Posts tagged “bullshit”

Steve Portigal, we have a special gift in store for you.

I received a Verizon promotion recently, the text on a white box over pale gray stripes on the background of the card (think of a linen suit that Gatsby might have worn). Flip it open and it reads

Come into your local
Verizone Wireless Communications Store
and leave with a Loyalty Credit.

New 2-year agreement required

This cracked us up around here; it reads like a typographic version of the ad speak so beautifully parodied by SNL and the Simpsons, where a smarmy announcer trumpets a ridiculous claim and a fast-talking serious voice denies that claim immediately: Blammo will Save Your Life!saving-of-life-not-guaranteed.

I’ll get a Loyalty Credit (? turns out that means $30) if I sign up for two more years? Nice to be offered the chance to demonstrate my loyalty in order to get some reward. The presentation suggests I am being rewarded for actual loyalty, something that has already happened, but in fact, they are rewarding for future loyalty, because that’s what a company actually cares about! What have you done for me lately!

Crack This!

Fast Company looks at marketing/research/culture proto-guru Clotaire Rapaille and observes “the conversation reinforces what I’d come to suspect: Rapaille is 25% substance and 75% shtick.”

It’s a good piece especially because it challenges the validity/myth/efficacy of a powerful and popular media figure er um I mean consultant. For those of us who aren’t clients, all we see is that 75%, and frankly, that shtick has made my skin crawl for a long time. I really like that simple analysis because it reminds me that one can be an intolerable asshole and still have something valid to say. In fact, for some people, your message carries more weight if you are intolerable when you deliver it. That’s not to my taste, but I guess it works for him.

Rapaille subscribes to the triune brain theory, which describes three distinct brains: the cortex, limbic, and reptilian. Beneath the cortex, the seat of logic and reason, is the limbic, which houses emotions. Camouflaged underneath those is Rapaille’s baby–the reptilian–the layer wired by our biological primal needs like sex, reproduction, and survival.

And gee, only yesterday the Simpsons (in an old-timey episode) had a character describing his reaction as going from “sanguine to bilious.” Humours, triune brain, whatever!

Noise sans signal about stickers

Bullshit punditry from 37signals

Call off the expensive market research and fire the analysts and consultants.

Here’s a great way to find out if a company that makes physical products respects their products and their customers: if there’s a sticker on the product, and it peels off cleanly (and without tearing), then they’re a respectful company. If it tears or leaves sticky residue that you need to scrape off with a razor, then they don’t.

It’s that simple.

What is the ridiculous need to make a big noise by oversimplifying something to the point of absolute stupidity? Stickers are the only measure? It’d be great to suggest this as an interesting indicator of the user-centric nature of a business, but the overboarding is silly, falsely passionate, and hurts useful (and actionable) discourse. The little diatribe is poorly written, to boot. Is the reader the company (who should fire their consultants) or the annoyed consumer (who has no consultants to fire)?

I’m reminded (unhappily) of a previous rabble-rousing-yet-shallow battle cry against flip-charts.

As the Simpsons cynically told us:
Lisa: This is madness. He’s just peddling a bunch of easy answers.
Carl: And how!

Wired News: Netflix Critics Slam ‘Throttling’

This is creepy

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva’s home in Warren, Michigan — down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company’s automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits.

The same Netflix formula also shoves Villanueva to the back of the line for the most-wanted DVDs, so the service can send those popular flicks to new subscribers and infrequent renters.

The little-known practice, called ‘throttling’ by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.


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