Cancelling Basecamp? They issue refunds!

I was really impressed by cancelling my Basecamp account — they have an interesting refunds page. Keep in mind that it wasn’t Basecamp that I didn’t enjoy using (I love the entire suite); projects that I had used it for were pretty much over, so I just wanted to export the data, verify it was good, and then stop using it. Most of what I do can be done quite easily in OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, and Evernote (and there is Google Drive for collaboration). Chat has mostly been outsourced to Slack.

Anyway, long story short, I opted to cancel my account recently. I was pointed to the refunds page. I learned this:

If you forgot to cancel Basecamp a couple months ago, and you haven’t used Basecamp since then, we’ll give you a full refund for a few back months. No problem.

Wow. So I emailed their support, and it turns out they can provide refunds for up to six months if you didn’t use Basecamp much (yes, they also do partial refunds). This is amazing. I’m not sure how confident any other SaaS company is when it comes to refunds, but this puts the customer first, and Basecamp gets it right.

Next time I have a project, I will signup at Basecamp, with confidence.

Trust Agents

Remember Trying Audible Gets You Two Free Audiobooks. Listened to Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust and had a few takeaways:

  • Make us want a product. Make us trust a person. 
  • Trust agents plant seeds that bloom into evangelism on their own. Simply to create a positive impression of the brand. 
  • Acknowledge. Apologize. Act. 
  • Always be connecting. 
  • Mastermind groups – likeminded people to call your own. Connect with others. This is an idea from Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich. 
  • Ronin – masterless samurai. I had no idea about this before, but I have certainly read up on the Ronin since.
  • Have a wide network and you will never be in need of work.

Again, like most books on social media, this probably made a lot of sense to read in 2010, but listening to it now is also just as good. Even if you’re adept at social media, you will still learn something new which is a good thing. 

Audible: Crush It, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve been an Audible subscriber for many years, but it’s only been in recent times that I’m listening to audiobooks a lot more diligently (cutting out many podcasts in favour of this; good production quality and it’s not conversational, means you kind of win in terms of knowledge and time). Why not try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks?

Today I’ll talk about two Gary Vaynerchuk books: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion and The Thank You Economy. These were both very easy listens, and Gary is known as a social media maven with his WineLibrary.tv and now his agency. I didn’t quite enjoy that he went off-script a lot, which made these books very podcast like.

As for the positives? Learn how to build your personal brand, why great content matters, the importance of authenticity in your messaging, and how to monetise your passion and create a new life for yourself. I know social media (or at least I think I do; I was an early adopter of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) so it may be useful for some but not necessarily all folk.

The Thank You Economy had a bit more for me:

  • B2B buyers are really also individual customers – there is a human behind the purchasing decision. This is where social and a good relationship makes sense
  • When you spend money, do you spend it back on your customers (i.e. Throw a party) versus spending it thru an intermediary (i.e. Run a billboard ad). This could be interesting from the standpoint of booth vs party
  • Word of mouse (you click nowadays!)
  • JDV Hotels took to social media very well and they have a program to wow guests (and they have empowered their employees). They comb your social media profiles and listen to you. Was very impressed by the authenticity.
  • Handling a public customer complaint is better than praise. Handling criticism > praise. Social media is public. This is important.
  • Business is personal. B2B too.
  • Don’t be afraid to say what you think. But don’t forget to listen
  • The humanisation of business is what social media is doing

There were a few other interesting case studies as well, so I can highly recommend listening or reading The Thank You Economy.

I also found the idea of having a Chief Culture Officer as an interesting idea. His bet on virtual goods, for me at least, wasn’t true (so I tweeted him) — the idea that we’ll all be buying lots of them pretty quickly.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about him: An Entrepreneur’s Life Video had some notes too.

Many of these tips are timeless, and can be applied even if social media isn’t hot any longer. If you had to pick between the two, I’d go for the Thank You Economy. But why pick, when you can Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks?

Donating to an opensource project when you download it

Apparently I’ve always thought that donating to opensource software that you use would be a good idea — I found this about Firefox add-ons. I suggested that the MariaDB Foundation do this for downloads to the MariaDB Server, and it looks like most people seem to think that it is an OK thing to do.

I see it being done with Ubuntu, LibreOffice, and more recently: elementary OS. The reasoning seems sound, though there was some controversy before they changed the language of the post. Though I’m not sure that I’d force the $0 figure. 

For something like MariaDB Server, this is mostly going to probably hit Microsoft Windows users; Linux users have repositories configured or use it from their distribution of choice! 

Migrants try harder

How a Vietnamese Refugee Is Rethinking Food Delivery in America – Bloomberg Business:

“Tran says his experience as a refugee has stayed with him. He hates wasted food. Obstacles make him think creatively. The need to prove himself in a foreign country makes him work harder. And there’s the enormity of his parents’ sacrifice, which he feels he must validate.”

I have always said that migrants generally do better because they have more to prove. They’re not in their comfort zone and that usually provides need to have creative solutions. 

Uber and the Black Cab

My residence in London is the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill at 30 Portman Square. I’ve been staying there for years and find it to be a phenomenal location with phenomenal staff.

I’ve ordered many Uber’s from there despite there being a taxi rank right outside the hotel. One of the reasons I dislike taxis in London is that not all of them accept credit cards or any form of electronic payment — I’ve got to have cash handy and it is a real hassle.

So why not Hailo? Hailo kind of works but has horrible customer service. Every time I’ve used them be it in London, Singapore or Barcelona, it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Cabs will claim to have arrived starting the 2.5 minute timer long before they have arrived; if it’s raining enjoy looking for them while you call them only for them to tell you they’re not where they claim to be. In addition they’ll give you £10 coupons that will “expire” on you so you end up paying full fare. The crux of the Hailo problem is that a cab driver is always going to be a cab driver…

During rush hour traffic in London, a Hailo may make sense (since cabs can use lanes reserved for them). So will a UberTAXI. 

Anyway, this isn’t about Hailo. Today I finally tweeted to Uber about the fact that their maps are inaccurate and most drivers never arrive at the front of the Hyatt but at the side, on Seymour Street. It’s incredibly annoying to have to call to get them to come to the front or walk to the side – it’s all added inefficiencies.

The @ replies from the taxi drivers tend to be strong encouraging you to use their services. I’ve never seen this in any market I’ve used Uber in. It’s smart – take it on to social media.

Twitter Notifications

Later on in the day I did take a cab. I wanted to go to Harwood Arms from the Natural History Museum. Of course the cab driver didn’t know where it was so I stated the street name, Walham Grove. Lo and behold, the black cab driver had no idea where this was! I even provided the post code if it helped.

He asked if I had it on my maps. I said I did. He wanted to know the cross road. Even after I told him Farm Lane, he took out the maps and had it in his lap for the whole journey.

This is the same guy whom represents the lot that have studied The Knowledge. In an Uber, at least they would have used the maps. And if there were route inefficiencies I would just complain to Uber from the app and get a refund. Here I paid for the drivers mistakes. In cash.

Are cabs safe from the losing fight?


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