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Category: Internet Marketing

Four Brothers

When “Ken”:http://www.onedegree.ca/category/ken-schafer sent a “request for Mother’s Day postings to One Degree”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/05/08/its-mom-week-at-one-degree, it made me scratch my head. I wondered what relevance my Mother had in terms of online marketing? And then it struck me: everything.
I have three brothers (I know, poor Mrs. Joel). We grew up in a middle-class family, which meant that we had everything we wanted but we shared a lot. Instead of individual gifts, my mother would always pool the resources together and get us something we could use together. Stuff like “Pong”:http://www.pong-story.com/, “Atari 2600”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600, “Atari 800”:http://oldcomputers.net/atari800.html, “Intellivision”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision and one of the first PCs.
From a technology standpoint, we were always ahead of the curve. I remember typing book reports on my Atari 800 and printing them up on a “dot matrix printer”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-matrix_printer while the other kids were still grappling in handwritten assignments.
I also remember the tag-team effort my brothers and I would put into programming a game with the code we got from “Compute Magazine”:http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/.
I also remember how my Mother never balked when it was time to upgrade from an 800 to a “1200 baud modem”:http://www.cyberroach.com/analog/an19/hayes_1200.htm, or when I wanted Internet service, but the only ISP was out of the province, so I had to pay long distance fees on top of my Internet service. I had a four-digit ICQ number.
And that’s the point, isn’t it?

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Raising Interactive

Growing up, neither “my brother”:http://www.onedegree.ca/category/karel-wegert nor I expected to work in interactive media. As a kid I abhorred technology, and my brother was far more interested in “NOFX”:http://www.nofxofficialwebsite.com/ than PPC. So it never ceases to amaze us – let alone our Mom – that we’re both now deeply entrenched in the interactive marketing industry.
Although she’s Internet-savvy in her own right (she emails, uses an instant messenger program, and is considering building a Web site to sell her decorative painting work online), our Mom still struggles a little to wrap her head around what it is that we do. Once, during a visit home, she happened to overhear my brother and I commiserating about a paid search campaign. “They might as well be speaking a different language!” she later told my father. But as she said it, there was a distinguishable note of pride in her voice.

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The Mother of All Emails

I still remember the day I received one of the most astonishing email message ever.
What was so special about this message? It was from my mother. You see, until that moment, I never thought I’d live to see the day that my mother would send me an email message.
Now don’t get me wrong, my mother is one sharp lady; it’s just that she abhors computers and most of the trappings of the digital world. She even hates just looking at computer screens – “How can you stare at that THING without getting a headache?” – and she still does all her correspondence by writing longhand on engraved stationary.
But I also saw how frustrated my mother would get trying to stay in touch with my father when he traveled overseas on business, where phone and fax communication is spotty at best. She would literally spend hours trying to get through to my father’s hotel to send him a fax. Between the three of us, we did come up with a primitive workaround; if my father had access to email, he’d send messages for my mother to me via email, and I’d relay them to her via fax.
Convinced there had to be a better way, I began to investigate how I could allow my mother to send and receive email from my dad without having to use a computer. Using the Internet to do my research (of course), I uncovered a whole sub-strata of consumer products known as ’email appliances’ that are designed to bring the power and convenience of email to people (like my mother) who will never use, let alone own, a full-blown personal computer.

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