Friday, August 31, 2012

SMALL DELAYS

My Dad died at 4 a.m. this morning while my brother Larry and I were sitting in watch. A couple hours later I headed back home and went to sleep. I woke up slightly after Noon.

Making some fixes to SCORE #20 and sending it out today in a little bit.

Thanks you for your patience, orders, and especially condolences. People I hadn't heard from in a quite a while.

I've said it before, my BEST friends are my customers and email contacts and my two brothers.

The Gossip/Pillsbury book may go out Saturday or Tuesday. I am a little bit behind. Thanks for your patience.

Bob

PS: God is alive and getting BETTER in the USA because the very vast majority of sympathies extended to me offered prayers and walking with God (by name). That is great and means the most to me. I was saying the rosary, and in the last decade, this morning when I said, "Lord have Mercy on him." At that moment, he died. I had just joined the Knights (can't stay away from chess!) of Columbus and they gave me a rosary. There ARE plans which at the time we can't fathom. The Knights said that inductees should keep this with us... I did. The "good son."

Dad was smart and could make anyone but the "bad guys" laugh. I'll miss him and his quick wit (and he came from German parents!!)

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, August 30, 2012

MY FATHER

Great man. Loved babies. He is a great great grandfather.

Just given the Last Rites.

Picture of him and Mom in my Chess Assassin's Business Manual, 4 years ago.

Alzheimer's claimed him.

Smart, inventive, a Super Thinker. Quiet.

Loved the Chicago Cubbies (no one is perfect).

Dad... without a doubt, you are the coolest. Wouldn't want a different one. I love you.

Bob

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IT'S HERE!!! BRILLIANT STUFF

I am proud to reveal that my copies of Modern Chess Brilliancies (Hustled) got to my office today. About two days before I expected them and definitely before the last day of August. 17 copies are already spoken for. I have 32 left (I have to keep at least one for me).

Pillsbury wrote it Best
I am going to make you a DEAL because I was caught a little off guard with this. Order a copy today, or during Aug. 29-31, and I will sell it to you for the old price, $54.95. You have to add $7 because I am packing it well, numbering it, and sending it first class to cut down on postal destruction. PayPal is fine (to: bob@thinkerspressinc.com). Checks for $61.95 are fine. Credit Cards and Money Orders are fine. Larry of the Three Stooges was Fine too.

My next job is to pay off the printer as I have several other projects in the works for the LAST FALL CHESS CLASSIC (there was and is only one, and this will be the last one--decision made yesterday).

So what happens to the 3rd MERLIN Trilogy book for 2014? It still will be done assuming that I and my calligrapher designer Bill Hannan are still around, and it will be released in 2014, probably in the Fall.

Then those three and The Chess Assassin's Business Manual will be released as a boxed set. For those who already own some of the books, I will be selling the box separately also.

What I do IS my retirement because there was no other.... so I keep working and keep seeking out that great woman who will inspire me further and further to do amazing things. My friend Bill Beruh (NY) sends me GREAT IDEAS all the time. Not "ideas" in lower case, but significant and GREAT ideas... some of them I unashamedly admit, parallel thoughts I have had too. (He feeds my ego because he was telling me I was marketing like Kennedy (Dan) 14 years ago!) There are no shortage of great possibilities in chess, it's just that "politicians" will never have them because when God created their brain (and he knew them in advance) he was watching Diary of a Mad Housewife and absent-mindedly left out creativity. Being God he could've fixed that but he didn't I am guessing because he wanted us to be creative in working around them... and guess what? It works! What a great idea!

A THOUGHT PROVOKING THOUGHT PROVOCATION
On ANY given day of the week I interact via email or phone with some truly amazing customers, philosophers, masters, marketers and just fantastic people like Bill mentioned above or my old buddy Jerry Nash or John Blackstone. Some women are truly brilliant in concepting but even more so than some men, help come up with workable solutions (that is, a willingness to chip in help).

For a long time I wanted to pull all these folks together and create a type of Round Table and even include some perspicacious customers but so far, it hasn't happened. There is ONE overarching quality you must have. Well, maybe two, but I don't count HONESTY too much because I remove myself from being around dishonest people. What is that characteristic? You can't be LAZY! Oooops, I just saw 89% walk out of the room. The one guy in the room who is a creepazoid (liar) will be kicked out quickly and it will go to a full 90%

Here's the problem with getting such a group together... the major problem. My mastermind groups' sole purpose is not internet marketing or how to strike oil in 10 days, it is about a LASTING chess effect which everyone at the RT (Round Table) will benefit from. Guys like Ken MacDonald would have to be there. Steve Lamansky, Ed Yee, Julian Wan and many others I have met or will soon meet. If I have left you out, I apologize but you are on MY (private) list.

You people are truly BRILLIANT no matter what your spouse says, your friends, your co-workers, or other people who do not truly KNOW you. When I talk with some of you on the phone (such as Dale Suilmann) I sense "humility" and strength of character. New guys like Grayling Hill, George Lundy and Don Miller make it all worth while. I wish Ralph Tykodi were still around.

Now I feel stupid for naming names but I want to RECOGNIZE SOME of you. What I want to do in the future is have small confabs, 5-6 people, meet for ONE DAY, on a weekend so you can fly in and out (or drive as I now do). Good times, great meeting, recorded... and pull off the greatest brain trust in history with respect to chess. This new guy that FIDE has for running the world chess championships? A great start.

Don't worry if I haven't mentioned your name, in one or two cases I can't because of positions you hold. And for the rest of you geniuses, I'll be in touch. (I keep thinking of good friends and people who MIGHT want to be on this round table that I trust... so there is no slight intended, but I must mention my good friend Bob Woodworth too and the Swede who keeps me on my toes, Patrik Ohagen. You guys and more (Rusty Miller) are great but these meetings would be a sacrifice of a day and a few bucks.

In the meantime, get this Gossip/Pillsbury book. Save it for your grand children. It's a bargain. They will cash it in in 10-20 years and pay for one semester of college (haha--don't quote me). But... I end where I started. It looks great. I am not giving out review copies so I won't be hearing from some addled brained ex-communist about how he doesn't like the red ink! I vetted the book myself. I didn't like the black ink which was running the type together so I REDID that part of the book, at my expense because.... cos I want you to have GREAT stuff. So There. What did you expect? A Guarantee? You got it. 30 days.

bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

FOUR SCORE and 7 days ago!

Working on the latest issue of SCORE (the 4th one for this season), The main articles were written by IM Bryan Smith.

Another fatso issue and some great stuff on the 7.h4 French Winawer and the Mar Del Plata variation of the King's Indian, always a stickler.

In the meantime other mailings have gone out and tomorrow a 4-6 pg. catalog of new titles--lots of them Everyman Chess, New in Chess and in a day or two Gambit and ChessBase DVDs.

Been watching DVDs all evening and have a crick in my eyeballs! But will tell you more about them in the catalogs. Want one? Send me your name and email address.... then I hope to start on the Previously Owned List. That one will cost you 20 bucks for a year's issues. But, you can get your $20 back by buying from the lists. The details will be posted. Need the proof of intention first: that'll be $20 please. In color.

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Been working on the second book in the Secrets Trilogy too and that has been a lot of fun. If you want to save big on it, come to the October 26-28 Fall Chess Classic because I just made a determination TODAY it will be my last one!

Trying to make a Big Event payoff is difficult not just because of these "economic times" (I also read other books besides chess and I have seen there are ALWAYS bad economic times it's just that the media likes gorging itself on this one).

As we age we will eventually have parental aging issues which if travel is involved can be very expensive. Then there are those who BELIEVE kids should go to college which in the past 10 years has turned into a gigantic money-sinkhole. Our little geniuses can't get jobs, but some of them CAN get 3 smaller jobs! People in scientific communities where there is government funding, if they have reached retirement age, WON'T--and so the underlings, the post docs can't get meaningful work. The old gray hairs are hogging it all.

We have Isaac kicking butt down South. Refineries are out of action in California. All in all I would have to say the government and private sector are taking their ineptness out on the rest of us. So people look for reasons to STAY home, even if they live 60 miles away from Davenport. But, while I have optimism by mailing out PLEASE COME TO THE OCT EVENT packages as far away as California and New York, ya just never know do you? Sometimes schedules change.

But, I've had enough. If you want to have some fun and learn some NEW things, why not make it to this one because there will be no more festivals, clinics, soirees, or combinations. If I do anything it will be to invite 5-6 guys to my place in the future, for ONE DAY and ONE night--or to Las Vegas or something like that. Doing all these wonderful marketing programs and dealing with the really great troopers who help make it happen has been a great experience for me (and you too I hope)... but lethargy is a tough one to beat. I didn't learn how to handle this in Cleveland, what my emphasis was on was direct response marketing... and that's what I will be doing and have more time to devote to it. A business person needs to figure out what things are dragging the company down and eliminate them though in the short haul it has jacked up my marketing inventiveness. More than a few people tell me how much they like what I write but not enough to pay me a wage (some think I do all this writing because... I love to sit on my thumbs!)

It was a great ride. Maybe you will want to ride into town for the last one. 13 seats left. Will try to contact some people in Chicago and see if we can get them down here. Never easy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER!

Sometime the anticipation of when we were younger can still be great.

For example, I just received confirmation today that my 50 copies of Modern Chess Brilliancies (Hustled) have shipped! Great news! They go by UPS so I should have them Monday or Tuesday I would think.

I have orders stacked up here waiting to be shipped. Ialso  have bought a numbering machine to stamp inside the book. I will be shipping the book, well protected, by first class.

An allied promotional idea, George Gossip's and F. J. Lee's The Complete Chess Guide has also been sold in conjunction with the new title. As a collectible should be it is in very nice condition.

For issue 166 of Bob Long's Chess Letter another nice collectible will be put on view for sale. But it will be part of the final offer on Bob Long's Chess Letter. Everyone has been getting 3 initial copies of the newsletter to try out and I am hoping for a vote for you to tell me WHICH ONE works the best for you. I can adapt.

The BONUS is that if you are reading this Blog (you're here aren't you?) I will send you the 3 free copies IF you send me your name and email address. That's not so hard.

This morning I am putting the finishing details on a chess contract with a legend. When he signs I will tell you all about it. He's already sent me a beautiful photo of himself with a smile that would endear him to anyone!

I am also sending out, upon request and submission of $5.95 to cover my postage charges, $96 and 97 cents worth of goodies to try The Chess Butler in quality and service. It also includes a $35 discount to attend the Fall Chess Classic. That would be off the $285 current price. In other words you could get in for $250. Bring a friend, that's only $100 more. If you wanted, then the two of you could split it, or $175.00 each. You'll each get hundreds of dollars worth of fun, entertainment, and instruction. Every time I write about it I leave something out (accidentally) so if you want a complete listing, drop me a line at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com and I will take care of you.

Perhaps you have noticed a pattern of "regularity" about this blog. It gets written when I have time and when I have something to write about. I could write about Spassky being spirited off (abducted) to Russia but, like everyone else, and Sergeant Schultz, "I know nothing."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ARE YOU NEW TO THIS CHESS WEB SITE?

If so, glad you are here. Chess Toast is different from the usual chess blogs because not only am I a seller, not only a publisher of chess, a player too, but I have been doing this for a long time so I have some history behind me. I like to pick winners and people like to be around winners.

In 2006 I sold Chessco. The company that bought it did not do the job I was led to believe they would and so in 2009 I started it up again. My retail division became GILBERT & LANGE, named for my two grandfathers. I worked for Gilbert on his ranch but Lange died before his son John, my Dad, ever got married. But I am sure he was a great man.

The name didn't seem to attract much attention and of those who used to do business with Chessco (and there were a lot of them), some came back, some got lost (??), and some seem to have amnesia.

Every now and then I hear from someone and last night it was John Kline. Here's what he had to say (which I think is a common story) about coming back:

"I found about Thinkers Press books about 13 years ago.  My Captain (I'm in the Army, the Fort Knox address was probably a dead give away) taught me how to play chess and we used to play during lunchtime, sometimes we just play or do a turn a day game that would last for a week or so....  Needless to say I used to be beaten quite often (I think I was his chess "punching bag").  So, I began trolling the Borders and Barnes and Nobles and eventually picking up some of your books that you published.  I especially like the Purdy books, they were easy to read and comprehend for the inquiring novice such as myself.  I had a Chessco (I believe that what it was called) catalog  and had ordered some really nice books that you offered in your inventory, books that just couldn't be found anywhere else...Needless to say chess got put on the back burner and eventually into the freezer after getting married and just plain life in general took over, however I'm now in a position to give it a second go and I'm looking forward to brushing up on my chess knowledge, my first thought was about Thinkers Press books, which led to a Google Search and voila, here I am.  So, that's the story...

"Thank you again for your fast response and I look forward to talking to you again sometime!"

John.

If you are one of them I will tell you (tomorrow?) how for $5.95 (to cover the cost of shipping) you can get $96.97 worth of great chess stuff, first class... shipped to you right away.

If I think of it tomorrow I will detail it then. I am busier, right now, than a cat in a litter box, mounted on a hot tin roof with ball bearings underneath it. I am in the process of trying to sell my building and have an appointment with someone about that tomorrow, dealing with a plumber, an insurance company, auto reg. renewal and all the stuff most of you have to do too, but hopefully you have a little help.

BUT... THERE IS INCREDIBLE NEWS!
The next issue of SCORE, #20, scheduled to be released in a week, is perhaps one of the best I have ever produced. Part of that is because the author of the 5 games, IM Bryan Smith, has done an amazing job of EXPLAINING, with words and variations, the intricacies of certain lines of the French Winawer and the King's Indian Mar del Plata. I've been going through his copy and am really pleased. Original, instructional, and downright fascinating.

Maybe it is because I have played the French Winawer, but not against 7. h4!? And maybe because I played the Mar del Plata King's Indian, but not like Smith did against GM Wesley So, the Filippino GM.

The subscription is only $49.95 for 16 issues. Guaranteed too! Or you can buy the individual issue using PayPal for $10.00. All I know is that it will be a FAT one, again!


P.S.: John, typical Army, is a go-getter. He's already sent the $5.95. All you have to do to get it is be a customer from before 2009 who hasn't contacted me again until now!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CHESS RESELLER?

Maybe they would like to carry Thinkers' Press products on chess.

Send me their name, and email address and clue me in as to what kind of products they sell.

A friend sent me the name of two today and I have already contacted one of them.

There is a kind of "bunker mentality" among chess sellers in the US because Chess Life magazine is too expensive to advertise in and get known! And in some states where there are tournaments all the time (NY and California for example) advertising isn't that necessary because it is the same "sellers" who are always there.

Thanks and have a great rest of the Sunday AND week.

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

NEXT UP?

In the Thinkers' Press "Grandmaster Series" I will be approaching GM Lajos Portisch with a contract and advance against royalties for his endgame book. We've already been in preliminary discussion and I have lined up a FM to proofread the files I create. If this project goes through, it will be a much better book than the original ever was (let's say 500% better!) and will also have a CD come with it.

One very good and old friend, from Canada, has offered some financial help for a share of the profits.

Would any of YOU be interested too, in sharing profits (if any) to get this book off the ground and make your study of the endgame a heckuva lot easier than it has been? The endgame is ONE area where DVDs don't have an advantage because time on an exercise quickly gets eaten up on a DVD whereas on a book or CD, NOT a problem.

If interested, looking for those who might want to pony up in manageable $500 increments to get me off dead center and to get this project done while Mr. Portisch is still around.

And when you see what I have planned for 2014 it will blow your wig off--and for you who KNOW me, you know this will be no idle comment.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

TUESDAY DETAILS

1. Proof of Modern Chess Brilliancies (Hustled) has passed inspection by the printer. I will be ordering copies today, should be here in 1-2 weeks. Will sell copies at $54.95 + $7 for shipping and handling if your order is received before I get the books. Then the price must go to $59.95. The pre-press and print and binding costs were high for such a small number. EACH COPY will be serially numbered. To order contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

2. Keres Machine Gunner is ready to go to the printer. It is part of the Chess Gangs of New York and London series, #10. $12.95 + S&H.

3. SCORE Special #3 on the King's Gambit was released yesterday. PDF. 30 pages! Contains several secrets including one particularly important one. $14.95. Or you can purchase all FOUR SCORE Special Reports for $39.95. The other 3 are: King's Indian Attack, Bent Larsen, and the Blackmar-Diemer.

4. GM Svetozar Gligoric just passed away. RIP Gliga. He was helpful in my production of the Leonid Stein book Risk Strategy. We sold this in hardcover and softcover and it has been out of print for a long time.

A Rubber Derci!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

KERES AND CONTROVERSY

I have just finished up Keres Machine Gunner for #10 in the Chess Gangs of New York and London.

Like all such books I draw from my library and online sources. This time I was "entranced" by the huge entry on Keres in Wikipedia but I shouldn't have been surprised (and wasn't). To Estonians Paul Keres is THE MAN, loved throughout and a true Estonian Romantic National Hero.

And there has always been this "back story" about Keres being "forced" to lose to Botvinnik in 1948. Apparently he wasn't given such "orders" but there is always that subtle (and not so subtle) pressure of a psychological nature. With Korchnoi it was even more overt when he was playing against Karpov and his son was in jail. This kind of treatment is so LOW RENT. I know that sounds funny but to those "officials" (official what? official village idiots?) winning was everything. OK, let's go with that, but how about winning by having the best person as the winner, after all the guy (Keres) was born in Narvu which was part of the Russian empire in 1916. What's so bad about having Keres as the Big Kahuna? I would have guessed that Smyslov would still have aced out Keres but like all guesses, not provable. From what I read one of Smyslov's weaknesses was stamina (don't kid yourself, Smyslov was a very strong player) and apparently Keres had more of it in 1953 than did Smyslov. But, as so often happens, Keres overpressed (instead of allowing a draw) and lost.

This time I allowed two pages on the lead character rather than the usual one (an exception was the first book on Lasker). The main reason is that Keres just had so much fascinating stuff to retell.

Spassky thought Keres should be the Pope of chess! People like Spassky too.

Often finishing ahead of other greats such as Capablanca, Fine, Alekhine and others, this edition contains mostly his "quick" wins (under 25 moves). At the end I added 3 games annotated by Purdy and one more game, his scintillating win over Capablanca in 1938 at AVRO which some have called it the strongest tournament of all time and yet not much has ever been written about it except for the recent compilation by Dale Brandreth.

It should go to the printer in a couple days and will retail at $12.95 plus $3.50 for S&H. You will get one FREE if your orders with The Chess Butler exceeded $100 for the months of May-June-July.

For the months August-September-October it will be #11. Can you guess who it might be? The first three correct guesses will get a copy for FREE (those who have helped me research will be ineligible). Clues: Hard drinking, ass-kicking (we've already done Blackburne). Writer, seldom photographed. I'm giving you ONE week to get your entries in. I want to see who reads this "rant" I put out. That's what ONE person said.

Also, I have tracked down the solution to solving a problem which has kept me postponing the PizzaPak and expect to finish that soon too!

Should you want to know MORE about what really matters, tune in here several times a week, request my lists and newsletters (samples sent to see if I can get you to subscribe), and in general, just stay in touch.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WORST PRIVACY FEARS COMING TRUE

I didn't end that headline with a question mark because, what I am about to relate WILL happen. Hence, this is not a prediction. And... it can even apply to your chess life too.

Evil Google has its admirers. Those who fall all over themselves about how they use it to search, how they use their "free" tools, their maps, etc. Wake up, they aren't doing this for you but to "increase" their Search Engine possibilities. This, in the end will be a nightmare George Orwell hadn't contemplated... Big Brother IN your shower!

Announced this morning Google is experimenting with the idea of using YOUR own gmail in Search Results! Wow, sounds great doesn't it? You wrote an email to George O. in 1984 (I know, email wasn't around then, this is a scenario) about some opening variation of the Ruy Lopez and you didn't save all your SENT messages because your box was getting just too darn full. And besides, you thought you would never need it. Wrongo.

TODAY
... you discover that that email could be of real value in something you are NOW working on. Holy cow, you "might" be able to have Google retrieve that for you. Google's Search (and Bing's, etc.) has one purpose in mind, to sell advertising and PPC (pay per clicks). Anything to get you using that search browser more frequently has the potential for showing you more ads, more purchase possibilities, more revenue stream from online buyers... and the list boggles the unimaginative mind.

However,
did you write something indiscreet about your mate (I am not talking chess here)? You may or may not be right about your buddy NEVER revealing something like this but that doesn't mean Google wouldn't! Or let's say you wrote something about your BOSS you wouldn't even put on Facebook?

HOW ABOUT THIS?
You wrote to your partners about business strategies that you wouldn't want the enemy to know about. Put it in your email and you are potential for Post-It Toasties!

If you are a Google lover and believe they wouldn't go this far you just haven't been paying attention. Recently (and this has happened over and over) Google had tried to offer a payout to authors whose books they scanned (without permission) of about $125 million. Now, how do these authors actually get paid? Through a guild of some sort--an Author's Guild. And what if you aren't a member? It's all horse puckey. A judge threw that settlement out. Google said they were benevolently doing this for wider access to information to the world (how altruistic!) And realize that Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google) revealed to Google about Apple's iPhone while he was on the Apple Board of Directors (a blunder by Steve Jobs). There are, actually, many other examples of deceit by Google.

Guess what? It was recently revealed, in an EMAIL, that this (book scanning) wasn't Google's goal at all. They didn't care about author's--just the advertising need for greed. "Hoist by their own petard" as the saying goes.

THE CRUSHER!
Recently Samsung was discovered to have destroyed many, many, internal emails regarding their upcoming case with Apple (each suing each other). The judge warned against this but they did it anyway. Right then, if I were wearing a black robe, I would have found for the other side--this is totally against the law to destroy evidence (see the movie with Gene Hackman Class Action). A person I know who was in the US Army Military Intelligence corps in South Korea told me he was offered $150,000 when he left the Army to work for South Korean import/exporters. I asked him "why" he didn't take the offer (this was 15 years ago). He had a four word answer: "You can't trust them." Looks like Google might fit that Bill of Goods too!

With this NEW (?) concept for invasion of things you thought were not to be known to anyone else, you have just revealed yourself to be defenseless. For example if I wrote, "Joe Blow is a crook and I wouldn't invite him to come to my Fall Chess Classic if it would make the difference between losing money or making it." Let's say Joe has been suspicious about me and he "Googles" Fall Chess Classic, his name, emails-- it might show up, had I been using gmail, that there might be a letter (email) announcing that Joe is a "lowlife." You better start sanitizing your emails if you use gmail.

That's small potatoes. Can you imagine politically what this could do? Let's say your chief of staff writes the president an email, "The opposition is just stumbling in the dark they have no proof we lied when we said... I just hope that Suzie Q. never comes to light." Toast time. In France it would be French Toast.

Google could even find itself on the wrong end of the stick with this, used against themselves! It was reported that Larry Page (co-founder of Google), was pretty ticked when someone wrote an article about Google, the founders' lifestyles, how much they made etc. BY searching the web using Google! AND... if Google promises they won't use this in an evil way, look at the first sentence of the second paragraph I wrote above. Someone once said that Satan's greatest lie was to convince others he didn't exist!

THE DEAL
Before I signed up for gmail (reluctantly, as I was having some email issues at the time with my provider) I read the whole agreement. It was so long I had to take a vacation in the middle of reading it! Basically it says this: We can read and store and use your email. Your email will no longer be of use to us after (say) 90 days and we will delete stuff older than 90 days (whatever). I am sure there is a caveat that they can change their mind on this too, any time they want. If you believe Google is about Telling the Truth, you my dear friend, are Naive.

We've all been busted. To that idiot who got caught on the 16th floor of an elevator in a tall business building in NYC with his secretary by his wife's sister??? Ah my little child, that will be kid's stuff. If you thought divorce trials can be bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. In the end, as said in the movie (another movie) All the President's Men, "Follow the Money."

And what about those who send their credit card info to someone else in a gmail? Ah, the unscrupulous could now know. The mail service might not be the fastest, the best deliverer of info, and they may be having trouble balancing their budget because they have too many overpaid employees, but it is fairly private.

Georgie O..... you didn't know what you were writing about. George you were an Amateur.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The "ART" of Miscommunication

Handing out simple messages should be easy and not very frustrating, but it is not always so and I can offer up typical examples where the Reader is completely clueless about what certain words or phrases mean. Not everyone, but too many:

1. Years ago I noticed when I had my Game Shop (Thinkers' Emporium) open from Monday through Saturday that business was almost non-existent on Wednesday. So I sent out my newsletters (by mail!) announcing we would be Closed on Wednesday. That should seem, ordinarily, pretty simple. It wasn't. Some responses:
a. I was now OPEN on Wednesday. Where did that come from?
b. I was only open on the weekend. Why not just put out a sign "closed forever!"
c. I was open SOME Wednesdays. Again, self-defeating.

When I returned to being OPEN on Wednesday, the reactions, once again, were all over the MAP. OPEN means Open and CLOSED means closed. That's simple, but apparently the message wasn't. Have any of you read Harlan Ellison? Great writer and he continues to sell.  Yet, some view him as a maniac because he refuses to be stupid.


2. One time when I was trying to sell my business Chessco I got the following types of comments:
a. "Why did you decide to go out of business?" I never said I was going out of business, I was looking for a BUYER. I would strongly imagine that a buyer would WANT to CONTINUE the business otherwise he could start his own. And some other times a new buyer will want the former owner to stay on for a while. No worries!
b. "Where will I buy my chess stuff now?" Right here. The business is continuing.
c. "When will it be sold?" How on earth would I know that? Just keep buying goods... future changes will obviously be made known.
d. I will probably hear from someone right now asking me "why" am I selling my business because his reading comprehension is at the bottom of a well. They don't read anything except what they want to.

When I came back from Savannah, GA some people were surprised! Why? I was sending emails to them telling I was starting up my business again, didn't they read them? Some were unhappy with Chess4Less. I was too. My contract had an annual catalog to be put out every year, but the buyer LIED.


3. In Davenport, probably like a lot of other communities, we have these various Drive Up Coffee Shops. One of them Andrew Martin and I go to is called The Coffee Hound. There is another one on Main Street and it has a sign up that says "Business for Sale" (no that is not the name of the coffee business). All of a sudden they went from having regular customers to almost "none" because customers (many) don't know what Business for Sale means. They "think" it means: "We won't be here anymore right after we serve you now!" It just means they are looking for someone to take over the business and give them some consideration for it (money, property, etc.) I feel sorry for them. There are business brokers who try to sell businesses "under the radar" so it won't discourage current customers who can't read the intent.


4. Recently I requested Feedback either on this Blog or in a email sending. One guy complained that "I sent you criticism and got my head bit off!" He wasn't paying attention. I wasn't looking for criticism but FEEDBACK of what I needed to do to engage the readers more, to know they existed. MY complaint was that I sent out what I thought was a good issue and it resulted in no orders, no feedback, no commentary. So... I wanted to know, "What am I doing wrong?" Instead, he bellyached. Why? I don't know, he never bought anything anyway except when the moon turned blue. He also was a promiser type of person who--just didn't come through (EVER) and always had an excuse for NOT doing something (anything). If I need criticism of me, I can create it myself. No one NEEDS criticism (I am in the camp of those who do not believe criticism is EVER constructive) but many of us are willing to take suggestions, what moves their mountain, how they might do something, etc. Often what some of these folks want is something that is money and time intensive and something they themselves would not attempt.

Incidentally, I got quite a few emails from people telling me THEY DO read what I send. Some made assumptions about me (which were mostly wrong) and what I wanted or was after. I make assumptions when I serve up fare but if it isn't working, I will try to adapt. After all, I am in business, and business people sell things, that's how we pay for insurance, auto licenses, groceries, mortgage, gas, and all the other stuff people buy. So I want to "sell" things you will be interested in! If I tell someone WHY I don't do something, or DO do something, it can easily be totally misconstrued (see items 1-4).

Today for example. I spent 1.5 hours on the phone with "Autumn" at GoDaddy.com setting up my NEW website, email addresses, etc. Very pleasant, knew her beans. When I didn't understand something or couldn't find something, I ASKED... I did not assume. I am now rowing my boat! I also asked about setting up a PayPal account to handle "sales." More money, more questions, more things to deal with. But, I didn't assume ANYTHING except that it would be harder and more time consuming than GoDaddy implied. And guess what? It was and is. But... I am getting there!

What is your list? The miscommunication isn't missing, "lying" is the usual substitution. Here's mine of those who FAIL with regularity:
1. Old world printers who promise delivery by such and such date. And don't deliver.
2. Web designers who tell you NOTHING is a problem for them. But it.
3. Bankers who tell you how easy it is to apply for a loan before you get the two dozen pages of paperwork.
4. Opportunists who tell you how to "get rich quick!" Work is always necessary.

On the other hand... should you want to contact me (I hope so) and tell me what gooses you and how I can win you over, just drop me a line at: bob@thinkerspressinc.com or info@chessbutler.com (web site is not up yet but the email address is in place--I think).


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PAUL "MACHINE GUN" KERES

At the moment I am working on #10 in the series, The Chess Gangs of New York and London. What a continued learning experience.

And you know something else? They sell. Despite only a very few resellers carrying them because: they are too expensive for our customers, or, not enough pages; SEZ who aardvark farts?

The customers LIKE them!
They are BUYING them. Doncha get tired of someone else making your buying decisions for you?

Sometimes you have to bribe these guys (dealers) before you can get them to respond. Since I've had to reprint Lasker the Ultimate Streetfighter many times, and once again along with Blackburne Black Death In Spades, I don't think that will happen any time soon.

What I notice about these books is the following:

1. Brief biography so you get to know the man.
2. About 50-70 of his games.
3. Light notes but still notes you can learn something from (and I've learned a lot).
4. Diagrams, often before the surprise so you can try to work it out.
5. Not all notes are light especially when the move is on MY turf.
6. All the games, both white wins and black wins, are wins; no draws except possibly in notes.
7. Games tend to be short from cremations to 25-30 moves so you don't give up so easily when playing through them.
8. Caricature on the cover (in color), one inside the front cover and one at the back, like the one above for Keres pondering in a "Kilroy was here!" mode.
9. I can't show you the cover yet, I only do that when the book IS available... but I can tell you that Pauly is firing a machine gun from atop a skyscraper! Chess should be lively not this junk we see day in and day out. Chess marketing by the big 3 or 4 is very dry even when they try to be humorous (eh? they do?).
10. And you know what? The books run 41-55 pages and are only $12.95 (except for #6 Petrosian, which is $15.95) each.
11. You CAN order all 10 now at a special price if you are interested. The total retail is $132.50. But, for ONE WEEK only starting right now (ending Aug. 14th), you will get them all for $110.00 postage paid. (Need your name and address + email address). USA only, out of country I have to add shipping, usually $25-30 for this size of package. Notice: Keres #10 isn't ready yet, probably 3 weeks, so that's when I will send the package out.

Payment.. Ya know, this is never a problem... only with lazy people whereby I actually have to hand-deliver the package which, so far, I have never done. Chances of it happening in the future are as remote as Bernie Madoff getting out of prison, but NOT before then.

Send me check, MO, or credit card information to: The Chess Butler, % Bob Long, 1524 LeClaire St., Davenport, IA 52803 USA. I do take PayPal and if you want that method of payment, send the $110 (USA) to: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

That's all Paul and I have to say today!

Thanks.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I TOOK THE MORNING OFF -- WAS IT A GOOD IDEA?

While taking a time out, going out to eat breakfast after a 30 minute walk, I came up with two more ideas... really good ideas for chess lovers. Beneficial ideas, make them "kick ass" stronger. Why not before? Timing I think plus a nudge from up above.

I debated whether to tell you, some mental wrestling went on there. Decided to hold off. I have plenty of irons in the fire.

I hate to use the word "investor" as it connotes all kinds of legal H.S., the government, tax guys, everyone with their hand out and doing exactly NOTHING for us. If you want to get in on a couple projects, just get in touch with me: 563-271-6657. Then I will tell you what they are.

AN EXPERIMENT
I goofed on my "Bob Long's Chess Letter." I left out two moves in a game between Steinitz and Chigorin and no one (But one) said anything about it, Ed Reedy. Ed, you see, takes those newsletters seriously and he reads them from page one to the end.

Funny thing, after I complained about piss-poor feedback, others told me they read it from front to end. How could I have known? I create a puzzle which any 8 year old could solve and I get 2 responses to get $5 off their next order! (But, if you don't ever buy anything, don't enter a contest, capisci?) Dentists can extract teeth easier than I can pry $34.95 (or $29.95 from SCORE subscribers) to pay for the newsletter. It doesn't matter that my newsletters are twice as big as the average monthly newsletter from anyone else about anything. It doesn't matter that I offer 25% more issues then the average newsletter. And it doesn't matter is that the cost is one-tenth of what most charge. Since the CHess Gazette had been free, this is why I changed the name and the format. It's one of 3 things:

a) Don't ever want to spend money on anything they can get for FREE (sounds like the old "I won't pay for sex" shtick._ WHO is sending out chess newsletters? No one but me.

b) The editor is "unqualified" to write about chess. Too late, been doing it for 25 years. Reminds me of the purchaser who has to OWN Houdini because it allegedly has a rating performance of 3000+ but who is an under 2100 rated player. Won't ever beat it, but, has to have the best. Fact: "the best" (whoever they are) won't tell you anything truthful until they quit playing it in their repertoire.

c) Requires effort to read anything over a page long because of addiction to computer monitors. Not my problem, theirs. Have me remove their name from my email or mailing list, they never purchase.

Back in the old days they called people who "played at something" dilettantes. These folks still exist. Would you want THEM working on your computer because they know how to pull out a logic board or install more RAM? Guess what, a lot of people allow this to happen--they are called "computer repair shops!"

BACK TO THE EXPERIMENT
As I told the story, which I read in a John Carlton newsletter (another expensive guy), this company who specialized in giving away audio cassettes to promote some product discovered "no one" actually listened to them! How did they find out? Good question Bruno. What happened was that they sent out a batch of them that were BLANK--by accident. No one said anything? My guess is a few people listened to them, heard nothing, figured, "I didn't pay for this, ho hum, no loss." And I know if it is FREE it will be perceived as worth that much and no more.

So it was that I did get feedback from readers of the newsletter, but, no sales. My OFFERS must have been crap is all I can think of.

Worse. I said I sent out "320 Chess Letters." I checked that out. I was wrong, it was 738! 4 initial responses out of 738 and people are always telling me about HOW MUCH BETTER email and the internet is. Total H.S. That's ONE HALF of one percent!

Now let me lay this one on you. I have a former author who transferred "rights" of our book to someone else. He keeps getting requests for the book but the person who got the new rights has not made good on the deal (only 50% of it), won't answer emails or letters, and not even from me. If I told you who this unmitigated jerk was you would quit doing business with him (indirectly) immediately! You won't know his name but you will know what he does. How do you spell L-O-S-E-R? Another college graduate in marketing (according to the greatest marketing expert who probably ever was, Gary Halbert (no college degree), these guys aren't worth a nickel.) Problem? They "think" (legend in their own mind) they are right until they file for bankruptcy.

So I am going to return part-time to good old MAIL (you know, that department of US commerce that can't seem to pay its bills because they have the negotiating skill of a dead worm?) And I am working on a NEW catalog which will ONLY go out to BUYERS and people I hear from. The deadwood on my email lists will remain, in, fantasy land buying their tri-annual chess set and wondering how everyone else is doing!

ANYWAY... two GREAT IDEAS on a morning off!

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE

When I was younger my Father, who will be 90 this Saturday, pinched me by taking the other side of every issue which was important to me. In effect, questioning my thinking, beliefs, and results. It wasn't so much insulting as annoying because, it was frequency.

I don't know whether or not it had a good influence on my critical thinking skills, debate, being logical, or living through a hard life, but there it is. In the end, one day, he said to me, "You sure were lucky to pick chess as your niche."

I replied, "Yes Dad, for 25 years I have been lucky." There isn't much harder work than trying to convince someone to part with their "hard earned." If what you sell has no benefits, the sale is going to be astronomically difficult. For example, if I was in a sporting goods store and someone approached me about buying mountain climbing equipment I would have to defer him instead to the two guys who lost their lives in Peru climbing a mountain face which never needed climbing in the first place EXCEPT by them.

In the stock market there are lawsuits about stock performance, not being warned in advance of slipping sales (which usually makes the stock go even lower!) Thus Zynga, maker of that fabulous "time waster" Farmville has found itself no longer the darlings of those who couldn't get enough to fatten their wallets. I thought the stock market was risks up or down. If they hadn't been informed of a potential for a stock rise, and it did, would they sue for that?

In a case of daring "Devil's Advocate" I note trial proceedings yesterday for the legal team of Samsung. Their lawyer "pleaded" (his words) with Judge Lucy Koh (herself a former patent lawyer!) to let him have one more say, one more attempt, even to change the conversation, and after 4 attempts already the judge had enough, making the guy liable for a Big Contempt citation and possible jail time (for the next bit of theater).  Exclusion of certain evidence from the courtroom to the jury was presented OUTSIDE the court for the news media (despite the judges otherwise instructions!). Oh man did the judge hit the roof! The lawyer may not be skating on thin ice but falling through it. Let's give the bastard some jail time, throw his license in the sewer.

He went too far. In MY opinion, he was ACTING... big time acting. Pretending to be crushed by the blows of the other side (Apple) and implying it was "fair" for Samsung to do whatever it wanted for the sake of innovation (the fact that they hadn't innovated at all on this case seems to be lost on him, they just copied). He brought up lots of "stuff" that had NO bearing on the case (Samsung has 100,000 patents for example. He never proved that AND that bit of "theater" doesn't touch on this case where just MAYBE Samsung made an exception!)

This guy, is all over the map. In the fairness of JUSTICE, I wonder what he would have argued had he been on Apple's side of the fence. A different kind of acting is my hunble guess.

What will the jury do? Sympathize or Reject as "too much ham." Juries are harder to predict than lawyers from what I have seen and heard.

So the question is, when you come ($265) to the Fall Chess Classic, this October (26-28), how will I sell you on one of the most fabulous chess sets I have ever marketed? A Staunton design $795 value (no box, no board, no Jaques Staunton made up credentials) for $595.00. The $200  discount is partly for coming to see because when the event is through, Sunday afternoon, the price WILLLLL rise (just like people do when the judge enters the courtroom).

Let's see if every week, leading up to the Big Top Event if I can come up with other reasons (benefits) for you to show your cheery, smiling face.

Contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com