Spotting an FDRtard

Why does every road seem to have its own variety of fu$ktards!

Most mornings I travel to work on the FDR drive, a road up the East side of Manhattan Island. It’s a fast road with a lots of exists, some on the left and some on the right. But it seems the FDRtard likes to always travel up the exit lanes and at the last second pull back onto the main road. This has the obvious effect of causing an array of stupid accidents, and causing no end of bottlenecks that could so easily be avoided.

These same FDRtards then get annoyed when they perceive anyone else trying to do the same thing, and so try and block exit lanes to stop others from getting ahead of them. Of course if you happen to want to exit, using the exit lane becomes very dangerous as an FDRtard in a SUV is quite likely to jump back into the exit lane to stop your progress, just in case you were also an FDRtard and were only using the lane to skip back into the main lane at the last second.

Now Along with the FDRtard, there are also the Hutchtards and the freewaytards, who do similar things to your basic FDRtard but add other levels of stupidity.

The hutchtards also create new lanes by driving up the hard shoulder and across painted junctions to avoid and create all new types of traffic jams.

While the freewaytards do all of the above but also like to drive at high speed for short distances and then break very hard skidding and swapping lanes without indicating.

I suspect if the police were to stop every rushhour cartard the national debt could easily be paid off with bad driving fines in a couple of weeks.

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Wasting Leads.

If you work in sales or marketing then the word “lead” can either be a driver for your work or the biggest pain of your life.

The idea is simple; a lead is a piece of information that you can use to contact a prospective new customer.

The perfect business lead would contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of the team of people within a company that have identified a problem that your company is capable of solving. These people also would have a time-line in mind to solve this problem and a defined budget in mind AND they have asked for a salesman from your company to call.

When marketing give a fully detailed lead to the sale team, it’s a wonderful moment, where proud marketers carry this perfect lead to the sales people, and the sales people smile, take control of the lead, call the customer and shortly after ring the bell, crack open the champers and pat the marketing teams on their backs, all feeling that a job has been well done.

Strangely enough this scenario doesn’t happen that often.

What actually happens is quite different.

The marketing team are given a target of how many leads they must deliver to sales. And so they deliver them.

Every time a customer reads an email that was sent, that’s a lead, which is passed to sales.

Every time a card is scanned at a trade show, that’s a lead, which is passed to sales.

Every time a prospect goes to the website, downloads a paper or does anything which identifies them as a person who can fog a mirror (ie. Is alive), that’s a lead, which is passed to sales.

lead1

Marketing make their quota of leads passed to sales, get their on-target earnings and move on, while sales think marketing have no idea what they are doing and are just annoyed at these low quality leads.

On the other hand sales need leads, so in the absence of high quality leads they will dumpster dive, calling every potential prospect that hopefully will take their call. But it’s not a good relationship or situation.

Of course there is immense pressure on sales, not just to make their quota of sales but also to meet numerous other metrics. Todays ERP, CRM and sales management systems allow sales people to be tracked in a million ways. And to meet their on-target earnings they need to meet every measure.

All of this leads to people learning how to punk the system, to most effectively meet their goals, while avoiding as much scrutiny as possible.

EVERY salesman has a list of deals they are working on, that are outside of what they report to their management. This allows they to manage the most effective way to deliver the sales while maximizing their income, and also creates a massive gap between what the management of company knows and what the sales people know.

Sales people and marketing people are smart, they all have degrees, many have multiple degrees, and they know how to survive.

sales marketing

There are some companies that have addressed these challenges, but it’s hard and therefore rare.

If you don’t know what it takes to create a perfect lead, then you need to know how to help sales with imperfect leads. If you avoid this issue you are wasting a massive amount of your teams time and resources.

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Social Media is not the answer, but just another side to the question.

It seems that every company has been investing in some level of social media activity. I would suggest that most (but not all) of what has been invested is both not measureable and worthless.

There is an old adage, which I will paraphrase as “work is not the same as achievement”.

This is just as true for the latest marketing buzz-words. Social media is just another (all-be-it fresh) way of interacting with potential customers, market watchers and customers. But the effectiveness of every conversation is determined by the quality of the conversation and not the loudness of the voice.

Given the choice I would prefer to never see a tweet announcing a new product or a Facebook status announcing some companies chief is going to attend a panel to discuss anything. In fact I , like nearly every twitter, facebook and linkedin consumer have become very proficient at filtering out this white noise.

And like most emailers, I’m adept at automating the routing of advert emails directly to my spam and trash folders.

social-media

This is not to say I don’t want to receive messages from businesses, I do, we all do. We just demand that those messages be relevant to us and informative.

Companies that are great at communicating are great at marketing and are just as great at social media marketing.

Companies that are rubbish at communicating are just as rubbish across every media.

Before a company can effectively communicate, they must have a very deep understand of what they do, why they do it, who they do it for and how those they do it for want to have it done.

This may seem trivial, but it’s proved to be the hardest thing for most companies to identify and use to drive their business.

If you think it’s easy, ask 10 people in your own company to answer those questions and I would suspect you will get at least 10 completely different answers. And if you don’t know what you do, why you do it, who you do it for and how they want to see it done, then how the hell can you communicate anything about your business to your prospects?

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Brady, Belichick and the Patriots: Facts and Non-Fiction

As the NFL playoff frenzy continues to build approaching conference championship weekend, all eyes and ears seemingly turn to the Patriots and their coach and quarterback. A little Fact and Non-Fiction for consideration:

Brady and Belichick
Brady and Belichick
Fact: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had an amazing and perhaps unparalleled run, winning 3 Super Bowls (without a loss), and following it up with an undefeated regular season.

Fact: The fact is that the previously unbeatable Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are 0-fer in Superbowls since they were caught cheating and the “When given 2 weeks to prepare, no one will out prepare Bill Belichick!” statement sounds lazy and uninformed today.

Non-Fiction: With media darling Peyton Manning out early in yet another highly anticipated playoff run, the beautiful and talented Tom Brady will now get the lion’s share of attention as the young whippersnappers Flacco, Ryan and Copernicus will be grouped together.

Vince Ferragamo: Hopeful heartthrob coming back from Canada
Vince Ferragamo: Hopeful heartthrob coming back from Canada
Fact: While the NFL’s leading supermodel impregnator has lost the Prince Valiant haircut, he’s also trying to prove he hasn’t lost his on-field big game mojo. Since his coaches were caught cheating (to give him and his teammates an unfair advantage), this “Guaranteed first ballot HOFer” with “the clutch gene” has reminded us more of Dan Pastorini or even Vince Ferragamo than Joe Montana. Barely over .500.

Non-Fiction: Pastorini, Ferragamo and post-Spygate Brady are all Good looking, physically talented QBs from unusual pre-NFL glory situations who had great regular season success and were average to slightly above average in the playoffs.

Fact: Brady and Belichick have proven to be above average at their craft since the cheating scandal and associated sanctions for said cheating.

Non-Fiction: There’s no shame in just being above average in crunch time, but please… Vince Lombardi should never again be invoked when talking about Belichick and Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw should never again be invoked when talking about Tom Brady.

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True Heroes

There is no draft, every soldier, airman, marine or sailor that signs up does so voluntarily. They don’t get paid a huge wage, and they know when they leave their service they will do so without a great safety net.

There is also a significant risk of physical or emotional damage from the things they will be asked to do. Their families take the same risk. But yet they sign up, go through training and serve their nation honorably.

They know that while they are putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk the rest of the population gives them lip service, and very little else.

They know that the people they leave at home are not sharing the risk or even paying higher taxes to pay for their service or to protect them with enough armor or support.

They know that the reasons why they are sent into harms way, are not always about protecting their country. They know that politicians use them for financial gain.

But they are committed to the idea of their country, and will honor the oath they take to follow the direction of their leaders.

And that is why they are true heroes.

Every single person that signs up for service knowing what that entails for them and their loved ones, and knowing how little their country gives in return is a true hero.

When I hire people, and one of the candidates has served their country in this way, I see that as a huge plus, and it is an honor to hire them.

soldier

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I Just noticed how similar my dog is to the world of social media

My wife comments (negatively) on my need to check-in on Facebook or foursquare every time we go everywhere.

And it just occurred to me that this is a very animalistic need. Whenever we leave the house for a walk my dog does exactly the same thing and checks-in at every tree, lamppost and fire hydrant.

dog and hydrant

And when I started to think about it its became clear that there are even more synergies that we share. We facebookers spend a lot of time checking out what our friends have been up to, while my dog does the same thing my sniffing the asshole of any “friend” he meets and they in turn politely reciprocate by sniffing his bum.

SniffingDogs

We read news stories and memes and he sniffs pee stains….

We rant at stupid people and he barks at bikes, joggers and roller blade-ers….

Facebook has truly allowed us to become as intellectually advanced as a domestic dog.

I’d like to be proved wrong on this one, but suspect that is unlikely.

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Separating government and profit

I’m sick and tired of hearing from politicians that we need to reduce the spending on social programs (aka entitlements). The issue in the us is that government spending is just a method of moving tax money to private companies. There are huge opportunities to reduce spending while increasing services by taking the for profit model out of social programs.

If medical services were centrally negotiated the prices would drop dramatically. That’s the power of economics.

The same goes for every government service.

But all politicians are so beholden to corporations through lobbyists that this solution is entirely off the table.

Education, prisons, healthcare, unemployment services, transport, security, every single place where government spends money is infected with overpayment and under delivery.

Reducing federal government spending only moves the costs to the state and local level and in effect doesn’t reduce the overall tax burden on the average person.

If the federal investment in schools goes down, then the state taxes go up, or local taxes go up, or school fees go up. It’s all the same people!

While if you remove the federal and state mandates on the school system and instead let teachers teach kids how to learn rather than to a test, costs can go down and the quality can go up.

Do you know that schools now spend a greater proportion of all their funds on outside support services, and less on teachers, and this has lead to an expensive and worthless nightmare,

The same goes for every government service, and this is not a one party issue. Every politician just cares about reelection and funds and kickbacks from corporations via lobbyists.

It’s a very corrupted system and needs significant changes, that will make every $ work harder, and take the profit model out of delivering everything that tax goes to pay for.

When you think this way, we end up with better services that cost less and demand a huge amount more from corporations. Yes this will lower the corporate profits exercised from tax revenue, but it’s what’s needed to lower taxes, pay off the national debt and balance the books, while still building the best country in the world.

Rather than demonizing every word that ends in “ism” lets treat government as a very carefully considered set of services and not a cash cow.

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What I have learnt from playing Chess.

To win a game of chess you don’t need to have every piece survive, just the king. And in most chess games putting your pieces at risk are the most effective ways of winning. Create an emergency where by taking a desirable piece your opponent weakens their overall defense or by not taking that piece provides you with a desirable offence is the key to playing the game.

chess1

The more moves you can think ahead, considering the full range of potential future moves the better your chance of building a winning strategy.

There has always been a strong linkage between games like chess and strategic battle planning or political maneuvering.

In the last few decades these skills have truly entered a new realm of advancement. Since World War II, world leaders have realized the power they get from disasters both natural and forged. Many things that in the cold hard light of reasonableness would seem ridiculous are considered in the wake of an emergency.

The concept of habeas corpus used to be considered absolute! You could not be charged with a crime without evidence and you were considered innocent until proved guiltily in a court of law. These were basic principles of the society we created. It was considered critical that all people were treated as innocent, and this meant that strict controls were placed on agents of the state to prohibit unreasonable search and to ensure that you could not be held without charge.

But every time an emergency happens these and other sacrosanct stakes in the ground of society are ripped to shreds.

When a bunch of mad terrorists attacked America, we lost the right to ensure searches were undertaken only when ordered by a court. We also lost the rights to privacy of emails, and phone calls. And we lost the right to not be held without charge.

When a prick tried to light his shoes on a plane and another tried to blow up his underwear we all lost the rights to not be full body scanned, and to carry nail clippers.

When a hurricane hit New Orleans the people of that city lost their right to public education, and virtually every school was turned into a for-profit school supplemented via vouchers.

This is not just an American creation, everywhere in the world emergency situations have been used to re-write the rulebook, and in every single case the power base has been shifted from the people to an unelected series of corporations.

We now call this globalization.

globalization

Today we are seeing more and more “created disasters” such as the so-called fiscal cliff and the previously routine (but now line in the sand) debt ceiling debacles.

Each new disaster allows dramatic changes to be negotiated, lowering the social framework and replacing it with a corporately profitable model.

When we are shocked by the lack of investment by the government after any particular disaster, It’s simply a matter of realizing that in those specific cases the needs of corporations is best served by letting the disaster fester for longer. When there is a benefit to the corporate world, action is swift.

Gun lobbyists and anti-gun lobbyists all see terribly sad gun killings as a reason to push their special interest.

Politicians use minorities and under-educated children as pawns to drive for moving social programs to the private sector.

Fossil fuel advocates who are paid by the fossil fuel industry promote the idea that fossil fuels are good for you, while cigarette companies have only just come around to the idea that maybe ciggies cause cancer.

Now quite frankly I’m not sure that large corporations run by unelected doctor evils are really that much worse than your average politician.

But there is a lot to be said for the idea of getting the politicians you deserve.

Please can we get back to a government “Of the people, for the people and by the people” it really was a revolutionary idea.

corporate overloads

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A rational list of policies that the nicest places in the world are working towards

world

Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, France, UK, Canada and many other countries are embracing a wide range of cultural new normals for the 21st century. Some will work, some will miss, but they are aspiring to be the best they can be.

Here are some of the beautiful ideas that they are moving towards, that I find to be wonderful aspirations.

Pro safe sex and sex education.

Pro abortion – it’s the absolute choice of the mother who can choose to listen or ignore anyone as they decide.

family

Pro contraception for health and economic equality.

Anti-gun and anti-bullets – keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and crazies absolutely.

Anti-organized-religion – feel free to worship anything or everything, but keep it private.

Pro union rights as and when workers choose – individuals or groups have the absolute right to negotiate as and when they see fit.

Pro regulation to ensure a level playing field – healthy capitalism demands rules

Pro legalize drugs to destroy organized crime – tax and control.

drugs

Pro gay rights because everyone has the same rights – let everyone live the life they need and want to live – happiness doesn’t have a single definition.

Anti racism in all it’s guises – we’re all designed to find people unlike ourselves scary, deal with it.

Pro freedom for all – freedom to enjoy life without hurting others.

Pro fiscal-conservatism – balanced budgets lead to long term security and national growth.

Anti social-conservatism – no one has the right one answer.

Pro society – everyone gets the same rights.

Pro rehabilitation as opposed to punishment.

Respect for the rule of law and the people who enforce those laws.

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Nothing is true – Proof!

Many people argue that you cannot disprove the existence of god.

While this is a revolving argument on the surface, actually this is a very simple practical way out of it.

Every god related story can be shown to be fiction, when tested against other god related stories. There are no facts that prove the existence of god. But lack of proof of existence is not the same as proof of non-existence.

There are an infinite number of possibilities of which I can only prove a finite number.

So the chance of anything being true is a finite number divided by infinity, and anything divided by infinity is as close to zero at it’s possible to be.

So given that nothing is actually true, then it’s absolutely certain that everything including god does not exist.

In your face nihlists.

nihilist_mints

QED!

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