The Milgram Experiment in Crony CEO Capitalism, the Commonalities Between Enron and SuperMedia

September 11, 2010

Stop the Stock Scam by Crony Executives at SuperMedia and Verizon

In the early 1960’s Stanley Milgram, a scientist, wanted to uncover what kind of common characteristics existed in evil people. So he set up an experiment with an actor playing an experimental subject and a real experimental test subject. The real subject would ask a question to the subject (the actor) and then if the subject got the question wrong the real test subject would shock the actor with an “electric charge”, so long as the scientist, an authority,would reassure the test subject that what he/she was doing was the right thing. The electric charge was not real, the actor would scream out in pain as the test subject would increase intensity. Approx 50% of the test subjects tested would continue the shock treatment on the subject to the point of death.

This experiment is a classic example of what is wrong with evil corporations and crony executive leaderships. Test subjects or loyal sycophants will do anything, as long as they have the encouragement of the superior or authority figure.

For 10 years I was a participant in an industry that had an Enron style corporate culture. Regardless of what happened to clients, shareholders, and employees not in management, executives would continue to demand people stay the course. Executives, like Scott Klein the CEO of SuperMedia, had zero investment in the company. Employees who understand the business were told to “shut-up” and agree, accept, and fulfill the changes the new CEO was making. Regardless whether or not these changes are in the best interest of shareholders, employees, or the future of the organization.

Being a corporate leader requires the utmost ethical conscience, honesty, and fraud prevention and corporate crime policing.  Whistleblowers are to be respected and given a podium to speak from.

When the SEC began investigating Enron, Ken Lay reaffirmed traders and other employees that he and the company were frauded by “Andy” Fastow, yet the companies auditor Arthur Anderson was busy shredding evidence of wrongdoing. Ken Lay the Enron CEO shifted all responsibility to Andy, traders, the Government, and anyone else besides the executive leadership.

Jeffrey Skilling told employees to “invest your 401k” into Enron stock while he committed fraud. Skilling himself moved his money out of the stock. His Milgram Experiment was to keep influencing employees that what they were doing was right. Keep selling. Employees had faith in leadership. Leadership does not “fall on a knife” when corruption is discovered. When Scott Klein from Idearc met with employees, while being aware of his bankruptcy plans for the company, he assured employees and investors that the spin-off debt and stock arrangements were “strong.”

In Dallas, at a Fuller Drive meeting, Scott Klein the new CEO of Idearc Media reassured employees that the company was financially sound and had cash on the balance sheet few companies had. Instead of going into detail about the companies longterm plans, Scott Klein proceeded to pander to employees his “7 keys to success,”” a presentation better suited to High School kids.

Atleast, we now know how Mr. DeKlein likes his cocktails.

During the rise and fall of Enron, employees and investors were scammed for more than 20 billion. Just the same, Verizon scammed investors with Idearc stock, as well as FairPoint Communications and Hawaiian Telecom spin-offs. The fraud committed by Verizon, Idearc Executives, and SuperMedia’s CEO Scott Klein will be uncovered just like Enron in years to come.

I respect those who blow the whistle to protect the innocent. Those who are not in leadership or positions of influence. I respect the honest worker who gets up, turns on the pot of coffee and heads to work to do good. I respect the Good Guys, not those that put on a super cape and claim “Good Guy” status.

It is wrong to tell investors you have challenges with receivables yet turn around and increase the credit limitations to clients. It is wrong to tell investors good news while hiding the bad. This is manipulation and dishonest.

Milgram’s experiment emphasizes that leadership is ultimately responsible for corporate culture.

Leadership doesn’t get the axe. Take a look at the 545 folks who run this country. Do they get fired? They work for us voters, yet we can’t seem to fire them and they just blame the bad decisions on co-workers or subordinates.

It’s time to put your big boy britches on fellas. Grab your whistles, proxy statements and voting cards….. Make a CHANGE. It is in your hands. When people are crying out in pain, will you continue shocking them? Do you want the blood of the innocent on your hands? What will you do? I suggest it is time to grab and axe and start hacking away at the leadership team. Time for them to get fired!

(btw, I wonder why would an executive commit suicide? Enron’s executives did after the Justice Department began inquiring about illegal activities. Thousands of people faced with crimes go to prison or face social scrutiny, so why are white collar criminals so spineless that they become suicidal?)

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Google Launches Instant Search Feature

September 8, 2010

From Google:

Google Instant Search Feature Goes LiveGoogle Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.

The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.

Benefits

Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.


ReachLocal.com is launching new product called ReachCast for SEO and Social Media.

September 7, 2010

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ReachLocal.com, one of the nation’s largest paid search marketing resellers, is rumored to be launching a new offering to compliment its platform based paid search ( pay-per-click ) advertising offering called ReachCast.

Prices for ReachCast will begin at $400.00 per month. I am anxious to see more details of the offering.

I believe it will consist of:

-OnPage SEO
-Content Writing
-Social Media Management Tools

Not sure how “holistic” in nature the offering will be. Hopefully ReachLocal will release details soon.

I have more faith in ReachLocal than the offering by yellowpages, as I don’t feel ReachLocal has the same sales focused, churn and burn, anti-management/pro-sales approach, like SuperMedia’s SuperPages.com SMLocal offering.

Reporting is better by ReachLocal, so is rep retention and access to midlevel campaign optimization and rep training on SEM.

What I am concerned about is whether or not ReachLocal realizes that search engine marketing is not a product, it is a service. You can’t put this kind of holistic search engine marketing and social media interaction in a box. I have to admit that ReachLocal does invest heavily in building the best possible box and toolset in the search engine marketing space.  Regardless of whether to tool set is sharp and precise, you still need a coach to work with local small and medium-sized businesses to help them grow the skills to take offline social interactions and promote them in the proper channels online.

I wish ReachLocal much success wtih the Reach Cast  (  or ReachCast ) offering. I can’t wait for a tour of the product.

I reach local every single day, I reach local businesses to share my ideas, offerings, and suggestions to impact the bottom line while measuring it with 100% transparency, whether it be paid, organic, local, social, or otherwise.

That’s my .02

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What do you do when your cheese is moved?

September 4, 2010

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It happens.

Did landline phone companies expect to lose business to wireless, voip, and cable providers?

Did typewriter manufacturers anticipate the PC? (Well…sorta)

Will cable and media companies be prepared for the shift to a new era? The era of the contributor is near. Bloggers, video producers and folks that want to star in the next “Today’s Show” tomorrow. Wayne’s World is the future. No longer do we need to spend big bucks for big media. Demand media is the future. Subscription is the future. Pay as you go.

Apple’s AppleTV (what I prefer to call iTV) is coming. Cable companies will charge to store your preferences. YouTube will be the next YouTV.

Change is coming. Old media methods don’t work. Gen X, Gen Y, and the generation before them are not interested in telegrams, telegraphs, snail mail, or yellow pages. Search marketers understand that the channels of the future are authoritative, answer difficult questions (such as what, where, and WHEN…. then how much.)

Those that don’t have the courage to test the limits of human ingenuity won’t make it. Last week I attended OpenCamp at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison Tx ( http://www.OpenCa.mp .) OpenCamp is a bloggers convention of sorts. It is an event that discusses all things related to blogging, including the web content management systems used to blog (Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.)

At OpenCamp, I discovered the next generation of media: the artist. You see, the web is not fully evolved. New applications, coding such as HTML5, and creative ideas will revolutionize what we think of the internet. The art of entertainment, contribution, and collaboration is growing beneath big media. Channels and personalities for your entertainment are flourishing, such as iJustine on YouTube and Twitter.

Stay tuned. Adapt or die.

Can’t wait to say, “I told you so.”

To answer the question “what to do when your cheese is moved?,” you move with it. Just because you business is relevent today does not mean it will be relevent tommorow.

Marketing is not something you learn in a textbook. Marketing is effort. Marketing is experience. Marketing is about having something good to say, smart, funny, and interesting. It is about things people want or need. As long as you have the desire to stay relevent, you have something to offer.

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