No it’s not okay to fill news hours with uninformed opinions

What happened! I though CNN was a news channel. But it seems the same disease that removed all music from MTV and VH1 has now cross the species barrier to news. There is no longer any news on the news channels.

We have actually reached the point where the news covered on the comedy channel is more completely researched and more newsworthy.

I know it’s terrible that a modern plane goes missing, it’s beyond terrible, but that is not an excuse for 25×7 uninformed talking heads to chat about the disaster.

CNN, MSNBC, FOX News have all gone from news to tedium.

I wonder if this is what happened when Rome fell.


More reasons to be angry at at&t

We had 2 cell phones on a at&t contract, and it was beyond expensive. T-mobile are offering a lower price and a hell of a lot more ticks on the boxes.

With t-mobile I get data at a much lower price, no additional charge for tethering, free data from pretty much all the countries I travel to on a regular basis, $10 for no-charge calls to land lines in the UK.

So I called at&t to see if they could come clear to matching any of these features. After an hour discussing the merits of buying a text messaging package at a discounted price and me explaining that that wasn’t going to cut it, they agreed they couldn’t come close.

So I moved. And at&t then decided to be the biggest asshole they could. They have made unlocking my phones a week long exercise.

While it wont stop me leaving them it most definitely makes me want to return the favor and be the biggest asshole I can back at them.

IF YOU ARE AN AT&T CELL CUSTOMER TODAY, pop in to your local T-Mobile store. They will reduce your bill dramatically and increase the services you get at the same time.

My bill has just gone down 66%!!!


War is the absolute failure of politics and diplomacy

When war happens, it happens when diplomacy and politics fail.

When you stop talking to the crazy man, then he is left with just the thoughts in his head.

This is the reason that we send lunatics to the mental institutions, you have to keep working on trying to reach even that tiniest amount of working brain cells.

The other choice is you ignore them and the voices in their heads that are telling them to kill take over.

It’s no different with world leaders. There are some crazy ones out there, and you have to keep talking to them.

When you stop talking to them they are free to do the craziest of things.

Diplomacy can be horrible. You may have to talk to people that you honestly detest.

That’s the job we pay and empower politicians and diplomats to do, and when they fail, wars happen.

Quite simply war is the purest form of diplomatic and political failure. A politician that leads a country to war or cannot find another route but all-out fighting has failed.

Failure happens, but that does not stop it from being a failure.

Many noble warriors and innocent bystanders get terribly hurt in war.

Heroes are not those who go to war, they are those who perform incredible acts to save others.

I’m not for a second postulating that it’s okay to let bad people do bad things, just that it takes political skill to force bad people to stop doing bad things without directly bombing them.

And in the face of popular dissent, still being able to force bad people to stand down takes political bravery and skill.


Are we free to be jerks?

Freedom is a very complex term to understand.

Is a person free to inflict their personal views on others?

If you are free to drink vast quantities of coke every day and you grow to be a diabetic blob of hundreds of pounds of flab, that requires others to feed and oil your bed sores, is this an undeniable freedom?

Are you free to own deadly weapons and leave them lying around your unlocked house so others can steal them and use the in horrific crimes?

Are you free to drive at 130 miles an hour on the freeway?

Obviously there are limits to personal freedoms, when they impinge on others rights to the very same freedom. But where do you draw the line.

It seems obvious to me that banning the sale of large sugary drinks in NYC doesn’t make sense, personally I see the health risk of over sugared drinks, but why the arbitrary size? I guess it makes the health point if in a silly way.

Guns, on the other hand is a tougher discussion. Clearly personal protection and hunting are strong arguments, but I get concerned when I see loons dreaming about government takeovers while waving their ar15 above their heads. There is clearly a mental health issue that should be considered.

There is such a fine balance between personal freedom and public responsibility.


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.


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.



Mr. President, A Budget Tip

November 6, 2012, 3:30pm ET   

President Obamney (I’m not sure who won yet), I feel that if the rest of us have to balance our checkbooks each month (and year), our country should too.

Voters have to balance their checkbooks, right?

Call me crazy but I believe that the USA can find a way to survive on a meager $2.5 trillion/year (or whatever the expected revenue is next year).  Go through every line item the way we workers do with our own budgets and make adult decisions about what you absolutely have to pay for and what is a “nice to have” that will have to wait until you get a raise in revenue or an unexpected bonus.  If you and the leaders of the House and Senate can honestly say that every line item in that proposed budget is 100% required this year, then I’ll personally bet you everything I own that you’re full of crap.  The size of the debt itself is the next economy and retirement-crushing disaster-in-waiting and you and the House and Senate were elected to address just this kind of tough problem.

Line-item veto? OK

Please don’t violate the “No Asshole Rule” and put politics ahead of doing the job right.  I don’t care how you do it or who gets the credit and neither should you.  If a “line item veto” is how it will get done, then I’ll support the President (and Speaker and Senate Majority Leader if needed) getting that power and I don’t care which party any of them are from.

This isn’t rocket science or difficult to understand and you all know it.  Once the budget is balanced for the year, THEN consider options for tackling the existing debt.  Increasing taxes and adding those additional short-term $ to the budget kitty will only increase spending, not decrease the debt in my opinion and isn’t that the point, to eliminate the debt itself?

It’s a balanced budget, not the quest for the Grail

Find a way to spend within your current means and then I’ll support really reviewing all options (including new and higher taxes and fees), to raise revenue for the specific purpose of eliminating the national debt itself.

Who’s with me?


Why isn’t the Segway more popular?

Why isn’t the Segway more popular?

Living in a city that has far too many cars, I can’t help but dream about a future that eliminates the pollution, congestion, noise and danger of millions of cars packed into a space far too small for them.

Some “tree huggers” would say that the answer is the bicycle, but these people are just wrong. Riding a bicycle in a city requires a level of commitment to health along with a perilous disregard for fashion this is far too absolute for a normal human being.

It clearly is so bad for the souls that ride bikes, that they quickly give up all will to live, resorting to no longer following the rules of the road by never stopping at red lights, feeling free to ride the wrong way on one way roads and making extra lanes whenever they like. Bicycles are clearly physically and mentally unhealthy.

Cyclist wearing a full-body condom. Embarrassing the environment. Luckily the pointy seat they stick through their gonads, plus the likelihood of a fatal accident ensure this behavior is quickly being removed from the gene pool.

So what other option is there?

I like the idea of a two-wheeled powered vehicle that is easy to drive and runs on electricity. Such a vehicle does exist in the form of the Segway.

The Segway is a brilliant invention. It’s a simple self-balancing platform that you stand on, and lean forward to go forward and backwards to slow, stop and go backwards. Steering is handled by leaning the handle left or right. It’s very simple.

I’ve rented Segway’s in Washington DC, Chicago, A Caribbean Island and even in Florence, Italy. They are a fantastic way of getting around, and would be perfect for any congested city.

Except New York City doesn’t allow them. There is politics involved here, but it seems they have put limits on the use of Segway’s to stop them being used just where they would be most useful.

There is one old man with two walking sticks, who I see riding his Segway up and down Madison Avenue every now and again. He’s wears a suit and a hat and looks quite “dapper”, hangs his walking sticks over the handle bars and zips along at a good pace. While we law-abiding citizens just look on and lust after such a great way to get around the city. I’m not sure if he has some special dispensation for being handicapped or just doesn’t give a damn, but it’s great to see.

When the Segway eventually becomes legal in NYC, I suspect it will prove very popular, and for every Segway in use that’s one less car or full-body-condom-encased cyclist.

It can’t happen too soon!



Why marketing funnels are so misunderstood.

There is a basic concept in marketing called “The funnel”. It’s a simple concept that belies a hidden universe of complexity.

The idea on the surface is very simple, just like a funnel used in the preparation of ingredients in a kitchen where powder or liquid is poured into the wide mouth of the funnel while the small end of the funnel allows for careful control of where the material is placed, such as a bottle or jar. The idea with the marketing funnel is that you plop as many people into the top as practical and they are guided to buy your product.

Of course there is a very obvious difference between a kitchen funnel and a marketing funnel. In the kitchen you expect all of the contents to move from the top opening to the bottom of the funnel, otherwise you would have a huge mess. But in the marketing funnel, it’s expected that nearly all of the people plopped into the top disappear before the small end of the funnel is reached.

Not an opera, but the over-simplified and misunderstood – “Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action” marketing funnel.

So where do they go? Well it’s not really a funnel is it!

And this is one of the very first lessons that marketers learn when they do their first course in marketing. But the language has stuck, and it’s just possible that people who didn’t go to marketing classes (or went a very long time ago) don’t understand this subtle yet profound difference in the language.

When you advertise in a magazine that has a distribution of 50,000 copies a month. It does not mean that 50,000 people have seen your advert. Ask yourself this question, when you read a magazine how many of the adverts do you actually read, or even look at. If someone was to ask you two hours after you read a magazine about the adverts in it, how many could you remember? If you know that in two hours you were going to be tested on the adverts in a magazine, even then how many can you remember. So why do you think that the number of magazines printed with your advert in is important?

When you pay to have a billboard placed in a railway station where 100,000 people pass through each week, how valuable is that to your business?

If you pay to have your message presented to a million views of webpages, what does this really mean?
At the crudest level it’s very easy to see that the number of “impressions” of your message is really not that relevant. But if you ask your marketing department to use this as a measure of success they surely will.

It’s so much easier to do what you are told than to do what is hard, but right.

So if it’s not impressions that are important, what is? Well think about what you are trying to say and who you are trying to say it too. One of the old tricks that companies used to use when training sales people, is to give them something inappropriate to try and sell on the street outside of their classroom. When I attended sales training at a computer company in the late 80’s, we were all given a brand new high-end business calculator to go and sell on the street. We had an hour and we were asked to try and sell it. This taught us very quickly that cold selling is very hard. You need a great story to tell and you need to tell it to the right people.

The same goes for marketing. You need to have a story to tell and you need to tell it to the right people. If you only speak to the right people and tell them something that they really find interesting, then there is a much higher chance that you won’t be wasting your time.

This means that if you target carefully and craft your message well, then the top of the funnel can get a lot cheaper but at the same time give you much higher returns. So instead of spending millions on billboards and adverts and web banners, trying to “blanket bomb” the world with your message, know who will really want to hear what you have to say, and find ways to reach them.

To many people in marketing that sounds a lot harder, so they want to find ways not to hear it. The people who insist on calling my home at dinner time to play me a recorded message about time-shares, cheaper electricity or lowering my credit card APR, clearly don’t want to hear what I have to say.
But the people, who promote their professional products through specialized professional organizations, clubs, specialist groups on social media and very targeted ways, obviously do.

The people who succeed in marketing have moved from a “marketing funnel” approach to a “buyer’s journey” approach. This is doubly true in business-to-business marketing.

Every year, many articles get released in business publications that express a similar set of ideas that I’ve postulated above! And every year I’m stunned at how many marketers who have been working for many years are amazed at this new thinking.

Here’s a couple of actions for you to consider :

1. If you are in marketing and this idea is new to you, you need to read more and get out more. Wake up and do it now!
2. If you tell these ideas to someone in your marketing department and they are amazed at this new idea, consider getting a new marketing person or getting them some training or help ASAP.

It’s that important and that fundamental to success.

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Why So Much of the Same Ads?

If TV this month is any indication then I’d say that clearly:

1. We all need new car insurance (and haven’t decided on who to buy it from)


2. We’re all potential voters that are “undecided” at the moment


Really?  That many of us haven’t decided?


My theory is that advertising agencies and their “inside” men and women are doing a phenomenal job – a phenomenal job of convincing their clients that we the people haven’t decided yet and that another 100 or so viewing “impressions” (industry term) of that “reptile” each week will make the difference (Geico’s The Martin Agency does a good job too).

They’re slinging what the industry calls FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) at their own clients and it’s working.

So people, brace yourselves for lots and lots more Flo, Gecko, the deep-voice actor guy, the guy that played Brenda’s boss on The Closer, Aaron “Discount Double Check” Rodgers and, oh yeah, Barack and Mitt because the agency guys are gooooood.
On the bright side at least I get to see more of Ronald using karaoke to get his “profile” out there and save money on online dating (it is so popular btw that they released an extended version on YouTube for Ronald’s fans)
Apparently Ron’s “hairline is receding, but (he’s) getting a weave”

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