Monthly Archives: July 2012

Online deals and the color red versus the color blue.

July 23, 2012

This post from today’s Daily Stat (Harvard Business Review) should give all online retailers something to think about:

When people were shown online details about a vacation package against a blue background, their average “best offer” was $712, but it was $684 when the information was presented against a red background, say Rajesh Bagchi of Virginia Tech and Amar Cheema of the University of Virginia. The research participants were implicitly competing against the seller to get the best deal, and exposure to red induces greater aggression. Red has the opposite effect in auctions, where greater aggression makes people willing to pay more in order to best other bidders, the researchers say.

Source: The Effect of Red Background Color on Willingness-to-Pay: The Moderating Role of Selling Mechanism

New Nonprofit Leaders: Stop and listen before beginning your year.

Congratulations on being chosen to lead your organization in the coming year.  In order to have the most successful year as leader of a board of directors of a nonprofit or other organization it would be useful to understand why the members of the board are serving.  These are some thoughts on what you as the incoming leader might consider.

One of the more basic human emotional needs is to belong to a group.  The extent to which they feel that they belong to your group will be a factor in determining the success of your year of leadership.  So how do you find out what your members need?  Well, why not just call and ask them?  Or better yet, simply sit down for a one-on-one meeting.  Basically, what you want to find out is why they are serving on the board.  Here are some examples of questions or comments that might be appropriate in such a conversation:

1.  What led you to accept (or volunteer) for a position on this board?

2.  What would you like to see the organization accomplish this year?

3.  You’ve been on this board for a while, what was the best moment or high point of this organization?

4.  How can I help you in the coming year?

5.  Is there anything that I should be aware of that is not obvious?


Dining local on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

First, let’s catch up.  Just over a month I posted a blog about how my wife and I decided to dine out at local restaurants as much as possible.  Since then we have discovered several restaurants that we did not know existed and have dined at some great (and not so great) new ones.  The support for our little adventure has been extremely positive.  My thanks to those of you who have emailed me with your comments. Just to clarify, we make every effort to dine at a local restaurant when we go out for a sit down meal.  So to the person who saw me driving through Wendy’s to pick up something to take home I did not violate the intent of our little project.

And now for our recent dining experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where we spent four days recently.  Our first night’s dinner was at McElroy’s Beachside.  The food was good and the service was exceptional.  What we enjoyed most, however, was sitting outside on the balcony at sunset.  The setting is all Gulf Coast, i.e. on the harbor where the boats go back and forth and the seagulls slowly soar by hoping to get a snack. (NOTE:  don’t feed them.)  I have no raves on the food.  It is just good seafood, but nothing spectacular.  I’ve been there before, and to their location on the Back Bay in Ocean Springs.  Check out the reviews on for more info.

Our second dinner was at the iconic Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi.    It was established in 1964, but is housed in a building that was constructed in the 1700’s.  There are several private dining rooms, a bar and a courtyard shaded by a beautiful live oak tree.  Everything on the menu is good.  Before your meal, expect a tableside visit from the ever-smiling Bobby Mahoney, who will tell you about the daily specials and tell a few jokes.  It’s a landmark.

Steve’s Marina Restaurant in Long Beach was the venue for our third dinner.  It is another harbor restaurant with floor-to-ceiling plate glass on three walls and a balcony.  Built on piers, the restaurant is upstairs and the downstairs is a breezy, open space used for private parties.  My broiled seafood platter was excellent, as was the service.

By the fourth evening we were ready for something other than seafood.  While taking a late afternoon break at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville a friend suggested we have some local BBQ at The Shed in Ocean Springs.  It’s located just north of the I-10/Hwy 57 exit.  Expect a true Mississippi BBQ and Blues joint.  Imagine dining outside under a metal roof, and surrounded by a junkyard.  It is one funky place.  I walked to the counter – no table service – and ordered a pulled pork plate only to be informed that they were out that day.  I settled on the beef brisket, which turned out to be – yes, I’ll say it with apologies to my Texas friends – the best beef brisket I’ve ever tasted.  The beverage of choice was a cold Abita Strawberry beer.  Sitting there at an outdoor counter overlooking a bayou, savoring a pink/orange sky at dusk and a rising moon through the pine trees while listening to Grayson Capps on the speakers was truly an authentic local dining experience.  Live music acts coming up soon include T-Bone Pruitt, Kipori “Baby Wolf” Woods and the Gary Burnside Band.

Most breakfast and lunch meals were at the convention we were attending, however one day my colleague just had to have a po-boy so at lunch we zipped to Lil Ray’s in Gulfport.  It’s one of those places where the locals go.  They use only fresh LOCAL seafood, and their french bread is delivered daily from New Orleans.  Their motto is “Stop by and Put a lil South in ya mouth!”

Until next time.