Category Archives: DASM

Not So Sirius Radio: DASM

The satellite radio stopped abruptly in our new SUV. I took the time to call Sirius and, after the moronic automated voices trying to get rid of me, I reached a “listener care representative.” She told me, astoundingly, that my 90-day free trial was over and, no, they didn’t automatically warn me or bill me or otherwise try to keep me as a customer.

I may be spoiled since my Bentleys come with free, lifetime subscriptions, but I told her that was bizarre. However, I wanted to sign on! She told me that I’d have to call another number. I mentioned that my three other vehicles all have Sirius, and she told me that in that case she could help me herself.

Ten minutes later, we finally had a deal, though I had to wait another five minutes for the signal to hit my particular truck from somewhere deep in outer space.

If magazines ask you to renew subscriptions about six months in advance and pester you like a copperhead snake, why can’t Sirius say, “We trust you liked it, how about renewing well before the trial runs out?” Or, better yet, offer a full subscription when the vehicle is purchased.

This is failure work at the moment, wasting my time and theirs and probably netting a zero margin by the time the subscription is set up compared to the labor that goes into doing so.

It’s a beautiful day here. Consulting anyone?

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Poverty of Imagination

A woman I don’t know wrote me as part of a mass email this morning asking me to promote her new book to my entire mailing list. I was to include some “offer” so that someone buying the book would receive a zillion dollars in “bonus” value from all of us patsies. The last time I took a look at this, the “bonus” was pure crap, people’s articles that couldn’t be published and audio that couldn’t be sold—a scrap heap delivered to your door.

If you can’t figure out how to promote your work, and it doesn’t have enough value to stand on its own merits, and you have to engage in this kind of amateur behavior, you are not in a position to tell anyone anything in a book, a conversation, or a rune. But this is the latest fad, going into bookstores and turning the books face-out, providing extra (worthless) stuff with it, and so on. Of course, everyone is a “best selling” author today, with an award from some outfit that just gives out awards.

This idiocy makes trodding on hot coals seem useful. I mean, at least you might be able to cook a burger.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Where’s the Delta Here?

McKinsey-speak, courtesy of David Alexander:

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DASM: The Viking Hotel

There are some hotels where they simply do things wonderfully, because management is smart and sets the example. I love the Four Seasons in Palm Beach for meetings, as I do Castle Hill Inn in Newport. I can trust them to be responsive and consistently excellent. On the other side of the ledger, you don’t own a gun large enough to get me to back to The Breakers in Palm Beach, where they seem to think that you’re lucky to be there, so keep quiet. We’ll charge you a lot and ignore you.

I was recently contacted by The Viking Hotel in Newport in a marketing initiative, and the sales director asked if I’d be interested in having one of my meetings there. We used The Viking many years ago as “headquarters” for my family when my daughter was married at The Astors/Beechwood mansion. So I proposed a new program I’ve scheduled in September as a trial run. I was impressed that they would reach out like that.

The sales director told me an associate would be in touch (the infuriating “handoffs” that poorer properties engage in) and the next day I received the call. The associate asked me the same questions I had already answered, and then kept insisting: “What is your budget?” I replied twice that I was booking over 30 room-nights and the conference room and meals at whatever their rates were. But did they have availability? Money wasn’t an issue, availability was.

She kept hammering me about budget, as if I were a wedding planner. I finally demanded to know about availability and she told me: “That person isn’t here today, you’ll have to wait until Monday.” I said, “Are you seriously telling me you can’t check room availability right now?” She told me I’d have to wait, and I told her I didn’t because they had just lost my business.

I called the general manager, received a message that he’d be back Monday, so I detailed what had happened on his voice mail. If I were he, I’d want to know. As of Wednesday morning, he’s not bothered to respond. Maybe I have to wait until next Monday. But maybe that example he set is followed by his staff.

The Viking is in a competitive struggle in Newport—how would you like to be an investor in a property run like that? Thus, I am awarding them the most recent Dumb-Ass Stupid Management award. I’m assuming they have the budget to take care of it.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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American Airlines: Dumb Ass Stupid Management

I’ve sent this letter to the CEO of American Airlines twice, once in hard copy and once electronically. Over two months later, no reply from anyone:


“I’m writing about a rather frightening episode on one of your flights.

“Two years ago I published the enclosed blog post which is self-explanatory. Your company’s response is also enclosed. (Note: This was about flight attendants refusing to help elderly, sight-impared, passengers with their carry-on bags.)


“In January of this year (11th?), my wife and I were returning from Miami to Boston (on I believe AA 2235) where I observed that there were no beverages served on the ground in first class, despite everyone boarded and 15 minutes remaining before departure, and that the actual meal service later was quite slow.


“After that meal service, the flight attendant knelt in the aisle next to my wife, asked if we recognized her, and then announced she was Mariellen, the one in my original post. She told us that for two years she had been reviewing her manifests looking for my name to appear on one of her flights. She told me that my original post had caused her and her colleagues ‘far too much paperwork’ and that the airline response to me (flight attendants are permitted to help people with bags) was an outright lie. She said I should have spoken more to her at length and she was the only one “unlucky enough to be wearing her name tag.”


“What next, sir, does she poison  my food? Her consistently poor service coupled with what appears to me to be abnormal behavior is, I hope you’d agree, frightening and appalling.”


How can you be this strangely out of step with your customers (when this one has over a million air miles with American and was a charter frequent flyer member)?


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Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: The Wall Street Journal

The WSJ asks me to renew my digital version. They send me an online code, which their site will not accept. The site says that the code requires a phone call, despite the fact it’s supposed to be entered on the site.

A phone call places me in the Philippines, with a guy who can’t speak English well and keeps repeating scripted questions. When I ask for a supervisor he puts me on “hold” and leaves me there.

I then try the “live” online help, where I get another guy in the Philippines. He does manage to have someone call me on my home line within 10 minutes. This person also keeps repeating himself and, when I get the promised email to click a link and verify my address, it doesn’t work!

How can this dignified newspaper—which absolutely hounds me many months early for print and digital renewals—be so screwed up in its customer service? I’ll tell you how: Dumb-Ass, Stupid Management. You can see how effective it is, for example, outsourcing customer service to the Philippines.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: Welcome to the 18th Century

In 1754 the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was founded.

In 2014, they’re voting on whether or not to admit women as members. That’s only 2.5 centuries for them to get to that, perhaps.

What world are we living in?

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Spam for Brains

A real doofus named Tom Nixon sends spam about a service I don’t remotely need. I’ve never heard of him or his company. His unsubscribe doesn’t work, and he doesn’t reveal the address he’s sending this useless stuff to.

When I ask him to stop sending it and take me off his lists, he becomes abusive, winds up telling me I’m “typical of people from the northeast,” have no friends, and can’t deal with waitstaffs! Oh. He’s got me there.

This is the gutter of the internet, when you wish you WERE talking to a dog. If this guy sends you something, just delete it, he’s too dumb to stop.

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Why You Have To Love Government Work

At the post office I asked the desk clerk if there were a difference between first class letter rates for stamps and metered mail, since my Pitney Bowes meter affixes 48 cents but the official rate is 49 cents.

“There might be,” she said, “I’ve seen both.”

That’s like asking the general, “Are we at war?”

“We might be, some tanks went by this morning. I think they were ours.”


© Alan Weiss 2014

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DASM The Tonight Show: Everything Old Is New Again

My wife was with me in the audience when a “famous” speaker used material that was 20 years old in his presentation. “I recognize that as ancient,” she said, “and I’m not in the profession.”

Monday night, after enough fanfare to think we had created colder beer, Jimmy Fallon emerged from the curtain to begin a new era on the tonight show. And that’s where the problem began. He emerged from the curtain, had a band on his left, an announcer on his right, a couch and chairs, an overly- and artificially-stimulated studio audience, and a lame monologue.

Except for the “lame” part, that’s exactly what Johnny Carson did 50 years ago. And everyone since. This is a new era only in the sense that it’s a day after yesterday.

With all the money and supposed talent in the media, this weak clone is the best they could do? No thought of changing the set, or the format, or the material? The same guests trailing along, trying to be funny? (Will Smith was just dreadful, sliding from A to D list.)

Too  many of us are doing that with our clients: same old “pitch,” same tired methodology, same ancient fee structure, same emulation of other mediocre approaches. Age isn’t the issue (Fallon is young). Vision is the issue. Boldness is the issue.

If you’re going to perform to the same tired music with the same hackneyed approach, then people are going to turn the channel and prospects are going to turn to someone else.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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