Happy Birthday to Kim!

October 31, 2008

Yes it’s Halloween but it also happens to be our boss’ birthday so in honor of her, we thought we’d put together a list of some things that you may not know about Caster’s founder.

Ten Things (We Love) About Kim

  • Her love for her dog, Mattie (read about her here) knows no bounds and has been known to make special trips to the store to buy hamburgers if Mattie refuses to eat the dog food she is given.
  • She actually wrote in her Caster bio that she wants to learn how to surf but thinks that drowning is a horrible way to die.
  • If you ever share a hotel room with her, be prepared to sleep in arctic conditions and also know that she does sleep with earplugs and cannot hear a word you are saying.
  • She once was sweated on by Jon Bon Jovi at a Bon Jovi concert.
  • She’s a helluva table dancer – as evidenced by many press parties in Vegas and recently at a Caster wedding reception.
  • She is a phenomenal mother and once broke her foot from falling down the stairs and trying to prevent her daughter (a baby at the time) from injury.  She then attended CES in Las Vegas with the broken foot and had to roll around the show floor with a scooter.  That’s love, people.
  • She can gamble like no one we’ve ever seen and has been known to walk up to a roulette table, hit on double 0 and walk away with $700.
  • She loses or breaks her phone on a regular basis and we’re just waiting for someone to invent a velcro cell phone contraption that you can stick to your body – because that is so going to be her next bday gift.
  • She’s famous for being an awesome gift giver – ask any Casterites what they’ve gotten for their birthdays and past Christmases.
  • She’s got a bit of a sugar addiction and has been known to send people to the store for Now & Laters.

We could go on (and on, and on) but let’s just say that with Kim as a boss, things around here are never boring.   And if you know her as well as we do, you know what we’re talking about!

Posted by: Ashley
Contributors: Katie Short, Lauren Simmen, Molly Entin, Sarah Goodrich, Joe Hageman and Rebecca Pelton (even though all her contributions were vetoed)

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Green Brain

October 30, 2008

They say it takes around four weeks to change a behavior.  Eating healthier, exercising, changing a daily activity or even quitting a bad habit.  So I’m wondering – how long will it take me to adjust to my new green brain?  I’ve been helping Kim with the Green Life | Smart Life project and in the process, have been doing endless amounts of reading and learning about what it means to truly live and breathe an eco-friendly life.  I’ve been thinking about how I can make an impact – how anyone can make an impact, and which programs and initiatives are worthwhile and which are just a big marketing ploy. 

It’s overwhelming – almost as overwhelming as diving head first into Twitter without any knowledge of what it is you are supposed to do on there (thankfully I’ve figured it out and with the help of my TwitterBerry am slightly addicted…I digress).  Reading about all the ways in which a single human being contributes to the degredation of the planet is not only sad but extremely guilt-inducing.  As hard as I might try, in the current state of things, I’m not very green.  I walk to work sometimes and don’t drive very often, but I do fly pretty regularly so I’m pretty sure that negates all the air pollution I save when I forgo the drive in.  I recycle but not everything I possibly could and I know that every time I move, I seem to throw out more crap than I ever realized I had before.  I don’t buy completely local and yes, I’ve been known to shop at big brand stores that get their products from China. 

I picked up a copy of The Green Book in Borders the other day and browsed through the long list of ways to go green without turning your life upside down.  The book itself is packed with information but as I flipped through the (made from 100% recycled materials) pages, I realized that any normal person trying to figure out a way to be nicer to the environment would feel overwhelmed when presented with all the possibilities.  There has to be a better way to understand how to change your bad habits without drastically changing the very essence of your life. 

So now I’m on a mission.  My overloaded green brain and I are going to spend some time thinking about a better way to make this truly extraordinary change.

Posted by: Ashley / ashleyatcaster


Nothing to Lose but a lot to Gain

October 30, 2008

I am up late and am updating my posts and tweets; I am listening to random TV in the background and I have heard multiple infomercials. My stand out fave however is a product called ExtenZE.com.  You got it, when a man takes ExtenZE, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I can’t help thinking is there social media around this community? Are there a bunch of 50+ year old men with erectile dysfunction who have met though an online community created by ExtenZE? Together they share side effects, solutions to common problems, and discuss the shortfalls of the packaging?  Do I just need sleep?

Hmmm, just educating myself. And my entire life has become one case study.

Posted by KDL: Follow me on Twitter: newscaster


What can your company do during an economic slow down?

October 29, 2008

The answer should NOT be to cut your marketing efforts. This great article by Launch Marketing Group was forwarded around our offices today – and it makes a lot of sense. In economic hard times, often and rightly so, companies tighten their budgets and reduce spending as much as possible. It is a matter of survival as those who spend frugally will most likely not be around when the market goes back up.

But why is it that marketing/PR/advertising budgets are usually one of the first to be cut? Will it really save you money in the long run? The answer is simple – no. If anything it might actually cost you more in the long run. It has been proven that the companies who “go dark” during economic slowdowns have to essentially rebuild their brand when the market starts to go back up. Those who keep on track often increase their sales by a massive percentage. Remember that phrase “out of sight out of mind”? As the article points out:

Remember how difficult it was to initially build brand awareness?  Dropping out of sight until the economy picks up can mean having to reinvent the company all over again.” Maintaining your market identity now, costs much less than rebuilding it later on.

 

During a recession in the 1950′ the two behemoths of retail picked opposite marketing strategies.  Montgomery Ward cut budgets to wait out the recession.  Sears pushed an aggressive expansion and ad strategy even though cash was tight and went on to dominate the  retail business for the next 50 years.

 

In the early 1980’s, the US car market was threatened by the recession.  Rather than hunker down like the dominant GM and Ford, newcomer Toyota aggressively and consistently promoted its cars – you know the rest.

So as budget are taking shape for 2009, just remember that yes, reducing costs is essential, but make sure you think about the long term benefit of your company before you bring out the machete. 

posted by: Lauren


Warning: Halloween can be very scary!

October 28, 2008

It has been the topic of conversation by the water cooler here at Caster, as well with some of my concerned clients… WHAT are you going to be for Halloween this year?!?

I am a Halloween grinch. Not that I do not love to admire others’ creativity, but after a minor mishap with my GENIUS Crayola box costume when I was younger (I could not walk up the stairs so my loving brothers “got my candy for me”… yeah right!) I have since taken the easy way out when it comes to October 31st attire.

This year, I’m going to try to get back in the Halloween spirit. I’ve been scouring for an original costume and still searching. I thought others might need some help as well, so in preparation for this Friday’s festivities (and with incredible feedback from my cohorts), Caster came up with a few ideas for our industry friends.

Fearless leader of RGPC – Rick Komendera TRUMPS his power conditioning competitors!

Paradigm’s Mark Aling stuns the congregation with his off-color humor… he didn’t learn that here!

OmniMount’s Kim is simply FABulous, but beware of Dallas’ Cowboys fans! (This is her actual costume :))

Dare you ask how Sooloos get the idea for such an innovative entertainment server? Look no further than Rob Darling.

What kind of New England sports fan would I be if I forgot the Red Sox. Do you think YOUKKK would want an eSommelier Wine Management Server compliments of Joe Hageman? Surely he has the budget.

 

We also thought that some of our editorial partners may need some fresh costume ideas…

EGear and Custom Retailer editor Grant Clauser as Shazzan! …on second thought, that is too easy, but believable!

I would never want to get into an argument with CE Pro’s Julie Jacobson about one of her stories, but as Sarah Palin, I think I have the upper hand! Alaska – Minnesota, same difference!

Last, but not least… In preparation for his November 8th nuptials – R.I.P. Caster’s Bachelor, Joe Paone.

Need any more ideas? You know where to find me!

Posted by: katie


The Clock Just Struck Midnight

October 28, 2008

A blinking “12:00,” at that.

Posted by Joe Paone


Audio Minute: Importance of speaker placement and “Best Speaker Ever” Forum Debate

October 27, 2008

Kudos to John Atkinson at Stereophile for espousing the following statement in his article Getting the Best from your Loudspeakers, “…inexpensive speakers, optimally set up, may well outperform more expensive models just plonked down willy-nilly.”

Esteemed freelance audio reviewer and CNET.com blogger Steve Guttenberg seconds Mr. Atkinson’s sentiments in a blog post entitled Speaker Placement Tips for Audiophiles.

Atkinson goes on to say, “Entire books have been written about the relationship between loudspeakers and room acoustics, but the starting point for any successful setup is to position the two speakers and your listening chair as the pieces of an equilateral triangle; that is, the speakers are each as far away from you as they are from each other.”

AVrev.com Forum Debate:
A very interesting and somewhat heated debate is happening in a forum entitled, “Best Sounding Speakers According to Scientific Tests.”

Personally I would throw out the term “scientific” since it’s far from a controlled experiement, and because many major brands are missing (No Paradigm?!?!) but it’s interesting to read how passionate people will debate a completely subjective topic, especially when it doesn’t include their preferred brand.

IMO, a speaker is only as good as a consumer says it is when listening to their favorite music or soundtrack so there’s no way of scientifically proving which is “best.”

Posted by: Nick