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Campaign Insurance

It’s a campaign year and advertising’s already blitzing.  The candidates and their super pacs are spending millions trying to influence you and me.

So, our challenge will be to live in relative peace while these tea pot skirmishers whistle all around us. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to avoid their de-civilizing influence, since their campaigns require us to become more than passive observers.

I won’t minimize the danger. These peddlers are experienced professionals. They know which heartstrings yield maximum emotional response, and they know how to pull every single one of them. Their curious science of consent engineering leverages normal human cognitive facilities to cruelly manipulate belief. 

They could make me vote for a chicken if I let them in. You, too.

So, I’ve adopted a few tried-and-true defenses, I call them My Campaign Insurance, which I re-deploy every campaign season Slip over here for more ...


The Invisible Hum

Piracy used to concern me deeply. Over a decade ago, I discovered than an ex-business partner had been passing off stuff I owned as his own, so I consulted with an intellectual property attorney. He determined that I did own the stuff, then sent a nasty gram to the offender, who simply denied the facts. “Well, you could sue him,” the attorney reported. “That will cost you over a hundred thousand dollars, and even if the court finds in your favor, they’ll be no way to force them to pay up or prevent them from just changing their company name and continuing the practice.”

This was humbling news. My copyright clearly designated ownership, but gave me no protection against unscrupulous operators. So, I called up my ex-partner and told him that I would make a point of telling prospective clients to watch out for him, as he was a pirate. “If you do that, I’ll sue!” he sputtered. “Great,” I thought, then my insurance will cover the cost of litigation, and I will most certainly win.”

Turns out that there’s a ton of law against unscrupulous operators, but exercising the rights granted under those laws gets problematic. Anything I create could be swiped at any time, and I’m unlikely to even know about it, let alone have actual recourse. Now, the monied segment of the content industry lobbies Congress to pass new stricter laws to ‘prevent intellectual property piracy.’ Might as well throw in a rider banning lustful thoughts while they’re at it. Slip over here for more ...


The Pleasing Paradox

The Pleasing Paradox

I recently worked with a group that was trying hard to make their customers happy. Their customers were, likewise, also focused upon making their customers happy. The whole place felt self-sacrificial, as if the key to success could be found in doing whatever it takes to please others. No one seemed terribly happy with the results.

They were playing into The Pleasing Paradox. Studies have shown that the most satisfied customers have had one or more disappointing experience with their service provider. Recovery creates more satisfied customers than flawless delivery ever does.

The challenge is to be of service without becoming servile. We shouldn’t elevate any customer to the role of superior being, but treat each with human respect. 

Human respect does not involve treating others as if they were superior or defining your self through their expectations just because they're paying the bill. Human respect means being responsible, not overly responsible— a curious form of irresponsibility. Don’t cut others' meat for them.

Human respect demands that I respect myself so that I can respect others. Whenever I take that humbling step down and backwards, I can lose my own self respect, and thereby forfeit my ability to really respect—or be of real service—to anyone else. When I can engage with my customer as a peer, we both seem more satisfied with the result. Slip over here for more ...


New Shoes

New shoes,
fresh out of the box today,
they’ll smell like something I’m proud to say
belongs to me, for a few days, anyway.

My old shoes
fit like they were a part of me.
Though they couldn’t hold the shine I’d used to see;
I could not believe when they’d started to leak.

So I bought new shoes,
Though the old style’s discontinued now,
I found something close to my familiar style,
I’m not yet sure these’ll really work in the long run, still,
Time’ll tell.

It’s a new year,
foisted from some midnight haze;
they tell me it’s the end of the good old days,
I knew so well. I say, “Oh Hell, I know this well.”

It’s like new shoes.
An alien presence for a time,
but soon even these will loose their shine
and that curious smell, and I will come to know them as well
as my old ones.


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