Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cost is not my only concern

[This just after a phone call to my allegedly North American payroll provider who it turns out has a support center in Mauritius.]

To everyone running customer support lines, please take heed. I am willing to spend more money in order to speak to someone who:
  1. Speaks English natively, or at very least very fluently
  2. In an accent I can understand clearly[1]
  3. On a phone line, and from a location, that doesn't result in their voice being distorted
In many things, you get what you pay for, and I'd like to pay for better. Please take my money and give me what I'm looking for.

[1] I accept that this probably disqualifies me and other Glaswegians. AhvNaeProblemWiThat.

Monday, February 21, 2011


When I was younger, if there was significant disagreement between two book reviewers, either one or both had to be wrong. There was no room for opinion. These days though, I find it fascinating to look at Amazon reviews and see five star gushes on the one hand, and one star death sentences on the other. How can the same book look so different to different people? It's, as I say, fascinating. And so when I offer opinions on two things -- an author, and a podcaster -- know that others may take the opposite view.

First, Seth Godin. I don't get him, or the fuss. About a year ago I read his "The Dip". I cannot fathom why anyone would see it as anything more than the following statement:
When the going gets tough you should push through; except when you shouldn't.
And now I've just finished reading "Linchpin". Ostensibly about what makes people indispensable, it looked like a useful addition to my list of readings about how to build a world class team. But to be honest, I have no idea what it was about. At least I could give a single sentence review of "The Dip". But "Linchpin" is just ... I mean, it's full of ... it's kinda like .... Shrug. Honest to god, it conveyed pretty much zero meaning to me.

And then there's Merlin Mann. Known primarily for his 43folders website, here I'm talking only about his "Back To Work" podcast. I just forced myself to listen to the entire first episode. To begin with it was actually to hear what he had to say. I tapped my fingers impatiently, waiting for the core content to begin: a minute or two, or five. Ten. Half an hour. By the time I got to 45 minutes I was just hanging on in disbelief to confirm that there never was any substantial content. And there wasn't -- not a thing. If BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" is a laser, then "Back To Work" is a blob of cold porridge in an old sock. No, it makes no sense to me either.

Now I don't know Merlin or Seth. But the vibe I picked up (it's all I picked up) from the "Linchpin" is that Godin is a very nice man. And I have no reason to believe that Mann is any different. So I have nothing against either of them. But they either both are full of hot air, or they are speaking a language I don't yet understand. For the sake of humanity and civility, I'm going to conclude the latter. But anyone else had the same experience?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shiny shiny

I am very very busy.
My time is valuable.
I will not look into using Julien's newly-announced org-contacts
I will not look into using Julien's newly-announced org-contacts
I will not look into using Julien's newly-announced org-contacts
I will not ...