Posts Tagged ‘Michael T. Henry’

Michael took this picture of the Brooklyn Bridge while we were there this week and I think it came out awesome!!

Have you ever been there?  Do you have an interesting story about your visit?

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I LOVE this picture of the giraffes that Michael took at the Bronx Zoo this past week!!

What is your favorite animal?

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smAlbany Small Business Day 2010

[tweetmeme] I started my day remembering a blog I’d read the night prior.  Tea Contains Less Caffeine Than Coffee on the Broken Secrets blog.  I couldn’t get my caffeine soon enough!  I rarely drink coffee, but when I do I get the caffeine kick I need.  Since I knew I’d be talking to people though – I did them all a favor and DIDN’T drink coffee.  Coffee breath stays with me all day — so I opted for Mountain Dew Typhoon instead.  (I needed something caffeinated to help me function on 2 hours sleep!)

College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Once Michael and I checked in at the registration desk and mingled some, we settled in to the auditorium at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering building (For those that don’t know it’s the big glass building at the corner of Fuller Road and Washington Avenue Ext. in Albany)

Below are some notes about the forums that were offered.
I found as I started writing this that it was VERY difficult to keep up with all the information the panels were presenting.  Many of the following sections will appear more as “notes” vs. a “narrative.”

Times Union:  Tools for Small Business Success

Speaker: Tena Tyler – News and Information Services Senior Editor 518.454.5324

To have your business information printed in the Times Union you need to understand your audience.  You need to know how to speak their language.  She stressed that a business needs to know when to call an editor.  If you’ve sent in a press release and two weeks have passed and it hasn’t been published, make sure you call in.  Tena stated that one of the biggest problems with small businesses in the region is that they don’t accept that online is a form of publication.  Many businesses are turning to Facebook and Twitter to market their businesses, but small businesses seem to be slower to use the online medium for marketing.

The TU wants to help small businesses in the region
If you have a story about your business: TUBusiness@timesunion.com
If you have a business event and would like it added to our business calendar: TUCalendar@timesunion.com
If you want your event to be in the print version – please contact them 3 weeks in advance
Eric Anderson – Business editor 453-5323

Speaker: Craig Eustace – Retail Advertising Manager 518.454.5529
Craig spoke about the paid marketing that the Times Union offers.
The Times Union now has Niche publications.
Life @Home – geared towards your home – design ideas, DIY projects, etc.
Healthy Life – geared towards women’s issues and things women would like to read about.
Explore – Where to go what to do – travel/tourism
In Motion – Automotive magazine
Vow – Brand New – Wedding magazine (Just launched Tuesday!)

You can advertise your small business in these publications to get your ad in front of a targeted audience.
Pay per click is also offered.  You will know how many people clicked on your ad.  It is track-able so you will know what your return on investment is.

They offer direct mail marketing.  They can provide demographic lists.  For example – If you’re a roofer – they can get you a list of all houses in the readership area that are 25 years or older.  You can target them and send your ad to those target customers.

Tim Cronin & Lisbeth Calandrino

Keynote Speaker:  Lisbeth Calandrino – Make It Happen
Lisbeth CalandrinoOwner of Lisbeth Calandrino Business Consulting, speaker, trainer, business coach and author of Red Hot Customer Service.

We have huge growth in the technology market in the capital region.

2 out of 3 jobs are created by small businesses

Earlier this month Sam’s Club did a survey of their small business customers.
“What is it that you need in order to stay in business?” was the main question.
The answer: MONEY!  Sam’s Club partnered with the National Business Association and the Small Business Administration to figure out how to get small business loans for the small business community.  If the small businesses don’t have money to maintain their businesses, it will directly effect Sam’s Club’s bottom line.  This act alone shows that Sam’s Club partners with their customers.

What do small businesses need around Albany?
Many have good business but it isn’t steady.
Figure out how to get your customer out to shop.
Consumers are afraid to shop.  Afraid to spend – need to save their money.
If you want to make it as a small business, you need to be a partner with your customer
It’s your job to be friends with you customers.

She quoted 212 – The Extra Degree by Sam Parker & Mac Anderson
“At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.”

Meet the Media Who Cover The Local Business News
Moderated by Lydia Kulbida from WTEN and Times Union Blogger

The Panelists
Larry Rulison
Lauren Rose
Mary Darcy
Mike Hendricks

Read your tweets and messages out loud.  Would you want to buy whatever your pitching?
Engage with your audience – have a fun personality.
Friend every reporter out there to get your name out in many forms of media.
Comment on the blogs, Facebook, Twitter….
Interact with your customers on Twitter & Facebook with personal tweets and comments.

Times Union – Panel on Social Media, Blogging and Your Customers
Moderated by Mike Huber – Interactive Audience Manager at the Times Union

The Panelists
Sonja Stark

Merci Miglino
Lissa D’Aquanni
Rev. Alan Rudnick
Vic Christopher

Questions that you should ask yourself prior to blogging are:
“Why should people read your blog?  Why should they care?
People blog for different reasons.  Some blog to market their business, others blog to build a sense of community.
“Careful what you put out there.  Count to 10 before you hit publish.”
“What degree do ethics play in a community?”
Rev. Alan Rudnick spoke about people who “hide behind the veil” AKA – Anonymous bloggers.
Merci reminded us that “Blogging is a knee jerk – reactive media.”
“If you don’t believe in your product, in yourself, and that you can cheer yourself out of a corner – you shouldn’t start a blog.”
“Be a follower OR have a following.”  Your choice.
They spoke about the recent “Ding Dong Ditch” incident that happened locally last week.  Why did it become such a firestorm?  It was a story that contained emotion.  It could happen to any home owner.    Social Media helped that story spread like wild-fire.  So much so that CNN picked up the story.

An audience member Karen McGowan spoke that she hadn’t considered a blog for her business until today.  The panel encouraged her to start blogging about her business Capital Interior Scapes an interior plant scape business.  By blogging she would humanize her business and she would appear as an expert in her industry.  She could post customer recommendations, pictures of plant-scapes she’d designed, lists of plants that people could consider and so many other things.

Going Mobile – The Mobile Revolution in Social Media
Presented by Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media and Verizon Wireless

Why is  mobile taking over everyone’s lives?
It makes our lives easier.

What is social media?
“Social media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques…  They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.”

Benefits of social media
New customer acquisition
Current customer outreach
Loyalty rewards
Corporate branding
Personal branding
Brand monitoring and management

They spoke about using Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Yelp, FourSquare GetListed and Know Em to market your business.  Go to these sites and fill out your business profile.  They stressed to fill in EVERY blank and as many keywords as are relevant to help your business come up in internet search engine results.

54% of the phone users in the local market use Verizon service.
30-40% of them are smart phones.
52% of the phones sold last week in his store were smartphones – ie. Droids, Blackberries, etc.

Top 10 Things Your Small Biz Website Needs in 2010
Presented by: Miriam Paska – Creative Strategist from Intellisites

She didn’t present them as a “Top 10” but some of the key points were:

Have a unique Design
You need to know who you’re competing against and what their web presence and marketing strategies are.
Keep your important information “above the fold”
You want the viewer of your site to see the important information without having to scroll down the page.
Use keyword phrases in your blog and on your website so you will organically show up on Web search results.
She also spoke about using Google Alerts to monitor the online activity of your company name.

Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt
Presented by: Alexis Grant

Use social media to:
Tap into your existing network
Expand your network s to include contacts at the companies where you want to work.

Biggest online community – most bang for your buck – IT’S FREE!
People know you, like you, and WANT to help you
Great excuse to keep in touch with people who could help you

She stressed the importance of making small-talk first.  Don’t friend request someone and immediately ask them if their company is hiring.  Make some small talk and as the conversation evolves, your job search will be mentioned.

Alexis spoke about using your Facebook privacy settings to control what potential employers could see on your profile.    You want to be personal, yet still professional.

Connect with professionals you might not want to see your personal life on Facebook
Your resume will appear on Google, showing potential employers what you want them to see.
LinkedIn has job boards as well as groups you can join based on your alma mater and industry.
You can find out background information about potential employers
There is an introductions feature that you can use to meet someone who a mutual friend knows.

Network outside your circle of friends
Prove yourself as an expert
Hear about jobs
Keep on top of new trends in your industry
Make connections with companies and employers who may not have otherwise noticed you)

Tips when using social media
Fill out your profile completely
If you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all
Rather than being on every network – choose a few and grow quality followings

Thank you to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for the invitation to be a VIP Guest Blogger at the smAlbany Small Business Day 2010.  I look forward to interacting with you in the future.

smAlbany Image from: http://www.smalbany.org
Mountain Dew Image from: http://thishelpdesk.com/mountain-dew-typhoon/
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Image from: http://todaysfacilitymanager.com/facilityblog/2009/12
Tim Cronin and Lisbeth Calandrino image by Michael T. Henry: http://tcrpmg.wordpress.com

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This picture was taken before we combined with the pasta so you could see the main ingredients. It came out really delicious!

The pictures a little dim, but we had out first dinner with zucchini out of the garden!  Michael has worked so hard on making the garden a success.  He wrote a nice blog about things he learned from his first garden.  Check it out.

Here’s how I made dinner:

Boneless Chicken Breasts
Chicken Broth
Garlic Powder
Beau Monde
Pasta of choice – I used Penne

Make pasta to instructions on package.  While it is cooking do the following:

Chop up the boneless chicken breasts into cubes.  (I used 3 breasts)
Saute the chicken in some butter until they’re cooked through.
Remove from pan and cover to keep them warm.
Next saute the zucchini in the pan with butter.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Heat until they are soft, but remove them from the heat before they get soggy.
Then saute the mushrooms in butter. (YES, I KNOW I LIKE BUTTER!!)
Sprinkle with garlic powder, beau monde, salt and pepper.

Combine the chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms all in a pan together.
Pour in some chicken broth, about half way up the pan.  Heat until the broth is warm.
Combine with the pasta, mix and serve.

Do you have a garden?
Have you harvested anything yet?

If you have recipes to share, please visit my Recipe Group on Facebook.

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Someone emailed me this around the 4th of July and the story really touched my heart.  Please read it and remember the sacrifices the members of our military make for us every day.

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat.  It was going to be a long flight.  I’m glad I have a good book to read.  Perhaps I will get a short nap, I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me.  I decided to start a conversation.

“Where are you headed?” I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
“Petawawa. We’ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we’re being deployed to Afghanistan.”

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time…

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.  “No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn’t be worth five bucks.  I’ll wait till we get to base.”

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch.  I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty  dollar bill.   “Take a lunch to all those soldiers.”  She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.  Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.  “My son was a soldier in  Iraq; it’s almost like you are doing it for him.”

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.  She stopped at my seat and asked, “Which do you like best – beef or chicken?”
“Chicken,” I replied, wondering why she asked.  She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

“This is your thanks…”

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.
A man stopped me.  “I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.”  He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, “I want to shake your hand.”  Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain’s hand.  With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot.  Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.”   I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs.  A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine.  He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.  Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word.  Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.
I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars  “It will take you some time to reach the base…. It will be about time for a sandwich.
God Bless You.”

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return.  These soldiers were giving their all for our country….   I could only give them a couple of meals.    It seemed so little….

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.


Lord, hold the troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.   Amen.

Photo by Michael T. Henry Photography

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Photo by Michael T. Henry Photography

We went to Bettie’s Cake’s Double Decker Bus today for brunch.  The bus is a 1963 Bristol Double Decker Bus.  The 2nd floor is seating, though in this hot weather it was too hot to eat up there.  The set-up was really unique.  This weekend they are parked in at 250 Delaware Avenue in Delmar, NY.  They change the location quite often (they’re mobile for a reason!) so check out their Twitter and/or Facebook to find out where they are.  I bet the owner Lorraine Murphy can tell you too!

Sierra had a peanut butter cup cupcake, Michael had a coconut cream cupcake and I had a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing.  They were all really yummy!  I also got an M&M cookie.  I’m eating it right now, and almost 12 hours after I bought it, it’s still good!!

Hopefully we can visit them again soon.

Do you have any unique businesses like this where you live?

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Photo by Michael T. Henry Photography

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Today we celebrate our independence.

Hug a soldier and say Thank You.

Spend time with your family and loved ones, and remember, many soldiers can’t be with their families today.

Do you have a special way to celebrate independence day?

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Photo courtesy of Michael T. Henry.

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