Musings from George

Cultural divide
August 27, 2008, 3:04 pm
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I’m in Bangalore, and it is very different from what I expected. Leaving the hotel this morning, there was indeed a cow comfortably esconced on the sidewalk across the street. Not tied up, just on the sidewalk. Traffic is chaotic and crowded, so I figured a cow couldn’t live very well on the street.

Well, tonight on the way home we passed the cow in traffic. No minder, no halter, no leash … just a cow walking down the middle of the street. it is hard to imagine anything like it in the US. Plenty of thin, short-haired dogs too. Everyone seems to share the space pretty well.

Stereotypes lead one to believe that India is overrun with poor people, crowded and run down. Experience leads me to report that Bangalore is quite beautiful, if not wealthy. It is a city in transition, with new buildings going up and roads being built all around, while other buildings crumble in disrepair. Cubbon Park (as with so many things, named after a Brit who was here long ago) is as beautiful as Central Park in NY, and the trees around our office park are a pleasant reminder of nature. The people I have met have been kind, friendly, and helpful. I’m very impressed.

Hillary says “go Obama”; can’t wait to see what Bill has to say.



Reasonable people doing unreasonable things
August 25, 2008, 11:05 pm
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I work at a high-tech company, and interact with a lot of customers. Many of them are wonderful people, who truly understand that software is complex and that enhancements are rarely delivered overnight. But some of them seem to believe that the only way to be heard is to shout, and the way to get attention is to escalate matters to the executive level.

Okay, I’m at the executive level. So perhaps a lot of what makes it to me is unreasonable, and comes from those who feel the need to complain in a loud voice.

It occurred to me that when we treat that loud, abrasive customer as they wish to be treated (oh what seems to be the matter? they didn’t do _what_? heavens, I’ll jump right on that) we are training them to be loud and abrasive. We are shorting the calm, respectful client who waits in line as we have asked them to do.

A few years back there was a big movement to “fire your customers”, and I think that too is the wrong approach. The power of a bad experience is too strong to give to this loud and abrasive customer.

So what do I advocate? I’m going to wear them down with patience, and I am NOT going to do anything exceptional for the squeaky (and sometimes mean) wheels. That’s my resolution.

Can’t escape politics entirely in my blog, I’m afraid. Biden??? did someone say the mantra was ‘Change’? how does that rhyme with Biden?? I am not one of those who advocated Hillary (can you _imagine_ Bill Clinton being demoted to Second Lady?), but there were many more progressive and aggressive choices out there. Biden seems a little too much like Cheney for me, and his gaffes will be McCain’s manna. Oh well.

I’ve gotta run, got some patience to serve up to some mean customers!