Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Business August 1st 2012, "The 2012 Summer Of London" Edition

 In just the first 24 hours of the 2012 Olympics, more than 60 hours of footage was on TV. AND WE STILL CAN’T GET ENOUGH. The incredible athletes, the tear jerking and inspiring stories, and BOB COSTAS, BOB COSTAS, BOB COSTAS. Since we can’t catch a flight out to fill in one of those much maligned empty seats, we are bringing YOU the gold this Wednesday night, so you can take an Olympic break, breath some fresh air and catch some live entertainment. Live entertainment that is less likely to make you feel like a failure for not trying harder at 5 years old.

Our guests this week are real champions.

The comedy of Kevin O'Shea centers around one thing, the truth. He is full of the truth. He has an over abundance of truth. Some people say that he has too much truth for his own good. These people are right. Last week a doctor found truth in Kevin's urine. He needs your help now more than ever, as he faces a never ending series of painful dialysis treatments. (If you read this to yourself in a BOB COSTAS voice, and don’t cry, it’s because you’re a robot.)

We will also be joined by Red Scott. When not on stage, Red explores the myriad of ways an individual can be indoors and fully protected from the sun. His podcast discussing Game of Thrones, “Boars, Gore, and Swords” has twice been featured on BoingBoing. He performs all over the Bay Area, and is a regular at The San Francisco Punch Line, The San Jose Improv, Rooster T Feathers, as well as the usual dive bars and laundromats.

We also welcome Jeff Kreisler, Winner of the Bill Hicks Spirit Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, radio host on PRN, regular on Showbiz Tonight & MSNBC, writer for Comedy Central, IFC, TheFinalEdition.com & TheStreet.com, cast member of Shoot The Messenger, author of the bestselling "Get Rich Cheating," exec editor of "My Wall Street Journal," and star of hit international festival shows, Jeff Kreisler explores politics, business, culture, and life with passion, absurdity, and hope. Jeff now lives in New York City where he enjoys his newborn son, naps, commas and run on sentences.

“There's like five women pregnant at my office. I've taken to falling down the stairs when I leave just to be safe.”- Colleen Watson. I won’t say anything TOO nice about Colleen, as I know she is skilled in the art of compliment avoidance, (“Some nice woman complimented me on my comedy at an open mic. I replied, ‘You have low standards.’ I need to work on taking compliments. “- Colleen Watson.) but you can find these and other hilarious Colleen quotes @colleen_watson and you can see her with us this week!

Alex and the Chrises (Chrisi?) are down in LA, getting ready for the arrival of the whole Business crew for our Friday Aug 3rd show at NerdMelt with Guy Branum and Bobcat Goldthwait . Sean, Bucky and Caitlin will be here holding down the fort.

Word to the wise- The Business has been selling out! Be there on time to make sure you get a seat. No one will be turned away without a high five.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Family Night-Despicable Me

 Almost every Thursday night we try to sit down as a family and watch a movie and eat lots of junk food. 
If possible, I try to have a theme where the food is concerned.
Since we were watching Despicable Me, I decided to try to make all of the food resemble minions.

When the movie first came out, S.R. referred to the minions as Tater Tots, so that was an absolute must for the menu.

 I found these cute little corn dogs at Publix, and thought they looked like little minions too.
 The minion Twinkies were the hit of the night. Can you tell which one was my first attempt;o)
I have seen these little guys all over the internet, but never took the time to find out how they were made. I did check for the list of ingredients, though. Through trial and mostly error, here is what I found out...
 *mini marshmallows, cut into thirds, are the easiest for the goggles, not the suggested SweeTarts.
*I used black gel icing, which I highly suggest against. It's way too runny.
 *It would have probably been easier if the Twinkies had been in the freezer a bit before icing them. That way the cake part wouldn't crumble as much. 
*On a positive note, the Betty Crocker pre-made blue icing was great to work with, and it tasted great! 
 I took very little time in putting these together, so they don't look all that fantastic. Thankfully the crowd was easy to please:o)
We had a fantastic night, and I am looking forward to many more family nights:o)

Facebook's business problems are symptomatic of many large digital firms

Facebook is wrestling with a business challenge more traditionally found in legacy media: how do you translate consumers that don’t think they have a commercial relationship with you into relationships that that other firms will pay for?

Despite 955 million active users and increasing revenues, the company has lost a third of its share value since its IPO in the spring.  The exuberance that surrounded its IPO and overpriced its shares has worn off and investors are realizing that being big isn’t enough to ensure business success. Its latest earnings reports show the firm lost money, $157 million, in the second quarter on income of $1.18 billion.

Facebook’s challenges are symptomatic of a long line of “successful” digital firms that are experiencing monetization problems, including Yahoo, You Tube, AOL, and Twitter. Despite large numbers of users globally, they still lack effective business models to generate revenue levels congruous with their size. They may provide great communication functions for users, but they are not transforming very well from innovative users of technologies to highly profitable commercial enterprises.

Part of their challenge is that they have to focus so much effort on non-paying customers and those customers think of the services as personal communications—making them resistant to many efforts to monetize them. This problem has long plagued traditional media, but they are conceived as mass rather than personal media and have been around so long that many people are now used to a certain level of commercial exploitation. They also have a proven track record of return on advertisers’ investments that digital media have not yet been able to deliver for many types of advertisers.

Large digital players will continue to evolve and can be expected to improve their financial performance over time, but it will take a good deal of innovative thinking about the business rather than about the technologies and social value of their services.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Business July 25th 2012, "The Regulars get Irregular" Edition

The Business has much to celebrate! Change is in the air. In exciting but bittersweet news, the imminent departure of beloved Businessman Chris Garcia to the wilds of LA means that we have just a few more opportunities to see him do his Business while he’s still reppin the 415. Don’t miss this one! Chris Thayer is down there already, so it seems The Business will soon have the Los Angeles Chris market cornered!

We also have some excellent guests joining us this week.

We are happy to welcome three time Laugh Factory Fresh Faces winner Stroy Moyd to the show. Stroy’s energetic and eccentric brand of comedy has made him a favorite at comedy clubs and campuses across the nation. Within one year of arriving to Hollywood, Moyd has already produced two of Los Angeles' hottest comedy shows, the Laugh Bowl at the Laugh Factory and Young Funny Sundays at the Improv. The owner of the Laugh Factory, Jamie Masada, called Moyd "the next Redd Foxx". He is also producing excellent shows here in the Bay Area, we are happy he has a night free to stop by and Business with us.

Dave Schilling is a stand-up comic and the host of a monthly comedy variety show, Hottt Newww Videooo!!! w/ Dave Schilling, at the Hollywood Improv Lab in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently working on the writing staff of the web series, How It Should Have Ended, for the Machinima YouTube network. Soon you can see him in the feature film adaptation of Tao Lin's novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel, which is currently making the rounds of the festival circuit. He also likes to write about himself in the third person (which is convenient for us in the first person plural).

As always, the show is just $5 and your Burritos are welcome.

2 for 1 coupons at http://thebusinesscomedy.blogspot.com/ !!!

Speaking of things to celebrate, The Business has been selling out. If you want to secure your seat, arrive before 8!!

If we sell out, no one will be turned away without a high five.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Oh Los Angeles.
Ohhhhhh Los Angeles.

It's been a while since the Business and Los Angeles got friendly, and SO MUCH has been going on. We need to talk all about it when we return to The Nerdist Theater at Meltdown on Friday August 3rd. And we're returning bigger and better than before. How we doin' that you ask? Check it out:

Not just will all original members of the Business (Alex Koll, Sean Keane, Bucky Sinister and Chris Garcia) be on hand to get funny, but our two newest recruits will be with us: Caitlin Gill and Chris Thayer. It's time to show LA what out sold-out crowds in SF already know: These two are the BUSINESS! Real talk.

What else? How about two amazing guests: Comedian/writer/actor/notary public Guy Branum and comedian/writer/actor/filmmaker/firestarter Bobcat Goldthwait!

Plus, as always, the Medically Transported Burrito Raffle and more...

Tickets are $10 at the door, but $8 online with NO SERVICE CHARGE!

Get tickets here:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Reality of Strategy: The Case of London Business School

When Laura d’Andrea Tyson was the Dean of London Business School – some years ago – she put together a committee to examine and reformulate the School’s strategy. Several professors sat on that committee. When I once asked her, having a drink at her home, why none of them were Strategy professors, she looked at me for about 5 seconds baffled. Eventually, she stammered, “yes, perhaps we could consider that in the future….”.

It was clear to me, from her stunned silence (and she wasn’t easily lost for words), that she had never even considered the thought before.

I, in contrast, thought it wasn’t such an alien idea; putting some strategy professors on the School’s strategy-making committee. We had – and still have – people in our Strategy department (e.g. Costas Markides, Sumantra Ghoshal) who not only had dozens of top academic publications behind their names but who also had an eager ear amongst strategy practitioners, through their Harvard Business Review publications and hundreds of thousands of business books sold (not to mention their fairly astronomical consulting fees).

Today, our current Dean – Sir Andrew Likierman – is working with a group of people on a huge strategic growth decision for the School, namely the acquisition of a nearby building from the local government that would increase our capacity overnight with about 70 percent. Once more, strategy professors have no closer role in the process than others; their voice is as lost in the quackmire as anyone else’s.

If Sir Andrew had been an executive MBA student in my elective (“Strategies for Growth”) writing an essay about the situation, I would ask him for a justification of the need for growth given the characteristics of the market; I’d ask him about the various options for growth (geographic expansion, e.g. a campus abroad; related diversification, e.g. on-line space, etc.), and how an analysis of the organisation’s resources and capabilities is linked to these various options, and so on. But a systematic analysis based on what we teach in our own classrooms and publish in our books and journals has, it seems, not even be considered.

And I genuinely wonder why that is? Because it is not only strategy professors and it is not only deans. Whenever the topic of the School’s brand name comes up, no-one seems inclined to pay more attention to our Marketing professors (some of whom are true heavyweights in the field branding) than to the layman’s remarks of Economics or Strategy folk. When the School’s culture and values are being assessed, Organizational Behaviour professors are conspicuously absent from the organising committee (ironically it was run by a Marketing guy); likewise for Economics and OB professors when we are discussing incentives and remuneration. So why is that?

Is it that deep down we don’t actually believe what we teach? Or is it that we just don’t believe what any of our colleagues in other departments teach…? And that it could be somehow relevant to practice – including our own? Why do we charge companies and students small – and not so small – fortunes to take our guidance on how to make strategy, brands, and remuneration systems only to see that when our own organisation is dealing with them it all goes out the door?

I guess I simply don’t understand the psychology behind this. Wait… perhaps I should go ask my Organizational Behaviour professors down the corridor!



Since writing the piece above – perhaps not surprisingly; although it took me a bit by surprise (I didn’t think anyone actually read that stuff) – Sir Andrew contacted me. One could say that he took the oral exam following his essay on the School’s growth plans and passed it (with a distinction!)

In all seriousness, in hindsight, I think I was unfair to him – perhaps even presumptuous. I wrote “a systematic analysis based on what we teach in our own classrooms and publish in our books and journals has, it seems, not even be considered” and, now, I think I should not have written this. That I haven’t been involved in the process much and therefore have not seen the analysis of course does not mean it was never conducted. And it is a bit unfair, from the sidelines, to throw in a comment like that when someone has put in so much careful work. I apologise!

In fact, although Sir Andrew never lost his British cool, charme and good sense of humour, I realise it must actually have been “ever so slightly annoying” for him to read that comment, especially from a colleague, and he doesn’t deserve that. So: regarding the specifics of this example: forget it! ban it from your minds, memory, bookmarks and favourites (how would this Vermeulen guy know?! he wasn’t even there!)!

That you should pay more attention to Marketing professors when considering your school’s brandname, more attention to your OB professors when considering your incentive systems and values, more attention to Finance professors when managing your endownment and, God forbid, sometimes even to some strategy professors when considering your school’s strategy, I feel, does stand – so don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater just yet. But, yes, do get rid of that stinky bathwater.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Business July 18th 2012, “What Louv-ly Poseys” Edition

 “Three goats are playing soccer. Christopher Hitchens, driving an armored car with a huge, blunt lance attached to the front, chases them off the field while chuckling eruditely to himself.” – This is one of guest Matt Louv’s dreams. Find more of his subconscious musings at http://bearswithcigars.blogspot.com/
We are pleased to have Matt as a guest at the Business this week, along with the fabulous Brandie Posey.

Brandie is “a real sweet heart. Probably from all the high fructose corn syrup”. She hit Los Angeles in 2007, quickly making a name for herself in the comedy scene through nerdy jokes about Renn Faires, sharks and an affinity for Abe Lincoln. She has been compared to Patton Oswalt, Matt Braunger & Janeane Garofalo in style and in eyewear. It is a pleasure to have her back.
Also appearing, the natural force of good known as Dr. Foxmeat! They should name a tropical storm after him, but only a tropical storm that rains love and blows winds of funny. Foxmeat is the real deal. 

Rounding out the line-up are your Business regulars. You won’t see Chris Thayer this week, he’s off catching rays of smog down in SoCal brah, but Chris Garcia, Alex, Sean, Bucky and Caitlin will be there to tickle your fancies.

BYO$5 and BYOBurrito!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun Ideas for the Kids

On Wednesday, we had another rainy day, so I thought I would do some creative things for the kids. I surprised them with this fun breakfast. I used a cookie cutter to cut the centers out of their toast & cooked a fried egg in the center...they were really unsure about the fried egg, and when E gagged after eating the yolk, I learned that next time I will at least scramble the egg before cooking:o) Regardless, it started the day off right(minus the gagging part).

 I made S.R. this little flash card set the other day as well. I had some laminating sheets, something I always try to have on hand, card stock, & flash cards printed from Homeschool Creations.

 I realized that she had forgotten what her letters looked like...bad mommy:o)
 I used the laminating sheets so that she could use a dry erase marker to work on it over and over again.
 I made them double sided to save space.
 Love that smile:o)
 And I love that I got her seal of approval:o)
We also made homemade pretzels....they were DELICIOUS.
 I had to do the prep-work an hour before, and then my little helpers shaped the pretzels. 

 Definite approval from my little helpers:o)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Digital journalism reaches sustainability, but transitional business problems interfere

The income streams of digital news providers continue to grow and many have now reached the point of sustainability. Fundamental financial and business problems, however, are keeping publishers from moving out of print and becoming digital-only operators.

This leads many publishers and journalists to continue bemoaning the fact that digital media do not provide as much income as print and many still argue that organized, regular newsgathering and distribution cannot survive in a digital-only environment. They point to the fact that digital advertising produces only about 15 percent the income of print advertising—largely because it does not appeal to retail, display advertisers--and that paid circulation for digital products is growing slowly.

Their analysis is flawed, however, because publishers do not require as much revenue online as offline because the costs of digital operation are so different.

Editorial operations account for only about 10-15 percent of total costs of operation of print newspapers, but they are the primary cost for digital operations. About half of the costs of print are taking up by printing and expenses for getting papers to readers; when the costs of paying for and maintaining buildings and land used to house presses and circulation equipment are factored in, those costs rise to about 60 percent of total costs. Expenses to maintain the large advertising operations found in print newspapers add another 10 percent to overall costs and the managerial costs due to the large number of personnel and functions in non-editorial activities add about another 5 percent. Thus, switching to digital operations can take out at least three-quarters of the costs of print newspaper operation, making the lower revenue of digital operation sustainable.

A growing number of newspaper companies are already generating 15-20 percent of their total revenue from digital operations, making nearly enough money to sustain the kinds of journalism practiced by legacy news media. So why does negativity about the future of journalism remain so high and why are newspapers not yet moving to digital-only operation?

There are three primary reasons:
  1. Print newspapers still continue producing above average returns compared to all industries. No publisher is willing to throw away those operating profits even if the costs of print operation are higher than digital.
  2. Retail advertisers get more return on investment from newspaper advertising than any other form of advertising, including digital. As long as they remain willing to advertise in newspapers, no publisher is willing to give up the revenue stream and operating profits that they now provide.
  3. Owners of print newspapers have a great deal of capital tied up in facilities, printing and distribution equipment that cannot be withdrawn because few buyers want to acquire the used equipment today.
The fundamental challenge today isn’t that digital journalism has not reached sustainability; its how does a publisher transition from the print to digital-only operation in a way that is financially feasible and desirable.

The transition is critical for society because it will bring with it the reportorial strength and organization that exists in newspapers. That is something that digital startups do not provide because they generally lack the capital to build and sustain staffs as large as those of print newspapers and because they lack the reputations and brand identity of established papers.

Newspaper owners, publishers, and journalists then need to stop decrying the digital revenue problem and start focusing on solutions to the business challenges of when and how to realistically reduce and end the print operations. It will happen at some point in the future; the problem is how to plan and manage the switchover.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer

Good Tuesday to you all. We are having a great rainy summer afternoon. This is the first time I have felt semi-normal since last Thursday. I had to have two hernias repaired in my belly button, so I am slowly recovering. Today was the first time that the kids and I were home alone, so I needed to find things that wouldn't require any heavy lifting, and that would keep us busy.
Painting is always a good go-to for kids. And I haven't picked up a brush in quite some time.
This morning we worked our magic on some canvas.

 Here is a closer view of what I came up with...a little lamb..or sheep..whichever:o) He is perched upon the mantle for now. 
 After painting we made homemade ice cream in the living room with an ice cream ball. I was quite impressed with this little contraption. It actually works:o)
 You can find one of these Ice Cream Balls Here. We got lucky and found ours at a yard sale for $5...still in the box:o)

After naps, we went outside just before the rain came, and dug into our yummy afternoon snack.

 Smiles all around:o)

Just so you all know, I am jumping back on the crafting wagon again now that things have been forced to a snails pace...just the way I like it. We only have 6 weeks before school starts and I want to take advantage of the time I have with my kids and their creativity. So stay tuned for crafty kid fun:o)

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Business July 11th, 2012, "Rick's Wish Is Our Command" Edition

You know that song where Rick Springfield sings, "You know I wish that I had Jesses, girl"? Well his wish was granted, kinda...cause this week THE BUSINESS GOT THE JESSES, GIIIIIIIRL! There's no "i" Jesse, but we've got II:

Jesse Elias--2011 Twisted Biscuit winner and alumnus of both SF Sketchfest and Bridgetown Comedy Festival--returns to the business with his bashful exhibition of mental-doodles created in the absence of social interaction.
Twitter: @JesseNElias

Jesse Hett has performed at the San Jose Improv and the Rooster T. Feathers comedy club. He likes to say comedy, pet animals, build machines and take naps.
Twitter: @JesseTheHett

If the Dark Room is a kind of bottle, then this week's regular Business-genies are Caitlin Gill, Bucky Sinister, Chris Thayer, & Sean Keane. Come and rub us the right way!

@ The Dark Room
2263 Mission St. (b/w 18th & 19th)

*Alex Koll and Chris Garcia are out this week, both auditioning for the role of Apu in the upcoming Aladdin porn parody on ice.

Strategy is a Story

Stevie Spring, who recently stepped down after a successful stint as CEO of Future plc, the specialty magazine publisher, once told me, “I am not really the company’s CEO; what I really am is its Chief Story Teller.”

What she meant is that she believed that telling a story was her most important task as a CEO. Actually, she insisted, her job was to tell the same story over and over again. And when she said ‘a story’, she meant that her job was to tell her representation of the company’s strategy: the direction she wanted to take the business and how that was going to make it prosper and survive. She felt that a good CEO should tell that kind of story repeatedly, to all employees, shareholders, fund managers and analysts. For, indeed, a good strategy does tell a story.

All successful CEOs whom I have seen were great storytellers. Not necessarily because of their oratorical skills, but because the characteristics of the strategy they had put together lent themselves to being told like a story — and a good one too! The most important thing for a CEO to do is to provide a coherent, compelling strategic direction for the company, one that is understood by everyone who has to contribute to its achievement. For that, a story must be told.

When I say this, I am not implying that CEOs need to engage in fiction, nor do they need to be overly dramatic. In my view, a good business strategy story has three characteristics.

First, the story must provide clear choices.
Stevie Spring’s choices were as clear as her forthright language: “We provide specialty magazines, for young males, in British.” Hence, it was clear what was out; there were to be no magazines on, say, ‘music’ (that is too broad), no magazines in German (although that could be a perfectly profitable business for someone else) and no magazines on pottery or vegetable gardens (unless that has recently seen a surge in popularity among young males in the UK without my knowing it). A good strategy story has to contain such a set of genuine choices.

Moreover, it has to be clear how the choices made by the company’s leaders hang together. For example, Frank Martin, who as a CEO orchestrated the revival of the British model-train maker, Hornby, by turning it from a toy company into a hobby company, put his strategy story in just 15 words. “We make perfect scale models for adult collectors, which appeal to some sense of nostalgia.” He decided to focus on making perfect scale models because that is what collectors look for. Moreover, people would usually specifically collect the Hornby brand because it reminded them of their childhood, and with it a nostalgic, foregone era. Frank Martin’s choices were not just a bunch of disconnected strategic decisions; they hung together, and, combined, made for a logical story.

Second, the story must tie to the company’s resources.
Importantly, the set of choices has to be clearly linked to the company’s unique resources, those that can give them a competitive advantage in an attractive segment of the market. Although Hornby had been hovering on the brink of bankruptcy for a decade, it still had some valuable resources. First of all, it possessed a valuable brand that was very well-known and appreciated by people who had owned a Hornby train as children.

Additionally, the company had a great design capability in its hometown of Margate. However, these resources weren’t worth much when competing with the cheaper Chinese toy makers. The children who wanted a toy train for their birthday didn’t know (and could care less) about the Hornby brand. The precision modelling skills of the engineers in Margate weren’t of much value in the toy segment, where things mostly had to be robust and durable. However, these two resources — an iconic brand and a design capability — were of considerable value when making ‘perfect scale models for adult collectors’. It was a perfect match of existing resources to strategy.

I observed a similar thing at the Sadler’s Wells theatre. Ten years ago, before the current CEO Alistair Spalding took over, the theatre put on all sorts of grand shows in various performing arts. Yet, the company was in dire straits, losing money evening-on-evening and by the bucket. Then, Spalding took over and highlighted his leadership with a clear story. He started telling everyone that the theatre was destined ‘to be the centre of innovation in dance’.

He did this because the company was blessed with two valuable resources: (1) an historic reputation for dance (although it had diversified outside dance in the preceding years) and (2) a theatre once designed specifically with dance in mind. Spalding understood that, with these unique resources, he needed to focus the theatre on dance again. Beyond that, he made it the spider in the web, a place where various innovative people and dance forms came together to create new art, a place where stars were formed.

Third, the story must explain a competitive advantage.
The story must not only provide choices that are linked to resources, it must also explain how these choices and resources are going to give the company a competitive advantage in an attractive market, one that others can’t easily emulate. For example, Hornby’s resources enabled it to make perfect scale models for adult collectors better than anyone else, but those adult collectors also happened to form a very affluent and growing segment, one in which margins were much better than in the super-competitive toy market. It isn’t much good to have a competitive advantage in a dying market; you want to be able to do something better than anyone else in a market that will make you grow and prosper.

Thus, it has to be clear from your strategy story why the market is attractive and how the resources are going to enable you to capture the value in that market better than anyone else. The story of the CEO of Fremantle Media, Tony Cohen, for example, was that his company was going to make television productions that were replicable in other countries, with spillovers into other media. Because of their worldwide presence, Fremantle Media were better than their national competitors at rolling out productions such as the X-factor, Pop Idols, game shows and sitcoms. While their local competitors could also develop attractive and innovative shows, Fremantle’s multinational’s presence enabled it to reap more value from them. Therefore, that’s what they focused upon: shows that they could replicate across the globe. It was their competitive advantage, and they built their story around it.

Of course, a good story alone is not enough. A leader still needs good products, people, marketing, finance and so on. But, without a good story, a leader will find it impossible to combine people and resources into a forceful strategic thrust. A good story is a necessary — although, alone, not sufficient — condition for success.

My message for leaders: if you get your story right, it can be a very powerful management tool indeed. It works to convince analysts, shareholders and the public that where you are taking the company is worth everyone’s time, energy and investment.

Perhaps even more importantly, it can provide inspiration to the people who will have to work with and implement the strategy. If employees understand the logic behind a company’s strategic choices and see how it might give the company a sustainable advantage over its competitors, they will soon believe in it. They will soon embrace it. And they will soon execute it. Collective belief is a strong precursor of success. Thus, a good story can spur a company forward and eventually make the story come true.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Business July 4th 2012, "BORN ON THE FOURTH OF INDEPENDENCE DAY" Edition

God loves America so much, for our birthday He gave us a Friday right in the middle of the week!!! The Business is planning to truly celebrate our Constitutional right to fuck off from work until the Communists bring us another Monday. We are gonna let the eagle soar like she’s never soared before with some very special guests and few very noisy, dangerous firecrackers obtained at a roadside shack from a man with a balding mullet carefully arranged in tiny braids. AMERICA.

Our guest Mike Drucker could easily portray someone defending our nation on TV. In some fatigues, he would really bring the role of Exploding Soldier #3 to life. He lets SNL, The Onion and IGN use his scraps, but he saves his A game for The Business.

Lyall Behrens brings to this Independence Day the bold prowess of Will Smith AND the Jeff Goldblum brains. He’s the co-producer of the most excellent SF Comedy Cellar showcases here in San Francisco, CA, 94102, AMERICA.

Eric Cash is a stand up comic, writer, artist, animator, revolutionary, and mah jong champion (which, in honor of the holiday, we will call Freedom Jong). He has performed everything everywhere. We are more than happy to give our nation 246 birthday spankings with him.

Give us $5 American Dollars, and we will give you a show. BYOBurrito and Mexican Coke (even on the 4th, it’s way better than the crap we make here).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cable firms and Facebook Continue to Disappoint their Customers

Serving and satisfying customers is a crucial part of  value creation in any business,but U.S. communication firms continue to struggle with the very basics and are being heavily criticized for poor service, price gouging, billing problems, and generally poor customer relations.

40 percent of the top 15 companies that most dissatisfy customers are communications firms, according to the latest data from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

The companies American most dislike include Facebook and cable systems, which operate as near monopolies and consumerss have no real competitors to turn to for better service. The scores for the companies are:

Direct TV: 68/100
Facebook: 66/100
Comcast: 61/100
Time Warner: 63/100
Cox Communications: 63/100
Charter Communications: 59/100

These are failing scores on any grading system.
The companies have little incentive to spend time and money to improve service and relations with customers because there is no real competition that can discipline the market and promote consumer benefits. The problem is compounded because cable services are largely unregulated and there are no watchdogs to demand better behaviour in the absence of market-imposed sanctions.
That means the only thing that can drive improvement is company pride, but it is abundantly apparent that these firms have no shame and really don't care what their customers think.