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Archive: 23 May 2005

Party Contacts

Dear Democratic Party:

I have a few suggestions on how you might improve your relationship with centrists who would like to support you.  Well, all right, it’s really all about how to improve your relationship with me.

The primary rule is this: stop annoying me.

You might wonder which of your policies, pronouncements, or other points of politicking have triggered this reaction.  In all honesty, none of them; from what little attention I’ve paid to political debate in America, you’re batting about even with the Republicans, though I tend to give you a slight edge due to my internal biases.  No, what’s raised my ire is the one-two punch of clueless marketing you served me today.

The first one was a fund-raising letter sent to me by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.  It’s nice to know that Mrs. Clinton is interested in involving her constituents in the political process, at least as far as their wallets go.  Slight problem: Mrs. Clinton is not my senator.  She doesn’t even represent a single person in my state, as I live in Ohio, not New York.

Of course I realize this was a national campaign, not a matter of local politics.  That being the case, though, the name on the envelope should have been that of your national party chairman, Dr. Howard Dean.  If he’s not popular enough to be attached to such an effort, then you need a new chair.

The follow-up fumble was a telephone call I got early this evening which also exhorted me to donate to the cause.  Now, part of the reason I get these calls is that, as a political entity, you’re free to ignore the Do Not Call list.  Both parties took shameless advantage of this oh-so-convenient exception last fall, as I observed at the time, but since the election you’d both pretty much shut up, thankfully.  The other part of the reason is that I gave a small donation to a chilly, rain-soaked young woman who rang our doorbell one evening.  At the time, I did it because I was marginally less opposed to your Presidential candidate than I was to his opponent, and because I can be a sucker for young idealists caught in the rain.  What I didn’t reckon, though I should have, was that it would put me on the “contact this guy a lot” list.

Where “a lot” isn’t usually more than twice a month, I admit, but still.

Anyway, your telemarketing temp launched into her spiel, which was nicely written, but I decided to inform her that I wasn’t interested since the last time I’d made a donation, it had gotten me onto a bunch of mailing lists.  Her response was that what actually happens is when you go out on the Internet and use search engines, they hang onto that information.

So here’s my last tip, which comes in two parts.  It goes like this.  If you’re going to give your marketdroids some kind of response for complaints like mine, try to make sure that it’s:

  1. Not a lame attempt to shift blame to some other quarter; and
  2. Not complete bull[censored].

If you haven’t written a response for that kind of complaint, then you should at least instruct your temps that ad-libbing their own bogus responses isn’t kosher.  Tell them to try a little sympathy and understanding—and, even better, have them tell prospects that their name won’t be put on every liberal-leaning mailing list in the universe!

Although please only have them tell people that if it’s actually true.  Leave the lying to the politicians.

Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell.  Remember that I’m only saying all this because I care.  Good luck.

Sincerely,
Eric

P.S. to the Republicans: stop looking so smug, because you know damned well you’d be doing the same stuff if I’d given you any money.  In fact, last year you sent me two surveys soliciting my opinions as a representative of “a select group of Republicans” in my area.  Leaving aside the pathetically transparent lie it represented (that you were only contacting a few select people in every area, as opposed to sending one to everyone you could find), it was at best insultingly biased to anyone who possesses more than an milligram of functioning brain cells.

You’re no better than the Democrats; in many ways, you’re a lot worse, and I occasionally toy with the idea of donating some small amount just to see how awful your subsequent mailings and phone calls would get.  You know, do a comparison with what the Democrats are sending me.  But honestly?  I’d really rather not hear from either of you until you learn to behave like adults.

Great Jumpin’ Career Paths

Our Man Stan recently posed these questions:

…first, what would you do if you needed to make a parallel change in careers? Meaning, same industry, different role; like moving from waiter to cook in a restaurant. Second, what if you had to make a perpendicular jump and get out of your industry all together? Meaning, different industry, different role; like moving from rodeo clown to encyclopedia salesman.

The first question is actually a little tougher to answer, because the answer depends on what you consider to be “the same industry”.  If we’re talking the web industry, I’d probably move to project coordination, since at this point I think I have a pretty good handle on all the technical pieces.  If we’re talking the computer-programming/human-computer system industry, I’d love to get into virtual-scene modeling and CAVE systems.  If we’re talking the general technology field, I would definitely love a chance to work in the field of self-organizing microsensor networks (I’ve written about that before).

Were I to switch fields entirely, I think I’d become a meteorologist; weather systems have long fascinated me, and I did consider that career path at one point in my life.  Failing meteorology, it wouldn’t be much of a radical shift to be a climatologist, which seem a lot like being a meteorologist except in terms of the geographical and temporal scales of study.  Besides, both fields do a lot of computer-based simulation, so my existing skills wouldn’t be completely useless.

I do have to admit that both are practical choices: they’re fields in which I could very likely get a job.  Those would be in contrast to my absolute top choice, which is to be an astronaut.  That was always my dream as a youngster.  I can still hope that the orbital tourism industry will get up to speed just fast enough for me to make it up there before I’m too old to survive the trip… but reality has a way of squashing those sorts of dreams.

How about you?  What would you do?

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