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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Co-Branding: Third Party Endorsement

The Third Party Endorsement is the most powerful sanction and form of approval available: this is true in both business and our personal lives. For example, there is a significant difference between your mother saying “you are smart” and Albert Einstein saying so. Things like objectivity, background, and independence influence the value judgement: “who” says “what” matters. You can spend all day telling someone how great you are, but they probably won’t listen until someone credible says it once. This is the essence and value of the Third Party Endorsement.
Tobacconist University Certification is the ultimate Third Party Endorsement because:
  • Certification cannot simply be purchased, it must be earned.
  • TU does not allow any advertising because we must control the quality of our content and standards.
  • We have a Code of Ethics & Standards to articulate, promote, and project our values.
  • Our academic curriculum is thoroughly researched and available for public scrutiny.
  • We have an open-source academic curriculum where credible Tobacconists are welcome to contribute.
  • All of our revenue streams are publicly declared; including certifications, R&D products, and our Campus Store products.
  • TU is independent institution that does not receive money from any other trade organizations.
Other examples of Third Party Endorsements include: newspaper articles, being quoted in the media, ‘word of mouth’, web-links & listings, and “best of” lists. Each endorsement comes with its own gravitas, but they can all add up to priceless promotional value.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Fishmonger: Hecho A Mano Series

As I wrote in the Butcher’s Hecho A Mano series, “they labor away to honor their product, their consumer, and their time. Always staying true to an idea or ideal: this is art. Ultimately, they have lives with real value which I feel fortunate to share in”.



While this entry is titled The Fishmonger, that is an understated misnomer because the specialists at Metropolitan Seafood Co. (MSC) are far more than vendors; in fact they elevate the concept of Local Merchant to high art. Calling these gentlemen fishmongers is like calling a Sommelier a ‘booze merchant’ or a Certified Tobacconist a ‘tobacco peddler’. The passion and commitment to their product at MSC is unparalleled and inspirational. It is only surpassed by their attentiveness and dedication to their customers. The owner, Mr. Mark Drabich has a twinkle in his eye the moment a customer comes in and the entire staff shares his enthusiasm for service. When there are no customers, Mr. Drabich has what I like to call the “eye of the tiger” – he is Product & Operations Focused. He walks around with a fervor for quality and perfection!
The first time I stepped into MSC I was enthusiastically greeted by the manager Colin Sears, who had just returned from a vacation; a fishing vacation. It was my sense then, as it has been every other time I have visited, that nothing was more important to these professionals than my satisfaction and enhanced appreciation. I’m talking about service so good that you feel like you are at the center of the universe; like the only thing that matters is your taste and fulfillment. Nothing could be more rare in today’s fast paced, mass produced, commoditized and homogenized world. But thankfully, there are still places and people who care about quality; quality of product, quality of service, and quality of life. If Leonardo DaVinci was a fishmonger, he would have worked for Metropolitan Seafood Co.
* Just to list a few of the things I have learned: yes they will clean, scale, and prepare any kind of fish, shellfish, and/or shrimp exactly the way you want, at no extra charge – grill fish, soft shelled crab, and scallops on a medium heat (unlike meat) – when you clean a soft shell crab, you start by cutting off the face and then pull out the guts – fresh dry scallops can be eaten raw and they melt in your mouth – you can create a pseudo fish grilling basket with aluminum foil – don’t be afraid to use cumin and garlic on your fish – Chilean Sea Bass is a fancy marketing term for Padagonian Rock Fish (and there is a price premium for fancy names) – there are organic farm raised fish – and sooo much more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cigar Mold

While Plume (or Bloom) can be a positive symptom of cigar aging, it is very different from Cigar Mold. Cigar Mold, like any other type of mold, is a fungus which appears as a woolly growth found on damp and/or decaying organic matter. Moldy cigars are not to be smoked.
Overly humidified cigars are the most susceptible to growing mold. Mold can begin growing before a cigar ever leaves the factory; if they are kept too moist or not de-humidified properly (see Marrying).
Cigar Mold can also result from over humidification and “wet spots” in personal humidors. Cigars which are kept directly under humidifiers and other wet spots can easily become over humidified. To inhibit Cigar Mold, regularly rotate your cigars and inspect for mold growth. While Plume/Bloom will easily wipe off, Cigar Mold will not.