around. Not that I am saying I don’t have any friends, of course! But my friends email me or we talk on the phone. I get the occasional whine about not being on Facebook from one of them – another account that needs to be updated!

For my real technology savvy friends we IM. Can’t be bothered to text on the cell phone either. I can see some instances when that might be convenient, but I am either at work or home and around a PC. I even got my Mum on IM and we use the free Yahoo VoIP service to chat – she doesn’t quite have the typing speed yet!

Back to Twitter though, could it really be of some use? Well, that question was answered very recently. After I lost power in the “Great Ice Storm of 2008” I was able to follow the PSNH (electricity supplier) updates on twitter. Whenever they updated the website with the current status of each town, they tweeted it and I could go check how close they were to my area.

This was so successful that I started to think of other business uses of it. Our Customer Support team uses the website to post announcements, technical documents and new release information. Why not tweet it too? Marketing has webinars it produces and hosts – why not tweet those?

We created a LinkedIn group for Trillium Software a few months ago and have been looking into driving up membership and discussions. I think this could be another way to keep our customers informed, media outlets notified and prospects interested.

Will update on whether the suggestions are taken on board….

Meanwhile, you can follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fionamacd