I doubt there is any human on this planet who a. can read and/or b. has an asset that doesn't know that we've been spiralling into a likely recession which could last awhile. That's pretty stressful I'd say, wouldn't you?
If you checked out my last blog post, you probably noticed that I called upon the majority of the CRM software vendors to take some business leadership and do something for people, not use the crisis to figure out a better sales pitch for software. I'm not saying don't sell software - if they didn't, it would make the crisis worse, since business would fall off, n'est ce pas? But don't use the crisis as the excuse to pitch. Provide people in pain with some help in finding pain killers.
Well, that goes to what I want to rant about today - and rant is exactly what I mean.
My wife and I like to cruise. I don't mean use our '57 Chevy (since we don't have one) to go out on the mean streets and roam, but to go on ocean and sea traveling vehicles a.k.a. ships that take us to exotic climes where we can rest and relax and hang. Since we've been reasonably profligate spenders on these things, and tend to cruise on slightly upscale lines (as opposed to the heavily expensive super blue blooded ones) we get a lot of cruise pitches in the mail from the super blue bloods. Well, a couple of days ago, we got one dated October 3, 2008 that made the red part of my blood boil.
It came from the desk of Sven-Olof Lindblad, the presumptive President of Lindblad Explorations, the cruise line that is VERY expensive, that handles among other things the National Geographic cruises to places like Antarctica - in luxury of course. I don't mind that. I don't mind getting the literature and fantasizing about the lush locales and the stunning scenery and the life in the lap of luxury that they all promise. Hell, its fun to think about and its marketing at its most descriptively saccharine.
But this was different.
Here are the first four paragraphs - exactly as they are written. The heading is Sven-Olof Lindblad, which makes me presume that they want me to think this is a personal message straight from the jefe's desk. Signed it "Sven" in that fake pen-like signature. Note the personalized greeting.
It is Friday, October 3, 2008. The last two weeks have been remarkable. One major financial institution after another has collapsed or been bought or is waiting to be rescued by the government. The stock market has behaved like a gigantic roller coaster. And today, or by the time you get this letter, Congress will either have voted or not voted to inject massive government funds into the financial institutions. Confidence in government is at an all-time low.
Would it be fair to say we live in stressful times? I think so, because uncertainty in one form or another is all around us in abundance. Is this making you feel overtly concerned or nervous, even frightened at some level? That's stressful.
I don't want to be presumptuous, but I suggest you do what might seem counter-intuitive at this moment - make plans to travel somewhere with us in the next nine months. This isn't escapism or self-indulgence; its the antidote to toxic stress and uncertainty.
Focus on what has lasting value, what endures - Nature - and you'll be making the only fool-proof investment you can make right now, for the short and long term. Let me explain why."
The BIG Problem with This
Do you see what this....this.....(fill in favorite pejorative) is doing? This is opportunism at its most rank, its most foul, its most disgusting. Our really concerned friend Sven tries to take advantage of the stress and fear created by the economic uncertainty.As a benevolent buddy, Sven suggests something "counter-intuitive" like paying $40,000 so that you and your significant other could have "the antidote to toxic stress and uncertainty." Probably HIS antidote because of his stress and fear over what perhaps is Lindblad declining revenues (I don't know that though),despite the fact that the clientele Lindlbad has doesn't have the same monetary concerns most of us do. This is a man who rings entirely untrue when it comes to his concern for his customers. He clearly doesn't give a damn. That horrid line about the "focus on what has lasting value, what endures - Nature...." is nothing more than him using a peaceful image of something stable to get you to spend your money on Lindblad Explorations. Note that in his little missive above, he doesn't even say, take a trip - he says take a trip with us . So, I presume, the trip I am already taking with Celebrity Cruise lines (set up LONG before this crisis) won't reduce my stress or decrease my fear. Only Sven and Linblad Explorations can do that.
I don't care that he is trying to sell his product. I care that he is effectively lying to his customers about his reasons for it. As a result, I will NEVER take a cruise with Lindblad Explorations.
There is a line that a company shouldn't cross - and that line is deceiving frightened people - especially during a crisis. This is bottomfeeding. Sven should shut up because he crossed the line - and it wasn't the International Date Line.
If you make his "fool-proof investment" you've only proved yourself a fool.
If you would rather hear me rant about this than read about this (a literary trick, since you've already read about this), here is the snippet of the rant I did on Brent Leary's wildly popular Technology for Business Sake radio/internet show yesterday, kindly provided to me by Brent himself.