Bartering for everyday items
Wednesday, October 17, 2007 8:42:20 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It was recently that time of year again when my bank balance takes a massive hit as various premiums are taken out for things like car tax, car insurance, house insurance etc so I get a little anal about finding the best deal.
This year, my target was to get my car insurance below £1,000 which seeing as I'm now (boo-hiss) over 25 shouldn't have been an issue but I had a feeling it wouldn't be an easy feat seeing as I drive a sports car, heck I like a challenge so off I set.
As I didn't have an issue with my current insurer I thought I'd see what deal they could offer me so they were my first port of call. I knew what they had sent through the post (over £1,500) which I thought was a little steep so I'd give them a chance to knock it down. Success! They took over £100 off -only another £400 to go!
I then went through Money Supermarket's online insurance comparison site to see what else was on offer. It came back with a few closer to £1,200 so I started calling -once again I called my current insurer who came down to £1,100 so I called the next cheapest on the list (£1,200) and told them if they could match the other quote I'd be interested. They of course did and came in at around £900 which was pretty dandy!
This went on for a while, every time I got a quote I would call around each company and give them the chance to "beat" the other one until I was batting between two companies -one being my previous insurer. After careful negotiation I ended up paying just shy of £600 for my insurance and actually ended up with a higher miles allowance than I did at £1,500 -despite what you're thinking, the insurances were otherwise exactly the same! That's a whooping £900 saving for a little phoning around!!
This got me thinking, are we regularly unknowingly paying more for our goods/services? I tend to barter out of principle if I can, usually just as a challenge but is it the same as banks have gone with financing1 in which case I wonder what other companies are doing it? I know companies often factor in a small % to accommodate the discount requests etc but does that mean we should barter for everything?
1 I've found when looking for funding, if you want £100 and ask for £100 you tend to get £75 as the bank assumes you have over-inflated your request to accommodate their % reduction so the next time you go in, you ask for £130 instead and so it goes on, each pre-guessing what the other person is after in an environment of distrust leaving those people who don't want to play "the game" (or don't know about "the game") out of pocket.
Identify which application pool is associated with which W3WP.exe process
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 11:18:11 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Today I needed to identify a site that was causing the W3WP.exe process to run at 100% CPU. I had hoped that there was some clever way of identifying the site from the process id but no such luck. The issue was escalated because we have multiple sites under each application pool.It was done like this to keep the overheads minimal (each W3WP.exe process needs circa 25MB to run) but it makes identifying rogue code difficult.
If you need to identify which W3WP.exe relates to which Application Pool, open CMD, navigate to your System32 directory and type:
That'll then list the relevant W3WP.exe processes, process id and their app pool name.:) -simple and useful, just the way I like it!
Why should we use you?
Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:21:41 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
While at the recent Startups Live event I got asked a question that I really should have been prepared for "Why should we use you?". At the time I was tired and hungry (no excuse I know) and so I was a little thrown.
I think it's important to look at networking as a form of job interview but without the job at the end of it. What I mean by this is you should have a set of questions, answers and interesting topics to discuss1 prepared before you go into the event.
1 Make sure you know what you're talking about though -you never know, they may know you're bull-shitting which isn't a good start to an ongoing relationship!
I've steered clear of a fair few networking events in the past on the basis that they're often pissing contests but networking itself is an important part of any business and so shouldn't be avoided. So how should you answer "Why should we use you?". This is a silly question in my eyes because as the purchaser you have the power, you should already have a list of criteria on what you're looking for from a supplier. I can understand if you're looking to find out whether my list matches yours but you're most likely going to get the same responses:
- "We're the best" -you're really going to take your word for it?
- "Just because" -they clearly don't care about their company, do you really want to do business with them?
- "We've got a proven track record" -fair play, good response, now you've got to do your research
Either way, whatever response you get it's most likely going to be a conversation killer and so, not something you want to ask while networking, if you want to ask this, I would keep it for an initial meeting.
So how did I respond? "That's a good question" -not a good response by any means but Stacey has come up with a superb answer in my view, put the ball back into their court and respond with
Why do I like this response? Well because it's honest and gives the client control, you could baffle them with sales talk till the cows come home but if they don't like you or get on with you then doing business isn't going to be fun (and business should be fun!). Get rid of the question and move onto something more interesting, save the grilling for the initial meeting!
Tim Smit and Startups Live visit Bristol
Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:46:36 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Seeing as I don't seem to have time to post my long, beautifully formatted posts at the moment -and that I don't think people really care whether they're beautifully formatted or not- I'm just throw this one on...
Last night I went to the first in a new round of Startup Live events. I've come across them in the past but never paid much attention to them as I thought it would be another '99 venture capitalist haunt and I wasn't really interested in wasting my time with it. The event however was better than I was expecting. Well, it was and it wasn't.
Sadly we got there a little late (what's new!) and missed the start of Tim Smit's talk however I really have to complement him on his talk, it was absolutely brilliant. It was probably one of the best -if not THE best- and most inspirational talks I've heard in a long time.
For those of you who aren't aware who Tim Smit is, apart from having a great name and having been involved in the Lost Gardens of Heligan he's the founder of the Eden project. Tim Smit is clearly very passionate about the work that he's involved in which is really conveyed to the audience during his talk and I really do recommend you go and see him if you have a chance as you won't regret it.
I think one of the most amusing things about the night was the speaker from Natwest who was clearly there to show how friendly and accommodating Natwest are but ended up demonstrating how far out of touch he is with their actual processes which was a shame as he really could have pulled the audience in and had them all signing up there and then.
Other than Tim Smit however the majority of the event was pretty much as I expected which I was a little disappointed about but I guess that's the way it goes. At the end of the day, if you can come away with one small nugget of information/inspiration the event was worth it. Luckily last night Tim Smit was able to produce the goods ;)