Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vintage watch store in Manhattan Beach keeps owner ticking

For Manhattan Beach Watch Repair + Vintage Watches owner, Victor Kartounian, watchmaking is in his blood.

“I come from a watchmaking family,” Kartounian said. “My grandfather, my dad, my uncles, my cousins, my brothers, everybody in the family’s a watchmaker.”

Kartounian’s aunt gave him his first watch when he was 5 years old. It broke within two days, and he was devastated. However, this broken watch started his love for watches.

“I started collecting and actually destroying watches at the age of 11 and 12. Finally, I started working for my dad at 13. I started doing minor watch repair,” Kartounian said. “I moved up into basically cleaning, overhaul, disassembling, reassembling, adjusting and regulating watches at 17 years old.”

Kartounian went on to work for his five uncles in various watch shops, from Pasadena to Santa Monica. Then, Kartounian opened Tic Time at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach in 1996 while he attended Cal State Long Beach, where he earned a bachelor's in sociology. Six years later, Kartounian decided to give the store to his brother, Sam, and he opened Redondo Beach Watch Company also in the Galleria.

“In 2008, when the recession hit in the South Bay, our store took a big hit because we are a luxury store. I also saw the market dwindle because of the internet,” Kartounian said.

Kartounian gave Redondo Beach Watch Company to his brother, Sam, and father, Peter, in 2012. When thinking about opening another business, he decided he wanted something smaller than his previous 1,200 square foot store in the Galleria. Something he could manage himself without employees if necessary.

"After 20 years of wearing suits and ties, I got tired of being in a corporate-style business, and I wanted to do something different, something boutique," Kartounian said.

When searching for a smaller, boutique-like shop, he came across a space for lease in Manhattan Beach on the corner of Highland Avenue and 13th Street. He opened the store in the front of the building in 2012, but last year he moved the shop to the back of the building when he had the opportunity to buy the location.

As the sole proprietor, Kartounian does everything from minor watch repairs to window cleaning. To help him focus more on his customers, Kartounian has four on-call watch repairmen for larger watch repairs.

“We are very local. We are very grassroots. We don’t sell anything online. You cannot call me and buy a watch through the telephone,” Kartounian said. “I don’t want to sell online. I don't want to sell on different venues. I want my clients to come into my store.”

In the store, you’ll find a variety of brands, such as Rolex, Omega and vintage Bulova watches. All the watches are secondhand, vintage and collectible timepieces. When asked why he only sells vintage watches, Kartounian explained that he thinks the quality of older watches is higher quality than those made today.

Kartounian said his watch shop is more than just a business.

“This is what keeps me going. I’m almost like a kid in a toy store. Watches, to me, are not only works of art, but they’re toys that we wind and play with every day,” Kartounian said.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Facebook Advertising Features

  • Video is the future of Facebook.
  • Someday, Facebook might even be all video, all day.
  • And there’s good reason for that. People love to watch videos. At last count, Facebook users are watching 100 million hours of video per day on the social network.
  • Are you using Facebook Ads to grow your business?
  • If not, you should be. Here are nine reasons why.
  • Facebook has many great ad formats, targeting options, and campaign types.
  • Here are my top 10 favorite Facebook advertising features.

1. Lead Ads

In addition to being cheap and insanely effective, Facebook Lead Ads totally eliminate the need for people to visit a landing page on your website.

With Lead Ads you can acquire valuable contact information from potential customers who are using Facebook on a mobile device.

You can use these ads to get people to sign up for your email newsletter, offer deals or discounts, schedule appointments, and more.

2. Video Ads

Video ads are an awesome and cheap Facebook advertising feature — you can pay as little as a penny per video view!

More memorable than the usual text and image combo, Facebook video ads deliver strong brand recall and high engagement — and drive purchase intent.

Simply upload the video to Facebook’s native video player, customize the description, thumbnail, budget, and targeting, and go!

3. Engagement Ads on Wall Posts

Engagement ads can help make your Facebook Page look super popular to anyone who is checking out your business.
Facebook will only show this type of ad to the people who are most likely to engage with your post — reacting, commenting, or sharing.

Sure, getting thousands of comments and reactions is ultimately just vanity — but people want to be part of the in-crowd. Facebook Pages with zero fan interaction always looks a bit suspect. If your business is so great, where are all your customers?

4. Remarketing

Facebook remarketing lets you reach people who have already interacted with or checked out your brand in some way. Maybe they visited your website (or a specific page on it), took some sort of action in your app or game, or gave you their email address or phone number.
Facebook tags these people with cookie. Your remarketing ads will show to those people as they go through their Facebook News Feed so they will remember you and perhaps convert on one of your hard offers.
People who are familiar with your brand are 2x more likely to convert and 3x more likely to engage. Ridiculously powerful stuff!

Monday, February 13, 2017

You Need Clarity of Purpose to Succeed

Your direction defines what you do every day. Clarifying not only your purpose but your direction reinforces your ultimate life purpose. You should have a clear understanding of what you want next month, next quarter or next year.
Think about it: When you feel unclear about a goal, you have difficulty achieving it. And if you don’t know why you should do something, you lack committed to taking action.

Napoleon Hill once said “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.

People who are constantly striving to achieve something meaningful in life crave clarity. It’s the only way to reach deeper into yourself to find out what makes you come alive. We all start from somewhere confusing, because you probably like to do a lot of things. But once you define your purpose, you will become unstoppable.

Successful people have a definite sense of direction. They have a clear understanding of what success means to them. Everything they do is consistent with their goals. They look forward and decide where they want to be. Their day to day actions help them move closer to their vision.

Once you find your why, you will be more careful and selective about your daily actions. In the words of Margie Warrell, Author of “Brave”:
“Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
Great visions aren’t hard to think up; committing to them and carrying them out is the problem!
Without a purpose, it’s easy to pursue things that you “think you should be doing”

“Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.” — William Cowper

According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, what most people find when they look inside themselves are:
Confusion: this manifests as not setting clear priorities because the path ahead doesn’t look clear and decisive.
Distraction: this manifests as a hundred small things that pull your attention this way and that.
Disorganisation: this manifests as a lack of orderly thinking that leads to productive results.

Most people’s lives are still not perfectly clear. It’s a struggle almost every adult goes through. “What do I want to do with my life?” “What do I not suck at?” Millions of people have no clue what they want to do with themselves. And that’s okay.

No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. Seeking clarity in uncertain times can be a daunting experience, and it can be very stressful if the solutions you seek don’t appear when you need them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The crimes against dopamine

Dopamine is in the cultural zeitgeist. Want to lose weight? Eat the Dopamine Diet. Want to dress happy? Try Dopamine Dressing. Want to be a Silicon Valley hi-tech entrepreneur genius? Boost your dopamine. Want to feel constant pleasure? Stuff as much dopamine in your noggin as you can.
Craving that dopamine hit? Then check your phone. Read a story. Watch an advert. Or visualise something good happening.

Dopamine will enhance your mental prowess, give you the figure you always dreamed of, and make you happy. Not bad for a lowly chemical sloshing around in your brain. And all of it utter rubbish.
Here’s what it does. Dopamine either changes fast or slow. Fast changes are an error signal. Slow changes are a motivation signal. That’s it.

Dopamine: fast and slow. Error and motivation. These correspond to two different ways dopamine is released. One way is a precise, short, large spike in the amount of dopamine, in a small region of brain. The other way is all the time, creating a constant, low concentration soup of dopamine sitting around in many regions of your brain.

(A couple of things to get out of the way. Dopamine is in many places in the brain. There’s some in your eyeball, for example. But when the media says “dopamine” it means the dopamine releasing neurons in small groups in the middle of the brain. And they also mean where those neurons release their dopamine: a big brain region tucked up nice and warm just under your cortex: the striatum).
How is that precise, short, large spike an error signal? Say you wandered into my house unannounced and, instead of throwing you out on your ear, I offered you a chocolate biscuit (McVities, obviously). Your dopamine neurons would burst into life, spiking dopamine. They signalled the error between what you predicted (being forcibly ejected with a hoof to the bum) and what you received (a nice biscuit). This prediction error was in your favour – it was a positive error.

Say I asked you to turn up at my house at 3 o’clock so I could you give you a chocolate biscuit. You turn up at 3 o’clock, and I give you the promised biscuit. What do your dopamine neurons do? Sod all. You predicted you’d get a biscuit at 3 o’clock, you got a biscuit at 3 o’clock; all is right with the world. Nothing surprising is going on. There was no error.

What if, when you turned up at 3 o’clock, I didn’t give you that chocolate biscuit? What if I just blithely ignored your presence instead? Then your dopamine neurons would briefly pause their activity, stopping the release of dopamine. They signalled the error between what you predicted (a chocolate biscuit) and what you received (nothing). This prediction error was not in your favour – it was a negative error.

This is what fast dopamine does: it signals the error between what you predicted and what you got. That error can be positive, negative, or zero.
It is not reward. Dopamine neurons do not fire when you get something good. They fire when you get something unexpected. And they sulk when you don’t get something you expected. Rewards make you happy. Dopamine does not.