Saturday, August 2, 2008

Changes? Perhaps, perhaps not.

I was over at a train wreck in maxwell checking things out and the conversation came up about the plan (?) to outlaw cellphones on airplanes, and then some comments about the joys (sarcasm alert)of turning on some new service and my mind kinda wandered over to:

How in the hell did we get here?

Years ago as a lowly Sales Representative I would travel the southeast, and everyday I would stop at a paystation and call the "factory" where a lady would give me my messages, who was doing who, who had been caught, who was going and who was coming. She would also write letters for me that made sense to my customers and had impeccable spelling and English. She was a Secretary. A lovely person and someone you could trust.

Typically the next morning I would call those who asked me to. If I missed them their Secretary would take a message and that was that. We had communicated. It worked well. My customers liked it. I didn't have to involve my boss, his boss or any boss. I knew the cost, the price and could cut a deal on the spot in 90% of the cases.

Somewhere in there a friend, and a customer, gave me a great price on a Improved Mobile Telephone Service, IMTS. This was beyond sexy. It had console with a telephone handset with a keypad... it reeked of "I am important." Even better, it meant I could call our Secretary while on the way to the motel, get my messages, etc., and make it to the bar about thirty minutes quicker. (Some things are important.)I could also get on the road about 30 minutes earlier in the morning by returning calls from the car. That was a nice productivity improvement, but nothing really changed.

My boss at that time took great pains to explain that his job wasn't to do my job and that if it became his job to do my job then we didn't need one of us. I had no doubt which one of "us" wouldn't be needed. He was a great help on the inside politics and getting my points re what was needed to close major deals through to our management. It was a loverly relationship. We both liked our jobs.

In fact, I can remember leaving him a "weekly report" that said: Made the numbers.

But times changed. I got a new boss who, because I had an IMTS, thought I should call him daily and give him a status report. And since he had both hands in everything it was decided that he had to approve all pricing. And since he didn't know the customer or the product or the competition he'd have to check everything with management.... you get the point.... A 30 minute task handled by my lowly self and a capable Secretary became 10 man hours involving Very Important Managers.

Time, mergers and promotions went on... I had a good run of bosses that let me do my job and then came voice mail. Now I didn't have someone taking my messages, and who could answer 75% of them, I had a machine that everyone would call. And many thought that you should call them back within minutes, not understanding that you actually had a job that required talking with customers, not marketing types. A typical day would see 30 messages. And that ability to do a deal.... it was gone... replaced with endless messages and conference calls.....

Along about '86 true cellular service came along and I had another phone in the car. Bad bad. Now I could do conference calls coming and going... and before long I had a pager where people could page me and a portable Compaq that weighed at least 50 pounds. I was wired. I was plugged in turned on and connected to the world. I knew where my boss, and by now my employees, were and they me.

And neither my boss or myself had as much authority as I did when I was a Sales Representative covering the Southeast. Everything took longer to do and generated more confusion.... but by golly we could talk and talk and talk....and then came Vines and we could do email......

Looking back it is hard to believe that we actually managed to sell anything, but we did.

I've been told that this makes me sound like a Grouchy Old Man, but that's Denny Wilson's job and effective he is.

No, I recognize that this was caused by the explosion of competitors and profit margins becoming razor thin. Plus everyone knew that the information was available and senior management wanted to know just how far out their collective butts were hanging. So middle managers were chosen not for what they knew, but how effectively they could collect, summarize and transmit information up the food chain. If they could also manage sales people it was a plus, but not really a high priority.

Note that middle management no longer had to analyze anything because upper management could now do that. Of course the fact that the further away anyone doing analysis is removed from the raw facts leads to deadly errors was ignored. After all. They had the numbers. Management became lawyering and accounting. Neither of which is known for its dynamic decisions.

In 1996 I got my first cellphone, and the number survives to this day, going through one long distance move and three service provider changes, although it does take some serious effort to convince the new provider that the FCC says I can keep the number... The first phone wasn't a brick, but it had some heft to it and I often left it in the car, which still had the cellular car phone... Finally my friendly accountants said choose and the car phone went to that great scrap heap in the sky.

Along the way I discovered some neat tricks. Caller ID let me screen calls and ignore the ones from silly people. I could answer many others so voice mail tag was reduced... and I could Call Forward my office number to my cell phone...

One of my fondest memories is explaining to a person I considered a first class idiot that I could answer my Denver office phone while being in San Francisco by noting:

"I wear tight fitting clothes and have a cape."

Of course cellphones are no longer cellphones.. We can also do text messages, access the Internet, play games, listen to music, take pictures and do video. Yes things have changed...

Or have they?

Remember where I mentioned that when I returned my customer's call many times his Secretary would answer and take a message? Guess what. That made her a Very Important Person deserving of tender loving comments and care because she had the keys to the kingdom and could be of great assistance.... or not if she thought you a boor.

Well today they are called Executive Assistants and are as likely to be male as female. But they are still the one who will take a message, see if the boss has an open lunch slot and maybe, just maybe ask the boss to take your call.

The trick then, and now, was to know who the boss was and who his assistant was.

Otherwise you will just be leaving messages.

So maybe technology isn't as important as too many of us think it is.

Hillary for President?

Given that Hussein has hit a ceiling and can't seem to establish a real lead despite all his favorable press treatment, and given all the baggage that he cannot eject, it appears that he and McCain are in a real horse race.

Also given that the oil issue has forced him to admit that drilling is needed, I would say that this will cost him 10%, or more, of his environmental wacko base.

Under these circumstances the election is over. He can't beat McCain.

If a country boy from the midsouth has this figured out you know that the Democratic power players recognize it.

The question then becomes, will they throw him under the bus in the interest of winning, broker the convention and nominate Hillary. While some may argue that they can't do that because they will lose the black vote, the facts are that the black vote has no where to go and Clinton's husband was the "First Black President."

In fact, the loss of the rebel "Hillary for President" folks from McCain and McCain's weakness among conservative Republicans returns the race to a traditional Democrat versus Liberal Republican contest, and the Democrats win.

Stay tuned dear chums. Hillary still has that lean and hungry look and Hussein may discover that the fat lay has not sung.

18 busses burned in Oslo

News you don't see on our MSM.

I have often remarked that Europe is the canary in the coal mine. As you can see, the canary is dying.

Today Dagbladet reports that in the last two weeks, eighteen tourist buses in Oslo have been set upon by thieves and vandals.

“My company sends buses all over Europe, but we’ve never experienced similar conditions anywhere,” a Spanish bus driver said. “If I talked about this on Spanish TV, people would think I was in Africa.”

No, Oslo isn’t Rome or Paris. But not long ago, it was at least a safe, clean city. It’s now rapidly declining into a maelstrom of chaos, crime, and filth under politicians who’ve essentially handed it over to armies of Nigerian prostitutes, gypsy beggars, and Muslim gangsters; who ordered street work that should have been wrapped up months ago but that continues to keep much of the downtown area looking like Berlin in 1946; and who blithely hike subsidies to groups like the Islamic Council while letting the police and military go chronically underfunded. Tourist tip: Copenhagen!

Democrat energy plan is blowing in the wind

2/01 oil was 24.78

2/07 oil was 55.76

That is an increase of 120% in 72 months with a Repub Congress and Pres.

By 7/08 oil was 144. an increase of 157% in 19 months with a Democratic Congress.

The question is why. And the answer is obvious. OPEC knew that under the Repubs outrageous increases would be met with renewed drilling in the US. When the Demos too control OPEC knew they could charge what they wanted and the Demos would not allow drilling in the US.

As for why Bush didn't start drilling, do you understand the word "filibuster?" I mean if the Demos won't drill when gasoline is $4.00, do you think they would have when gasoline was $1.80??


Crossposted at Tennesseean


The following is a link to the Dutch flim "Fitna."

It concerns the various attacks made by Islamic radicals, and shows some very interesting information.

It has video clips that are horrible to see, and you should be forewarned.

Many of these clips will never again be shown on US MSM.


My thanks to Grant M.