Friday, July 31, 2009

Take Back the Beep!

Date: July 30, 2009 1:10:24 PM EDT
Subject: Personal Tech: The Mandatory 15-Second Voicemail Instructions

Personal Tech
The New York Times Thursday, July 30, 2009
- From the Desk of David Pogue -

The Mandatory 15-Second Voicemail Instructions

Last week, in The Times and on my blog, I've been ranting
about one particularly blatant money-grab by U.S. cellphone
carriers: the mandatory 15-second voicemail instructions.

Suppose you call my cell to leave me a message. First you
hear my own voice: "Hi, it's David Pogue. Leave a message,
and I'll get back to you"--and THEN you hear a 15-second
canned carrier message.

* Sprint: "[Phone number] is not available right now. Please
leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have
finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for
more options."

* Verizon: "At the tone, please record your message. When
you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1
for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.

* AT&T: "To page this person, press five now. At the tone,
please record your message. When you are finished, you may
hang up, or press one for more options."

* T-Mobile: "Record your message after the tone. To send a
numeric page, press five. When you are finished recording,
hang up, or for delivery options, press pound."

(You hear a similar message when you call in to hear your
own messages. "You. Have. 15. Messages. To listen to your
messages, press 1." WHY ELSE WOULD I BE CALLING?)

I, the voicemailbox owner, cannot turn off this additional
greeting message. You, the caller, can bypass it, but only
if you know the secret keypress--and it's different for
each carrier. So you'd have to know which cellphone carrier
I use, and that of every person you'll ever call; in other
words, this trick is no solution.

These messages are outrageous for two reasons. First, they
waste your time. Good heavens: it's 2009. WE KNOW WHAT TO

Do we really need to be told to hang up when we're
finished!? Would anyone, ever, want to "send a numeric
page?" Who still carries a pager, for heaven's sake? Or
what about "leave a callback number?" We can SEE the
callback number right on our phones!

Second, we're PAYING for these messages. These little
15-second waits add up--bigtime. If Verizon's 70 million
customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon
rakes in about $620 million a year. That's your money. And
your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting
there listening to the same message over and over again
every year.

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in
Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU--Average Revenue Per User.
The seminars all had titles like, "Maximizing ARPU In a
Digital Age." And yes, several attendees (cell executives)
admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail
instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime,
thereby maximizing ARPU.

Right now, the carriers continue to enjoy their
billion-dollar scam only because we're not organized enough
to do anything about it. But it doesn't have to be this
way. You don't have to sit there, waiting to leave your
message, listening to a speech recorded by a third-grade
teacher on Ambien.

Let's push back, and hard. We want those time-wasting,
money-leaking messages eliminated, or at least made

I asked my Twitter followers for help coming up with a war
cry, a slogan, to identify this campaign. They came up with
some good ones:

"Where's the Beep?"

"Let it Beep"

"We Know. Let's Go."

"Lose the Wait"

"My Voicemail, My Recording"

"Hell, no, we won't hold!"

My favorite, though, is the one that sounds like a call to
action: "Take Back the Beep."

And here's how we're going to do it.

We're going to descend, en masse, on our carriers. Send them
a complaint, politely but firmly. Together, we'll send them
a LOT of complaints.

If enough of us make our unhappiness known, I'll bet they'll

I've told each of the four major carriers that they'll be
hearing from us. They've told us where to send the

* Verizon: Post a complaint here:

* AT&T: Send e-mail to Mark Siegel, executive director of
media relations:

* Sprint: Post a complaint here:

* T-Mobile: Post a complaint here:

Three of the four carriers are just directing us to their
general Web forums. Smells like a cop-out, I know. (As for
AT&T: Props to the guy for letting me publish his e-mail
address! Hope he knows what he's in for!)

Yet all four carriers promise that they'll read and consider
our posts. And we have two things going for us.

First, I have a feeling that the volume of complaints will
be too big for them to ignore. To that end, I hope you'll
pass these instructions along, blog them, Twitter them, and
spread the word. (Gizmodo, Consumerist and others have
agreed to help out.) And I hope you'll take the time to
complain yourself. Do it now, before you forget.

Second, we'll all be watching. I'll be reporting on the
carriers' responses. If they ignore us, we'll shame them.
If they respond, we'll celebrate them.

Either way, it's time to rise up. It's time for this crass,
time-wasting money-grab to end for good.

Visit David Pogue on the Web at

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What if Networking!

What If Networking is Launched

Writing a book on networking has brought me great connections and result, so it seemed a natural progression to actually be the one to produce networking events, instead of the one to attend them!

More than a year ago, I tested the waters with my first brand, a woman’s networking event, for professional women. I called it Backwards in Heels after the famous quote by Anne Richardson, feisty former governor of Texas, who said that Ginger Rogers was a woman’s hero because she did everything her partner…a man did…BUT she did it BACKWARDS AND IN HEELS! Very empowering! And yes, as I look at my 4th event in September on the horizon, and the requests I have had from UK, the west coast to go Backwards in Heels there, I know it’s an important networking brand that appeals!

Without missing a beat, I turned my attention to another market…the breakfast networking circuit! Now, I must tell you, I am a BNI flunkie…and so I actually designed another networking event with a feisty irreverent twist… so not BNI!!!I wanted to take elegance and turn it on it’s ear. I have done so with Trish Rubin’s Breakfast Network MORNING SING! With the sponsorship of Steinway & Sons and bath junkie, I have produced a unique event, powered by Betsy Hirsch of Steinway and vocal teacher, Ingrid Saxon. And we are up for our 4th Sing on August 27th!

SO why stop there??? To create the buzz of people meeting people, which I get the biggest kick out of…to assure that my mission is advanced…to connect all the best people in NY to all the best people in NY, I have added to my networking string of pearls and have developed a collection of branded, networking events that will meet a variety of needs and styles…all under the brand Trish RUBIN’s What if Networking!

Check out www.whatif

Barter networking events, speed dating and networking events are part of the collection…and more will come!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Check Out "PIZZA MAN" for Affordable SPICY THEATER in NYC

From my producer friend...Susan Rankus!

Hello friends,
> We have a smashing play coming up in just 3 days: Pizza Man!
> This play is hilarious and dark. It makes you laugh uncontrollably then
> smacks you upside the head which gives you the strange sensation of laughing
> even more. (Don't worry, only the actors will be the ones literally getting
> smacked.)
> We like this play because it's extremely entertaining, but also because
> these endearing, corky mal-adjusted characters bring up some very important
> questions about love and sex, finding success and gender identities.
> We pose the question, then you get to go home and decide what you truly
> think. That is theatre at its Brechtian finest.
> Oh, and the playwright Darlene Craviotto is tweeting about us (it's tweeting
> and not twittering, right?!). She wants everyone to see our show. And to
> know it's Pizza Man, not "The" Pizza Man. It's an L.A. pizza chain thing.
> ;)
> ULU Theatre Collective Presents
> Pizza Man
> Begin with one woman on the verge of a late-twenties breakdown, whisk in a
> neurotic roommate; pepper with broken hearts. Knead in one cocky pizza man,
> bake at 400 degrees, and watch the hilarity sizzle in this laugh out loud
> dark comedy by Darlene Craviotto.
> Directed by Bricken Sparacino
> Staring: Sam Albertsen, and Susan Rankus, Hannah Wolfe,
> July 19th @ 5:30pm
> July 21st @ 8:00pm
> July 24th @ 5:30pm
> July 26th @ 2:00pm
> July 30th @ 6:30pm
> July 31st @ 7:30pm
> USE Code: PIZZ for $15 tickets!!
> Purchase tickets here:
> More info here:

Friday, July 17, 2009


Mark your calendars..August 27th will mark the 4th...yes 4th time Steinway has partnered with Trish Rubin's Breakfast Network Morning Sing...'m just out of the first planning meeting..BUT there will be a surprise about the event soooooo...stay tuned!!!

The Zone for Pink Slip Success

Looking for a comfortable...I coach people through the ZONE of Proximal Development as they job hunt! Check Vygotsky! It's the natural place for job seekers to VISIT!!

Tips for using Networking to Find that New Job!

It's more fuel for your networking fire....REMEMBER...YOU ARE A NETWORKING PROFESSIONAL!!!! THAT's YOUR JOB!

Mandy Bass Knows Biz Language

Check out Mandy's Bass' post from her blog. I stumbled on it on Twitter in a follow frenszy, but as a frome Teacher of English I love the detail at the word Level!!

Twenty Magic Words That Sell and How to Use Them
Mastering the art of influence involves simply guiding other people’s attention, and the most powerful tool – which you already own! — is your use of language. Your language is like a spotlight that directs WHAT others notice and – more importantly — HOW they notice.
Twenty Magic Words That Sell And How To Use Them

By Mandy Bass

Compare these two experiences, and see the difference…

You are at a seminar in a hotel conference room. The speaker in the front of the room projects a picture on the wall, and wants you to notice something. He takes out a laser pointer and aims it at what he wants you to see. He doesn’t dim the lights or pull the window curtains — he simply aims a little hand-held laser pointer at the picture and starts talking. It takes you a moment to see the shimmering red dot…

You are at Radio City Music Hall, the largest indoor theater in the world. The place is magnificent, and you are watching a must-see musical. The hall is famously styled in deco fashion. The stage is magnificent. The costumes of every performer sparkle. The music is flawless. Suddenly one performer comes forward to do a solo number. The room darkens while ALL the spotlights of the entire auditorium aim at the lone performer. In fact, the spotlights shine so brightly on the ONE person that everything else in the room literally fades from view. Your attention is riveted…

Think about your sales presentation, and then ask yourself…

Would you rather point out your message with a twitchy little red laser-dot — that people have to squint to notice, or would you rather shine an 800-watt spotlight?

YOUR sales presentations, marketing letters – or ANY occasion in which you are influencing – should rivet other people’s attention to your message.
And the fastest way to create this experience is to master your use of language.

Not to bend other people to your will, or manipulate other people cruelly, but to gently use language in a way that FEELS natural and comfortable to the person you are speaking to.

Hypnotic Language

In just the past 30 years the effect of language on the human mind has been studied carefully, thanks to the pioneering work of a psychiatrist named Milton Erickson.

Dr. Erickson was a hypnotherapist who found — in 40 years of practice
– that using presuppositions in language could make for more rapid changes in his clients. Often he could create profound transformation in just one session!

He was constantly using presuppositions – things presumed to be true – to guide his clients to assume helpful things. In fact, his carefulness with language began even before his clients walked in the door. Sometimes he would literally write 20 pages of hypnotic suggestion, and then tighten all those pages of suggestion into THREE pages packed richly with subtle meaning and layers of presupposition.

He became so renowned that toward the end of his life he had visitors from around the world; Psychiatrists, therapists and linguists traveled from around the world to see — up close — how this eccentric wheelchair-bound Dr. Erickson made such dramatic changes in people using only brief conversation.

“Do you want to go into a light trance or a deep trance?” (Presupposing that they will go into a trance.)

“I wonder how surprised and delighted you will be when you find this problem has completely vanished.” (Presupposing that this problem will completely vanish.)

“Don’t open your eyes until your unconscious mind has integrated these changes at the deepest possible levels.” (Presupposing that the client’s unconscious mind will make these changes happen deeply before they open their eyes.)

Not surprisingly, some business-minded researchers analyzed Dr. Erickson’s words carefully, and found that his unique conversational style would make for a powerful enhancement to the art of selling.

Of course, the use of presuppositions by sales professionals was already well known by the 1970’s. Many sales experts wrote guidebook after guidebook on the art of assumptive selling, a don’t-take-no attitude that begins by presupposing that the client will buy. (Sometimes called the “assumptive close,” the “either/or” close or the “illusion of choice” close.) See if these sound familiar…

“Do you want this in red or in white?”§

“Will you want the 10-year extended warranty on this, or just the standard§ 3-year warranty?”

“Do you want the basic or the deluxe model?”§

The above presuppositions are useful, certainly effective, but their ongoing use has contributed to the myth of the pushy salesperson, the kind who railroads people into a sale, whether they like it or not.

By unpacking some of the language patterns of Dr. Erickson (and others, beyond the scope of this brief report), there are other MORE artful ways of using presupposition in language, and THAT is what you will learn next…

20 Magic Words that Sell

Adverb Advantage

One of the MOST powerful things to use in language is an adverb. Adverbs are those words that SET THE TONE for the action – whether that action is purchasing your product or even THINKING about your product.

Imagine saying “He happily walked down the street.”

“Happily” is the adverb. (Usually, but not always, you can spot the adverb by the “-ly” at the end.)

The action is modified. Not just WALKING down the street, but HAPPILY walking. Notice what else changes when you say, “He sadly walked down the street”? After all, it’s the same action, but the perception of the action is different, altered by just that one word.

Here are a few must-use adverbs…

1. Naturally
“Naturally, the next time you sit down with a client, or§ speak with a client on the phone, you’ll be mindful of the effect your words are already having on your client’s imagination.”
“Naturally, this program will§ benefit you not just in the near future, but even more over time…”

2. Easily
“You will find yourself easily using these methods in your own§ practice, with clients AND colleagues.”
“As a result of practicing these§ methods, you’ll easily find that clients listen to every word.”

3. Finally
“Finally you’ve found a financial planner whose options for§ you are reasonable AND fit with your most important long-term goals.”

A Helpful Adjective…

An important thing to remember when using adjectives – ANY adjective (although I am singling out just one for Power Word status) — is to put the adjective BEFORE the thing you are describing. Happily, this works as well as an adverb when used this way, setting the tone of the item or behavior BEFORE they even hear what that item or behavior is! Think of it as creating a bias FOR your product or service before they even hear about it!

4. Unlimited
“Think of the unlimited comfort you will have, knowing that§ this plan is increasing in value for you, day in and day out.”

Steering their attention with careful verbs

5. Aware
“Are you aware of the benefits this program will have on your§ bottom line?”
“I know you’re aware of the short-term value of this plan, so§ let’s discuss the long-term benefit to you AND your family.”

6. Realize
“Have you begun to realize the value that this will have on§ your practice?”
“When you realize how easy this program is to maintain,§ you’ll find it even more valuable.”

7. Experience
“As you experience more and more the benefits of using§ these methods, the value to your professional life will be even more far-reaching.”

Finding space in their mind

8. Before
“Before you think about the value this package has to you and§ your company, let’s discuss the superb benefit this has for you personally.”
“Before you go ahead with this program, I have to tell you§ about a few of the bonuses you’ll enjoy by signing up this month.”

9. During
“During our conversation today, you may come up with even more§ reasons why this program is a perfect fit for you, so don’t hesitate to ask me to clarify any of those details for you.”

10. After
“After you become a platinum client of our firm, you may be§ surprised at the comfortable family feeling you’ll enjoy, and you may have a little feeling of regret that you didn’t become an inner circle member a long time ago.”
“After you consider the reasons why this program is so helpful,§ let’s take a moment to look at the temporary discounts that make this so affordable too.”

11. Among
“Among the compelling reasons why you’ll want to join our firm§ is one reason that shines even brighter than the rest, and our conversation today will help you to uncover what that is.”

12. Of course (“Of course” is technically a phrase, not a word, but I’m including it here anyway because it’s REALLY powerful.) You can also substitute the word “obviously”.
“Of course, the best part of this product is how§ easily you can use it…”
“Of course, the reason clients keep coming back to§ us is the ease of use and the outstanding customer service.”
“Obviously,§ the best part of this product is how easily you can use it…”
“Obviously,§ the reason clients keep coming back to us is the ease of use and the outstanding customer service.”

13. Expand
“To expand on the list of reasons our clients like this§ program, let’s take a look at the personal gains you can expect…”

14. Beyond
“Beyond all the financial benefits of enrolling today, there§ are three INTANGIBLE benefits you might not have realized yet…”

Words that Connect & Command

15. And
“Our conversation today has given you new options for choosing§ the best solution AND as you hear more about the unique advantages that my company offers, you can be sure in the future when you look back on today you will feel good that you HAVE made the right decision now.”

Here is an important tip: Use the word “AND” instead of the word “BUT.” The word “BUT” is also a powerful presupposition BUT instead of connecting ideas, it divides them by negating what was said right before it.

Notice how much more congenial and less argumentative the exact same phrases seem in the following examples.

Instead of:
“You are a great cook BUT I am watching my calories.”

“You are a great cook AND I am watching my calories.”

See the difference?

Experience the difference by substituting “AND” for the word “BUT” in the following examples below:
• “You did a fabulous sales job but I can’t afford it”
• “Your vital signs are good but your cholesterol is high”
• “This is an excellent retirement vehicle but interest rates are low right now”
• “I like you but I can’t go out with you”

16. As
“As you hear the reasons why the coaching program is helpful, you§ can decide for yourself whether you want the ongoing personal and professional benefits that this program will help you create.”

17. Causes
“The wisdom you have gained over the years causes you to§ realize the exceptional value of a having an objective business coach.”

18. Because
“Because you are committed to finding the best, most§ cost-effective solution, this is the program you want to register for today.”

Hidden Commands

19. Now
“As you consider the permanent gains this teleconference will§ help you create in your business – now – you can think for yourself of the ongoing value this teleconference will provide in your personal life as well.”

20. Stop
“When you STOP and consider how valuable this information is, you will wonder about the other interesting tools you could profit from, if you took the time to read this magazine every month.”