drive to win

Loyalty: Carroll Smith – The Man that Wrote the Books – Interfanatic Customer Spotlight

I always celebrate Carroll Smith. Carroll is the man that got me going in my business. And for over 20 years, his family has remained loyal to me while I remain loyal to him. So when I think of loyalty, I think of Carroll and Carroll’s son, Chris, and all that we’ve accomplished during our partnership.

Carroll Smith was an engineer and author who became famous for his engineering work and putting it all down on paper. When Ford v Ferrari came out, I know Carroll was watching from upstairs, enjoying the fact that his colleagues were again rightly getting their due. Carroll Smith worked as a right-hand man to Carroll Shelby on that and many projects. But his stories from the GT40 battles against Ferrari were legendary.

It’s for that reason this Cuelho quote rings for me this week. Weapons have no bite against rightly earned loyalty that continually inspires performance.

Carroll Smith: The Man that Wrote the Books

Carroll Smith is… was, I suppose, but always will be, a larger-than-life character. He tried his hand at racing Formula Juniors, and was good, but didn’t succeed enough to support his young family. I feel a bit of a connection to Carroll there as I’ve gotten to race Formula Juniors of the same vintage he raced. Not the same at all, but still, it gives me a better understanding of how he started out. And I got to race in Europe a bit, on the same tracks he raced on. Again, not the same at all, but still a better understanding than many.

His part in the Ford/Ferrari battle of the late 1960s was just one of the pieces Carroll was most famous for. He used his ability to write interestingly and applied that to his vast knowledge and experience to create the “… to Win” series of books. Drive to Win, Tune to Win, Prepare to Win, Engineer to Win, and more are still staples of every automotive students’ reading requirements. Even though the information in them is now quite dated, the fundamentals always apply.

He came to me about the time he released Engineer in your Pocket – a great reference for you sim guys! – and asked me to create a website for him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to get involved in this Amazon thing because he wasn’t sure how much control he’d have to relinquish. A few years later, it became clear that Amazon was safe enough. But he continued – and his family continues to today – to sell books on his own site.

And that’s what having a website is about: it’s about maintaining control of the narrative. It’s about getting the message out that you want. It’s about tell your or your business’ story the way you want it told. Social Media is great and all, but at the end of the day, you have control over what and how people see the information on your site. You make it easy to use. You make it easy to find. Social Media is a tool to augment your SEO and find new customers, but you get them on your site when they want to know you the way you want to present yourself. There are no constraints there. And that’s why websites are still the fundamental piece of digital marketing in 2021. You can’t get kicked off your own site for telling your story your own way – the way you want to.

So, Carroll Smith came to me in 1999, and we built him a website. It sells his books. That website has had a couple of minor revisions through the years, but it’s still largely as it was when we launched it. Simple often works.

Loyalty: An Interfanatic Quality

Where there is loyalty, weapons are of no use.

Paulo Coelho

We stick by our customers. We treat their businesses as if they were our own. Interfanatic works very, very hard for our customers and for their success.

Through this work we have earned loyalty. They see how much we do and how much we will for them to succeed. The result is they stick by us, and refer us to their colleagues and friends. We have grown quite a family of businesses – it’s exciting and challenging and interesting and fun.

Interfanatic Service Focus: Interfanatic Basic Website Production

Last week, we showed a gorgeous and complicated design. This week, we show you a very simple one.

I built this website by hand starting about 20 years ago with nothing but hand-coded html and handmade gifs and jpgs. There were technical challenges – for example the mixing of GIFs and JPEGs to create a cohesive animated image that yet retained excellent image quality. Looking back now, it seems simple. At the time, it was groundbreaking. We minimized the number of nested tables and we were ahead of the curve on SEO (as we always have been). The result is a site that, while the client insists we don’t touch it, continues to perform at a very high level. Design Review – Interfanatic website from 1999… still going!

The simplicity of the site’s appearance today reminds me of simple websites we design and build all the time. While our Basic Website Production isn’t an ideal starting place for a business website (our Basic Business Website Production is), it still provides the fundamentals that can be built upon. And, it’s a very inexpensive alternative!

And it’s unencumbered by complicated builders and tricky CSS that can trip things up and slow the site down. We build all our sites for speed, for efficiency, and for effectiveness. We can work with anything. And we can work with any budget.

“The simplicity of the site’s appearance today reminds me of simple websites we design and build all the time.”

If you want to control the narrative, if you want to tell your story the way you want to tell it, let’s start here. We can always build from there when you see the success you’re after. Let’s build a simple, functional, effective website. Just like we did for Carroll Smith.

Interfanatic: We’ll Be There. That’s Loyalty.

Some loyalty is bought. And as the saying goes, what loyalty is bought can easily be bought away. That’s not the kind of loyalty we impart for our customers. We’ll stick with you. We’ll help you get through.

Kindness: South Bay Beer & Wine Festival – Interfanatic Customer Spotlight

Let us learn to live with kindness, to love everyone, even when they do not love us.

Pope Francis

As we ring in the new year with expectations that times will continue to be tough, but with hope that perhaps they’ll be better than they were in 2020, it’s a great time to talk about beer and wine. And it’s always a great time to focus on kindness.

You think we’ve had a bad year (and we have) but look at Pope Francis’ tenure. What a bunch of stuff he’s had to deal with. And as politicians plot us against each other, force us to focus on differences rather than bringing us together, there is no better time for some spiritual guidance from a moral figure.

Yes, we sometimes have to be told things we don’t want to hear. Of course, we take in what we want to hear – it’s human nature. But we have to listen to things we don’t want to hear, too. To get from here to there, we need the whole truth, not just the portion we like.

And Pope Francis, Jesus’ representative on Earth, says we should focus on kindness and love toward all people, including those who don’t love us.

I’m not going to get into a deeply religious dissertation. But if you don’t want to hear that, you may need to examine your spiritual outlook.

Kindness: An Interfanatic Quality

We work so hard for our customers, we work so hard to show them kindness even when they don’t reciprocate.

We all have differences of opinion. Often, differences can be traced to poor communication. We work very hard to ensure excellent communication, but when that effort is not put back, relationships can break down. As I reflect on the years of clients, most of my memories are fond ones. But there have been a few that are not so fond.

The Pope reminds me to extend my kindness even to those who create unhappy instances. It’s difficult, but it’s crucial for us to do that not just in business but in all areas of life. We need understanding.

South Bay Beer & Wine Festival, brought about by Kindness

It’s hard not to think of Karen Greenberg when I recall kindnesses. Talk about a person who has had a rough year. 2020 may well have been remembered as the Year of the Karen had it not been for COVID-19. And there are few people in this world who are less of a Karen than Karen Greenberg.

Through one of her many charitable activities, Karen Green berg works on the South Bay Beer & Wine Festival. A charitable event of revelry and fun, but of course, not in 2020.

“…there are few people in this world who are less of a Karen than Karen Greenberg.”

Nonetheless, I think of Karen and how she brought us in to this project when it needed digital expertise and marketing help. I think of Karen when I think of kindness because that’s through and through what she is.

Interfanatic Service Focus: Interfanatic Power AI-Powered Social Marketing with Setup

Social media requires kindness. It requires reciprocation of kindness. When a person follows your account or likes your content, it is a knock on the door to reciprocate that kindness and build something together. Start small, but work to get larger.

Most people do not understand the work that goes into professional social media. Not only is it planning and massive labor, it is strategy and effort and creativity. Most people think of teenage girls clicking heart emojis, and they think, “that’s not hard”. But executing a complete social media strategy in concert with a larger digital marketing campaign takes dedication and work. And once the posts are done, you’re only just beginning. You must not only curate your feed, you must curate your interactions. You must reciprocate the kindness done to you, not hoard it like a digital miser.

Our AI-Powered Social Media service is an inexpensive way to produce quality content so you can spend more time reciprocating kindness and nurturing your followership. It reduces some of your work, so you can focus on the rest – hopefully, the fun part.

Interfanatic: Working on Kindness

I enjoy nurturing new relationships. Whether it’s through Social Media or through some other venue, a new relationship can be fun. And often, opening these doors begins with kindness, even with people with whom we do not completely agree.

This week’s image:
Interfanatic‘s founder, Ryan Delane, takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.

Kindness, an Interfanatic Quality. Interfanatic Digital Marketing founder Ryan Delane takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.
Kindness, an Interfanatic Quality. Interfanatic Digital Marketing founder Ryan Delane takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.

If you’re scratching your head, I don’t blame you. Sometimes my pictures fit the week’s Interfanatic Quality on the head, sometimes you have to think about it. In thinking of kindness, I was drawn to this beautiful chandelier from the Getty Villa because it reminds me how some bright lights of kindness are reflected and spread upon the many around. As a chandelier, kindness can be covered or it can be amplified. I wish to be more like this chandelier with the kindnesses done unto me.

Loyalty: Carroll Smith Consulting, Inc. – Interfanatic Customer Spotlight

Loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like you’re not.

General Colin Powell

My apologies for the late post. I got tied up with the holidays. This post was intended for publishing 12/24.

Loyalty – the right kind of loyalty – earned, not given or bribed, is a beautiful thing. Some say it’s the most important thing.

As I reflect upon 21 years of Interfanatic, it’s hard to discount that latter thought. Twenty-one years ago, Carroll Smith came to me and said, “can you build me a website.” Then, seventeen years ago Carroll passed away, and my business shifted to his son, Chris. Chris wanted to change the terms a bit, and we did, but it works better for him now. We did what was required to ensure loyalty, because we’re loyal to our customer.

We give it to each other honestly, whether we think the other will like the opinion or not.

Loyalty: An Interfanatic Quality

Efficiency is ingrained. Of course, we have to constantly fight for it. Our business is on an entropic trend with efficiencies fighting inefficiencies on every front. Efficiency doesn’t have to be impersonal, but it does have to work.

We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to make things happen faster, simpler. Any time there’s a complicated process, we seek to simplify it. Our business is rife with new tasks, new processes, and these are not always beautifully efficient.

Over time, we hone new processes to make them simpler and more efficient. It helps us save time and money. And then we can pass that efficiency to our customers through savings., the Result of Two-way Loyalty

As we enter 2021, I’m filled with pride and humility (at the same time – weird, I know) – that we’re still running some twenty-two years later.

This is not an accident. It works this way because we both want it to be this way and because our arrangement works for both parties. The arrangement works both ways because we make sure it does. We make sure it does because we’re both loyal.

“We work together to ensure all goes well and all are happy, and we do it for loyalty.”

Chris honors his father’s work. We at Interfanatic honor his father’s work. We work together to ensure all goes well and all are happy, and we do it for loyalty.

Interfanatic Service Focus: Interfanatic Basic Weekly Email Marketing with Setup⁠

Nothing has the potential to inspire loyalty gently like email marketing done right. Nothing has the potential to piss customers off slowly, violently, like spam – email marketing done wrong.

Email marketing done right, email marketing done the Interfanatic way, is like most things worth doing – it’s hard work. You have to constantly strive to find and deliver value to your customers. Not through sales or promotions or making them spend money, but through informing them, helping them, teaching them what they want to know, but they didn’t know to ask you.

Keep it interesting, and you keep customers coming back. Let it be boring, or even worse, all about you, and watch those customers you earned run away.

Interfanatic: Inspiring Loyalty

I’m pleased with our relationship with Carroll Smith Consulting. And I know that any day, if I don’t keep working at it, if I don’t stay loyal, it could go away. As it could with our other clients who have been with us for decades. There’s always somebody trying to do better. That’s why we keep after it for our clients – to keep them improving, to keep them thinking, to help them. To make them wish to stay loyal.

This week’s image:
Interfanatic‘s founder, Ryan Delane, takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.

Loyalty, an Interfanatic Quality. Interfanatic Digital Marketing founder Ryan Delane takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.
Loyalty, an Interfanatic Quality. Interfanatic Digital Marketing founder Ryan Delane takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.

Ah, the vivacious blood-red heart. An eternal symbol of loyalty. Fill it with chocolate and you’ve got something that would keep me loyal. And what do you do when you need a great gift? Get them what you would want, of course. And so this was a gift for my wife, who has spent years putting up with me. I don’t know if it exactly inspired loyalty, but she didn’t leave me yet, so this was not the wrong answer apparently!

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