Archive for April, 2010

April 29, 2010

What’s really the point?

Struggling with a PowerPoint presentation for work. Things were A LOT easier before I read the following articles:

In a nutshell: PowerPoint is the root of all evil (per Tufte), flaws inherent to the tool dilute thought, the sequentiality and hierarchical structure of the software corrupts the message. The U.S. Army will bring peace to Earth before they can figure out the meaning of a convoluted PowerPoint slide, what’s on the actual slides should appeal to the audience’s emotions rather than feed information, and slides should be lean – as Seth Godin says: “bullets are for the NRA”.

I now have to transform my pretty wordy explanatory slides into lean mean (and efficient) machines of persuasion. I may need an extra month. Oh, right, the presentation is due tomorrow.

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April 28, 2010

Your blood in my ear

PSAs about the dangers of distracted driving are hardly new; yet an Indian ad agency put a different spin on their campaign:


(via copyranter)

This is the first time I see an ad berate the enabling behavior of others. The people above are not driving while talking on the phone but they are encouraging the risky behavior by participating in the conversation. They have a choice to tell their friend to call them back once they’re parked. Definitely made me think.

I wish there were more ads like these. We could use some to encourage people to disclose their STDs to partners when most campaigns focus on self-protection, or to shame second-hand consumers of pirated content who enjoy the material their friends stole online.

Oh the possibilities!

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April 27, 2010

To be perfectly honest

I hate it when people preface what they want to say with the following expressions:

  • “To be perfectly honest”
  • “To tell you the truth”
  • “Quite frankly”

That means everything else they’ve said before is a dishonest bullshit lie. When they use one of these expressions, my hypocrite radar goes on high alert and I can’t fully trust the person’s words anymore. Doesn’t necessarily mean that person is out there to cause harm; but most certainly means their words can’t be taken at face value.

Extreme? Yes.
Paranoid? Maybe.
Naive? Hell no.

April 27, 2010

Anonymonstrous

Is anonymity a cloak under which people can hide to say what they really mean? Or does it empower people to be really mean?

This Web site, www.betterme.com, seems to think you won’t get the constructive criticism you deserve unless your coworker’s identity is kept secret. We also have a mechanism at work that allows staff to ask questions anonymously and read the answers later when they’re posted to our Intranet.

I have mixed feelings about this. Keep in mind that I am only speaking about anonymity in the workplace and not online support groups where anonymity is key to a successful healing process.

Based on my experience, at least 80% of the anonymous communication online amounts to junk. A lot of people use the anonymous tool we have at work to tattle on their coworkers or complain about stupid things like the quality of the soap in the restrooms. I’ve also experienced the chatter than goes on in online forums and chat rooms where people use anonymity to deceive or harass their peers.

However, good things can also happen when the messengers feel safe expressing themselves knowing their identity is protected. In some instances, at work, staff were able to suggest changes to some managerial practices. In another situation, someone felt comfortable enough to report an ethical conflict of interest they witnessed. Had we not had this anonymous tool, who knows if these issues would have surfaced.

So should we take a leap of faith and assume the quality of workplace communication would improve if people posted under their real name? Or should we weed through all the junk to ensure we don’t miss out on what those who won’t speak out loud have to say?

We chose the second option but with the added twist of placing some restrictions on the 80% crowd of time-wasters. Inspired by this BNET article, we will no longer consider anonymous online complaints unless the messenger offers at least 1 solution to the problem.

April 23, 2010

True blue, Baby I love you

So I received a $25 dollar credit from JetBlue today. That was a nice surprise.

My flight back from New York was delayed due to a leaky engine and we had to switch planes. I was so annoyed with the passenger sitting next to me, who was smacking his chewing gum VERY NOISILY, that I really didn’t mind getting away from him for a bit to get to the new vessel. Our flight took off an hour and a half later than scheduled.

This is the first time I receive any type of apologetic compensation from a company and I’m very impressed. I am also a very impressionable person, so this may not say much. I know JetBlue was in the middle of a big PR mess a couple of years ago because passengers were stuck on their planes for hours on the tarmac, but I feel more animosity toward the other airlines who, unlike JetBlue, make us pay for checked luggage and don’t feed us on domestic flights.

$25 is probably not enough to elicit the strong feelings of LOVE I currently have for this brand, and I’ll go straight to the cheesy stuff: it’s the thought that counts. See, I didn’t really care that my flight was delayed but the fact that JetBlue did makes my heart go pitter-patter.

“We’re sorry that you did not experience the high standard of service we aim to provide every JetBlue customer. Please accept our sincere apologies and this flight credit for the inconvenience you recently experienced with us.”

Isn’t that POETRY?

I work for a Texas state agency and wonder how we could emulate some of this without spending  taxpayer money. I can’t tell if the secret is in the tone of voice (it sounds so sincere!) or in reaching out to customers before they even think of complaining. Food for thought.

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April 23, 2010

Technically not the first post

I loathe first posts. I never know what to say. So I’ll just share the quote that made me want to start this blog:

“Do not Covet Your Ideas. The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually, you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.” (Paul Arden)

I hereby embark on the giving journey, in search of fresher perspectives.

April 22, 2010

Android

Testing from android wp2go app.