Will you say yes to yesware?

July 31, 2013

Yesware offers a way of managing your emails. As emails increasingly are becoming unmanageable, the product is tapping into a widespread business and social need

The Yesware organization has hit on a great business idea. The videolink here is the corporate webpage

Its software has attracted positive reviews:

Yesware does a few things;

Tracks emails – you can see when someone has read your email, and more (please read their FAQ for info on any limitations)
Custom email templates
CRM Sync – connect email right to your CRM
Analytics – see your email analytics right in Gmail

It’s designed and marketed for Sales. But, “Hello” link builders… meet your new best friend.

I look forward to following its progress. Meanwhile, here is the output of an imagined nightmare scenario for the entrepreneurial organization:

To Yesware

We are a global company with headquarters in the Vatican. Our CEO has encouraged us to use social media to promote our brand and to retain a customer focused approach. Can you help us.

To Yesware

We are a global megagiant. We would like to do no evil but we are increasingly plagued by email messages that sneak though our very expensive spam filters, purporting to come from potential customers. What should we do?

Dear Yesware

Loved the review I read about about you on the web. You should beware of phonies out there wasting your time with spurious emails. I bet you get thousands every day. You should try our proven nukespam system which reaches millions of potential customers every day and filters out time-wasting replies

Dear Yesware

Jime bottle is the pretty much buy our clean no in the Internet. Lowest prices for oval tube boring. Wrapping oral tube supplis.

Dear Yesware

We successfully promote crowdsourcing events. We need a system to avoid infiltration from security forces, hackers and leakers, imprisoned fraudsters, juveniles using parents’ smartphones. Can you help us?

Dear contact [Message from Yesware]

Thank you for your contribution to the overwhelming volume of traffic we received due to recent publicity on the world-famous Leaders We Deserve site. Unfortunately we have become the victim of a service denial attack. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.


There’s too much news out there

May 2, 2013

Overwhelmed with newsI’ve been distracted from my customary scan of news sources recently. Now that normal service is being resumed, I have noticed how many leadership stories that are reported every day

This week I would have liked to have followed-up on at least six stories:

The Bangladesh factory tragedy

Hundreds of workers died in a factory building collapse and subsequent fire. The over-simple treatment in the UK focuses on the poor pay and wage conditions of those in the Bangladeshi ‘sweat shops’. [Primark is said to be offering hardship aid to its supplier]. The globalising drive for cheap sources of supply is also being scrutinized. One dilemma to be addressed is the economic benefits of international trade as a country develops.

Krugman and Keynes

Paul Krugman continues to express the neo-Keynesian view that austerity programmes are inadequate for dealing with the exceptional social hardships of a severe recession. He believes the majority of economic commentators are missing the point. Ironically, Keynes was himself frustrated that conventional wisdom of the time seemed unable to appreciate his arguments. Krugman feels pretty much the same, offering this rebuttal of one counter argument. Economies, he says, are not like families. Income and spending are inter-dependent. If we all cut spending our incomes will fall too. He also rejects the idea that this is a leftist spending-spree mentality, but necessary a short-term measure for exceptional economic times.

Alfredo Saenz

Then there was the surprise retirement of Santander chief Alfredo Saenz who is expected to collect a goodbye present of around $100,000,000 rather than cop an investigation into his activities by the Supreme Court .

UKIP

Back in the UK, local elections this week [Thursday May 4th 2012] are seen as a measure of protest votes away from the traditional political parties. The anti-immigration and (even more anti – European Union) party UKIP is tipped to poll well under the leadership of its somewhat unconventional and ebullient Nigel Farage, who is also standing for Parliament in a by-election.

Larry David and his mother

An article by American humourist Larry David looked at how his mother would have reacted to his being arrested for terrorist offenses. It provoked a storm of protests. When told he had confessed she replied “well he probably didn’t want anyone else to suffer.” The article saves me from going any further with an idea I had for a blog which was going to be entitled “every mother is a potential terrorist”.

Reginald D Hunter

Anti-racist comedian Reginald D Hunter is in trouble for using racist language at a Football Association dinner. Or at least I thought it was humour with a political intent, in the tradition of Lenny Bruce.

Coping with overload

This ‘six for the price of one’ blog post is my attempt to cope with information overload. Hope you liked it. Normal service, as they say, may be resumed shortly…


Ann Widdecombe’s ‘Are you having a laugh?’

March 28, 2013

Ann WiddecombeTV Review: BBC1 Wednesday March 27 2013

Last night I watched a rather sad late-night programme fronted by Ann Widdecombe. Her focus was the hurt caused to Christians by assorted humorous treatments of religious themes. The humorists she interviewed argued they were mocking not Christianity but attitudes of Christians

Background

Ann Widdecombe has celebrity status in the UK, for her uncompromising views on matters political, social, and religious. Following a career in politics she moved into the world of media and journalism. Her visibility is enhanced in a culture which delights in unself-conscious eccentricity. Her views are mostly of a socially conservative kind which she is prepared to back up by taking a moral position, at one stage refusing higher office during her time as a junior Government minister which would have required her to work against her beliefs.

A regiment of mockers

In the programme ‘Are you having a laugh: Humour and Christianity’ She offered an unshakable position, setting out to confirm it under the guise of rational discourse. Anger at the mockery naturally led her to name, shame, and confront a regiment of mockers ranging from the Monty Python team, Ricky Gervase, stand-up comedians as a tribe, and a few producers of other assorted media programmes.

Feel my pain

Her pain, induced by what she sees as the mocking of her beliefs, seemed genuine enough for some of her interviewees to show empathy, not a quality particularly manifest by the interviewer. I found my own sympathy diminishing she moved from the [in]famous crucifixion scene ending of the Life of Brian film to other less cogent examples of blasphemy through mockery.

Dangerous Territory

There was one point made about fundamentalist evangelical Christians in America, which fitted in with the general narrative, and yet was different. For once, Widdecombe’s views were not expressed with clarity. She seemed to be sensing dangerous territory to be skirted. Or maybe she felt that however egregious were the actions of these leaders, the basic point did not really fit into the theme of blasphemous mockery.

The arrogance of the mockers

The examples seemed to be located along a wide spectrum of any mock scale. Collectively they capture the libertarian component in British culture rather well. The perpetrators, one confessed to the confronting Widdecombe, are often prone to arrogance and a belief in the superiority of their views. Ms W, who presents herself as rather similar to another Conservative, Margaret Thatcher, in her grasp of irony, found only pleasure in the repentance of the wrong-doer.

So long as it doesn’t offend…

I detected an inauthentic note in her conclusion that ‘we’, (presumably Christians), should be more robust about such humour,’as long as it doesn’t mock ‘our’ beliefs.’ Quite so.

It was then I turned

I watched the programme feeling that I really should go to bed, or turn over to anything else that might provide me with less disappointing viewing. Eventually, I turned to my trusty non-religious tablet, and began writing…


Scientific custard and the dominant rational model of management

December 7, 2012

CustardA festive tale of custard, scientific management, and a British obsession since the days of Charles Dickens

Management as taught is very much a subject grounded in rationality. It attracts those approving of practice informed by scientific methodology. As the festive season approaches, I am reminded of a story.

The science of management

Someone I knew as a schoolboy returned from his first science class bringing good news to his family. In future, he announced, there would be a modern scientific approach to making the family custard, which he would supervise.

The experiment abandoned

After several less-than-successful attempts at home, he quietly abandoned his efforts. His mother reverted to making custard in her unscientific way which somehow turned out all right. Undaunted, the schoolboy continued his studies and become a research scientist, still believing in the universal virtues of the scientific method.

A brief history of custard

For those unaware of the British obsession with custard go Google which will provide you with much useful information. Here’s the Guardian’s take:

[Custard is] a lumpen, pustular, gungy memory of a smelly school canteen. In Britain, childhood and custard go hand in lollipop-lady hand. I know of no better food to calm a choleric toddler or mollify a stroppy seven-year-old than a knocked-up bowl of Bird’s. It comforts like mum and a blanket. [In Oliver Twist ]Mr Bumble’s orphans cry to have it with cold jelly, and who could blame them?

The word ‘custard’ comes from ‘croustade’, a sweet and eggy ‘crusted’ tart from the Middle Ages. Around the 16th century the filling became a dish in its own right, and has changed little since save for the Great Custard Split of 1837, when Clarence Bird developed a cornflour-based custard powder for his allergy-prone wife. A face splatted in custard pie has been a trope of farce almost since the birth of cinema.

Cultural analysis welcomed.


City fan has recurring nightmare that his team lost the Premiership

May 16, 2012

City fan Eric still has a nightmare that his team lost the race to the Premiership title

Eric was interviewed in Leaders We Deserve some years ago. It was at a time when supporting City was a burden to be carried. Eric was recovering from an era of successive relegations from the Premiership and then the championship. The joy of recovery was tinged with bad memories.

Then it all changed

In the early hours of Monday morning, [14th May 2012] having joined in the first night of celebrations over City’s greatest triumph, he went to bed a contented man.

His worse nightmare

But even at the moment of City’s greatest success, his worse nightmare began. Looking gaunt, he describes his nightly torments:

“I’m back watching the QPR game. We are well in control but not winning. Then Barton gets sent off. They are down to ten men. Even we can’t lose it now. The dream’s so life-like. I’m Pozning with glee.[The Poznan: Curious City celebration, involving synchronized jumping up and down].

Then they break away and score. We are going to lose. In my dream the whole stadium is full of jeering Reds. [gleeful United fans].

Then they score again. We go behind. The Reds are cheering.

We pour back at them. Wave after wave it was. But whatever we do, the goalie pulls off miracle save after save. Now it’s extra time. Only one minute! [here as elsewhere, Eric's dream is a distortion of reality]. The Etiad [stadium] changes colour from blue to red. The whole sky goes red. The cheering and jeering is dreadful.

I wake up covered in sweat. I can’t believe it’s a dream.

Yesterday I went over to the celebrations at Albert Square. Fantastic. But after when I got home and got to bed, it was that same nightmare. Nothing changed. United win out again.”

True fans have to suffer

A truly sad tale. We send Eric our congratulations and condolences. True fans have to suffer. But not like this.


Panic Buying Spreads to Food Takeaways in North of England

April 2, 2012

A Special Report by Roving Reporter Mark Frog

Roving reporter Mark Frog gives an eye-witness report from Manchester, as the petrol crisis gripping England spreads to food suppliers

Darkness was falling as I drove through the deserted suburbs of Manchester yesterday [Wed 28th March 2012]. The only other signs of life were in queues of stationary cars at the few remaining petrol stations that remained open. At one, I caught a glimpse of a boy in school uniform struggling with a plastic jerry can almost as large as himself. Next to him stood a family with a baby-buggy containing a garden water-butt.

I edged my way past the line of cans, finding a further stretch of deserted road, thankful for the two hours invested at the supermarket petrol station on my way to work that morning. On the Poynton bypass, I counted a mere dozen or so vehicles visible in each direction. I was heading for the centre of Bramhall to pick up a takeaway meal of the kind that had made news after the budget recently, through the Osborne Pasty-tax change.

The next petrol station I drove past was a Tesco Express which was open for business, but with hardly a customer to be seen. Each pump nozzle had been neatly sealed off with a plastic Tesco bag. Moving on, I came across the first signs of something unsual. The tail-lights of stationary cars revealed that traffic was at standstill, blocking all exits at the mini-roundabout in the centre of the village. A few of the more more assertive drivers were trying to muscle their way across and out of the jam. In the distance, the line of cars could be seen extended to a Shell petrol station which apparently had been the attraction for the desperate motorists.

But after some minutes wait, it became clear that the jam was a far more complicated matter than a simple queue for petrol. One part of the queue was slowly edging left towards my own planned destination. This was a combination of two queues that had coalesced, one trying to reach the Shell station, the other to get to the fish and chip shop. The petrol panic had triggered off an aftershock in the shape of a fish and chip panic. Would I get there before supplies ran out? Would I get there before closing time?

After what seemed several hours, I squeezed my Yaris into a space too small for competing drivers. I walked to the end of the queue for the fish and chip shop, some half a mile away, and began to wait. One little girl ran back with the news that they had run out of pasties and sausages but they were still frying fish and chips.

We shuffled on. The man behind me was muttering ferociously to himself, bearing a passing resemblance to the classic TV character Harold Steptoe. Eventually, I reached the shop. Inside, two assistants were combining taking orders with a little social work, reassuring customers that they were just waiting for the next batch of batter, and had not run out of fish. The Steptoe character tried to duck down and get to the front of the queue but was pushed back by a wrestleomania sized customer, to continue his personal muttering.

Two pieces of freshly battered cod manifested behind the plastic screen of the counter. I made my order for the two pieces, and I heard Steptoe snarl out his order in frustration. I handed over my money, wondering if I had bought the last two pieces of battered cod in the whole of South Manchester.

To be continued

Mark Frog’s report will be concluded as soon as we receive it. We assume he has been too busy dealing with his personal food crisis to complete his on-the-spot account.


Ed Miliband seeks help from a psychic psephologist

October 18, 2010

The scene: A fairground. A well-dressed young man in unsuitable business clothing for the muddy terrain stealthily approaches the booth of the famous Mystic Meg.

He appears to be slightly agitated…

MM: Come in, come in, young master Ed, I were expecting you. Don’t be shy now with Mystic Meg. I can see this is another first for you. You trying to be calm on the outside and control your nerves, but you can’t quite. Meg sees a lot, even before consulting her sacred pebbles. What you want is to find out what David is thinking, what he’s planning.

EM: Well, I haven’t had much time to chat with my brother recently, although I still love him very much indeed…

MM [impatiently]: Not that David, my young roseate princeling. The other David. Although you must go on being your brother’s keeper. You wouldn’t want him to take care of you would you? Laugh out loud I says you don’t. I’m talking about Playground Dave. Head of the Big Socks gang. You did well last time you clashed with him, but listen to Mystic Meg. He didn’t know what to expect last time. And you had one or two little tricks which stung him a bit. But you are going to have lots more playground battles with Dave and his gang.

EM: [Bravely] Thank you Meg. That’s really important for me to remember. I know our next meeting will be really important too. I keep thinking about it. Almost all the time. I’ve got to get my first moves prepared, haven’t I? There’s so many things to choose from. And the Big Socks are pretty divided aren’t they?

MM: Ho Hum. You’re right there m’dearie. Of course they are. Side-Kick Nick and his little gang. But you want to win them over to your side don’t you? So you don’t want to be making any nasty comments about Nick and his boys do you?

EM: [Plaintively]. So many things to think about.

MM: One thing at a time young fellow. One thing at a time. Ask, and I’ll see what the sacred pebbles say is in store for you.

EM: Well there is one thing…

MM: Ask away, young leader.

EM: Well, people have started calling me names. They are saying I look like a cuddly Panda. What should I do about that?

MM: That’s a three-pebble problem, right enough it is. Now just you sit right there, Master Ed and try some of these delicious bamboo shoots. I got them in fresh when I foresaw you were coming to see me.

Next Week

What happened when Ed confronts Dave in the playground for a second time.


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