Mike's Life Stuff

Doing Social Media Badly Is Worse For Businesses Than Not Doing It At All

I was researching a product I want to buy today, and I found a company’s website.

The site was good, and they also had a Twitter button and a Facebook button on there – I was impressed, they were obviously a switched on company.


I went to check them out on those two sites.

On Twitter, they have a few thousand followers, so I joined them, and immediately got an automated direct message asking me to “like” their Facebook page.

Their stats are interesting:

  • On Twitter, they have a few thousand followers, and they follow 26 other people
  • On Facebook they have almost 1000 likes, and they like 3 pages back

I bet their management team think that’s pretty cool – I bet they regularly tell people they reach several thousand people in social media.

I think it stinks.  read more »

Can Essex Save UK From Recession?

I stumbled over a TV program the other day called “The only way is Essex.”


It’s awful. But like so much bad television, it was strangely compulsive.

But this post isn’t about the program, it’s about the clothes.

One thing struck me over and over again, and that was the stunning clothes everyone was wearing. The guys were in sharp suits, polished shoes and sometimes tuxedos, and the girls were perfectly made up and wearing some gorgeous dresses.  read more »

My Time And Sanity Are Worth More Than I can Save With Easyjet

I’m lucky enough to have lived through the “Jet Set” era, and to have been travelling regularly in those days to and from the far east - often enjoying business, and sometimes, first class.

Back then, travelling anywhere by air was special. You were treated fabulously, from the moment you checked in, until the point at which the crew saw you off the aircraft. The food was reasonable (often excellent in business or first) drinks were free and plentiful, and you would receive little extras like pillows, blankets, eye shades and even slippers to wear during the flight, whilst you languished with tons of leg room and a personal television.


When I first moved to Lanzarote, I continued to pay extra to enjoy some of this “special” feeling, by choosing always to use British Airways for my trips. The food wasn’t great, but it was free, as were the drinks. The luggage allowance was generous, there was plenty of leg room, and the pilots retained that wonderful clipped vowel voice to the extent that you half expected them to shout “Tally ho, ginger!” at any moment.  read more »

Are Starbucks Killing Their Brand?

When I first discovered Starbucks many years ago, I felt immediately at home with the brand and I would walk or drive some way to enjoy a coffee with them.


For me, they had three unique selling points:

  • The coffee was superb
  • The staff were super friendly and welcoming
  • The premises were always immaculately clean and comfortable

For those three reasons, I was always prepared to pay their premium prices.  read more »

Who's The Most Important Person In Your Business?

Ask most business people, and they will glibly tell you “It’s my fantastic staff.”

And, of course, assuming it’s the staff that are the interface with the customer, they’re absolutely correct.


But, too few actually carry that thought to it’s natural conclusion, because whoever those people are – serving in your shop, pumping petrol, delivering your product, answering the phone – how many are actually getting:  read more »

  • A serious investment in their training and skills?
  • A salary that reflects that they are really important?

What Happens When You Ask Me For A Read Receipt On Your Email

“xxx has asked for a receipt when you read this email. Do you want to send one? Yes or no!”

Read Receipt

“Blast! What should I do? If I click no, he’ll think I’m being evasive. Better click yes.

Double blast! There are things I need to do before I reply, and now he knows I read the email at 0918.

I’d better stop what I’m doing right now, postpone that coffee break and do those things.

Phew, that took some time. OK, now I can reply to him.

Suddenly, I don’t like this guy.  read more »

If I Was The MD Of That Big Company - Part One

I’d start off by explaining to my co-directors and senior managers that:

Boss  read more »

  • The most important people in our business are the ones who face customers
  • Our job is to support them and to free them from administration to give them more time to help our customers
  • They know far better than we do what our customers need and want, so we should listen to them
  • Our executive parking places near the front door are no more – they’re now for customers and visitors

Only One Business Can Be The Cheapest In Their Market

When price is your USP, you leave yourself nowhere to go if someone can do it cheaper.

And they will.


In a holiday resort close to where I live, there’s a “Food price war” going on right now. Bars and cafés are offering a full English breakfast for as little as €2.50, and Chinese restaurants are offering an “all you can eat” buffet for €5.50.

What will they do when the new kid on the block does the breakfast at €1.99 or the buffet at €4.99. Will they follow? Will they beat the price?  read more »

Road Test - Lexus CT200h

I probably shouldn’t read other people’s road test reports on cars I’m about to try out, but in this case I did.

And I can’t help thinking that many other motoring writers simply don’t “get” the Lexus CT200h. They lament the tardy zero to sixty time, complain that the styling isn’t great and whinge about the handling.

Lexus CT200h  read more »

On Hotels

I like to think of myself as a five star kind of person. All through life, I’ve always strived (and all too often failed financially) for the finer things in life.

But a recent experience made me question that whole philosophy.


I spent two nights in two different hotels – one a four star Hilton in a big city, the other a lowly Premier Inn, near a provincial airport.  I didn’t pay the bill – I didn’t even see it, but checking their respective websites it looks like the second was less than half the price of the first.  read more »

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"Mike's Life is where you can stay current with the life, thoughts, successes and failures of Mike Cliffe-Jones. Never knowingly ordinary, Mike shares as much as possible about his work as a marketer and in business, as well as his enviable lifestyle on and in the oceans around The Canary Islands."

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