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Periodic Table of Marketing Elements

I like these periodic table visuals. This one on marketing is well-done. Hover over an element and it provides the description for you in the central box.

Built by Kolbrener, a branding agency


Customer Service Hammer Time

Mona, a 75 year old woman, got mad enough to go to the Comcast office and whack on some computers with a hammer after she had a series of problems, went to the office, waited two hours and had the manager sneak out the back door. Sweet.
After I hit the keyboard, I turned to this blonde who had been there the previous Friday, the one who told me to wait for the manager, and I said, "Now do I have your attention?"
This popped up after I'd spent the past several days outlining customer service measures and the relationship between customer service and business performance. The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas earned a lot of enemies via lousy service over the past two weeks.

I've wanted to do take a hammer to Delta (possibly the worst airline in the US). Interestingly, someone did a survey and showed that one of the simplest things an airline can do to raise customer satisfaction is to give them a couple more inches of seat space. Next to getting you where you want to go on time. And not lying or screwing you when there's a problem.


US Government Plane With 3.7 Tons of Cocaine Crashes in Mexico

A US plane with 3.7 tons of cocaine crashed in Mexico - a plane spotted at Guantanamo Bay and suspected of being used to transport prisoners. i.e. a CIA plane.

The highly successful "war on drugs" must be going smashingly, since the Bush administration appears to be importing more opponents. Nothing like a dummy US company bringing in drugs under the protection of the CIA. This way we can keep up the supply so the hard-working state and local police have someone to arrest.

No wonder Mexico is getting fed up with US complaints about drug imports. Our own government is doing it to us, just like they did during the Iran-contra mess. If you haven't looked at the Lessig's lecture below, now would be a good time.

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Lessig Talks About Corruption

As a followup to the last post about illegal surveillance, here's the new Lessig lecture on how to fight corruption in government.

If you don't know Lawrence Lessig, he's considered one of the top legal minds in the country and a likely supreme court justice at some point in his career, except that he chose to fight the mess of the US intellectual property system instead (e.g. bad patents, lousy copyrights, and a patent process overrun by greed and incompetence) because he felt that it was compromising our society and economy.

Now he's aiming at the bigger target of government corruption. I hope he becomes this era's Elliot Ness. We need one.

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US Government Started Spying on Us PRIOR to 9/11

This news is huge, and explains why all the telcos want retroactive immunity for breaking the law: former Qwest CEO says the NSA started illegal surveillance in February, 2001. What does this mean for the effectiveness of our government surveillance? This:

If the program was started in February 2001, then it completely failed to provide any information to help prevent the September, 2001 attacks.

Today, all this warrantless search and spying has been justified as a response to 9/11 and the need to "fight terrorism". But it started 8 months prior? And it was a complete failure?

In other words, illegal domestic spying by the Bush administration has nothing to do with terrorism, and trying to justify it after the fact in light of this total failure is a lie. Now we're on the path to getting a new attorney general who's as bad as Gonzales to help cover it up.

There are people in both parties who oppose covering up these actions and giving the telcos retroactive immunity, but not enough. The rampant corruption in this government never seems to stop and it won't if people don't hold their representatives accountable. Call your congresscritter and tell them not to give up more of your rights.

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Holy Crap on My Mom's Shoes - SAP Buys Business Objects

Rumors of Business Objects sale have been going around for years, including a decent one last Monday, although fingering Microsoft as a likely buyer is kind of thick-headed given Microsoft's BI announcements and product lines. That looked more like an attempt at misdirection than anything real.

They're calling this a friendly takeover, although I wonder how many employees will view it that way. With this purchase, the BI market now looks a lot like the ETL market. There's only one large independent vendor in each market - Informatica for ETL and Cognos for BI - and a bunch of mostly smaller companies left.

This is a great thing for SAP since they can now start taking in sales for BI where once it all went to third parties. They also get a decent set of data integration and data quality products to complement SAP's sore applications. It's good for Business Objects too, since this opens up the market for all those SAP accounts.

It's not so great for Business Objects customers long term. SAP isn't known for being a quick, nimble company or for offering reasonably priced products. The stand-alone relationship with SAP may prevent the worst of over-management from a large global corporation from happening. This doesn't mean much for customers over the short term since it shouldn't mean any major changes to existing operations.

This is definitely good news for stockholders since Business Objects said it will report earnings per share of 36 cents to 39 cents, well below projections of 51 cents per share [Reuters Estimates]. They likely would had a drop in share price with an earnings gap that large.

The acquisition is somewhat of a strategy shift for SAP since they have either built their own analytic tools or acquired relatively small companies. The purchase of OutlookSoft was a sign that this could be changing. The Oracle buys of Hyperion and Siebel and the Microsoft BI announcements were putting pressure on SAP since their BI story is comparatively weak.

I'm sure there are going to be lots of interesting questions on the briefing calls Monday morning, and probably a lot of low-content answers. If you feel like listening to the announcements, here's the call in information:
dial in number: +1 480 629-9564 (US), +44 207 190 1596 (UK), +49 695 8999 0701 (Germany). Replay number: +1 303 590-3030 (US), +44 207 154 2833 (UK); Replay passcode: 3792655.

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Fall Events Lineup

I'm headed to Las Vegas, first for the Teradata Partners conference, then for the IBM Information on Demand conference. Both look like great events. Two weeks at the Mandalay Bay hotel might be overkill though.

After that I'm off to Orland for the fall TDWI in Orlando where I'll do the full day ETL evalution session. This time around we have Informatica, Oracle and the open source company Talend doing demos. It will be an interesting comparison. I'm also doing the keynote on Thursday where I'll be talking about BI, the future and what a mess emerging technology and culture are going to make, with little history thrown in for fun.

Then the European TDWI conference in Amsterdam, followed by TTI's portal conference in Rome. The European lineup will be fun since I'm talking about open source BI and data warehousing, web 2.0, web data extraction and web scraping. Emerging technology is always interesting stuff.

Look me up if you're going to any of these events. Lots to talk about.

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Silent Data Corruption, and Trips to Mars!

Interesting post over at ZDnet about silent data corruption, the kind where bits shift undetected. That means you've got bad data, or a bad file, or a bad file system. The bad news is it's worse than expected. The really bad news is that like anything, entropy is going to increase over time. I can't wait to see how this affects the government's data analysis initiatives and the no-fly list.

Some other great sciencey news:
Nanowire for faster, denser, persistent storage (from the same blog). Too bad it's 10 years out. That does me no good right now. I just hope this isn't another niobium crystal technology that ends up not working in real life.

Breakthrough in photonics means we might get to go to Mars after all. I want this one even sooner than the nanowire memory.


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