Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Friend's N.Y. Deli in Wesley Chapel

I was able to stop by my friend Bob Conigliaro's new restaurant/deli concept, the N.Y. Minute Del-Eatery. Located at SR 56 and Bruce B. Downs Blvd. just north of Hillsborough County it is a great location as the area is in great need of variety when it comes to dining and is growing quickly.

The food we ordered; sausage and pepper sandwich, matzo ball soup and BLT... and cheese cake was all excellent and certainly worth the trip. The service excellent and the concept is extremely cool.

If you would like some more info, this Tampa Tribune article gives great background info.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reflecting on Career Choice

One of the most frequent questions I am asked and that I still often ask myself is, "why/how did you decide to go into business for yourself?".

My usual response is something like "I fell into it" and refers to starting the Dynamic Creations in December of 1998 as a side business while working full time. The side business eventually landed two large clients and became the full time gig.

However the complete answer is not that simple, especially when you consider how difficult it has been for me to sustain, support and stabilize this business over the last eight years. In actuality running my own business has been a desire throughout my life. An article this morning on ( prompted me to expand on this answer.

The article, Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?, highlights a survey that seems to really show that entrepreneurs are born and not made through education or upbringing, which I certainly feel personally is very true.

From the fourth grade in elementary school when a friend and I envisioned a leave raking business through high school when I worked for my uncles' business during the summers I was always interested in being a "business man" when I grew up.

My first job after highschool lasted a year and a half before my uncle put me at the helm of a restaurant as manager. The venture did not last but six months; but the experience had sunk in deep.

It would be under two years before the "side business" of Dynamic Creations was born and exactly 30 months before I was "self employed" independently for the first time in my life at the age of 22 in November 1999.

So does this explain that it is a born in trait?

Not really; at that point I had literally "fallen into" the business in many ways. I was 22 with fear of failure, the Internet bubble was still expanding and the web design industry was so new that it would be easy to be successful.

I rode a nice wave from that point forward until 2001 when a failed personal relationship, the dot com bust and September 11th all combined with my complete inexperience forced me by the end of 2002 to reconsider what I was doing.

For the first half of 2003 I worked at a Bernini in Ybor City and finally completed my associates degree. For the later half I sold TV advertising for WMOR TV 32.

It was at WMOR that I realized the strength of my desire to be an entrepreneur. After only a few months I began to realize that if I was going to do direct sales that I would prefer it was for my own services. As much as I tried to justify the fact that this would be more stable and could potential earn me as much money I just could not replace the feeling I had previously of owning a business.

So in January 2004 I took the plunge again.

Three years later I am still going and while I have had some very difficult periods I have become very aware of how important this venture's success is to my future. I have had a few very serious employment offers that would pay me very well, provide great benefits and even a pension, but could not bring myself to take them.

It has taken great deal of heartache and I am by no means where I want to be yet, but this business of being in business is my life and where I need to be to be happy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Indi WiFi & Coffee Spot Offers Printing

Just opened last week is the Print Empire at 3644 W Kennedy Blvd. (between Dale Mabry & Himes).

Kristin Tandberg's new copy center, Print Empire, will house the Coffee Hot Spot... Think "a friendlier version of Kinko's" and one that is completely "non-corporate"

If you have ever been at a WiFi spot working only to say... "if they only had a printer!" this is the place for you!

Anyway, there was a write up in the St Pete Times, if you want more details.

I am working here this morning and I can tell you the coffee's good and the service is friendly...

If you can stop by please do and help support this new business!

Tell them Vinny sent you...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Phone Cancellation of Internet Services

Internet companies often tout 24 hour accessibility, and "from the comfort of your own home" conveniences when it come to their services. However do they actually live up to that promise?

When it comes to canceling your service it seems that Yahoo's partner companies are going the way of AOL. Two recent examples of this occurred in my attempts to cancel or change services with Got Corporation's Campaigner Service, and Yahoo's American Greetings service,

Both are services that you can sign up for in real time and online. Both are also services that if you wish to cancel you must call in and do so over the phone with a real person or in writing outside of automated systems.

Yahoo Greetings is not too bad, the renewal email comes with two weeks notice about the renewal. However the only way provided to cancel is:

"If you do not wish to continue your Membership and live within the U.S., you must call our Customer Care Center at 1-866-228-2434 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Please reference your Customer #: ******** when you call."

I am bothered by the fact that I have to take time from my work day to cancel a $13.99 a year service and certain that Yahoo Greetings is hoping that I will forget to follow these extra steps. I
wonder if I would have received further reminders?

Got Corporation was an extremely dissatisfactory experience and will have me reading TOS agreements with far more vigilance. I have had a Campaigner Account for about two years and while I have been moving my email services to Constant Contact I had also kept an active Campaigner account for two clients that were better served by that service.

Earlier this year I attempted through the Campaigner System to "downgrade" my account to "Pay-As-You-Go" status from $25.00 per month. The system allows you to go through this process with no errors.

So you can imagine the surprise when a month later I get billed for $25.
- The first time I figured it was me changing the account in the wrong part of the billing cycle and disregard it.
- The second time I go back into the system and see that my status is back to $25 per month. I am confused but in a rush quickly "downgrade" again to "Pay-As-You-Go" and move on in my day.

This occurred a few more times each time me being either too rushed or thinking maybe it was the emails I sent that screwed up the system so I just let it go.

finally in July I had the extra time to investigate it and called Got Corporation to find out what was happening and spoke to Christopher Adlam.

Chris was very happy to inform me that the only way to cancel was to do so in writing via email as per the TOS of Got Corporation. There was also no apologies made for the fact that the online system allow you to "downgrade" against the TOS without notifying you that the change will not be accepted.

Chris then offer to send me links to information showing me the error of my ways in the assumption that I should be able to "downgrade" via the online system:

"Dear Vinny Tafuro,

Thank you for using Campaigner, GOT's online email marketing software. In reference to our conversation below is the info requested.

Please review this document to view screen shots of this clause in the End User License Agreement: The complete Campaigner End User License Agreement is provided here:

Best Regards,
Customer care

The above email has links to screen shots of the TOS that actually have the areas in question highlighted. Does this imply that they confuse enough users to have a "canned" email reply to the complaints?

Four days later I requested that my account be downgraded,
"Thank you for the information and please just keep my account down-graded to the pay-as-you-go plan".

In August I was billed another $25!

I wrote another email requesting they downgrade my account on 8/21... It took Rosemarie Battista two days to reply but I finally received a downgrade to my subscription plan and have not been charged in September so far.

Overall through this process Got Corporation billed me about $150 that is in the least questionable.

So much for convenience...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Florida Trend Magazine: Young Guns (How SEO worked for me)

A few months back I received a phone call out of the blue from Diane Sears of Florida Trend Magazine. Diane had been working on a story that would highlight 20-somethings in the state of Florida. Her primary research tool was a search engine and the top results for Young Professional Tampa happened to be webs site that I am on.

It was a great conversation for me and completely validated the time and energy I had placed in helping promote the second Downtown After Six event last December. It was this high ranking site that led to the call.

Further help in landing this great opportunity came when Diane and I started talking about young professionals in other parts of the state. Fortunately with AAF chapters around the state of Florida ( I was able to assist Diane in contacting others from around the state.

Diane interviewed and included three other business owners that I recommended in other parts of the state. Lakeitha Grey, Tallahassee, N-tersections Communications Group, (; Neil Bell, Tallahassee, Summit Outdoor Advertising ( and Sabrina McLaughlin, Navarre, The PR Girl, Inc., (

If you would like to red the entire article Young Guns: 20-somethings who are helping to shape business in Florida is available on the Florida Trend Magazine site, and also reprinted on the Ad 2 Tampa Bay website,

Saturday, July 01, 2006

About This Blog

The decision to begin this blog was made over a decent period of time. Of course it started with first hearing the buzz up to three years ago about blogs and was followed up by questions from clients, other industry friends and more and more buzz. It was finally this past summer at the American Advertising Federation annual conference, Pixel Shift, that I really started to decide one would be needed.

As an effort to practice what I preach to clients and prospective clients I did create a blog and have no embarked on what will become the never-ending task of keeping it going...

This should significantly test my copywriting ability...