one of the great…

20090205, 06

…mysteries of life in these United States is the domination of an industry by one or two giants that are providing each other “competition” without innovation for their customers. My general guideline is if the company is getting all of its customers to sign non-negotiable contracts one can be sure competition has more or less evaporated in that industry. We see this in rental properties, cell-phone contracts, power company services, national water companies, credit card offers–even your doctor is locked by global contracts that are non-negotiable. A post by Derek Powazek (details below) sums this up beautifully. I think of it as the short version of Atlas Shrugged. It is the third key to business relationships.

Derek Powazek – Don’t Work for Assholes
It can be very intimidating to turn down work, especially in these uncertain economic times. But the months I spent suffering that fool 12 years ago would have been better spent building my portfolio and hustling to find better clients. All the time you spend working for an asshole is time you’re not spending to find a gig that will, in the long run, pay you better, teach you more, and make you happier.

Nowadays, the only asshole I work for is me.


20071104, 44

this lovely little piece of engineering will be turning current models of staffing on their ears…

Joi Itos Web: Otetsudai Networks

what i wish you knew

20070119, 03

…about customer service could be summarized in three sentances.

I’m sorry, we are currently out-of-stock on those items. How many do you need? If you order three or more we can order them now and have them drop-shipped to your home.

I drove 32 miles across town to a family-owned paper and art goods store today. I needed a box of A-6 and matching envelopes, and did not want to buy from the big-box retailer by my house.

There were two employees chatting with each other “on the floor” in the paper department. Not finding what I needed, I asked if perhaps it was available from a storage room. One of the two offers to check but disappeared, the other says “We must be out of that.”

I searched the entire department for myself; I noticed both had resumed their chat. I noticed neither was interested in the customer(me) any longer and neither had any interest in where I came from, neither really considered why I was there and whether I was going to make a purchase.

Ok–so I admit my feelings were hurt. I like being the center attention. I also like spending money where people seem to enjoy their business.

But what I really love is to buy something of quality from someone with a smile, professionalism and courtesy.

It is not that difficult.

I stopped at a franchise-model paper shop on the way home. It cost 11% more, but at least they had the stationery in stock. The employee never looked me in the eyes. Never said anything except “Sign this.” –not even “Hello!” when we walked in. They missed out too–I only bought one box to get through the next few letters while I look for someone with entrepreneurial spirit and a little personality. Maybe next time I’ll just go to the big-box retailer next door.

…has the best coffee I have had in ages and I was delighted to have visited today for the first time. We also picked up Bodum swag that is delightful, effective, convenient and so very cost-effective as we paid 60% of sticker. Don’t miss out. This deal is too good to miss. Go get yours.
Been looking for Bodum double-walled glasses? Now is definitely your chance.

Besides the superb coffee & the great deals, I love real businesses–those that actually have owners behind the counter and working! This company and its people are first-class; Please support them when you are in the area.

Two months ago i bought a copy of AOE III [after visiting my nephews out-of-state(they got me hooked by letting me play on a v e r y nice gaming rig on their LAN)]. I spent my $60US$61.28932 ($49.99 +tax+20 miles@U$0.39) + 1.1 hours, installed to the laptop, and away I went, racking up experience…6 weeks goes by and I try to connect to ES Online. Denied! This CD Key can only be used to create one account.

I spent 6 hours trying to troubleshoot, and the ES Forum directed me to MS Support. MS Support is evidently so inundated with more important issues that nearly a month went by before they addressed the issue. Pretty lousy service for a product that costs so much money! In the meantime, I returned the first game to EB Games, who (a little grudgingly) gave me a “new” game (it had been 60 days since purchase). The “new” game has the same problem–cannot create an ES Online account [Error (101)].

After first trying to increase the cost of the product by 16.7%, MS Support sends a solution that may make Age of Empires III work as advertised. The solution is to provide a new CD-Key. This includes a lengthy instructions set designed for “uninstalling” the product! Can you believe, that these instructions extend to registry edits? …and to creating a new user on Windows XP before re-installing the game? It is 12/2006 and this Microsoft Ensemble Studios game does not have a working un-installer!! It does not uninstall itself from the registry and from your computer?! –how very 1996.

Perhaps, if AOE III was made by a software manufacturer other than Microsoft, I could excuse the failure to provide a working uninstaller. If I was playing AOE III online right now, instead of futzing with solutions to software inadequacies from the dominant software manufacturer in the known universe, I would probably have never posted about this on-going issue.

If I had such a lousy time with a real person selling a real product…I could walk away.

The truth is, if I did not have nephews that enjoyed so much the prospect of playing me online from across the country–I would take Age of Empires III back to EB Games and never buy another Ensemble Studios product again. Buyer beware.

Update:  To uninstall the broken product and install a “new” new product, with the new CD Key, requires the manual deletion of the Age of Empires key from within the Windows registry after using the “uninstaller”…see, even Microsoft does not really uninstall its software when one uses the uninstaller. Any wonder a Windows computer needs re-imaging every now and again?