All entries for Saturday 27 January 2007

January 27, 2007

101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Writing about web page http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/biz2/0701/gallery.101dumbest_2007/index.html

Some of the best include:

#17

A jury in Fresno, Calif., awards $1.7 million in damages to Janet Orlando, who quit her job with home security company Alarm One after team-building exercises during which she and her colleagues were forced to eat baby food, wear diapers, or submit to being spanked on the butt with a rival company's yard signs.

#22

In June, BusinessWeek publishes a cover with the headline "Bill Gates Gets Schooled" showing the Microsoft chairman in front of a blackboard.

The magazine itself gets schooled when observers point out that Seattle Weekly used the same line and a similar image a year earlier.

#27

In August, RadioShack fires 400 staffers via e-mail. Affected employees receive a message that reads, "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

Very surreal: such a Dilbert moment.

#50

Mick Woods purchases a package of cooked ham made by British food processor H.R. Hargreaves & Son. After reviewing the complete list of ingredients, which includes "dog s**t," he loses his appetite.

Hargreaves fires the employee responsible for the prank and begins a recall of the mislabeled packages.

#67

Sony runs a billboard campaign in the Netherlands depicting a Caucasian model rudely gripping the jaw of a woman of African descent to promote its PlayStation Portable in "ceramic white."

Sony initially defends the campaign, saying it was meant to "highlight the whiteness of the new model," but later apologizes.

sonyracism

This is one of the more recent problem's Sony's encountered. We've had exploding batteries, racist ads and, perhaps most annoying of all, one of the Sony CEOs had the balls to say "We decide when the next generation [of gaming/tech] begins. Arrogance. 


Anti–Communist Propaganda in China

As you all should know, the Chinese currency is the RMB (人民币 Renminbi or People's Currency) and its basic denomination is the yuan. The most popular note, I imagine, is the 1 yuan note whose basic value is about 1/15 of a pound.  These notes exchange hands all the time: in taxis, restaurants, street markets, vendors etc. etc.

So I was quite surprised when I came upon this in Changsha, Hunan:

Note1

As you can see, the note looks fairly crisp despite the dog-ears (I think the 1999 marks the year the type of note was introduced into circulatin, rather than the note itself). 

But there's something unusual about the note. If you look closely at the bottom line, there's a row of Chinese characters stamped on:

Note2

The message reads "退党,退团,退队,三退保平安". I think this is adequately translated as: "Quit the Party, Quit the League, Quite the Youth (Movement), the three (renouncements) ensure safety."

It therefore delivers what could be interpreted as an ominous message to those within the party tiers at both the very young, youth and adult levels.  It's clearly just a simple stamp and it's very easy to distribute. It might not be effective, but the message is reminiscent of the old Communist (and anti-Communist) slogans. If it's carefully used, then it's practically untraceable and could cause quite a nuisance for authorities and for anyone actually caught with the note. 

One of my friends guessed it might be the Falungong (Cult) movement. It could be a variety of other movements ranging from Taiwanese looking to stir up trouble to seperatists in XiZang (Tibet) and XinJiang. 

Anyhow, it was very interesting to see from a historical perspective and one wonders if these folk might use such stamps in English to spread their anti-Government propaganda to those who are coming to China for Beijing 2008. 


Web 2.0: A chance for Tech Show presenters to bombard us with buzzwords

Just watching "CNN Connects: Our Networked World". It's basically a round table discussion on the "new" explosion of internet usage in the form of Youtube and the like. 

It's a relatively interesting discussion. There's a co-founder of Flickr, the founder of Facebook, the CEO of Orange etc. Clueless CNN Presenter

But, as usual, the presenter is absolutely clueless concerning the current world of the internet and just reeks of condescension and stupidity. In between lame jokes about Second Life and The Matrix and rampant hand-waving, she comes up with gems like this: 

"If Web 2.0 is more than just a marketing gimmick, then there will be a Web 3.0, won't there?"

Yuck.

HamidohI don't understand why the big broadcasting networks don't hire people who are genuinely into the field. It's like they called up the weather team and asked them to pick a weather girl at random to present a tech show. Makes me want to throw the TV out of the window.



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