Chris Hardie

Blog, Tech, Business and Community Building

rant

March 2, 2009

AIG: Too Important to Fail

At some point, you've probably heard some version of the axiom that it's better to fail quickly and often, because then you learn a lot - about what not to do, and about what does work.  One thing I appreciate about working in the world of technology is that there are lots of opportunities to fail, and there's very little room culturally to keep failing in the same way multiple times.  You either learn your lesson and find ways to do it better the next time, or you're left behind.

I can't help but contrast this to today's news that AIG (American International Group), a for-profit corporation that is not doing well, will be given $30 billion in taxpayer dollars, after the $150 billion in taxpayer dollars they got last year apparently didn't do the trick.

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February 16, 2009

The Contractor Experience

(Some of my blog posts are constructive, this one is pure rant.)

There's a new amusement park ride opening up in town!  It'll take you on a thrilling journey through ups and downs of successful projects, communication failures, happy long-term partnerships, and total failures in competence.  It's called THE CONTRACTOR EXPERIENCE and you can hop on it today by opening up the phone book and calling pretty much any contractor you want to try to get some work done on your home or business!

Okay, I know that it might be a little pretentious or worse for me to sit on my high blogging horse and tell the folks who are willing to do some pretty hard, dirty work how to do their jobs when I'm not able or willing to do them myself.  But at the same time, I can't help but see it from the perspective of how poorly some of these folks are running their small local businesses, and how their customer service values take a total back seat to their own preferred ways of doing things.  Some war stories:

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January 14, 2009

The one where the plane failed to depart, twice

Chris and Mark arriving at SFOSometimes you see those weather stories on the evening news where they show a few seconds of airline passengers stranded in some airport looking like hell as they try to figure out how to cope with canceled or delayed flights, and usually you just feel a little bad for them and then move on. At the moment I'm feeling some appreciation for the misery that's displayed in those brief clips, having had a bit of a travel adventure myself:

It started with Mark and I barreling through the snow on I-70 toward the Dayton airport, wondering if planes would even be taking off at all today. But, my handy dandy text message updates from Delta.com declared the flight was on time, so we pressed on.

I should have known we were in for a special time when the guy at the ticket check-in counter (which has largely been replaced by self check-in kiosks) was delighted to point out how much cost cutting Delta has done. Me: "Do you have one of those little folders for these boarding passes?" Him: "No, they did away with those some time ago. Heck, all we've got left now are the airplanes! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Right.

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October 11, 2005

More credit card offers...from Miami University?

Sound the rant alert. I've written here before about how much I don't like getting credit card offers in the mail, but I've learned to deal with it. Or, I thought I had. Then came the onslaught of offers from the Miami University Alumni Association for a card branded by Miami - "support us and save with our low introductory rate!" Groan. One of those mailings I could have dealt with...but I've gotten four identical offers in the last two months alone - and I didn't even attend Miami. So, that means that not only does Miami (and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the organization they're working with to make this offer) not observe the national "do not contact" lists I've subscribed to, but that unless they are *trying* to tick people off, their mailing list management also stinks. Apparently they have some data privacy issues to work through, too.
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November 18, 2004

"Apprentice" Season Two Checklist

Mark Burnett's checklist for Season Two of "The Apprentice" (yes, I watch that crap, leave me alone): Elevate Donald Trump to the status of demigod through not-so-subtle use of regal music and flattering camera angles. Check. Exploit women for profit while using Carolyn's "strong character" to take the moral high ground. Check. Breaking the stated […]

July 5, 2004

Please don't use "itch" as a transitive verb

Even though it's apparently technically legitimate, one of my biggest pet peeves is the use of the word "itch" as a verb, as in "he itched the bug bite". Blech. I double over and cringe in disgust. You scratch a bug bite, or an itch, or anything similar. You don't itch it. The itch is […]

April 11, 2004

Sprint PCS needs to run cron jobs more often

Fair warning: this post is pure rant.

I have a Sprint PCS phone that I use as my primary, and only, home phone line. There are tons of reasons why I like this arrangement, which I won't go into here, but I've been a loyal, pay-on-time Sprint customer for several years now. Which is why it was maddeningly frustrating to go to make a call today and get a note that my account had been shut off because I was over my spending limit.
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January 12, 2004

Gas Pump Buffer Overflow

Random rant: In 1970, Intel produced a memory chip, the first, capable of storing 1 kilobyte of data - a couple of paragraphs of text or so. Today, one can obtain memory chips that store many gigabytes of data - enough to hold entire movies, encyclopedias, and more - for mere hundreds of dollars. So, […]