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In the past couple weeks, much has been written about electronics retail giant Best Buy. I can only recall a handful of stories that generated the kind of attention and social media reaction Forbes writer Larry Downes has gotten with his post about Best Buy going out of business…gradually. But when you hypothesize that one of our country’s great business success stories is about to crumble, you might expect a little attention.

Buttons have been pushed. Nerves touched. Wires crossed.

In the end, retail shopping is about consumer experience. Let’s face it, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer is never going to make every transaction a pleasant “win” for both the consumer and the company. It just can’t happen. That said, Best Buy must strive to be better than its previous best. The company must hire savvy store managers, train its floor sales people thoroughly, streamline its checkout process, and take every possible step to curry favor with consumers. All that while it expands its Internet business to compete with the likes of Amazon and other mega online retailers. No small feat.

For all the comments (mostly negative toward BBY) that Downes’s blog post has received there are, no doubt, millions of happy Best Buy customers who don’t make time to vocalize their public support of the company.

I’ll take the time.

In 2011, I purchased a 42-inch Insignia television from Best Buy. The sales rep was extremely helpful. The checkout and pickup process effortless. I was asked once, and only once, about my need for HDMI cables and an extended warranty plan. I declined both offers, paid for the product. End of story.  Did I mention the sales rep was extremely helpful. He was no more than 20 years old, but knew his shit when it came to TV technology. And when his store didn’t have the size that I wanted, he found it at another location convenient to me.

And that’s how customer loyalty is won.

Granted, Best Buy has hiccupped its way through the holiday season. But rather than estimating that the doors of this company will be shuttered and locked within 24 months, I’ll place my bets that the world’s largest electronics retailer will figure out its next growth step…and nail it.

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Those of us with young children will appreciate this video from Fatty at fatcyclist.com.

I made my kids ride on their own when they were small – refusing the trail-a-bike method for fear they would be lazy and refuse to let go of their training wheels. After seeing this video, however, I wish I’d given them the carnival rides that Eldon is experiencing with his twin girls.

Katie Rides Rodeo Trail at Lambert Park from Fat Cyclist on Vimeo.

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Top Five

This old blog is coming up on two years in the blogosphere – that’s eight years in Internet time according to my e-marketing friends.

In these most recent 24 months, several blog posts have risen to the top as “most popular or frequented,” at the Land of 10,000 Perspectives. While they aren’t necessarily my favorites, I’m proud of the page views they’ve generated.

The Top Five Frequented Posts include:

1. Friday Philosophy – Shivering (11,195 page views). Here I lament about the sub-zero temperatures Minneapolis dips into each January. But really it’s the picture of frostbitten fingers that most visitors are after.  Can you say purple and black?

2. Crazy for Madonna – Or Just Crazy Madonna (7,572 page views). In the post about the Material Girl, I compare her early good looks to her witchy 50-year-old smile. I’ve received a lot of hate e-mails about this post from Madonna lovers. I just can’t get over the fact that she looks haggy. Guess all that material wealth hasn’t helped in the looks department.

3. Cities 97 Sampler Volume 20 (3,025 page views). For 20 years, local FM radio volume-20station, Cities 97, has produced a CD of indie, rock and alt songs. The CD sells out in the Twin Cities in a matter of hours. Its popularity has a cult following and I’ve seen the entire set of CDs sell for more than $350 at charity auctions. By the way, proceeds from the CD go to charities in Minnesota.  Nice goin’ Cities 97!

4. “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver (2,771 page views). Wisconsin native Justin Vernon issued his “Forever For Emma,” CD eons ago, it seems, to much critical acclaim. This post gets hits because I’ve posted the lyrics to the song, which I am want to do with most of the tunes I post on the site.

5. Cities 97 Sampler Volume 19 (2,650 page views). See previous graph about Volume 20. By the way, my favorite Sampler CD of all time is Volume 14. You can check out all the Samplers and their song lists here.

There you have it. The Top-Five all time greatest posts on my blog.  More to come, so bookmark the page and stay tuned.

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I’m up.

My head thinks it still wants a pillow, but the rest of me says otherwise. After a very impromptu Friday evening that included a bike ride, and a tasty little dinner with an old friend, I’m up early on a Saturday (nothing unusual for me). I relish the early morning “quiet” hours, and this relishment dates back to when my kids were babies. Spending an hour or two alone with the newspaper or the television on in a very hushed level – with a hot cup of coffee – saved me from years of therapy as a young father. My kids, like anyone’s, were true angels while sleeping. Still are.

I was 26 when my first child entered our world, 30 when my son was born. At that stage, the demands in life seem gargantuan. There’s a mortgage and car payments and so-so jobs where you have to prove yourself daily and your employer still thinks you’re just a kid who only deserve a paltry salary. Not to mention I lived in a depressed Iowa city. But the sitch did change and here I am today in much, much better condition. But I digess.

These early a.m. solitude-filled hours let me think best. I solve all the world’s problems before the sun can blare through the windows. I bet neither McCain or Obama can accomplish what I can on one pot of coffee. (That sounds a little boastful, doesn’t it?)

She’s Coming

After communicating back and forth between Minneapolis and San Francisco via comments left mostly right here in the WordPress world, Mockingbird has found a reason to fly into Minneapolis. She arrived this morning and she’ll be chill-laxin’ with her actor/theater guy for the next 10 days. It’s a perfect time to be in this part of the country. The days are pleasant, the nights…cool. A Minnesotan becomes, somehow, happier when September rolls through.

I’m sure Mr. Little House cast member will do a fine job showing my blogging friend a wonderful time when he’s not on stage, but I’m making it my personal mission to give her a couple unique dining experiences while she’s here. I’ve not met a fellow WordPress blogger in person before, so that experience alone will be worth the price of admission (oh wait, WordPress is free).

Riding the Minneapolis Bike Tour

One of my next big adventures will be this year’s Minneapolis Bike Tour. Unlike the Nature Valley Grand Prix, this is actually a ride anyone can participate in. It’s the second annual bike tour that crawls along with 8,000 of your closest friends and neighbors through the scenic byway system that loops around the city’s beautiful lakes. Paved trails where the speed limit is 10 miles per hour. There are two options, a 14-mile route and a 37-mile route. I’m up for the longer distance, but unsure if my friends have prepared properly for that kind of time in the saddle. Either way, the local paper sponsors the “Aftour” party, and we’re all certain to have a lot of stories to share following the ride.

More to come on that one.

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For avid and rec cyclists, there’s no shortage of information available in the blogosphere.

Racing at the 2007 Nature Valley Grand PrixOne of the more popular stage races in the country, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, has launched a couple of very informative blogs designed to clue in readers about how to improve their own cycling abilities as well as a blog written by pro riders that give insight into the strategies and behind-the-scenes look into stage racing.

TRIA Orthopedic Center’s Your Cycling Blog: TRIA Orthopedic Center’s Your Cycling Blog features the kind of information all cyclists can use to improve their own cycling, from training tips and nutrition to gear suggestions and much more. Novices and experienced cyclists will gain insights from noted sports and health professionals, including TRIA Orthopedic Center staff physicians and physical therapists. Other contributors include, Larry Foss, the USA Cycling National Team’s massage therapist, Stephen McCarthy of Gear & Training and Dan Carey, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Saint Thomas as well as a former New York Mets pitcher.

Pro Cycling Minnesota Blog: Past and future participants in the Festival’s professional stage race, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, will make up the editorial panel of Pro Cycling Minnesota. This blog will highlight the strategies,
tactics and war stories from the top cyclists and team managers in North American cycling. Fans can feel the thrill of riding in the peloton of a USA Grand Tour ­from a racer’s perspective. Pro Cycling Minnesota contributors include team directors, Giana Roberge and Jeff Corbett, racers John Lieswyn, Teresa Moriarty, Meredith Miller and more,.

Visit these blogs early and often – and plan to attend the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 11-15.

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Now I’m Found

It’s kinda’ creepy, actually. Thanks to The Google, there are all sorts of people in the world searching for specific answers and information about their most haunting questions. Well, okay, some are perhaps the random thoughts of idiots, but that’s fine, too.

Here are some search terms and phrases that brought people to Views from Minnesota and my perspective found on this blog:

  • Cities 97 Sampler Volume 19 (yep, that’s been THE most heavily viewed page on the blog, capturing something more than 1,400 page views since I posted it in November).
  • Modern day cave dwellers california (not sure what blog entry this is associated with. I wrote a piece on the California wildfires last October, so maybe that’s the one).
  • Shivering when thinking about women (another one that I can’t quite explain. Is that shiver caused by fear or delusion?)
  • Wear my sweater song (that would be a direct reference to “The Way That I Am,” Ingrid Michaelson’s popular tune that Old Navy ran during the back-to-school season)
  • Bridge collapsed in Mississippi River (if it bleeds it leads. My first blog post on the I-35W bridge collapse on Aug. 1 holds the record on the blog for most views in one day and was also featured on CNN.com)
  • Three things in the Bucket List (let’s see if I remember them: never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard on and never underestimate a fart…something like that).
  • This Year’s Love by David Gray (no comment on that one…yet).

No matter how strangers find me, I’m always more than happy to serve as a source of profound and life-changing information (do I hear crickets chirping?). I just hope my own twisted reality suffices when Googling important things like, “all 13 verses for the song ‘Hallelujah.'”

That’s SOME important shit!

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Other Thinking Bloggers

ThinkingSrkenney, owner of, The World: Ever Changing, blog recently provided me with my first-ever blog award of any kind: The Thinking Bloggers award. I’m so honored.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to five blogs that make you think.

2. Link to the post where you were initially awarded the Thinking Blogger Award so people can easily find the exact origin of the award.

3. Optional: Proudly display the “Thinking Blogger Award” with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative gold version if silver doesn’t fit your blog’s design).

And now, here are five blogs that make me think and, thus, get my Thinking Blogger Award nods:

Colleen Wainwright’s blog The Communicatrix

Eldon’s blog Fat Cyclist

Laurie Kendrick’s blog Laurie Kendrick…Oh What Fresh Hell Is This?

Dame Wiggins of Lee’s blog Matters of Little Consequence

and

Charlie Quimby’s blog Across The Great Divide

There are many more award winning blogs in my view and some have long-since received their Thinking Blogger awards. Thanks to all those who keep writing. I plan to keep reading!

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