Monthly Archives: September 2010

Hey Chris, Mr. Green Floor Guy, what’s your favorite floor?

I get asked this question repeatedly and I have one answer.
Whatever my wife likes!
Just kidding… I always say, “Depends on where it’s going and how old my kids/dog are at the time.”
Because it’s true.
There is no “perfect floor” because there is no perfect situation.
There is, however, a perfect dog, but that’s a discussion for another time πŸ™‚


The right flooring professional will spend more time listening to you describe your lifestyle, previous experience and preferences before even thinking about recommending a floor.
Unless it’s the end of the month and their shy of hitting their number, in which case, you may wind up getting a stock deal or special buy crammed down your throat.
But that won’t happen in my showroom… because if it does, I’ll hear about it and that will be the end of that.
So, before you go floor shopping, think about how you live in your home.
Do you have pets?
If so, what kind and are they active or lap-dwellers.
Do you take off your shoes when you come inside or do you want a floor that doesn’t care about that (but I really recommend taking your shoes off.)
Do you want a floor that will hide the “everyday” spots and smudges until you get around to them?
If so, stay away from solid, light tones… as a former Marine, I’m still fond of camoflauge for that reason.
Do you stand a lot (as in your kitchen) and want a comfortable floor?
If so, I recommend cork or a cushion-back resilient piece.
I have cork in my kitchen and sunroom and absolutely love it.
It also hides a wealth of spots until we can get around to them.
And with three active kids, a German Shepherd, and a stupid cat… I mean, a cat, it may take some time to get to a spot or smudge.
Have you ever experience the sheer joy of stepping onto a heated floor barefoot?
Oh, I’m going to break my own rule and say that could possibly be the perfect floor… πŸ™‚
Do you see where I’m going with this?
If you’re near the Washington DC-metro area, stop in, call, FaceTime, Skype video, or email and we can talk about what would make a floor perfect for you… because that’s what really counts.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

Hands That Feed – Sustainable Agriculture

I’d like to welcome you to take a moment to view the video above.

Hands That Feed will narrate the experiences of dynamic young adults in post-earthquake Haiti, representing a range of innovative grassroots recovery organizations, as they seek to build a sustainable future for the country. The film starts on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Following our characters through day-to-day life, the viewer learns how Haiti lost the ability to feed itself, turning a natural disaster into a crisis. The inspiring young people undergo personal transformation, mirroring the potential transformation of the nation, as they study sustainable agriculture techniques and trauma relief through yoga practices. They then tour the country as teachers, experiencing the hardships of post-earthquake Haiti. The viewer witnesses the challenges, frustration, and victories of teaching society to be self-sufficient in both agriculture and leadership.

The Importance
The earthquake in January 2010 catalyzed an upwelling of international compassion and support for Haiti. Yet many lack an understanding of the true causes of Haiti’s situation, and they feel frustrated as to how they can help a seemingly perpetually impoverished nation. Hands That Feed will play a critical role in exploring how a once powerful and rich country – one that supplied a quarter of all of France’s wealth through the 18th century and was food self-sufficient until the early 1980’s – collapsed. The film explores the true context of the earthquake’s impact: the decline of Haiti’s rural economy, environmental degradation, mass migration to cities, and the build-up of fragile shanty-towns. In meeting bright and enthusiastic Haitian youths committed to helping their country become successful, dispelling the view of a helpless land. It will also present a new way of thinking about economic assistance, one that puts emphasis on creating a new generation of leaders and on restoring a vibrant rural economy.

The Plan
We are seeking to raise a sum of $15,000 to cover costs of an initial 2-3 week shoot in Haiti. The timing of this trip is critical, as pivotal events in Haiti are currently unfolding.

Donating
Donating to Hands That Feed is a unique opportunity for you to contribute to a film that will dispel myths about Haiti, while showing how investing in people is the most sustainable resource.

If this is something you would like to support, contact Josh and give this project a “kickstart.”

All the best,

Chris

LEED AP green flooring professional in Northern Virgina and DC Metro area

Christopher Moline, LEED AP

Social media and the retail flooring business

I’ve been involved with social media since the early days and have nearly 15 years of experience using the internet for business.
Why?
Thanks to Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children (USMC for short), I started college late and once I graduated there was no time to waste… I’d just gotten married.
In my effort to secure a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, I found myself surrounded by guys younger and more tech-adept than I.
But we got along great and since the Usenet groups andΒ ezines in their earliest forms were what I cut my teeth on.
It was this early access to emerging tech that proved the biggest assett as I grew my flooring business and eventually was able to sell it.
Frankly, the flooring industry is behind in using social media and many websites still look like ads… silent, still ads.

If you have a retail flooring business and need help, send an email and we can talk.
Some of the things I do are so effective, I’m just not going to share them with some folks.
But, odds are you’re not one of them πŸ™‚

All the best,

Chris

A bright, US-made, light in the LED industry… an eco-geek’s hot spot

In this video, Robert Scoble interviews the CEO of BridgeLux, the only US-based manufacturer of LED lighting.

Easy-Eco-Blog-LED-Light-Bulb

Image by EasyEcoBlog via Flickr

If you’re familiar with LED’s, you’ll know how cool this is.
If not, let me help with your education curve.
LED is an acronym that stands for Light Emitting Diode, and it represents the most efficient way to generate artificial light.
CFL’s (Compact Flourescent Lights) are the more widely-known counterpart to energy-hogging incandescent bulbs and are a fanstastic way to reduce energy use.
For instance, a typical 100-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a CFL that uses only 20-30 watts yet still produces the same amount of light (lumens).
An LED can produce the same amount of light using less than 10 watts… now THAT’S cool!
Add to this the lower overall carbon footprint of the product by not having to ship them across the Pacific Ocean.
I truly believe, as many others in my field do, that every light in the near future will be LED. It’s just a matter of time.
All the best,

Chris

Using technology to improve the flooring business process… and social media to tell you about it

Sometimes I take for granted all the tools we have at our disposal.
But since we operate worldwide, we need the latest technology (or the greatest if the latest isn’t fully vetted).
In this case, we’re using a tool called “the digitizer” in concert with measuring software by RFMS, on whose platform we operate our entire operation.
We’re using it today to convert images to a scaled digital format for Chris Pirillo… someone you may have seen if you watch CNN Live Tech or are at all involved in social media.


What are we doing?
Well, I’ve been involved in using the internet for business since I launched my first startup in 1996. Social media in its many forms has played a substantial role in moving forward at a solid and fast pace. Just recently, social media, specifically Google Buzz, was the avenue where I learned about a predicament Chris (the other, far more popular Chris) was in.
A painter had allegedly done some sub-par work at Chris’ Seattle home and he was venting on Buzz. I say “allegedly” because it’s an old habit from journalism school. I caught that “Buzz” and immediately touched base with Chris to let him know I could help.
Hey, ready, fire, aim, right?!
Actually, through our network of Carpet One retailers, I knew I could contact a Seattle-area business owner and find a fantastic painter to help Chris, so I “assumed the sale” and made it happen.
Then Chris and I started talking about his floors.
The thought hit me to leverage our expertise with his – flooring (high-end) and social media/all things “web.”
Chris has allergies and wanted to get rid of his carpet.
I had the key.
What was the key?
Dust-free refinishing of hardwood that we would supply and install, all coordinated from my office outside Washington, DC for his home in Seattle, WA. As a US Green Building Council LEED AP, I push this system because it’s very IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) and user-friendly because of the high-efficiency dust-containment system and water-based, low-voc finish that dries very quickly and is extremely durable.
And here we are, pressing on and getting this ball rolling.
Check back for updates because we’re going to document the entire process online through different avenues of social media – this blog, YouTube, facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Buzz, etc…
Hang on to your hats!

All the best,

Chris

Using Skype video for a virtual flooring showroom tour and product selection

I’m embedding a video from YouTube here and… I’ll apologize… it’s sideways, but you’ll get the concept.
I took my trusty laptop and used an external USB webcam to Skype my wife at home.
She’s looking to re-do the flooring in our laundry and furnace rooms (I don’t ask why, I just do:)
Instead of having her come all the way to my office and Alexandria showroom, I asked if she’d be open to video conferencing with Skype video.
Since she’s quite cool and tech-savvy, she said, “Yes!”


The images were nice a clear and she was able to narrow down to three of thousands of selections.
When all was said and done, I asked her if she liked the process.
What was the verdict?
She absolutely LOVED it.

I hope more clients will as well, because we’re sprinting into the 21st century and having a blast πŸ™‚

All the best,

Chris

Using Twitter for a green flooring business

Twitter is one of my favorite social media tools.
Why?
As a journalist (University of Maryland College of Journalism ’95) I love it when people get to the point.
A 140-character limit makes that a necessity.
And in a world full of greenwashing and marketing blah, I can tell exactly who’s teaching and spreading good information vs. who is spreading “manure.”
When I tweet, I try to quote someone worthy of quoting, or include a link to something useful. Followers will only stand for useless information for a short time.
Think about it, when I sift through the tweets of people who follow me on Twitter (here is a link) I can tell who I want to “consume” and who I want to block.
“Consuming tweets” is tech lingo for digesting them… I mean, actually reading them, num, num, num!
I maintain lists of Twitter users who routinely spam the forum, and Twitter pays attention to that list. In fact, I’ve added spammers and watched as their accounts were then suspended. Not that I’m proud of that, but, well, heck yeah!
Here’s an example of pure crap on Twitter:
Username @BuyAccounts
Description – ready made Twitter accounts with as many as 1,000 followers for as little as $6.
So, tell me, does this sound “social” to you?
So why would a user like this follow 1900 and have only 650 followers?
Beats me.
So, if you’ve set up a Twitter account for your business and aren’t seeing things move along as fast as you’d thought, maybe it’s because you’re boring (online).

I can help.

All the best,

Chris

Using technology in our retail flooring business to be the best for our clients

I just got a fantastic new toy for my showroom… but it’s not mine!
Actually, it’s for our clients to use and it’s a fun one – a touch-screen, beautiful HP TouchSmart pc with fantastic information on natural wool fiber.
Talk about a cool tool for business.

image of two computers for customer use in retail showroom in dc area alexandria carpet one
There are times when my sales staff are maxed out and we have too many clients in the showroom (well, there’s no such thing as too many) and this gives them some time to do some self-learning. It’s also a good tool for my team to brush up on their knowledge.
With instant access to information, we use every tool possible to stay on top of our game and this is just one more example of how we do it.
Another toy I’ve had for some time is a similiar pc (but not a touch screen) that I use to loop informative videos.
One specific example is the Mohawk “Ricko the Rhino Challenge” with Sorona / SmartStrand fiber.
Since that video has been “looping” our sales of this unique fiber have gone through the roof.

Think about it.


Don’t you ever feel over-accessed by radio, tv, smartphones, email, etc…?
This looping video has provided my team with the repetition necessary to truly understand at least one line of product.
I’ve even started inter-mixing other lines and have heard the showroom chatter change with it.

Using looped video in our retail showroom to educate customers… and staff!

The above image is a shot of a table in the showroom with a loop of the Ricko video. It’s got movement and catches attention.

The computer is all-in-one with no tower and the DVD is inserted into the side. It’s a very low-profile pc and has internal wifi so you can have internet access easily without cables.
It’s easily been the best tool yet for me to get a message across to my over-informed staff.
Since setting this up, our Sorona sales have sky-rocketed…

Hope this helps,

Chris

Wanted – Large, Worldwide Flooring Business Looking for Social-Media Adept Suppliers To Do Business With

We do business all over the world.
We also do a significant amount of business (in the tens of millions) locally in the DC-Metro area.
Why do suppliers have such a hard time adopting the use of technology for communicating with me given what’s at stake?
When I say “Follow me on Twitter – @LEEDTHEWAY or @WEBMINDSET” and you can keep track of what interests I have and what I’m working on, I get blank stares.
Well, amigos, this has to stop if you want to do serious business from here on out. I live online and my team has an unparalleled track record of success when it comes to getting and, most importantly, closing online leads.
So, if you work with Armstrong, Shaw, Mohawk Industries, Mannington, Anderson, US Floors (they actually get it), StainMaster, etc… let’s connect online and I’ll walk you through the process.

Cheers,

Chris