Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

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As social media continues to grow and evolve Facebook still reigns as the dominant site. In addition, its native messenger is the top communication app followed by WhatsApp which FB acquired In 2014. Add Instagram to the Facebook team and you’d think Mark Z would have no issues at all regarding digital dominance. So can someone explain why every week we’re hit with another feature upgrade ripping off Snapchat? They’re not even trying to be subtle with it.

Instagram stories may go down as the one understandable and well executed Snap rip off of them all. On the most visually focused platform, taking the core snap function and making it complementary element of IG was smart. You have the main platform for the best images you take while utilizing the 24 hr cycle of the stories feature to give real-time interaction. Adding the LIVE broadcast feature from Facebook into the Instagram system creates the perfect short form social media platform. From there I would have loved for the Facebook team to focus on new features to make FB/IG/WhatsApp stand out from Snap. No such luck.

WhatsApp & FB Messenger have both been given a useful 24 hr Snap status features. In addition, they’ve also been flooded with childish filters/masks that have taken a life of their own on SnapChat. I’m sure there are those that love this but personally, I don’t get it. Imitation at all costs when you’re already the dominant force in the industry reeks of insecurity. Maybe its a ploy to pull in more Gen Z users who prefer images over classic text content?

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Let’s not forget that Facebook tried to acquire SnapChat back in 2013 but had it’s $3 Billion offer snubbed but the up and coming app. I guess if you can’t buy them out you recreate them on your own terms.

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Here’s a look at the timeline of FB vs Snap activity. What do you think of Facebook ‘s Snap feature integrations?

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SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

 SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

After a short hiatus for the heart of the winter season, Samurai Rides is getting ready to welcome in warmer days. Before we hit the official start of Spring those good folks at Mazda sent me a little gift. Seeking to make my travel a bit more comfortable, the Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring was dropped off for me to enjoy my birthday week in style. Sitting at the top of the subcompact division you know the quality that Mazda delivers. When I saw the Dynamic Blue of this ride, my favorite color, I was in heaven, but enough chatter let’s dive into another edition of Samurai Rides.

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First off I can imagine what you are thinking? How on earth is he really reviewing a sub compact vehicle? Isn’t he tall? Yes, it’s well documented that I’m rather over sized but that is beauty of the CX -3. Even for someone of my height Mazda’s latest CX Compact car didn’t restrict my movement, comfort or enjoyment what so ever. I’ll admit I had to lean that driver’s seat back so heaven help who ever attempts to sit behind me. Outside of that it was all good. This is the 2nd year for the CX-3 after its’ initial introduction into the Mazda line up last year. It’s essentially a replacement for the Mazda 2 which is no longer available in the U.S.

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Max & Mazda. Matching Blue as we hit the road.

Truthfully, after a solid debut Mazda is just tweaking a few things for 2017. They have made a few features available in lower trims besides the Grand Touring edition. You can enjoy the redesigned 18 inch wheels at the mid level trim now as well as the  i-Activsense package which offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and more. Mazda shaved off nearly $800 to bring that add-on option pack just under $1200.

Another thing I will say is that the CX-3 Is not the ride to get if you’re planning on lugging around a lot of stuff. There’s modest trunk space here. You should be ok with your weekly personal groceries but massive shopping trips will have you putting bags in the rear seating space.

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Design wise Mazda remains the master of giving the look of cars costing more than they do. Surprisingly luxurious would be a great way to describe the sleek appearance of the CX-3.

This ride looks like a mini SUV but it handles like a car smoothly navigating the road. You’re getting 146 horses out of the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. That’s getting you from 0 – 60 in 8 secs. Not bad at all. It definitely did the trick as I celebrated my birthday around New York City. In this case the smaller ride made parking that much easier.

Overall, my streak of good times with Mazda cars continues. From the seamless on road handling, to safety features, to the always simple entertainment media interface, Mazda’s consistent delivery of quality shines through with their 2nd run of the CX-3. In all honesty I really only see competition coming from within their own brand. What I mean is that the price of the Grand Touring starts around $27K at which point you may be tempted to hop up to the CX 5 for a solid increase in power and size. So, aside from some possible in-fighting, Mazda is looking pretty strong to close out the first quarter of the new year. Take a look below at a few images and swing by Mazda USA for even more CX-3 info.

Stay Tuned Samurai Rides has something special on deck to usher in the Spring.

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Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

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Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…..that’s the future wave. Smartphones are the growing platform of choice for everything digital and while the world is engaged in the screens carried in their back pockets, what has become of the desktop? Well, if you let the many digital experts tell it, stationary computers have one foot in the grave already and are preparing for a swan dive. Fortunately for me and many others like me the demise of the desktop has been greatly exaggerated.

Let’s look at just what the real current status of the desktop computer is in the social media area.

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According to FlurryMobile, 90 percent of mobile user time is spent in apps. Consumers are often using their phones with entertainment and communication intent — calling, texting, checking email, engaging on social media, watching videos, listening to music, getting directions, checking store hours and playing games such as Pokémon Go. The chart above supports this view the personal time is more suited for mobile device usage vs the general office/work hours of the day. But what about the actions that are taking place o these devices?

Where the device decisions get a little more complex is during the process of detailed transactions. Depending on what you’re doing and how major a transaction it is, desktop usage offers a several advantages in efficiency over smartphones. See the following excerpt from Search Engine Land.

Most consumer journeys involve cross-device usage; however, the device used for the final transaction is often determined by the type of transaction and the amount of data needed to complete the transaction.

An example of this type of deeply considered journey can seen in the financial services sector, when a consumer opens a retirement account and makes initial investments. It’s a complex decision with a high cost of failure, and the average consumer will research the process across multiple devices; however, the final transaction of creating the account requires entering a significant amount of data. For that reason, this step is more convenient to complete on a desktop or tablet then on a smartphone.

On the other hand, when the purchase is simple and straightforward without a high cost of failure, like booking a hotel room due to a flight cancellation, I’m more likely to book my hotel stay on my smartphone as I’m exiting the terminal instead of opening my laptop to complete the transaction. And in e-commerce scenarios, the ease of completing the transaction through a one-click purchase option can help increase mobile conversions.

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Once again we see that while usage and time spent is trending towards mobile access, there is a large portion of online active that is taking place almost exclusively on desktops.

[M]arketers always overestimate the appeal of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.
Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

In the end it would appear that the desktop is not going anywhere. Desktop functionality has become much more direct and focused. Folks are browsing, entertaining and communicating as they move about. Yet they are still sitting down for the bigger decisions and transactions. Keep this in need with your own business. Do you fall into any of those desktop heavy industries? Remember that it will always pay off to have a balance in your professional positioning. One that includes both stationary and mobile accessibility.

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SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

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I was excited to see my first Mazda of the new year. The Mazda 3 rolls in with its 2017 edition in a gorgeous Cherry Red and I’m ready to roll out. I had a number of errands to handle in the tri state area so I was putting in those miles on the I-95. Highly enjoyable miles as Mazda never fails to provide me an excellent driving experience. Another edition of Samurai Rides is on deck!!!

After 2-3 years of auto reviews, I have to say that consistency is the word that comes to mind when I think of Mazda. Inside and out the attention to detail is steady across the brand and all its models. Focusing in on the Mazda 3 this time around and things are still as solid as ever. With this being my third spin in the 3 I can confirm that Mazda is definitely subscribing to an approach of not trying to reinvent the wheel. The short list of updates for the 2017 model echo those of the Mazda 6.

On the outside you get a new grill and headlight design. The rear bump is modified slightly as well. On the higher trims your 18 inch wheels have been tweaked a bit. The 16 inch standards wheel are unchanged from 2016 though. Hop inside and you get a few more revisions.

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The center console gets some additional space as Mazda switches up from a manual to an electric parking brake. Your flip-up screen is full color now as well. For a brand that boasts some of the best interior designs for under $30K you’ll get an upgrade in fabric and trim styles this year.

Just like the Mazda 6 the biggest driving update the G-Vectoring Control system to tighten up the steering a bit. The 3 hugs those curves just as well as the 6 does so this new GVC technology is a great move for a brand that has already locked itself into a very respected spot in the auto industry.

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Even covered in snow Mazda shines brillantly.

The 2017 Mazda 3 got a real good run with me as the weather dished out sun, rain, ice and snow and at no point did the 3 suffer in performance. In addition to that, I put that new heated steering wheel feature to work with the heated seats. Cold was not allowed in this ride.

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I’ve had nothing but glowing sentiments towards Mazda from day 1. The new 2017 Mazda 3 strongly continues that trend delivering a great combination of grace, style, innovation and power. If you’re looking for a great ride in a smaller package this is definitely the car for you. See more of the Mazda 3 here!

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SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

#SamuraiRides

Another year is in the books and I’m sure it comes as new surprise that I brought in the new year bouncing with another edition of Samurai Rides. Taking me into the year 2017 was the new Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s been 2 model years since I last got behind the wheel of a Lancer. Previously, Mitsubishi helped me navigate the streets of Miami for Art Basel. Their 2015 Lancer was a solid ride that got me all around the beautiful areas of southern Florida with no issue. Their 2017 model doesn’t stray far from its core designs and functionalities.

Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.
Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.

You can go to various auto review sites for specs and industry rankings. When I do Samurai Rides I try to give you real life applications for the cars you drive. That means where did I drive it, how did I feel and what type of people I think would benefit from this car.

In the final days of 2016 I made a few round trip runs home to New York and back to Philadelphia. With a little over 2 hours each way, it’s gives me a good space to get a feel for the ride in terms of on road handling and interior features. The exterior appearance was sharp and clean. The Diamond White finish and the 2-tone 16 inch alloy wheels were a good look. Standard LEDs, Halogen headlights and fog lights set things off nicely.

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I liked the Lancer immediately as soon as I pulled out. It has just enough power under the hood to navigate these often aggressive Northeast highways but not so much that I’m tempted to break any speed records.

You have the option of Sirius XM radio and navigation. Even when I’m making trips along routes I know in my sleep, the real time traffic notifications are always welcome. You’ll be thankful when you avoid getting stuck in an oncoming 30 min traffic backup and can continue smoothly on your way listening to your favorite tunes.

Rockford Fosgate has been the consistent audio sound system of all the Mitsubishi cars I’ve dealt with. This one sounded like it had a little more kick in the bass so that is pleasing to the ear. Again you have your full expected audio options of radio, cd, Bluetooth compatible linking, AUX cord and USB.

Brought Harlem to Philly. Sounds nice in the 2017 Lancer. #DriveMitsubishi #SamuraiRides

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Over recent years I’ve seen the rise of vehicles adding various sensors and on road warning indicators for blind spots, lane shifting and approaching objects. These are all great preemptive safety features. You don’t get those with the Lancer but in all honesty that didn’t take away from my driving experience. I didn’t feel less safe without an additional bell or buzzer going off. The Active Stability Control is solid as it works with the braking system to support tire griping on slick surfaces. Basically you just need to drive and keep your eyes on the road just as we all did for years before. Outside of the extended Summer season the winter holidays can be notorious for bad/dangerous/reckless driving. The Lancer got me home and back without issue. You can check some of the other safety features of the Lancer here.

The Lancer is a nice ride for the everyday person not looking for too much flash. This car isn’t made to remind you of another more luxurious brand. It provides you what you would need to effectively travel the roads at reasonable cost. You can select from 4 model trims that range in price from approx. $17K – $22K.

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I definitely would suggest the Lancer to a friend looking for something affordable for their day-to-day needs. Hop over to the Mitsubishi site and have a good look around. I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. See you soon with another editions of Samurai Rides.

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2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

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The new year is underway and as you set out to execute your business plans it’s always nice to look over your presence online and make sure your business is being represented to the best of its abilities. From the proper dimensions on your profile images to the ideal time to post content, there is a science to this digital world. Fresh from the good people at SWM. Here’s a convenient cheap sheet you can cross reference your activity with to get the most out of all the major platforms. Just hit the jump for the full sheet.

You’ll also want to check out this collection of apps and tools that will add tons of value to your social media activity. I use more than half of these tools and can vouch for them. See the link at the end of the jump.

Continue reading 2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

2016 The Year That Changed It All

2016 The Year That Changed It All

Digital Daddy, Social Media Samurai
Is this the end of the Social Media Samurai

Look around. Admittedly things have been a little quieter around here than many of you may be used to. The year 2016 was a monster for many people for a lot of reasons. While the theme of high-profile death has dominated the conversation recently, it’s been a focus on gain and new life that has been the signature of my year. From self-centered to selfless, my life went from 0 -100 with the May 27th arrival of my son, Maximus Xaiver Francis. Nothing was the same since.

Max’s birth came with me relocating to Philadelphia and a drastic shift in how I operated. My networks were changed, my access to certain levels of business were reduced and overall it was if I had just hit a mega reset button on my life. I’ve never been a person that took things and people for granted but the new perspective of my situation immediately made me see my daily New York routine in a different light. The small things that brought balance to my life that were no longer available weighed heavy on me for much of my time away from NY.

What really countered that feeling of displacement was a the beauty and happiness that washes over me everything I saw the innocent smile of my baby boy. Knowing nothing of the insane world around him, he only asks for love and protection. All the cliches’ are true regarding how a child makes you feel and how it changes you. As much as continue to juggle thoughts and feelings around my new status quo, I’ve never once looked at Max with anything but love and pride.

2016 forced me to change. It forced me to prove myself in ways I never thought. Those tests are still ongoing but I feel a renewed power and strength within me for what is to come on many levels. Social Media Samurai is not going anywhere. As I adapt to my new reality the brand will adapt as well. Who I am and what I am about will be revealed more as I expand SMS into new territory. With the growth of my own Tribe I will re-emerge stronger with a determination to get things done no matter what.

The previous 366 days at times knocked me down. There were many moments of doubt and frustration regarding all important aspects of my life, but as the saying goes if you are brought to it then you can make it through it. I’m here and ready to make 2017 a banner year for me and my loved ones. I’m not who I once was yet I’m still me. I’m better. For my son I will never stop evolving.

2017, it’s nice to finally meet you.

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A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

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It’s that time of year when the holiday shopping season officially opens up! After all the Thanksgiving food has settled and the left overs are put away you turn your attention to the mega savings in your favorite store on and offline. This is also an important time for entrepreneurs. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are made for those whose brands operate heavily via digital spaces. That is where I come in. Are you fully maximizing your online activity? How is your engagement with your followers? There are so many thing people often overlook that can make so much difference in the business they generate. Starting today, Cyber Monday and running until Christmas, I’ve cut my most popular service the Social Media Audit by 33% so for $100 I will dive into your online operations to lay out plans and real attainable goals for you and your business. You won’t be disappointed.

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Management & Consultation

The Social Media Samurai is always ready to help you. Are you looking for guidance with your digital strategy? Perhaps you need someone to speak to your organization about navigating social media in today’s ever-changing business environment? I can provide that and more. I’ve cut my audit service down for the holidays so it’s even easier to get started on the road to more success.

Contact me via contact@thesocialmediasamurai.com

At the very least make sure you stay connected with me across these Internets.

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If You Think A Cost-Per-Engagement System Is A Good Influencer Payment System Think Again

If You Think A Cost-Per-Engagement System Is A Good Influencer Payment System Think Again

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Businesses are looking to get the most out of their dollars when collaborating with influencers to marketing their brand. You hear it all day about ROI, Return On Investment. What are you getting for the money spent on a respective campaign. The playing field is still very fluid. From the FTC routinely popping up to flex its might and changing views on social media influencer marketing to influencers buying followers to inflate their asking prices it’s really a lawless space. One of the other elements that may be on the rise is CPE payment. Cost-Per-Engagement basically means getting paid specifically on the engagement criteria agreed upon. It could be the number of shares, likes, comments, etc.  Collective Bias SVP Holly Pavlika speaks on this matter and issues it could create a in a recent blog. Lets check some of that out then I’ll add my 2 cents.

There are definitely some pros to this model, so the appeal is warranted. CPE focuses the attention on influencer selection, the quality of their content and the importance of data. It also stops the misnomer that it’s all about the size of the influencer’s following, when in essence, study after study shows it’s the middle tier influencer who gets the most engagement.

This does not mean, however, that influencers should be taking the risk of uncertain income associated with the CPE model. Here’s why: for influencers, CPE encourages fraudulent practices that harm their authenticity and devalue their content. To boost engagement, influencers can game the system and enlist their communities to comment, click on links and share. They might buy traffic and likes, enable repeat-sharing, or even incentivize their audience to engage by using sweepstakes or giveaways. It’s contrived metrics at best.

*See the full Collective Bias Post Here*

As an influencer myself I can tell you it’s not the way to go. I work with Collective Bias and they operate on a variable per post system. Going into any campaign, once selected I know what I’m earning and that allows me to focus purely on the content requested for the job. Be clear of the roles in this arrangement. Brands hire influencers to press their products/service/events with honest engaging communication. Influencers work with brands to build their professional clout and make money. With that being said there is a balance that you aim for in terms of content quality and direct message sending. Anything that could distract from that is problematic. In this case the idea of financial uncertainty connected to the CPE model.

All of our time is valuable. I’d have no interest in putting in the time to research and review a brand only to have my pay left up in the air to the number of likes or shares it may get. Influence is not measured in those metrics alone and it does a great disservice to operate in that way.

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I don’t feel that all influencers would engage in shady operations under CPE but I think more would do so then currently are. Digital influencer marketing is already an uncertain space as is. Putting content creators in the position of counting every share and RT connected to their work seems like a sure-fire way to negatively effect the quality of work they put out. Brands to trust in the research that goes into finding influencers and truly identifying their influence so it’s not such a gamble on their part. No one likes having their money played with

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SAMURAI RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

SAMURAI RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

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I’m always excited to get a look into the newest wheels that are coming to the people. Along with that, being able to share various aspects of my world is great. Now as I navigate the roads of Fatherhood, it makes my #SamurauRide features that much more special when I can share my son in the story. #DigitalDaddy duties got some help this time around from the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited. Keeping in the realm of crossover SUVs check out this latest from Hyundai!

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The 2015 Santa Fe Sport was my Christmas shopping companion 2 years ago and made a great impression on me. Now getting behind the wheel of the 2017 Limited Edition it felt very familiar and keeps all the features I’ve come to expect from Hyundai’s SUV/Crossover series of vehicles. The Santa Fe is the largest ride within the series. Yet, to be honest with you, in terms of space the Tuscon is equally spacious. The Sante Fe Limited does add a few upgraded elements that really set it apart that I’ll get into shortly.

After a busy week catching up with family and handling major business in New York I returned to Philadelphia to see my son. October is here and while it is officially the Fall season, nature still appears to have a few good weather days left in her. What this means is a great opportunity to hit the city and enjoy some Daddy/Son time.

The level of trust needed in a vehicle and the attention to detail skyrockets once you’re joined by your child. Hyundai’s 2017 Santa Fe is incredibly roomy  for myself as the driver and Max with his car seat. The seat belts and fasteners held him in very firm as we hit the road. Also, the Limited edition Sante Fe gives you 2nd row captain chairs vs your standard passenger bench. With this upgrade Max’s car seat locks that much more firmly into his individual seat with more fear of sliding or shifting.

No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! #SamuraiRides
No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! Now let me get Max and his car seat in here. #SamuraiRides

Once Max is good I can take in the rest of the Santa Fe. The large touch screen, audio system, Bluetooth integration, safety alerts, panoramic sun roof and more are all there. Small but vital additions that really impressed me were the number of charging posts in this ride. Seeing a rear 3rd row usb charger was heaven in my eyes. As a social media manager there is time I need to just plug something(s) in and let it charge for the duration of a ride. The front ports are usually engaged with my phone so and 2nd and 3rd row options are clutch.

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Hyundai continues to stand out with its progressive SUV Crossovers.

I’ve always been impressed with how a ride that seats 7 handles as well as this does. I always remember the feel of my old Ford Expedition. It wasn’t a bad feeling, but you knew you were driving a legit truck so you had to handle it a little different. The Santa Fe could have you forgetting the type of car it actually is with how smooth it rides. Smooth enough that it put Max right to sleep in his seat.

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This is the Maximus stamp of approval for automotive comfort.

While Max catches up on some shut-eye, let me share a some images with you from my most recent time with Hyundai.

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For me,, the appeal of crossovers comes from the vehicle ability to be everything you need in any season. Speed and agility for the Summer gives way to size, power and durability for the winter. It can be packed full of riders for a night out, empty so you can enjoy a mind clearing cruise alone or get you around town w/ your child as you run errands. No matter the mission the Santa Fe serves you well.

Hop over to the Hyundai site for more details on the Santa Fe and all it has to offer.

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