Saturday, January 31, 2009

Marie Antoinette Revisited - The American People Continue To Get Royally "F?#%d"

The Shameful, Arrogant, Unfathomable Behavior Of The Self-Entitled

By David Miranda

The past and (yes) continued behavior of the self-entitled on Wall Street and their enablers in the Washington and the State Capitols make the fictional Gordon Gecko in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" look like Mr. Rogers (with no disrespect to Fred Rogers' memory).

It seems like every day a new Congressional hearing, a New York Times or WSJ article, or investigative television journalist exposes yet another of the self-entitled's evidence of a total disregard for anything but their own self-interest. Clueless comes to mind, but using that word is an insult to the naive and uninformed.

Someone once said that the difference between ignorance and stupidity is this - ignorance means you don't know; stupid means you'll never know. The self-entitled are not ignorant people. They are shamefully, arrogantly, and unfathomably stupid of the plight of anyone and anything other than their own self-interest.

Each day new members are added to this "Marie Antionette Rogue's Gallery". On the public side examples abound - auto execs flying corporate jets to DC to ask for a handout; Merrill-Lynch rushing through $18 billion in bonuses (the firm lost $34 billion for the bonus year) just before begging for a bailout; AIG, after receiving bailout funds, hosting a $400K junket to a 4-star golf resort and spa; Merrill-Lynch CEO spending $1.2 million to redecorate his office; CitiGroup ordering a $50 million corporate jet (since canceled after the news got out); Bernie Madoff, the $50 billion Ponzi man, under house arrest at his $7 million NY apartment where he attempted to send $1 million in jewelry and $173 million in checks to friends and family.

On the political front, more examples of the self-entitled - Louisiana Congressman caught in a sting with $100K in his freezer; the impeached Governor of Illinois wanting to sell the vacant seat of President Obama to benefit himself and his wife in rather vivid and vulgar taped conversations; the former senior Senator from Alaska indicted for having undeclared renovations done to his home, and on and on and on.

Marie Antionette didn't get it and it seems neither have the entrenched self-entitled. President Obama ran on a platform of bringing hope and change to America - "Yes We Can".

It is now time to change aspiration for change to action - embracing "Yes We Will" both in the public and private corridors of power. If not, voters, shareholders and consumers will storm the Bastille and demand for their heads.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

People Should Have Warning Labels!

It Would Make Business So Much Easier For All Of Us

By David Miranda

It's high time that everyone in the business world (and maybe the personal world as well) had warning labels. It would save a lot of time and frustration.

For example, I was held hostage in a recent marketing meeting by several attendees who, if they had warning labels, I could have been better prepared.

There was one male participant at the meeting whose warning label should have been "I like to hear myself talk and I seldom, if ever, get to the point." One of his colleague's label should have been "I ask a lot of dumb questions demonstrating I have little grasp of the subject we are discussing." Another's should have been "I have no opinions of my own". And finally, the person who wasted the most time's label should have been "I create long and boring powerpoint presentations designed to show how smart I am and how dumb I think you are."

These labels would go far in making meetings (and business) more productive. Imagine how great it would be if these labels were noted next to each person's name on the agenda.

How about a label on the supposed "decision maker" at the meeting that says "I know I am supposed to be a decision maker, but actually I cannot make decisions."? Or another for a boss that says "I encourage my people to be innovative, but I really prefer the status quo".

Now let's all get out those label makers!

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Contact Us" On Web Sites Really Means "Please Don't"

If You Really Mean It, Post Your Personal Email Address And Answer Your Phones.

By David Miranda

Every web site has the obiligatory "Contact Us" on the "nav bar" and corporate telephone numbers, but don't really mean it.

It really means "send an email to a generic email account that one or more people have access to and one of these people may get back to you or you may get a programmed response like 'Thank you for your email. We appreciate your feedback. Someone will be back to you within the next 24 to 48 hours.' "

The telephone version is the 1-800 number, as in,

"Thank you for calling, X Company, press 'one' for English or 'two for Spanish'."

"Thank you".

"For billing, press 'one'. To open a new account, press 'two'. To cancel an account, press 'three'. For all other requests, press 'four'.

"Thank you".

"Your call is important to us. We are experiencing an unusual level of call volume. Please stay on the line for the next available operator."


"Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available operator"

More music.

"Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available operator"

Recommendation: "Contact us" should mean "we really mean it". Put real people's email addresses on web sites and have real people answer the phone. If real people can't, then have the call go to a recording - and not vice versa.

If people at the company are too busy to respond to existing or potential customers via email or phone, what the hell are they too busy doing?

If you can't personally respond to emails or have humans answer the phone, change "Contact Us" to "Just buy our stuff and leave us alone".

"Contact me" with your comments.