Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday

Happy Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is an advertising gimmick dreamed up by American Express in 2010. The event takes place on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to work small businesses into the holiday sales mix.

There is a little irony in the fact that Small Business Saturday was created by one of the thirty stocks in the DOW Industrial Average. I guess we are also suppose to glance over the fact that a large number of small businesses are closed on Saturday.

Here is an interesting historical note: In the 1980s AMEX wanted to expand in the financial service sector. It acquired Shearson, Lehman Brothers Loeb, EF Hutton and other firms to create a leading brokerage system which it spun off in 1995. So, the multinational that created Small Business Saturday had created one of the investment banks that went belly up in the 2008 financial crisis.

In the last few years, small business has gotten smaller, but it is good to have events that recognize the role that small business plays in the economy.

I realized early on that small business plays a central role in the economy and that small business was getting systematically squeezed out. What I've done through the years is to create and maintain a collection of local directories under the brand Community Color. These directories give free links to small local businesses. I fund the directories through the affiliate programs of big ecommerce shops.

So, the directories will have free links to all of the small shops and an affiliate link to Walmart ... the employees of Walmart are members of the community too.

The directories get 5000 page views a day but the affiliate programs no longer collect enough money to pay the hosting fees.

I have directories for Utah (where I live), Colorado (my home state) and one for Arizona.

I admit, I have a rather quaint idea about community. I believe that everyone in a community should be considered part of the community ... even if they don't belong to the State's religion.

The idea behind local directories is that people could link to the directories and help support independent businesses in their community.

As you see, the whole point of the internet is links. If we want small businesses to succeed in the information age; small business has to be linked in. The best way to link them in is other small businesses.

My directories link to all the businesses, blogs, charities, government agencies and church groups that I can find.

I've been working on the directories since 2000.

Sadly, In 14 years I've yet to have anyone express even passing interest on the Utah directories. (There is some interest in the Colorado and Wyoming Directories. I happen to be a third generation Coloradan. My ancestors moved to Denver in the late 1800s.)

Anyway, Let's say you wanted to do something for small business this small business Saturday and you lived in Grand Junction. You could write a blog post that included a link to This would send a little bit of web traffic in the direction of Grand Junction businesses. A miniscule amount of traffic might go to the affiliate programs that fund the site.

If you aren't in a small business mood. I have tumblr galleries with pictures of Arizona, Colorado and Utah as well.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Age Plus Plus

I needed a quick birthday jingle for a data geek; so I tapped out this to sing after the Happy Birthday Song:

Age plus plus; update; commit;
The years spin round and round.
Age plus plus and so it goes
We're happy you're in town.

I assume programmers prefer age++ to "Happy Birthday" since incrementing the age variable is more efficient than legacy birthday systems.

Anyway, geeks seem to appreciate the age plus plus bit.