There is Plenty of I in Ream

how-in-hellI got nothing and I’m not in the mood to write. Yeah! But I’m still gonna do it anyway. Boo! You lose.

Memorandum to the Mole Men in my Head: Retreat! Fall back! We’re not taking this hill, boys. Not today. Retreat and live to fight another day!

In other words, I’m going back to my roots. I’m going to stay within the friendly confines of my wheelhouse. Stick to what I know best. Not venture too far hither and yon from ye olde bailiwick.

Here’s a hint: What blog should you be reading right now? Over there! Over there!

Let’s talk about #boss for a moment.

Boss is war and war is hell. Thus the myriad of odes to military sentiment I’ve mortared in your general direction.

I’ll graciously allow you a moment to find the nearest air sickness bag. This is not a subject for the weak or the flighty of stomach. If you suffer from IBS you should probably move along.

Home Page Improvement

The company has an e-commerce website that was made by the boss’ wife using Microsoft FrontPage. She had absolutely no training in HTML or web design. And the site is over a decade old. In technical parlance it’s known as a hot steaming bowl of elephant piss. To the general public it’s horrible looking and seriously outdated. To me, the guy hired to work on it, I feel physically ill from the lameness of the code when I’m asked to make edits. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube designed by Charlie Sheen. I’m talking batshit crazy.

Since hired, I’ve built a new state-of-the-art website that is light years beyond their illegitimate love child. The new site should have been launched two years ago (I’m absolutely not exaggerating) but their fear and quibbling has stalled the changeover. Despite a plethora of studies, tests, and A/B splits, they are unwilling to pull the trigger. They don’t got the guts.

It’s like saying, “I don’t like the paint job on the airplane so I’m going to walk from Los Angeles to New York.”
–Tom B. Taker, part-time philosopher and full-time exploited life form

The new site has a conversion rate that is documented at 3-4 times the old website rate. Still they equivocate.

Their favorite pastime has become crying, lamenting, foot stamping and whining about the ways they perceive the new website to be deficient. “It doesn’t do this,” they cry. Nope, but it will generate four times the orders you are getting now. “It doesn’t do that,” they bawl. No, but it will make you even more obscenely wealthy. And it has over six times the number of products as the old website.

The boss explained it to me. “We’ve got to hold off because the new website doesn’t yet do this feature that we’ve never fucking had before.” Yes, you are truly insane.

One tiny example: The site doesn’t send follow-up email to visitors who abandon their shopping carts. Meanwhile the old website doesn’t even have a shopping cart at all.

I call this breathtaking leadership.

bucky-fuller-quoteVerbatim quote I literally said to the boss: “You’ll invest four hours of your life to get a three cents per ounce savings on unit price on ketchup. Meanwhile you’re bleeding potential profits in the tens of thousands – monthly – right into the street. The new website is 10 times better than the old one. Yet all you do is focus on what it doesn’t do. It’s 10 steps forward and one step back. It’s like saying, I don’t like the paint job on the airplane so I’m going to walk from Los Angeles to New York.”

Now that’s boss logic!

Never Good Enough

The boss wanted a report. I made it do everything he asked for.

He looked it over. “It doesn’t do X, Y and Z.”

“You didn’t ask for X, Y or Z. None of those were on the spec.” This is normal, though. If you give the boss everything he asks for, there won’t be one positive word of encouragement or appreciation. Only blame for things that were absolutely outside of your control.

The report is a list of products where quantity on hand is less than a specified amount. It takes into account our various suppliers and only includes products where our suppliers have the product in stock. If none of our suppliers actually have any to sell, the product is not mentioned on the report. This prevents wasting time and energy on products where there is nothing that can be done.

“You know what else it doesn’t do? It doesn’t take into account how many products are already on order.”

“You don’t provide me with that data. You include it in the data stream and my report will use it as a factor.”

“I don’t have a way to export that information. It isn’t in the export system. Therefore I’d say this task is only 95% successful.”

Verbatim quote I literally said to the boss: “So basically what you are saying is that you have just purchased a carton of orange juice and you are still physically in the grocery store yet you are bothered that your wife at home can’t drink any yet. Therefore you blame the orange juice. We’ll just use the transporter, aye sir. Energize!”

Now that’s boss logic!

4 responses

  1. Awesome post! It sounds like some of my clients. I was recently told a couple of parents had complained. Two out of 230….hmmm. Isn’t that less than 1%?


    1. Hi, Kevin. Glad to have you with us. Two out of 230, eh? Sounds like squeaky wheels.


  2. I can’t believe the boss can’t see the light of your potential. Are you hiding it under a bushel again? I told you to stop doing that.


    1. One problem is that the boss has had zero manager training. Another, of course, is that he’s an extremely damaged person. He means well but is unable to grasp things. It’s like telling someone “I love you” while at the same time shitting in their bowl of Wheaties. Mixed messages.

      In short, his actions never match his words. Eventually the words have no meaning.

      He pushes employees around until they take a stand and let him know his behavior is unacceptable. When this happens, he invariably and lamely offers some half-hearted defense, then adds, “I think you’re doing a good job.” It’s classic three-year-old behavior. Baby got in trouble now baby feels bad. Baby will make it better by offering platitudes. Better now? Baby want ball.

      The problem is that the praise message in that situation never works. Instead of appreciation for a job well done it is taken as an insult. If the boss had any managerial skills, at all, he would know that praise has to having meaning and be focused and demonstrate actual knowledge of the significance of the work that earned the compliment. In the hands of the clueless it becomes the equivalent of a “get out of jail free” attempt and is easily recognized as such.


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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