When my kids were young, "bumpy-head" was an affectionate tease they used on each other. When my son was really young, he used to call our dogs, "dogos". I still call them that much to my family's irritation. So, fair warning - if I call some one a bumpy headed dogo, I am not pulling an Imus, but being silly.
This post goes to the young ladies at Rutgers. Do you consider Imus a role model? For that matter, are Jesse and Al your role models? If not, ignore the opportunism every one is enjoying on your backs. You know you tried your best. Racism, Sexism, Ageism - happens every day, every part of the world.
Today is the day to celebrate Jackie Robinson's anniversary of his debut in MLB. And the day to worry about your taxes as you go from success to success in life. Don't let idiots get you down or get you riled. Just smile and call them bumpy headed dogos. Feel free to also add the word - silly.
Why are companies which are leading our move into consumer ebusiness, particularly banks and travel companies, so reluctant to handle customer questions electronically?
So I notice an unusual, potentially fraudulent transaction on my son's BofA account. It's late and I email customer service hoping someone can look at it real time. They react in a few hours (not bad) but the response reflects business 5 years ago, not the online, paperless world banks keep pushing us to adopt
"...Please call the number on your Bank of America Statement...or you can write to us at PO Box..."
(BTW - you do not want to hear the runaround I had on this transaction with the call centers - not relevant for this post)
I send Marriott through their secure customer site a request for a duplicate of a bill at a hotel I stayed at. And I get this response.
"Many of our hotels are franchise locations and handle their own accounting. To secure a copy of your hotel bill, you would need to contact the property directly."
Come on Marriott, you happily take reservations and credit card information for these franchise locations through that same site.
I have this exchange through the customer service portion of the Delta website, where after a few exchanges I finally tell the lady "Sending me a form response is no way to win my business back.... If you can help me, call me on my cell 813-xxx-xxxx". And she responds with another form letter text and this ingenious addition "In addition at the late hours many of our e-mails are processed, it may be disturbing to receive a phone call at such times" . I would prefer not to receive a call at all, just help me electronically, not pass the buck.
Hey, not all is bad. I love the fact that American Express allows you to dispute transactions on-line. Give them reasons why and they take over for you. I love the fact that Hilton allows you to download PDF files of your final hotel bill. Similar deal with Hertz and Avis. No need to bother their call centers or send paper or fax requests.
Or as the Delta lady would say no need to "disturb them"...let's do it electronically, efficiently. 360 degree eBusiness - not just to collect revenue.
Jason Wood points to the challenge SAP management has set out for itself. 100K customers by 2010 (up from 36K today). He hopes to ask SAP execs at Sapphire how they plan to sign one customer every 33 minutes.
I am bummed I cannot be at Sapphire in Atlanta. Most of the Irregulars are going to our first reunion. Readers may remember SAP kindly hosted us last year. It is doing so again this year.
Two questions I would like my Irregulars to ask for me:
a) How likely is it that their A1S implementations will take less than 33,000 minutes of consulting each? b) How likely is SAP to price core ERP functionality at $ 33 per user a month?
If they can deliver on both, may be the software will fly off the shelves.
Or I can wait to ask the questions at Sapphire in Vienna in May, I hope I can attend.
I am taking the liberty of extending Paul Graham's post Microsoft is Dead to its brethren IBM, SAP and Oracle in the MISO acronym.
We have this debate every day among the Irregulars. Fittingly, on Google Groups. And the reaction is usually split along Paul's lines.
" Half the
readers will say that Microsoft is MISO are still an enormously profitable
companyies, and that I should be more
careful about drawing conclusions based on what a few people think
in our insular little "Web 2.0 (SaaS, Open Source, BP)" bubble. The other half, the younger
half, will complain that this is old news."
Thought provoking ad from Chevron. Russia, a big oil exporter, imports coal, electricity and natural gas. Saudi Arabia imports gasoline. Now think beyond oil and energy. We are dependent on each other in so many areas.
The WSJ (sub required) last week ran a column about Alan Blinder's (historically big on free trade) concerns about job losses to offshoring. I wish they could have also analyzed what happens to the money which goes
offshore. I would suggest much of it comes back to DisneyWorld, Pepsi, Harrods, GE Medical, Hollywood, our
real estate. Last year, Lou Dobbs had a list of companies who supposedly "export US
jobs" due to offshoring - but that list also is the same list of companies who are the top global brands. When a national airline in Asia buys a Boeing 777, there are domestic Lou's who lament that "offshoring" of precious capital. Trade is rarely one way.
But the US cannot continue as the engine for the world and keep running
large trade deficits and immigration programs. Paul Kedrosky points out that for the first time since WWII Euro markets are worth more than the US ones. It's time for a
"multi-core" trade and labor architecture.
The sooner Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, China, India and other emerging countries open their labor and consumer markets wider, the less ammunition folks like Lou Dobbs will have to shrink our world to our individual borders.
No country is an island. And if it behaves as one. think what island life would be like if you could not import most everything...
A friend at a software vendor called last week to ask what his company should do about blogs. Ok, so what does that have to do with 9/11 in the title?
9/11 changed all our lives for the worse - but it did help along a couple of things. I read this morning in USA Today that many S. Asian actors who are popping all over TV networks (including the kid on American Idol that many think cannot sing), got their break as shows were looking for Middle Eastern looking characters after 9/11.
The other is the emergence of blogs. I have a POV (that many share) that in the dark months that followed 9/11, when our moods were dictated by color coded security guidance from the government, mainstream media became "lamestream" and either for patriotic or other reasons quit acting like the fourth estate. Citizen journalism grew to fill the void between the official word and the rote media reporting of it.
Something similar has happened in technology. We have massive PR and marketing dollars that technology vendors spend, and the industry and financial analysts and the tech media have mostly become "lamestream". Enter blogs as the fourth estate for technology. Many of us bloggers ask the tough questions that need to be asked.
And most tech vendors are not sure what to do about blogs. Indeed many of them are now defensively trying their own blogs. And not sure how to do it. Their natural instinct is to turn press releases in to blogs. They are scared to death of having a Scoble like maverick write their blogs. Or the conversation is one way. Or they allow employees to write personal blogs, but can claim deniability as not representing the "official" viewpoint.
My recommendation is to have blogs reflect natural conversation that is happening on a daily basis within your customers, employees, channel. Your sales people can tell you how hard it is to sell certain products at certain price points. They are hearing it from customers each day. Don't market your way around it in a blog. You bicker with your channel on a daily basis about how to split revenues. Don't sugar coat it in a blog. Your employees are telling you about quality or customer satisfaction issues. Don't pretend otherwise on a blog. Bloggers are talking about your company. Reach out to them. Don't pretend they do not exist.
Mike Prosceno of SAP who jut started his own blog says it well "In the pre-blogging world, communications was about broadcasting one-to-many messages and
employing command-and-control around those messages. Today, the new
paradigm is about open and transparent conversations and influence in
Vendor written blogs are hugely important - they personalize vendors, and they should provide a window in to the murky workings of a systems integrator or a telephone company or how a software vendor prioritizes features in the next release. Vendors have so much to showcase - their R&D, their global reach, their vertical nuances, their partners, their quality processes. But they miss a huge opportunity if they just digitize press releases.
Have blogs reflect what is happening in the field and the trenches - and what is being said about you in other blogs. If you don't, the color coding of your messages may be pretty, but citizen journalists wll only second guess them.
Duncan Chapple has an interesting post on a coming technology recession "In April we'll be relaunching a January 2002 course, on communicating
through a recession, that I never thought I'd have to run through
again. While a recession may not unfold on a global scale, many
analysts and buyers are tipping over into a recession mindset."
Ooh, does January 2002 bring back bad memories. I was fighting to keep our marketplace/software company alive. Nuclear winter.
This time around my view is the recession for "utility technology spend" already began a year ago. It will get deeper if the global economy slows down. Larger, more established vendors make up most of the utility spend, and will fight gravity hard. I can see fear in many of the sales folks, but in many cases their corporate executives still live in the past and the premiums.
While Duncan can coach you on how to work with analysts in a recession, I think the best sales and marketing folks will take the battle to their management. Vendors with much more realistic pricing and margins may actually gain market share through a recession. Others will watch SaaS, third party maintenance, offshore, virtual compute, IP telephony and other options get that market share.
While recessions make buyers cheap, they also make them risk averse (as I found out in the last recession). It also dries up capital amazingly fast. Very unfair to innovative startups...but now is the time to fatten the bank account, and also sharpen the value proposition to buyers.
Overall, if a recession helps change the utility/innovation spend ratio in IT budgets from 7 to 1 to 6 to 2 or 5 to 3...I would say let's welcome it...