Working With The Churlish


churlish

This is not a race or an animal for those of you who are not native English speakers this is a word that describes certain people who have a very nasty demeanor about them. They act in a mean-spirited and surly way. Maybe you know one or two? I do.

 

A churlish person is difficult to work or deal with and it is in their nature to try to score points against those they dislike. It often manifests itself in their verbal interaction and in their correspondence. They are unpleasant, mean and deliberately discourteous.

Mean-spiritedness with petty and ungracious actions towards people has no place in the office, but sadly there are those who make it their purpose in life to be like this.

If you are a victim and are affected by churlish behavior it might make life unpleasant at times, especially if you are in a direct working relationship with them.  The churlish like to focus on those individuals they dislike and part of the armory they possess is the sad act of mobbing or bullying.  Stand above it.

 

Here is an article from Harvard on the subject: https://hbr.org/2014/10/how-to-deal-with-a-mean-colleague.

The best advice is to realize that you should not take the blame and you can stand up to them – it is a well-known fact that churlish bullies pick targets that are highly skilled and well-liked.

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Social Media Bitchiness


There is a sickness in the world and it is called Social Media … Actually Social Media is OK, it is the nasty folk that hide behind it which is the real problem.  Even something as trite as trying to get a book publisher turned into a recent bitch fest.

Austin Macauley is a Publishing House that still accepts unsolicited manuscripts so naively I sent something in, thinking why not? The book I have written is a little quirky and all about Social Media; All the BAD that it has created. I did not expect a positive response from AM but one (naively) always hopes for a positive reaction.  Even a positive-negative response is a step in the right direction for any author.  Months on and a follow-up email to them went without response.  For some reason (a sixth sense) I got a little suspicious and thought maybe this is a scam…p.s. the book (if it ever publishes) will explain my paranoia.

Looking around on-line I came across this: The Writers Workshop and an article by Harry Bingham who was questioning the methods of AM the Publisher…intimating that they are in reality a Vanity Publishers as they ask you to pay to have your book published.

Having tweeted this story on my Twitter account AM’s Social Media Manager decided they didn’t like what they read and responded immediately.  Their SM dashboard had obviously flashed up a signal that criticism was being levied at them. I was slightly incensed that they were rapid enough to write to me on Social Media but had not responded to my other more inquisitive correspondence about my manuscript via their website.

I sensed that the Harry Bingham story and my subsequent Tweet had hit a raw nerve … and suddenly this came through: … ‘we sent you an email but it didn’t get through.’ Ermmm! Email that does not get through … not in 2017 to a very simple address … I was not convinced!  Then I suddenly received, ‘with no problem’, the standard blah blah blah your book does not meet the criteria of our reading list etc. No thank you! Fair enough I thought!

Meanwhile the Social Media conversation was ongoing.  In the thread the following was said:

@AustinMacauley It took Social Media accusations of skulduggery to get a response – I need to burn the book hahaha! Vanity be thy name!

This was swiftly followed by a BITCHY message that is glowing in sarcasm and has ‘fuck-you’s’ all over it.

@ASChaigneau We are very sorry that our email did not get through the first time round, but are very glad that you’ve seen it now.

Oooooohhhhh How beautifully crafted is that Tweet – English wordsmithery at its best. Worthy of a Book Publisher hahaha n’est ce pa?  How subtle is that ‘go fuck yourself’ message. #LOL (Normally water of a duck’s back but I will not let this one go. It is perfect for the next book…to be continued)

THE HOW-TO GENRE IS THE BIGGEST ‘CON’ IN ‘CON’TENT MARKETING


I followed a Twitter link on a HOW-TO subject that interested me for the simple fact I have to write case-studies … I naturally fell upon this typical ‘Content Marketing’ nonsense advice.

Desperately disappointing and so typical of the WWW repository of nothingness!

How to write a credible case study

At XXXX we have written hundreds of case studies for clients like Microsoft, HP and LinkedIn. Based on our process and experience, here are ten tips to help you write better case studies:

  • Do your groundwork.  NO SHIT SHERLOCK! I AM NOT GOING TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING FOR A CLIENT THAT I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT AND THEY EMPLOYED ME!!! Understand the product or service being sold, and research the companies on both sides of the deal. This can be as simple as reading the ‘About Us’ section on a company website, or their company news page. You need some context for the deal you’re writing about.
  • Get some background. I AM CONFUSED HERE ABOUT OBVIOUS QUESTIONS! Try to get hold of the person who was on the ground and made the deal, and get them to tell you what happened. Get some background so when you speak to the client you aren’t wasting their time with obvious questions.
  • Interview the right person. WELL I NEVER! … WHAT? GET HOLD OF PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WORKED ON THE DEAL! … The real story will come from the people actually involved in procurement, implementation and customer relations. Avoid interviewing marketing or PR people, as they will only tell you a repackaged story, which will sound hollow when you write it up. You want the real customer, preferably a champion of your product.
  • Find the story. A USE CASE IS A STORY OTHERWISE THERE IS NO STORY! This is the crux of the case study. There has to be a story: a struggle before, a journey to improve, and a benefit in the present. This doesn’t always mean profits: it might be improved employee retention, saved time or a new business model. The focus is on what matters most to the person you interview. And make sure you tell the real story – no inflated figures.
  • Create a template. NOT THE CREATE A TEMPLATE ADVICE – WHOOPEE DOO DAH! Once you have your basic story you can build a structure. Most case studies fall into company biography, challenge, process and benefits. Structures are there to emphasise the story, not shackle it though. Tweak it to the story, and give yourself four or five subheadings.
  • Categorise your transcript. GO THROUGH YOUR NOTES… ARGHHH! OH YES … IT BECOMES AUTOMATIC DOESN’T IT? Take your interview notes and go through them, assigning each part to one of your subheadings. You should end up with three to five key points for each section. The more you write, the more automatic this step will become.  The flow of the story will be obvious as you do the interview.
  • Find your key quotes. WHAT THE EFFS A FRANKENQUOTE??? Never use frankenquotes in a case study; people can spot them a mile off. It is best to use short, snappy quotes, dotted throughout the case study that underline or explain one of your bullet points. Let your interviewee’s personality shine through.
  • Flesh it out. OH MY – NOW WRITE IT ALL DOWN????? You have a structure, bullet points and key quotes, which means the writing part should now flow easily. If it doesn’t, you haven’t got to the real heart of the story: go back and reassess the structure to make sure you are emphasising the right points.
  • Clean it up. EDITING BABY EDITING_IMPORTANT STEP N’EST CE PAS! … Don’t use too many marketing phrases or clichéd product explanations – keep it human, but make sure you are referring to products correctly, and types of implementation or acquisition in the right way. Keep the story accurate. And be sure to include specifics.
  • Cut your copy. WHAT RANDOMLY SAYING ANYTHING A MILLION TIMES IS NOT GOOD???? MAKE IT VITAL HA! HA! HA! – SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!!! A case study shouldn’t be longer than 500-750 words. Any more and people just won’t read it. Cut out repetition, shorten quotes, and make sure everything you write is vital to the story.

Toxic People At Work – The Art of Mobbing.


In a big company it is clear that you can avoid toxic people (sadly they do exist) unless you work very closely with them.  Your work environment can become unnecessarily unpleasant, which it should never be. Toxic workers engender conflict.  It is what they want, that is what makes them thrive, because they have a single personal goal and that is to get rid of you. They want you gone because you have in some banal way upset their personal status-quo in the office, especially if you have challenged them or doubt their value in any shape or form. They are generally less then interesting people that often feel that they are, or should be, superior to you. It is widely known that they are in the main control freaks, possibly in a dead-end job and are frustrated by their inability to dominate you as an individual.  This irks them to the point that it manifests itself in an innate, uncontrollable struggle within themselves to gain a dominance over you.  They rally others to their aid through many manipulative and subversive ways; both openly and in secret. The new word for this is ‘Mobbing’.

A lot of people who have never experienced or seen a mobbing situation really do not understand what this topic is all about, nor can they understand why this actually happens.  Nice people cannot comprehend why anyone would verbally attack, insult and menace co-workers, because for them it makes no sense. Well it does not make sense because it is the office and not a life-or-death situation, nor is it the 100,000 Euro Koh-Lanta challenge?  Mobbing situations are simply either personal dislikes (sometimes incompatible human chemistry) that cannot be overcome especially when it involves simple work related tasks and other banal aspects of daily working life.

Mobbing generally starts with the mobber’s accusation that you are ‘going behind their back’ in some work aspect, which could be a simple not CC’ing them in an email, to speaking to one of their subordinates without letting them know what the conversation is about.  The control freak in them is disturbed and if you do not cede then they start to up-the mobbing-anti – AND if you still fail to cede to their ways then it becomes an all out war for them.

The perpetrators of this work bullying habit often consider themselves perfect and are narcissistically blameless if confronted.  ‘IF’ is a big word in this case, because this is a subject that most people cannot easily confront.  When it is an adult to child situation i.e. school bullying … there is intervention and the situation can be sorted out.  NOT when it comes to adult to adult bullying.  This is where people have a hard time dealing with this kind of situation hence its meteoric rise in the work-place.

There are plenty of workplace bullying cases with a lot of explanation for the problem, but little in terms of solution as can be seen from the reams of data on the WWW covering such people-v-people situations.

Extract from Wikipedia  – British anti-bullying researchers Andrea Adams and Tim Field have used the expression “workplace bullying” instead of what Leymann called “mobbing” in a workplace context. They identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as “an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace.”[11]

Adams and Field believe that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organised production or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually “exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication”.

 

 

So with that in mind there is really only two ways to deal with it.  One is to ignore it as best as possible – As they often say in life – “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” No matter how hard it is you must remember that the person doing the mobbing would not do this if they were really a nice person, deep down inside.  They are actually troubled individuals who are psychologically fragile and it is not YOU that has the problem.  In fact you must learn to rise above them and pity them for they are ill.

The other way of dealing with this is of course a much more sweet and satisfying method, but condemned by many.  This is the age old cure for bullying; a fast hard smack in the mouth or several … BUT BEWARE … The workplace bully actually wants that to happen because the result is that YOU will be seen as the guilty party and YOU will be asked to leave the company. THEY, the mobber, will have then gloriously achieved what they so badly wanted in the first place.  Even if it means taking a beating to get it, they will cherish having pushed you over the edge. So if you do revert to this second method just don’t do it in public 😉

It is a delicate subject that cannot be dealt with easily and management does not want to tackle this kind of problem.  Sadly the workplace bully is smart enough to know this and vile enough to continue their nefarious, stupid and reprehensible tactics.

 

The rigours of life and television … is still the same as it ever was.


Let’s open with a quote from Colin Dixon’s (of NScreenMedia) well written article on TV viewing habits, where we are debating (in the comments) the merits of the small screen in the mix of viewing devices.  We all have our opinions on that.

On-demand, live, and online viewing peak at the same time

What is interesting and to me, and hardly a revelation, is that people all watch TV when they can or want to. It is generally around the same time, in the evening after work, after homework and after the kids bedtime (if you have some of course) – This is called PRIME TIME VIEWING – i.e. it is when you are most available to consume content uninterupted. So no matter where it comes from, Prime Time content is still Prime Time content.  The TV industry and ‘wannabee TV operators’ (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat et al) think they can all have you as their sole Prime Time viewer…

I have covered this time and time again – Despite all of the content that is available, on all of the systems we have, we all have a limited window of time that we can offer this particular entertainment medium.  Most stats reveal that it is the same window of opportunity on a per country basis, which is enough for the news, a couple of TV shows and/or a film.  There is simply too much TV available today to fill everyone’s 15 years-of-lifetime-TV-viewing (yes we spend around 15 years of our lives in front of the TV).

Nothing new: Rebecca Lake a financial journalist from North Carolina – published this in 2015

What’s the most popular time of day for watching TV?
Prime time is when the majority of viewers are tuning in, with nearly 2 hours of daily TV watching taking place between 8 and 10 pm. Daytime TV airing between 11 am and 4 pm comes in second, with people watching about 1 hour and 40 minutes on average.

However when Robots take over our jobs we will have more time to watch much, much more .

3DTV is Dead – I Am Gutted!


Can_You_See_in_3D_CartoonI am gutted because I have to write an ‘I told you so’ post.

I am one of many who verbally launched many an attack against 3DTV from its concept to deployment. I worked, once upon a time, at the DVB where it took thousands of man-hours of people’s time constructing technical specifications and a lot of associated standards. What a total waste of time … hang on … Perhaps it wasn’t, as this technology has certainly found a place in other fields other than television (e.g. Medical).

Six years ago I wrote the following: Nobody has compared the VIDEO/MOVIE market to the PHOTO market looking at the evolution and take-up of 3D Photography (which remains a niche and curiosity market). 3D Pictures were available to the Victorians, and 3D photography has been available in the market ever since – However, I do not see 3D Photos being demanded by the industry or 3D Picture Frames or 3D albums or 3D graphics novels … Why is that? Probably because it is not the way the brain was intended to view…Perhaps it is because we have sight that functions very, very well, those blessed with it. Now that we have high-resolution graphics it is possibly enough for the eyes. Yes, we have sight that is deemed OK except that 3D TV is trying to rearrange it?

This was in response to the fact that 3DTV physically altered the eyes positioning, focus and as such caused people to have headaches, feel nauseous, fall over, etc. TVs came with a HEALTH WARNING LABEL. Wasn’t that already a sign that this technology was doomed? On the 3DTV journey, I was heavily chastised for claiming that human beings never needed 3DTV. I was called a dinosaur…and not a Velociraptor more like a Brontosaurus if I remember…slow, lumbering and doomed to extinction. Well to all those people that called me out all those years ago…put 3D in your pipe and smoke it.

We will hear from others like Iolo Jones who, over the years, also spoke of its irrelevance. There will be more ‘I told you so’ articles for sure. I didn’t have a crystal ball moment when 3D was pushed towards TV; I had a moment of common sense…Well, I feel better now that this is off my chest. Now we have 4K, 8K, and HDR, AI, VR and more to look forward to. I suspect none of that will make it to mainstream if it means goggles, masks, helmets or any other head-mounted paraphernalia.

Watch this space.

The road to nowhere in particular


So CES was the year of voice activated devices according to many with human beings talking to inanimate objects in order to complete tasks like switching on the lights and turning on their music systems. One amazing use-case was:

“It’s great I can now switch on my wife’s electric blanket without getting up from couch”

Haha!  The film Wall-E comes to mind.  Lots of fat and useless human beings who have not moved any muscles for so long they have lost the ability to do anything for themselves.

We are now well on the road to nowhere in particular are we not?

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He Who Must Have The Last Word


There is a lot of information on this because sadly, it is not uncommon. The last word syndrome is a well-known psychological flaw. It frequently manifests itself in a person whose conversations, written and spoken words expose an egocentricity and need for supremacy. When any feeling of power is taken away from them, it irks them so much that they always look for ways to be the one to finish the conversation.

People with this bitter malediction usually strive to be the only expert voice, in their chosen field, over the people around them . They always know better. This feeling of supremacy naturally leads to a lack of respect for others that they are engaged with. It comes through with sarcastic and often childish attacks in their speech or writing. It is a form of bullying.  However, while they feel superior, they often never rise to the top in their career or business due to their real innate and deep-down insecurity.

A person who uses this form of power-play is often a very competitive, hardheaded person, possibly a high-level sportsperson from an individual sport such as squash, tennis or boxing where the last shot is always meant to be the winning shot. In their new domain of the business world, Email is their new game and the ‘last word’ their weapon of choice.

The only way to deal with this kind of person is to let them have the last word. Let them feel superior and let them revel in their churlish behavior because it will never change and you are often, unsuspectingly, just playing their game.

INTX is dead – Is this the beginning of the end of trade shows as we know it?


 

The International Broadcast Conference 2016 ended a few weeks ago. IBC is but one of many trade shows of 2016 very full TV trade show calendar. It is, I am afraid, an anti-climax to be back in the office, having toiled for the best part of a year to have a presence that was worthy of a large multi-national in the TV technology space. Don’t get me wrong it is a buzz being there, with great products and great people, meeting comrades in arms from all facets of the industry – But at what cost to the business, our health, and the environment? Naturally, on the first day, there is the anticipation of getting the show on the road; the doors open and in they all swarm – from the serious businesspeople to the tire kickers who are merely sent to look at the competition’s wares or the many amongst them who are looking for a job. We live the noise, the hustle and bustle and aching feet: Then suddenly it is all over – WHAT! All that work and suddenly back to the office … Yes, an anticlimactic end to the high of a trade show.  Let’s get ready for the next.

ATTENTION: Then out of the blue INTX (The NCTA Cable Show) was culled, and we were all stunned by the news! Is it the start of the demise of the traditional Trade show?  What next? How will this work out?

That led to some reflection.  Perhaps we are just kidding ourselves with this form of ‘peacock tail presentation’ of our wares because if we were to condense the actual ‘real-opportunity-for-sales’, we would see that the ROI is at best a little light from most if not all trade shows when they have gone on for far too long. Those of us who have done multiple TV trade shows will understand what I mean. It goes like this – A whole bunch of companies spend thousands of hours (and millions of dollars) organizing pop-up buildings to house technology presentations to have customer meetings and prospect for new clients. We ship the demos from around the world to that pop-up location (a place very unlike where they would be used) – They are expected to faultlessly work as if installed at a consumer’s home or an operator’s plant (for the back-office stuff). Booth ‘staff’ stand there in their corporate colors hoping that the sales team bring them prospects to see the TV offering. Yes! TV programs accessed with a remote control or tablet, which is the same as or similar to all their competitors in the same and adjacent halls. Oh! But wait, this is different it is from the ‘Cloud,’ you can get rid of your cable/satellite costs now, isn’t that wonderful? – Are you looking for such a solution? Oh! There is an RFI out. Great! Here’s my business card. INTX have called out the trade show in the quote below.

From the INTX website – “We believe large trade show floors, dotted with exhibit booths and stilted schedules have become an anachronism. Contemporary venues emphasize conversation, dialog, and more intimate opportunities to explore and interact with technology. Ending INTX gives us a clean slate, and we are excited to explore presenting our industry in new and different ways.”

Coming back from a trade show is quite an anti-climax because having crammed in hours of meetings throughout the year it all seems over too quickly. So much time to organize – so quick to end.  Remember those hundreds of international calls to decide on people, product, and placement. The ideas garnered for storytelling; the designing of phrases to capture the attention of prospectors who may want to buy some TV technology, and all of the stress of deadlines. There are so many heated debates and petty arguments that take place on the way, all over many minor things before the show even begins, such as shelving or no shelving, screen sizes, story sentences and then BAM! It is all over in a flash, torn down with mountains of carpets, cable and crap dumped in the trash. Am I the only one that finds that disappointing? What happens to all the people that fill the IBC halls full of intellectual phrases such as; ‘World Leaders in …, Best in Class Providers of …’ Well they all go home and prepare for the next event that is right around the corner.

The question is – In 2017 and onwards do we need to spend millions of dollars on steel girder structures, carpeted concrete floors and millions of megawatts of expensive electricity for TV, 4K UltraHD, VR, HDR demos that only live for a week? It is not ecological, sensible or healthy for humans, let alone the planet. The NCTA thinks not.

N.B. In the USA alone Tradeshows generate an incredible 600,000 tons of trash every year, just to show-off ‘product and services’ to the 60 million people who attend them. Ironically we even have trade shows around Waste & Recycling!

All of this wasted money and mountains of trash that we pour into landfills and incinerators is especially troubling when the poor are still starving, and the world around us is a bubbling hotbed of xenophobia and warmongering.

Meanwhile, back at base, there is the post trade show autopsy that discusses how it went, were the goals achieved, what can we do better? Of course, there are good points to be had at all of these events. Some people/companies will have maximized their presence with press, analysts, customers and prospects. We have the positives and the negatives from all corners of the enterprise, we do write it all down, share it and get on with business. Then in a very short space of time we brush off our dusty last show personas and look towards the next show, which is the BIGGY – CES2017 … Where it all starts over again in a more gigantic and irrealistic manner.

p.s. Who has a better idea of how to get all these worldwide industry executives to your people, to your stuff? That is not an easy question. Because if a show does not close down like INTX has, we will always be present the following year.  The reasoning is that if we are not then the Company must be in trouble.’

Millennials are killing TV – LOL!


While researching this topic I noticed a slight difference in the definition of the group Millennials.  WJSchroer defines them as born between 1977-1994. Pew Research says this of Millennials in the chart below = Generation Y (1981 -1998).

ft_16_04_25_generationsbirths

  • McCrindle Research Center defines Millennials as being 1980-1994 and “Gen Z” (i.e. post-millennials) as being 1995-2009
  • Strauss and Howe use 1982 as the Millennials’ starting birth year and 2004 as the last birth year.

We use the term Millennial very liberally in 2016. They are seen as the group that will decide the future of many things, including Television.  We constantly hear that Millennials do not consume TV like the other groups before them.  They have a dislike of pay-TV services and do not have Televisions in their homes (Errrm! What if they live with people of a previous generation?).  Is all of this noise around Millennials a true gauge of the future of the world of business?  I have a feeling that if you were to look at those born in 1981 and those born in 1998 you would see an enormous difference in their perception of the world and how they function in it.   Millennials are not all born equal.

‘Millennials’, like the Gen X group, is just too broad a group for it to mean anything.  It has become a psychobabble term for writers and speakers to put some credibility on a particular target market, to justify their reasoning for their theories on how to win them over…It gives them kudos, and we do not question. I am however, questioning the use of this term as an accurate or relevant marketing justification.

We use this pigeon-holing method because we need factual evidence i.e. numbers to support our ideas and conclusions on modern consumption.  e.g. Millennials don’t do this; Millennials don’t do that, and by the way here is a pie chart to prove it. These Millennial statistics worry me because they can easily deliver misinformation, they do not go deep enough to find the real cause of a generation behavioural shift.  I just read a fantastic article on this subject by  Laura Marsh @lmlauramarsh – The Myth of the Millennial as Cultural Rebel | New Republic.  In it, she talks about reasons why Millennials car share, flatshare, dont buy houses, marry late etc.  She states that ‘Millennials in the USA are feeling the pain of lower living standards,’ which therefore naturally impacts their spending and attitude towards the world around them.  Laura hits the nail on the head many times in this wonderfully written piece. She writes, … when headlines of “Millennials are killing the X industry” could just as easily read, “Millennials are locked out of the X industry.” There’s nothing like being told precarity is actually your cool lifestyle choice.”

lifeevents

Just to wrap this up – My argument is that Millennials are not any different than previous generations, other than they live in an era where technology has enormously changed the world they live in.  In fact it has changed the world for all generations still living.  I recently read that we have now reached the tipping point in society where technology is actually causing more unemployment than the creation of new jobs. This could be a life-event factor as Millennials have less disposable income. Millennials also choose to stay single longer.  However they do have many ‘life-events’ just like everyone before them … So while they are young, adventurous, virile and sporty, why would they plonk themselves in front of a TV.  I see a lot of them down the pub having fun, socialising or out playing sport.  What I believe is that as they grow older Millennials settle down, get married, have babies, buy houses and eventually flop in front of the TV when tired after a hard day in the office.  Marketing to them in that mode changes, but they are still considered somehow a different audience.

When you dig deeper, it is indeed revealing that there is a flaw in the narrative regarding the group we call the Millennials.  The people who are killing industries with their non-conformist lifestyle.