Case Study: When You Should Have Kept Your Mouth Shut

As a company, you should give your two cents on hotly debated issues that matter to your customers. You should do this to establish your potion on the matter and give your customers peace of mind or a better idea of what they are dealing with.

What you should NOT do, however, is pretend that everything is just fine and your service is all fine and dandy.

Enter: Rogers RedBoard.

This entire post, is essentially how the Rogers social media team felt it was appropriate to respond to the entire UBB hubbub that went on (and is still going on) a couple of weeks ago.

In summary:
Heavy Rogers customers should pay for their usage, so the light users don’t subsidize them. Rogers makes substantial investments, and here’s all of our plans. Also, UBB doesn’t affect you.

Hah, what a hoot.

In the comments, users were quick to point out that Rogers customers have long been affected by UBB, having had bandwidth caps for years. Not to mention, there were many terrific arguments against bandwidth caps in general.

Like a good social media team, Rogers would of course respond to the posts. Of course, like Rogers, they don’t give a damn about what you just said and they’re going to parrot the same company rhetoric that they’ve been fed, and you aren’t going to get any sort of useful discussion out of this at all.

Good luck with that. Also, fix your commenting system, it’s garbage.

Next time Rogers, shut your mouth. When you open it and insult all of your customers like this, you are doing yourself no service and are making sure that your social media team fails in every aspect. They are paid to raise the company banner, so what did you expect was going to happen to this post?

We certainly weren’t going to welcome you with open arms.

Here are some of the highlights of the sad state of affairs in their comments:




View some of the other comments I screencapped in this album.

2011 Goals – January Report

Welp, I said I would do this once a month, so here I am! (Despite being a day late)

Let’s take a look at how I did:

Blog More

Definitely did this, blogged more than once a week in January, and it wasn’t too tough. The CRTC seems to have helped me out quite a bit, especially near the end of January. Looking to make it more regular and consistent, and hopefully something more valuable to someone other than myself.

Attend More Events

Half half. There were definitely a few events I missed out on. However, I do not regret that – it’s tough to go to an event after work and be home in time to get to sleep properly. I would rather forego events than sleep less than 6 hours a night. For the sake of my health of course.

Become More Active

No gym, but I did start a workout regiment at home in the mornings. It’s a great way to wake up and leads to quite a bit of energy for the day. Looking to keep increasing the amount of exercise I do at home, hopefully being able to fully supplement the gym. Still wish I had access to a pool though.

Travel

Saving for it!

Develop a New Skill

Haven’t decided on this one yet, but the year is young.

Be Awesome at Work

I sure hope so.

That’s it so far. Apologies on not creating more value for others with this blog post, but I regret nothing.

Here’s to February!

The Birth of #MixtapeTOSF

Magical things happen when you act on spontaneity.

Example: On Sunday night, Lan and I had decided, to start sending each other mixtapes on a regular basis. Every week, we’d assemble a good lot of songs and sling them over. I thought it was great because I kill two birds with one stone: I get to keep talking to a friend in San Francisco, and I get to hear a bunch of music I may not have heard before.

Yesterday was our inaugural #MixtapeTOSF exchange. It went even better than expected.

Here are our mixtapes, mine (“Energetic Mondays”) on the left, and Lan’s (“I Love The Unknown”) on the right.

flashvars="hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&playlistID=42989582&style=metal&p=0" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="window" /> flashvars="hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&playlistID=42992108&style=metal&p=0" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="window" />

Totally looking forward to next Monday. I’ve already started working on the mixtape!

Be spontaneous!

Save The Internet

It’s time to act.

We need to make sure that those who have the power to change this situation can all hear our thoughts and opinions on the matter. We need to make sure that they act in our best interests and hopefully eliminate

Here is a great article on how to contact everyone really important.

Other than that, I will also be contacting the following people:

Rob Ford
Mayor of Toronto
City Hall – Suite C40
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
councillor_ford@toronto.ca

My Local Councillor
List of Councillors + Contact Info

Let them all know your exact thoughts on the entire Usage Based Billing nonsense. Please remain civil and professional, we want to get our points across.

Here are some important points to cover:

  • How important internet service is to you
  • How important affordable internet service is to the future of Canada
  • How important competition is in every industry
  • How much you pay every month for internet service and how much you will pay after UBB is implemented

(Taken from Digital Home’s article.)

ACT! For the sake of the internet.

Customers as Adversaries

This week, I tweeted about Rogers taking away the credit I had in my wireless account for the System Access Fee. A credit (For $6.95) that I was told I could have until the end of my contract.

The Rogers social media team responded to me, and I received a subsequent call from Delwin, of the Office of the President. I explained my situation to him, and he said that there was nothing in their notes, and that there was no code for the System Access Fee credit in the system anymore. Of course not.

I told him not to bother with anything else, I was going to let my contract expire and be done with this terrible company for good for my mobile phone. I explained to Delwin that it’s rather outrageous that they were willing to sacrifice $50 a month from a long time customer for the sake of $6.95 a month. He didn’t bother fighting, he knew it was a lost cause.

For full disclosure’s sake, my account is worth at least $80 a month, and I have received quite a few credits on my account already. Why? I fought tooth and nail for them because it’s not like Rogers would ever say a damn thing to me should prices for better plans be created.

I am sure many people share the number of credits I have, along with the stories of how they have had to fight for every single dollar in the account.

Thank you Rogers, and the other telecoms, for making sure you treat all of your customers as adversaries. You are profiting extraordinarily well from all the frustrations of consumers in this inexplicably monopolistic telecom industry in Canada, and the CRTC ensures that your profits for years to come will be safe.

Up yours, and then some.

Canada: Where Innovation Comes To Die

I hope you heard the news yesterday: the CRTC approved metered internet billing.

Aside from how outraged I am about that news, I’m going to say something rather bold: Rogers, Bell, and Telus are killing innovation in Canada.

Every single year, we are gouged to the bone by these three gigantic corporations by receiving less service for more money. They treat us poorly, and they know they can get away with it because we have no choice. They don’t need to improve a damn thing because we are stuck.

So let’s take a look at exactly why they are killing us:

Rogers

Rogers is made up of three business units: Rogers Wireless, Rogers Cable, and Rogers Media. As of the end of Q3 in 2010, the entire unit generated $2,545 million in profits. (Source – Adjusted Operating Profit minus PPE Expenditures) Here’s the breakdown:

Rogers Wireless: $1,879 million
Rogers Cable: $583 million
Rogers Media: $83 million

TOTAL: $2,545 million

Bell

Bell is, like Rogers, made up of three business units: Bell Wireline, Bell Wireless, and Bell Aliant. As of Q3 2010, they had earned $1,084 million in profits. (Source – EBITDA minus Capital Expenditures) Here’s the breakdown:

Bell Wireline: $513 million
Bell Wireless: $346 million
Bell Aliant: $225 million

TOTAL: $1,084 million

Telus

Telus has two business units: Telus Wireless and Telus Wireline. As of Q3 2010, they had earned $1,609 million in profits. (Source – EBITDA minus Capital Expenditures) Here is the breakdown:

Telus Wireless: $1,284 million
Telus Wireline: $325 million

TOTAL: $1,609 million

So what does this tell us? Within 9 months of the year, each company had already earned at least $1,000,000,000 in profits alone. When you go on the record to say that “the explosive growth in Internet traffic and the load it puts on networks mean flat-rate pricing was no longer viable” (Source) then I know you are just being a profiteering douche.

You have the resources and the capital, why would you not upgrade your networks instead of raising our prices? If you were increasing my speed and bandwidth while raising my prices, I wouldn’t really think too much of it. However, when all three of you lobby to raise prices because you can’t compete?

That’s monopolistic, and exactly the type of behaviour that kills innovation.

Welcome to Canada.

Scaling Back (Eating) Operations

One of the first things people learn about me is that I eat a lot. No really, I can consume enough to feed a small village within a day. It is both unhealthy and hilarious.

As of late, due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle I have chosen to lead, my body has been taking a hit. Love handles, a little belly, you name it. In a (losing) effort to bring my weight back into my average range, I have begun to scale back on the amount I eat.

Comparison (Universally applicable, I hope)

Before = two 12oz steaks, two scoops of mashed potatoes, and bread. No. Problem.
Now = one 10oz steak, one scoop of mashed potatoes, and some bread. Resist urge to eat more. Cause I will.

I have been doing this since about November, and only recently has my body begun to appreciate my efforts. It has stopped barking orders during dinner time, orders that sound like a drill sergeant during boot camp. Only it was a boot camp to get fat.

“Eat the rest of that plate, son, or you will be the laughing stock of this fat camp.”

No, good sir, I refuse.

Thankfully, my body has adjusted to eating a regular person’s portion. Maybe still larger than most would consider “regular,” but hey, it’s progress.

Next step: actually stick to a regular exercise plan, more than the pushups and sit-ups that I do in the morning. Easily doable.

Next-er step: use my new found strength (from exercising) to fight crime. Maybe plausible.

Touch Screen Gaming is Different

I play a lot of games. It should come as no surprise that a lot of the games I play are also for the iOS, especially considering that I used to run an iOS Game Review site.

Lately, I have been playing a lot of FIFA 11. I’ve been playing the English Premier League as Arsenal and have been completely obliterating everyone in my way. The game itself is really fun, save for a few headache inducing moments, and I genuinely enjoy playing 2-3 matches during my commute.

However, the game causes me pain. Literally.

The game is controlled through a virtual joystick and buttons. This causes my hand to contort into a weird angle and gives me a lot of wrist pain, which is amplified by the fact that I am pretty sure I have carpal tunnel in these bad boys.

This post isn’t a complaint about my pain, rather a request: iOS game designers, or even touch screen game designers in general, please find more fitting ways to control your games on a touch screen device. A non-tactile joystick can become extremely aggravating, mentally and physically, with prolonged usage. It can be non-responsive, it can go the wrong direction, and I often find myself just letting go to let it re-orient itself. It’s difficult to make a sports game without a joystick, I know, but I am sure there is a way.

Touch screen gaming is different from handheld consoles, so let’s try to break convention here and build a more exciting control scheme, shall we?

(If someone wants to recommend sports games to me that use a great way to control the players, please do so in the comments!)

The TTC: Crappy For Other Reasons!

We all heard the news yesterday: the TTC is asking to raise fares once again. Now, if you’re a regular rider like myself, I am sure the news comes as a bit of a kick in the face, considering how high they already are.

However, I have to tell you right now: my crappy rides to and from work are not because of the TTC drivers, or the unions, or their management. I have had some really bad rides simply because people are just so rude.

Here are some really common examples:

  • People getting up after to rush out of the bus/RT/subway/streetcar when there are people standing in front of them.
  • People standing by doors obstructing other people from getting in, so they can rush off at the next stop.
  • People leaning on poles.
  • People rushing onto the vehicle, disregarding any lines that were there ages before them.
  • People taking more than one seat because their backpacks need seating.

Really guys? We’re going to act like this now? We are a society of people, not a pack of wild animals. Rushing onto or off of a public transit vehicle will not let you move any faster than the rest of us. Leaning on poles that other people need to hold onto is just plain rude. Giving your backpack a seat over someone else is even worse. And you know what, you sat down the entire ride, you can wait another 30 seconds for us to file out before you get up, thank you very much.

It is experiences like this that infuriate me about riding the TTC. I know, I know, it’s inefficient public transit that isn’t exactly the most reliable in the world so we end up having some really crappy experiences. But at the end of the day, do you really want to make it worse for everyone else by being a complete ass?

So people, please, in the midst of this cold winter and fare hike requests, remember: it’s PUBLIC transit. Do your best to make everyone else’s ride much more pleasant, and we’ll all benefit from that sort of behaviour.

Why I Love Teletoon at Night

One of my favourite channels to watch is Teletoon. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of cartoons and that I watch Futurama almost religiously, and Teletoon does a great job of letting me get my Futurama fix on a daily basis.

Recently, Teletoon did a bit of changing with their “Teletoon at Night” program. They added Fearless Fred to their roster, added a bunch of new shows, and are doing their best to promote not-so-well-known cartoons!

I LOVE what they are doing with Teletoon at night. The simple addition of Fred to do some really basic voiceovers and segues between shows is great: he’s personable and he’s witty, and he can even take a boring message about parental discretion and add a bit of good natured humour to it.

It’s difficult for me to explain exactly why I love it all, but I will do my best: Teletoon has managed to create a great atmosphere for not-so-kid-friendly cartoon shows, and they have fun while doing it.

It seems simple enough to do, but it’s a pretty fine line to walk. I hope more people tune into Teletoon at Night and Fred at Night because they are such a treat to watch.

Thanks Teletoon, you make watching cartoons easy!