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Archive for December, 2009

After spending months apart, I am happy to be home with my husband in upstate New York.  As much as I love the UK and working on my PhD, there is nothing quite like being at home, especially for the holidays.  Steve and I have had a very busy year filled with wedding planning, our big day, a lot of great things happening at Digsby, and my move to England.  I became Mrs. Melanie Shapiro on August 8th and shortly thereafter we honeymooned in Riviera Maya and had the time of our lives.

I moved to England in September to begin working on my PhD, and have been devoting all of my time to my research since then.  Along with my supervisors, I had my very first piece published in an international journal, and have a few more research papers out for review at various other journals.  I have been keeping myself very busy over in the UK with my research, blogging, and taking in the European culture. This year, I also had my very first teaching opportunity, where I taught Marketing classes at RIT.  It was this experience, along with presenting at a few conferences, that firmly established that academia is the right path for me.

The other half of our dynamic duo, my husband Steve, has also had a very busy and rewarding year.  Steve was just appointed to the Board of Directors for the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce, and has many ideas as to how the HCC can make some innovative progress this year.  Steve’s company, Digsby, has had a very monumental year as well – growing to almost 2 millions users, managing 5 million accounts.  Digsby has been written about in many great places this year, such as: Democrat and Chronicle, NYTimes, Wallstreet Journal, and PC Magazine.  This Summer, Digsby was a winner in CNET’s Webware 100 awards, and was also invited to present at the prestigious DEMO conference, which is the launch spot of everything from Boingo Wireless to Adobe Acrobat.  Steve was also asked to be the Keynote speaker at the opening of the Simone Center for Innovation, where he thanked his experiences at RIT and his lovely wife (ME!) for helping him get where he is today.

It has been a very busy year in the Shapiro household, and we know that although we cannot always be in the same city, we are working towards our dreams and will be able to permanently live together in a matter of months.

We wish all of our friends and family a very happy, healthy, and successful 2010.  May you all have a great holiday season!

Warm Wishes,

The Shapiro’s

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I’m going to put it out there and say that major shareholders of Verizon are probably still throwing darts at the picture of whoever decided that carrying the Apple iPhone wasn’t a sustainable business venture.  Clearly, with the sales and success that the iPhone has had, someone got fired over there at Verizon headquarters for not properly utilizing their Harvard MBA.  However, in an effort to entice Apple to come back with another partnership deal, Verizon has been making upgrades to its network so that it would be capable of carrying the heavy traffic that would be generated by the iPhone.  In the past 6 month, Verizon has also been taking public shots at AT&T’s poor service, arguing that the only thing consistent about their network is the high frequency of dropped calls.  Although there has been no official word as to whether or not Apple has presented Verizon with any desirable partnership deals, VZ has been making changes and preparing for the right deal to come along.  Here’s hoping Verizon gets exclusive carrying rights, because I’m sure as heck not signing on with AT&T anytime soon.  ‘Hear me now’ Apple – you need to drop AT&T like they drop calls.

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According to a study done by ComScore, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have influenced 28% of US holiday shoppers this year.  Purchase intentions have been most affected by the availability of peer reviews through tools such as fan pages, twitter feeds, and facebook brand groups.

While critics have been questioning the utility of social media sites for the purpose of marketing and commercialization, it seems as though these sites have gone ahead and proven their relevance regardless of critic skepticism.  Perhaps for the 2010 holiday season we’ll see more brands tapping into the same successes some companies have found this year:

JCPenney

Kodak

Gap

Victoria’s Secret

Target

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Before

Unfortunately, my sister (Sarah) and I were unable to be with our family on Thanksgiving this year, and had to spend one of our favorite holidays in a country that, well, clearly doesn’t share in the celebration.  So, even though we were thousands of miles from home on the 26th, we were determined to at least finish out the night with a lovely food-coma.  In preperation for the day, we spent weeks searching for the perfect restaurant.

This may seem like quite a bit of time to just find a place to eat, but we needed to accomodate a vegetarian (my sister) and a girl who, although eats everything, really wanted turkey or at least chicken on Thanksgiving.  So, after talking to a few people, and getting reccomendations, we settle on a restaurant thats of true British character – the restaurant didn’t have turkey, or chicken, but did have pidgeon…which I thought I would be adventurous and try.

After

Now that we have our restaurant, my sister and I get all dressed up, hop in my car, and head out for dinner.  Upon looking at the direction we realize there are no street names mentioned after 10 minutes into the trip, and simply directions informing us to “take the third left, take the 5th right….” etc.  Needless to say, we get lost.  This is at no fault of our own because the roads we were driving on were single lane, two-way, DIRT roads.  It was the middle of the night and my sister and I began to feel a bit terrified and decide that after we lock all of our doors, we will search for a new place to eat.

Searching for a new place to eat isn’t going to be easy seeing that, it took us weeks to find one restaurant.  We stumble upon a charming little old farm home that has been turned into a restaurant, and apparently is housed in a building over 500 years old.  The restaurant lights are on, but the doors are locked.  We knock and knock, no one answers.  I find their phone number and give them a call.  Apparently they’re opening in only 10 minutes but only have one reservation left for the evening.  We take the reservation and decide to wait.  We come to find out that there are a group of Americans who go to this restaurant once a week and the chef was preparing a full Thanksgiving menu for them!  He tells me he has enough for one more, and I am thrilled!  Not only could I not find Turkey being served ANYWHERE, but I certainly did not expect to find a full Thanksgiving dinner!

The chef brings out my dinner, and I was amazed!  The presentation was just as how it is at our family’s dinner and the guy had EVERYTHING covered – sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables…the works.  I inhale my food, per usual, and decide that my British Thanksgiving dinner was one of the best I’ve ever had.  So, a big thank you to our new friends at Luscombes!

http://www.luscombes.co.uk/home.php

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The Global Language Monitor has just announced the most-used words of 2009, and, of course, “Twitter” receives the #1 spot.  For all you non-believers out there, perhaps this will clue you in to the importance and utility of this service…or maybe it will take a visit from the fail whale to get you to transition from the dark side.  Regardless of whether or not you’ve stepped out from under your rock and into the Twittersphere, its difficult to argue the utility of Twitter and its relevance to our world.  Although over 200 million people are already tweeting, the true utilization of Twitter has yet to be reached as the commercialization of Twitter has just begun.

Top Words of 2009:

1. Twitter

2. Obama

3. H1N1

4. Stimulus

5. Vampire

6. 2.0

7. Deficit

8. Hadron

9. Healthcare

10. Transparency

11. Outrage

12. Bonus

13. Unemployed

15. Cartel

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