Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal

I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Here are some common mistakes business development professionals make.
  • Not taking the time to understand the user's business.
  • Impersonal, random, canned approach lines.
  • Too many "follow up" emails without value to the reader.
But the worst mistake of all is one I rarely see talked about: failing to talk UX in the user's language.

If technology marketers do a shitty job talking in the user's language, it's not because they're stupid. Arguably these are some of the smarter people in the room, generally speaking.

So what is the problem? I would argue that the issue has to do with a dysfunctional organizational culture, one that implicitly conveys a kind of classism: We are better than our customers.

Of course, nobody is actually going to say that they think the customer is stupid. But if you listen closely, you can hear this type of thinking in phrases like this:
  • "Their system is in the DARK AGES."
  • "Yeah, they REALLY could use some help."
  • "Talking to those folks was SCARY."
Don't get me wrong: I'm not judging people who develop and sell technology solutions. Just the opposite: I have a pretty low opinion of organizations that fail to take advantage of the latest and greatest technology, especially when it comes to customer service.

But this is just common sense: If you're selling to people who aren't literate at all in the type of product you're offering, and you fail to pay attention to what matters to them, then you are a poor salesperson.

Again, common sense: The only reason I can think of that people would leave money on the table is a psychological flaw that has morphed into a socially acceptable norm. And unfortunately, many technology experts do have that flaw of insecurity, because they're not good at a lot of other things in life but they are extraordinary with a computer.

As a result, when technology experts get together and create a workplace culture, they tend to hold pissing matches about who has the latest and greatest stuff, and who knows more than who, and so on and so forth the one-upmanship goes. All fine and good, maybe -- until they're sitting in front of a prospective customer, who has no idea what any of this is, or why it should matter to them, because at the end of the day they are sitting in front of a pile of problems and they don't have enough people to address them manually.

All fine and good until the technology experts not only fail to land the client, but they also fail to appreciate the kind of employee who can round out their offering and correct their dysfunctional group mentality. Specifically, tech marketers need:
  • Empathic, low-tech salespeople who appreciate the pain that prospective customers feel.
  • Networkers, who can find out what the social scene looks like in terms of who is adopting what technology and where.
  • Researchers, who can develop files on actual and potential competitors, and can assess the effectiveness of the organization itself.
  • Open source intelligence gatherers, who can put their noses to the ground and find out, online and off, who exactly is talking to who.
The most successful organizations, including technology service providers, are those which stay in close touch with the "human factor" while maintaining an unimpeachable edge in proactive, cross-spectrum automation with an equally unimpeachable hard-shell cybersecurity defense line.

Being in touch with people is far from a weakness for these companies.

But prizing their own superiority?

That's a chocolate cake that will never bake up good, no matter how much butter and sugar you mix into it.


Copyright 2018 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. This post is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are the author's own. CC0 Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Civil servants have long been the butt of mean jokes and equally nasty headlines, frequently stereotyped as lazy workers in a wasteful, gnarled-up bureaucracy. More recently, for a variety of reasons, concerns have been raised about the hidden power wielded by the administrative state.

But deviance is a fact. What that means, in plain terms, is that every social structure, every institution, every organization, every group, and every team will have its dysfunctional aspects as well as a few extremely bad apples.

Deviance is a fact: It doesn't matter who's in charge.

Unfortunately, the unique dysfunctions of the civil service are very hard to understand unless you actually work there. The following hilarious scene, from Season 2, Episode 15 of the hit NBC show 30 Rock (original air date: May 8, 2008), highlights this perfectly.

Click here to watch: "Jack's First Day In Government"

In it, "Jack" (played by Alec Baldwin) joins the government and finds out pretty quickly from "Cooter (played by Matthew Broderick) that all is not quite what it seems from the outside.

Following is my transcription of the hilarious dialogue, which is about one minute in length.

Bureaucrat: "Hey, you must be Jack Donohue. Cooterburger, Vice Chair of Farm Subsidies, Acting Head of FEMA, Temporary Acting Head of the FBC while the Acting Head Is On Trial."
Jack: "Ah, you've had a lot of shakeups around here lately, huh?"
Bureaucrat (Cooter): "I couldn't disagree with you more. The Administration has been streamlined. And the media are so obsessed by the current election they've completely forgotten that we're here. It's an exciting time."
Jack: "I'm glad to hear it. I don't like to think of this President as a lame duck. I like to think of him as a lame...eagle." (There is a pause as drops of water fall down on the desk in front of him.) "The ceiling appears to be leaking."
Bureaucrat: "It's not. We've looked into it and it's not." (He turns to get some paper and a pen from the desk.) "If you have any questions, I'll write down my extension for you." (Bureaucrat writes with a stub on a small yellow Post-it pad.)
Jack: "Do you need a pen?"
Bureaucrat: "No. I've kind of gotten used to it."
Jack: "You don't have pens?"
Bureaucrat: "We're not in a recession."
Jack: "Boy, we've gotta crack the whip around here Cooter, you don't have pens, the roof is leaking."
Bureaucrat: "It's not, I'll show you the study. Hey, we have a meeting with the Appropriations Committee like now."
Jack: "Oh no, I'm not prepared."
Bureaucrat: "I know, I'm not drunk either. But we'll manage."

Copyright 2018 (not the script text) by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. The author's content is hereby released into the public domain. Photo is a screenshot.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

On May 9, 2011, a year and four months before the death of then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, someone posted this with the headline: “Libyan orphans sold as sex slaves by the European/NATO people.”

We do not have the provenance of this photo, which appeared on another site, one providing alternative news analysis and opinion.

On August 26, 2011 -- just two weeks before then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was murdered in Benghazi -- the alternative news site PrisonPlanet.com posted an article that linked to a video (since deleted) purporting to show "rebels" (who were actually directed by the U.S. and other nations) raping young girls.

The author, Paul Joseph Watson, blamed a politicized media for downplaying the crimes of the rebels, who he claimed were backed by the U.S., U.K., and France and supported by Al-Qaeda. He wrote (archived version here):
"The establishment media’s portrayal of the Libyan rebels as freedom-loving liberators fighting to overthrow a dictatorial regime doesn’t quite live up to the hype....The Libyan rebels have proven themselves to be just as if not more brutal than Gaddafi loyalists, which is unsurprising given the fact that they are being commanded by British, French and American Special Forces (link goes to UK's The Guardian and works), along with Al-Qaeda terrorists (Prison Planet)
Four days prior, Watson expressed his concern that the U.S. would, in Libya, back the very same terrorists it was supposedly fighting in Afghanistan:
"While U.S. troops are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq in the supposed fight against terrorists, those same terrorists are now being handed control of an entire country, along with its lucrative resources, as a massive NATO bombardment of Tripoli aids the Al-Qaeda backed rebels in their overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi.
And of empowering these people, ostensibly the target of the expensive "war on terror" instituted in the aftermath of 9/11?
"The United States formally recognized the rebel council as the country’s legitimate government last month, despite the fact that the rebel army was admittedly spearheaded by Al-Qaeda terrorists who are supposedly the target of a multi-decade “war on terror” that is now in its tenth year and has cost the U.S. a staggering $5.4 trillion since 9/11....The Telegraph confirmed that Al-Qaeda fighters had joined with anti-Gaddafi rebels in a story entitled, Libya: the West and al-Qaeda on the same side."
The August 26, 2011 Prison Planet article notes:
"....The UN has acknowledged war crimes have been committed on both sides, but the establishment media has been loathe to report any atrocities other than those allegedly committed by Gaddafi’s forces."
The war crimes very specifically included alleged systematic child rape, but no proof as the links provided below are gone:
"The UN documented cases of rebels torturing migrant workers in rebel-held areas, while allegations of rebels torturing children (link does not work), raping young girls and beating old men have been captured on video (link does not work)."
Just three days later, What Does It Mean filed the following report, which draws on Watson's reporting as well as foreign media sources that I will not click on for obvious reasons. The fact that we can't get any information from the U.S. media makes these claims impossible to verify:
"Though many International reporters have attempted to alert the Western peoples to the atrocities being committed by NATO-led rebels they have nearly all been silenced by orders issued by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron.
Remember, this is 2011, just slightly before Ambassador Stevens was murdered in Benghazi. The article claims that even the international media simply cannot tell anyone what is really going on, and that their lives were in tremendous danger:
"In fact, if not for the forceful intervention by the International Red Cross many of these reporters would have been captured and executed this past week by these NATO-led rebels for exposing their war crimes against humanity." 
The anonymous writer states that the U.S. and U.K. worked together to save little children of as young as five years old from a massive rape wave carried out by the very same rebels whom Watson claimed were directed by the U.S., U.K., and France.

In other words, a military operation gone bad. 
"This report goes on to state that US and British strike teams began to round up Libyan girls and boys (some as young as 5-years-old) after discovering rebels raping hundreds of them after they 'liberated' Misurata from Gaddafi forces."
Here the article describes why the children appear in crates.
"Russian Foreign Ministry sources in this report further state that Sarkozy told Hu that upon the Americans learning about these child rapes by their own rebel forces they began abducting them first and after 'medicating and crating' them put them onto US Air Force transport planes headed towards either America or Great Britain."
The report continues on to raise concerns about the ultimate safety of these children rescued by the U.S. and U.K. Of course it does not make sense that the two governments would first save the children from rape, and then take them into child sex slavery, which is why it's not a great idea to rely uncritically on the alternative media for your news.

Clearly, though, a review of the U.S. Department of State's 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report for Libya shows that it heavily emphasized the role of the Gadhafi government in allowing human trafficking to flourish, stating: 
"The Libyan government took no discernible steps to improve the protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period." (See p. 225.)
President Trump has frequently criticized NATO, perhaps with an eye to its past behavior and not just its funding. Even a cursory review of the Web yields multiple references to the multinational partnership, which includes the United States, having gone "rogue" in Libya.

One reads it and weeps, as one does not want to believe that the United States could be part of any corrupt military-based international child-trafficking ring covered for by dishonorable spooks.

And it's all too easy to blame one scapegoat for everything bad that's gone down in the world. The truth is, everyone reports to someone.

When the military tribunal commences, one of the first things we will establish is: In corruption, what is the true chain of command? I find it implausible that complicated, illicit operations occur without a significant amount of collaboration.

On May 23, 2014, DC Clothesline published an article by Dave Hodges, of The Common Sense Show, titled: "If Ambassador Stevens Had Lived, the Benghazi Child Trafficking Practices Would’ve Been Revealed." Hodges writes:
"My sources tell me that this same CIA pattern, that was in play in Libya at the time of Stevens death, was followed and perfected with the Fast and Furious Drug and Gun running operation ....Drugs are still used to fund clandestine, regime change operations. Increasingly, as I am being told, a portion of child sex trafficking profits are being funneled into funding these same operations."
Think about the word "collusion." We heard it from who?

Amid this truism about sociopaths: They always accuse others of doing that which they themselves are guilty of.

Where have we heard about children in cages?

Question: Is Jeffrey Epstein just a sick, deviant, sex-crazed "pedophile" -- he didn't get much of a sentence -- or is he an international child sex trafficker who deliberately videotaped and/or photographed powerful men having sex with children? Why? For whom? Why would he have a dentist's chair?

Some things are very hard to understand.  Have you ever asked yourself how our former Vice President, Joseph Biden, a politician with a storied career, the father of Beau Biden, who himself prosecuted a monstrous pedophile vigorously, became known as "Creepy Joe Biden?"

We would like the media to do their jobs, but unfortunately they do not. We can only surmise that there is intimidation involved.

As we can still see online the February 2017 video of reporter Liz Crokin telling the world she was threatened for her investigation of the Clintons and "pizzagate."
Copyright by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are those of the original author. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Photo is a screenshot.