Confessions of a Used Car Salesman

I’ve recently decided to sell my car (sorry Jon – my ‘hairdresser mobile’). Although TradeMe Motors is the popular choice, there are thousands of listings and (thanks to TradeMe’s pretty reasonable pricing model) much of these are slow-moving (i.e. dodgy) dealer stock.

With all this ‘noise’, surely buyers would prefer simply looking in the paper, right? Sorting through fewer, more expensive, region-specific ads makes it easier to find a higher quality vehicle, right? Apparently not. This past weekend I ran the same ad in the Weekend Herald and at TradeMe Motors. The result? 6 calls from TradeMe, zero from the paper.

I should have known better!

By the way, if any of you feel like risking your own money trying to sell a car via the Herald Classifieds, don’t even try trying to book the ad online. Their instructions are simply to email the ad text, along with your contact and CREDIT CARD details, to their contact address. Emailing credit card details. Are they high on crack? Picture in your mind what ideal Internet security would look like. Now imagine the very opposite of that. The idea of any business making such a request in this day and age is ridiculous – trouble is, they probably get a lot of business that way because it’s so much easier than dealing with their call centre. And we wonder why people still get suckered in by phishing scams?

Danger is my middle name, baby!

Ok so this isn’t really relevant to the themes usually explored in this blog, but I’m hoping you’ll humour me ‘cos this is without doubt the funniest thing I’ve heard in years. And I swear it’s true.

My mother’s best friend (I’ll refer to her as JR to protect anonymity, though I’m not sure how long it’ll last) has a 19 year-old son, James. James recently applied to join the Police, and as part of the usual background checks, some officers visited the house to meet his parents. Here’s an account of the conversation that took place:

Copper: We really like James. He did well in our tests and his attitude is excellent. We do, however, have some concerns about his middle name.
JR: What’s wrong with ‘Charles’ as a middle name?
Fuzz: Well, according to our paperwork it’s actually ‘Danger’.

That’s right sports fans – the day after his 18th birthday, James changed his middle name to ‘Danger’. Fool enough to do it, smart enough to know that telling JR would be… bad. Mate if you’re reading – well done, and thankyou.

Yahoo Pipes. Awesome. Seriously.

Every now and then you come across an idea so completely useful and straightforward that you wonder why it took so long to come about. Yahoo Pipes is a perfect example, and I really encourage you to check it out.

There’s a whole lot of really useful information flying around this interweb-thingy, yet so much of it is in a prescribed format. You can subscribe to individual feeds using any number of readers, but why can’t you manipulate these feeds into something you – and other people – might find more useful?

Now you can. Here’s an example. For any Chinese speakers reading, this link will stream our most recent blog headlines to you in Chinese, translated on the fly. Setting that up took me all of 2 minutes. Impressed?

I’m still familiarising myself with the deeper workings of the tool and will keep you posted if/when I manage to create anything truely interesting. In the meantime, here’s a challenge for you: create one pipe. Doesn’t matter what it does. Doesn’t matter if anyone apart from you finds it in the least bit interesting. Just have a go and I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

Happy piping!