Thursday, June 26, 2008

Former Homeland Security Chief gets $480K -- And I'll bet he doesn't even know the song!

So it seems that former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge has done what many of our politicians seem to do -- he left government to make the really big bucks as a lobbyist.

Fine, I suppose. But follow the rules. If you are going to represent a foreign government, then register as an agent as required by LAW within the required time frame, and not, say 21 MONTHS LATE(!), as Governor Ridge did for his work on behalf or Albania -- work for which Ridge's firm was paid $480,000 per year (that works out to $40k per month!).

Better, still, the government of Albania could have saved all of that money by just shooting around a YouTube link to their song.

Albania, it seems, "borders on the Adriatic."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Social Media Mistakes of Five Big Marketers

Wish I could take credit for this one, but I can't. Joseph Jaffe (the English marketing-guru-du jour) hits the nail right on the head. Check out this video from Ad Age.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clueless School Administrator of the Year

Every year we get one of these stories.

It seems that the principal of Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, NJ, Mr. Robert Blake, interrupted the commencement speech of salutatorian Jennifer Chau, had her microphone cut off, and escorted her off the dais. Why? Because it seems that Ms. Chau was about to lambaste the school administration for some perceived wrong.

Leaving aside the question of whether or not this was the appropriate time or place for Ms. Chau to air her grievances (What does she think this is? Festivus?), and also notwithstanding the school administration's prerogative to allow whatever speech they see fit at one of their functions, it seems to me that if Mr. Blake had allowed the young woman to have her say, it would have been a story in, maybe, The Press of Atlantic City the next day. Probably on page C3 or thereabouts.

But no. A story about "the man" silencing the poor young schoolgirl who just wanted to express her perceived First Amendment rights is big news. The story hit the Associated Press, and was carried in newspapers all over the country. And on radio and TV stations. And the story lasted for days.

The lesson? Not every battle is worth fighting OR winning. Had Mr. Blake allowed Ms. Chau to make her point, it would have been a small, local, one-day story -- and he would be getting praise for being a big enough man to allow biting criticism in such an august forum.

So this year's award for Clueless School Administrator of the Year goes to Mr. Robert Blake, principal of Mainland Regional High in Linwood, NJ.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clueless PR on the Major League level

Just when you thought the most clueless way to release a major league manager from his duties was the way the New York Yankees let Joe Torre drift in the wind last summer, along comes Omar Minaya of the crosstown rival New York Mets with his "Midnight Massacre" of Willie Randolph and several of his coaches.

Mets fans (disclosure: I am a die-hard fan of the Metropolitans) knew that Willie had to go. After last year's collapse against the Phillies -- THE PHILLIES!!! -- and after getting off to a sub .500 start this year, it was inevitable, and the team needed a kick in the rear.

So fine. Fire Willie. Only do it when he is HOME in New York, not after making him endure a 5-hour cross-country flight, and not after managing a game that ended in the wee small hours of the morning on the East Coast.

"Professional" baseball should be handled in a professional manner. Omar Minaya -- who many feel has much culpability himself in the team's misfortunes -- showed a lack of class, and a lack of professionalism. Get a clue, Omar. Get some good PR advice.

Better still, get us a first baseman who can hit with consistency.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cell Phone Commandments

If you read yesterday's blog post, you'll know where THIS is coming from.

Thinking about my cell-phones-on-airplanes rant prompted me to Google "cell phone etiquette." I found several interesting posts:

The Ten Commandments of cell phone etiquette was written by Dan Briody, and published on May 26, 2000 -- YES, OVER 8 YEARS AGO! -- in InfoWorld. It is still worth a read.

The Microsoft Small Business Center offers another look at the same issue in an article penned (there's a word that may become extinct in a generation!) by Joanna L. Krotz. Thanks, Joanna. You nailed it.

It's time, people, to take back our personal space from those who would subject us to their personal cell phone conversations! Are you with me?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

You think SNAKES on a plane is scary...

I was on a plane heading back to New Jersey yesterday, and the second we landed, the woman in the seat right behind me jumped on her cell phone as if she were a 1960's newspaper reporter on deadline rushing to a bank of pay phones to deliver the scoop on the 4-hour flight from Las Vegas .

Speaking in a voice that I am certain could be heard in first class, she recounted in glorious detail the 20-minute hold on the tarmac in Vegas, the poor-quality snack that Continental Airlines served us (it was ostensibly a cheese pizza, if you really need to know), the plot and full cast of the in-flight entertainment, and just about every bump, turn or movement the 737-800 made on its cross-continent journey.

It got me thinking about the proposal that is brewing to allow cell phone usage on commercial flights. I for one, would like to cast a vehement "NO!" vote on that. It's bad enough being cramped up in a coach-class seat for 4+ hours with nothing but "close" friends jammed in around you while watching a B-list movie, without having to hear chapter and verse about the troubles and tribulations of other put-upon travelers. Please, PLEASE FAA or whomever makes this decision, SPARE US!