BizVoice Web Site Gets a Fresh Coat of Paint

Sometimes, as the ’80s band, Motley Crue, said: “it’s time for change”. Whether out of necessity or desire, there comes a moment where you need to shed the old wardrobe, your clunker car or your outdated web site.

For BizVoice®, the time for a new look to the magazine’s web site is now. If you haven’t visited www.bizvoicemagazine.com lately, you will find that it’s quite a bit different from what you’re used to seeing.

BizVoice, the Indiana Chamber’s premier publication, needed a premier site. It needed to be more interactive and responsive on all mobile devices. The content you’re familiar with is still there and we’re adding new materials for the reader, in addition to what you get in the print version. From time to time we’ll offer exclusive content on the site, so please check back regularly.

We hope you notice a few things right away; first is big, bold colors and images! We want your trip to the site to be an experience. Take your time and dive into the current issue – we will highlight some of the feature content and cover stories on the main page, but the full issue will take you on a broader journey.

Also, down the road we want to continue to add videos – either expanding on stories or highlighting additional content that can’t be found in print.

You can also still explore our archives dating back to 2003. We’ve told thousands of stories in our nearly 20 years of publication and hope you’ve enjoyed reading and will continue to check us out. Share BizVoice with your friend and colleagues – there’s something for everyone.

Boston Magazine Changes Cover on the Run, Reflects Spirit of Recovery

For all Americans, there are many dates that resonate, sadly, all too well. For me, the first was the Challenger explosion. I remember exactly where I was at the moment the shuttle erupted in the sky. I can still picture all of my classmates crowded in the tiny gymnasium of my small elementary school, watching on TV.

Or learning about the Columbine tragedy from the couch of my first apartment. Who can forget where you were when the first plane struck the World Trade Center, or when an elementary school in Connecticut transformed into a killing field? Sadly, we can add one more event to the list. On Monday, April 15 we all stopped in horror as bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

We witnessed people from all over the country – but especially Bostonians themselves – come together in support of a city. On Facebook, people replaced profile pictures with images of shoelaces twisted into ribbons, a sign of support for the runners, spectators and everyday citizens affected by the terror. One of the most poignant acts of solidarity in my mind was the playing/singing of “Sweet Caroline,” the Boston Red Sox’ unofficial anthem, in stadiums and ballparks across the nation, including at the home of Boston’s nemesis, the New York Yankees. Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Brewers showed a video tribute to the city of Boston at a recent home game that included the theme-song from Boston-based “Cheers.” And nothing gave me chills more than at the entire crowd singing the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Boston Bruins first home game after the bombing.

So how does a magazine capture all that emotion? Can it even be done? The answer is a resounding yes, as Boston Magazine proved.  The magazine’s current cover features hundreds of shoes worn by runners in the April 15 marathon set up to form a heart, with the words “We Will Finish The Race” in the negative space. It is a simple but poignant image.  And it is all the more amazing given the deadline staff faced.

Staff members at the magazine were in the midst of wrapping up their May issue when they got news of the explosion. They immediately knew they had to do something that would re-write their magazine, literally. I can tell you from my experience to have to do what they did, change the direction of the magazine, is an incredible undertaking. Scrapping much of their content in honor of all those who were there was bold and tremendous. It required everyone on staff to step up and contribute in a way they may not have normally. Editor John Wolfson explains how the idea came about and what it took to put hundreds of runners’ shoes on the cover and in the magazine in the span of only days. But it was worth it. These efforts truly honor and tell what Boston and America is all about, coming together in the midst of such tragedy.

For me, when I think of the marathon bombings years from now, I’ll recall this cover.
 

For Customer, Airline Soars High Through Customer Service

Customer service in any field or job is one of the reasons companies either succeed or fail. Good customer service can help you soar, as people want to continue to work with you even when something doesn’t go quite as planned. Bad customer service can be detrimental. Especially in this day and age of "status updates" and "tweets" that can cause PR nightmares.

Here’s a story of a good experience in an industry riddled with a bad reputation.

We’ve all had the experience at the airport where the man or woman behind the counter could care less about whether or not you reach your destination. They just want you to move along and go on to the next person. This is typically my experience. And it wasn’t until recently that I’ve seen a glimmer of hope. Even if it was just one person at one company (Delta Air Lines) — sometimes that’s all it takes.

My wife and I were flying to New York (via LaGuardia) to see her family. We had our 9-month-old daughter with us and after lugging four suitcases, a car seat and a stroller through the parking lot and up to the counter, we were told our flight had been cancelled only minutes before. You can only imagine our frustration, to say it lightly.

We were sent to another line at the ticket counter, seething and wondering how and if we were going to get through this.

We stepped up to the counter and the woman who now had our Fourth of July plans in her hands smiled and said hello to us and our daughter. We hoped, "Somehow, there must be a way out of here!" She searched for what felt like about a half hour, finding flights going through Detroit and that was about it. But with a baby, layovers can be tricky, especially if you have precious few minutes to get to your connection. She could see we were not happy with that solution and continued to search.

Minutes later she exclaimed, "Got it!" My ears perked up as she told us that there was a flight going to New York (JFK). That’s what we wanted to hear; we were back on track. She also informed us that we would be upgraded to first class, free of charge – indicating they may not be happy with her for doing so. Could it be? Could this woman really have been so nice and helpful to find a solution for us and our daughter that would be in our best interest and not the airlines? It could and she did.

I’m sure my smiling daughter (mixed with our comment about how she wouldn’t get to see her grandma) helped a bit, but it gives me hope that there are good people out there committed to doing the right thing for customers.

And Mom Said Not to Play with His Food

As an artist myself, I find myself drawn (pun intended) to other artists around the world who are doing what they love. The invention of the Web and the prevalence of blogging have made my life easier. Now all I have to do to take in a good gallery exhibit is go to my preferred browser and search.

Over the past two years I’ve been doing just that. I’ve logged countless hours and have lost more sleep than I can imagine scrolling through some of my favorite art blogs. I’ve discovered everyone from a guy who created a skull out of a different material each day for a year to someone who routinely inks an old-fashioned comic strip. In between I stumbled upon someone who is eerily similar to me: he’s bald, sports a goatee and is an artist with a dream.

His name is Terry Border and he lives here in Indianapolis. For about three years he’s been bending the fabric (or wire) of reality. He takes wire and ordinary objects we see around our houses (corks, spice jars, fruit and cheesy snacks to name a few) and literally bends and shapes them into something else, injecting personality and life into them along the way. He then photographs them and posts them for all to see.

Within these photos we get a glimpse of what really goes on behind the cupboard. Why are carrots such great parents? What do people really think of Hamlet? How do you fight a cold? All these questions and more are answered on Terry’s blog.

His site boasts over 10,000 unique visitors per month. Now, he’s put some of his most creative creations into a book. “BENT OBJECTS: The Secret Life of Everyday Things,” was released on October 6.

I encourage those interested in good humor, great art and a desire to support local artists to check out his blog http://www.bentobjects.blogspot.com/ and pick up the book. Or drop him a comment at BentObjects@gmail.com.