Well, I'm back from a short but sweet trip out to the high desert of Scottsdale, Arizona, where I communed with the lizards, the jack rabbits, and the roller coaster ride golf courses. Bogeys never felt so good.
Though I slowed down long enough to take a breather and stay blogless in Scottsdale, the world of e-advertising did just the opposite, continuing to accelerate with WPP's announced acquisition of 24/7 Real Media for $649 million, and Microsoft's $6 billion gamble for aQuantive (an 85% premium).
The FOG continues, although some analysts are wondering why the extraordinary price tag on the Microsoft/aQuantive deal, and indicating the regulators will be swarming Redmond on this one.
With my new Pearl Crackberry tether, I was able to keep a limited pulse on all these tidings, which I found myself compulsively checking between jaunts in the golf cart.
"Todd, it's your putt!"
Oh, yeah. Putt, sure. Right. Oh yeah, I'm on the golf course.
Yes, you, too, can be a Crackberry news junkie.
Simply set up a few Google news alerts, subscribe to the New York Times' Dealbook blog email and the Wall Street Journal Morning Brief and Evening Wrap, and you're good to go.
My father, who accompanied me on the trip, was none too pleased with my newfound electronic tether.
Who Needs a Gecko?
Yet while our "Out of Office" shingle was raised, dad, who is a 40+ year independent insurance agent, could be very pleased with a survey recently commissioned by IBM which found that three-quarters of consumers are very satisfied with the service provided by their insurance agents, even while golfing in Scottsdale.
As the press release about the survey noted, "the study demonstrates consumers' unwavering loyalty to their insurance agent regardless of potential savings that online channels alone can provide, and it indicates how insurance carriers are providing their agents with innovative technologies to deliver more personalized customer services."
Good People + Good Technology = Happy and Loyal Customers Shocker!
Don't Be Such a Twit
Meanwhile, just prior to my fleeing to the high desert I recorded a new episode for our IBM ShortCuts podcasting series.
This time around, George queries me about microblogging: Everything you ever wanted to know about a Twitter Tweet but were afraid to ask.