- We Allowed This to Happen
- How pretty is *your* iTunes library?
- 24 Cigarettes and One Pipe: Hammett and Chandler
- Thanksgiving at Home
- The Republican Party in a Second Obama Term
- Elvis on My Elbow, Dylan on My Calf: Tattoos
- Samsung, Stop Your Photocopiers. (And Apple, Stop Your Lawyers)
- How Hot It Was, How Hot
Tag Archives: CEO
Dear Valued Customer,
As the chairman and CEO of BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com, I wanted to take a moment to personally apologize to you for the extreme inconvenience that resulted from a mistake in fulfilling your recent order.
I have conducted an extensive internal investigation into this matter, and could find no satisfactory reason why our fulfillment system substituted your original order of a case of Nev-R-Die D-Cell Flashlight Batteries 12-Count (KI139809) with a Live African Bull Elephant (WL897189). I further understand that the animal arrived dead in its shipping crate, and that it had actually been dead for some time, evidently long before it was dispatched from our warehouse. This was traced to fraudulence on behalf of our supplier and you may rest assured that our relationship with this supplier has been terminated and a strongly worded letter of opprobrium sent.
Of course, we realize it takes more than a strong letter to correct a situation of this magnitude. It is one thing to say that a dead elephant was delivered to one’s doorstep; it is quite another to have to deal with the consequences. I can only imagine the horror — I believe no other word will suffice — on opening the crate and being confronted with the carcass, a once-majestic beast surrounded in a blinding cloud of flies, its skin rippling with the movements of dozens of rats that had occupied the husk as though it were some ghastly putrefying mansion. I do not doubt that your children continue to have nightmares about it, nor that it raised a host of questions about life, death and the laws of nature that you had had no expectation of addressing for at least several more years. Furthermore, our customer service team “dropped the ball” in processing your return, and while the laws for transporting animal remains are admittedly obscure, that is no justification for our failing to retrieve the crate for eight days. I understand your homeowner’s association levied numerous fines against you and our legal department is currently reviewing your claims in this manner.
I further want to assure you that the anti-Semitic graffiti on the interior of the crate was in no way the doing of BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com and that we addressed this with the aforementioned supplier. Finally, please accept my apologies regarding the behavior of the delivery driver. We use this courier service on millions of deliveries a year and they are normally the picture of reliability. That your driver was intoxicated and repeatedly challenged your family to “step up and see if you can take” him is so far beyond the realm of what we typically experience from this firm that I am at a loss to explain it. Sometimes misfortunes come together in a “perfect storm” and that seems to be what happened in your case.
With that said, what is BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com going to do to rectify this situation? Here are the remedies I have personally instructed our Customer Service team to provide:
You want Nev-R-Die D-Cell Flashlight Batteries 12-Count (KI139809)? You’ve got them! I am shipping you a complimentary order of batteries this month, and the month after that, and the month after that. In fact, I will ship you an order of Nev-R-Die D-Cell Flashlight Batteries 12-Count (KI139809) free of charge every month for the rest of your life, and every month for the rest of your children’s lives and of their children’s lives as well. Your family will enter the 22nd century never having known the inconvenience of being without a fully charged flashlight, by which time a superior alternative to alkaline batteries should be well established.
Are you familiar with the German concept of schadenfreude? This word describes the pleasure one naturally feels at the misfortune of an enemy, and while we at BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com like to consider ourselves your friends, we understand why you might hold a different view. That’s why I’ve ordered a company-wide program of mortification and abasement, effective beginning today. I will spare you the details — the document I distributed this week runs to three single-spaced pages — but let me give you the 10,000-foot view.
First of all, you have likely already seen the apology blimp I dispatched to your residence; it will hover there for a full thirty days, cycling a series of “we’re sorry” messages on its illuminated sign. Every BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com employee was required to memorize and recite a litany of self-abuse that leaves each man and woman in no doubt about the severity of this transgression and his or her role in it. The Customer Service representative in charge of your case was terminated and her work space and computer ritually destroyed. The temperature in the BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com offices cycles without warning between sweltering and freezing; chairs and desks have been replaced with cheaper, ergonomically punishing office furniture reclaimed from a former Soviet military base; and employees are subject to random emotional and psychological assaults from a squad of hooded ex-CIA operatives given license to roam the building at will. Our IT department will be sending you a link to a private web portal featuring live feeds from our internal security cameras, allowing you to watch these efforts in action. This program will continue for a year and a day, at which point the executive team will evaluate its efficacy. During that time, rest easy knowing that the emotional trauma you suffered, that sense that the entire universe was arrayed against you, is now being visited a hundredfold on the architects of your misfortune.
Lastly, I may or may not have ordered further compensation that I am legally barred from discussing or even acknowledging. For instance, it is not impossible that the attractive courier sent to hand-deliver this letter is in fact a prostitute who is performing an expert, wildly creative act of fellatio upon you even as you read these words. It is even possible, though not legally provable, that she was instructed so far as to time your climax to occur just as you are reading the following paragraph:
Remember, at BuyAbsolutelyAnything.com, we do anything it takes to keep you satisfied. Absolutely Anything™.
If you’re an Apple fan, an Apple user or just a technology enthusiast in general, there is only one story today: Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple.
This is not to say he is leaving Apple. He is continuing on as Chairman of the Board, so it seems reasonable to assume he will still exert considerable direct influence on Apple’s products and overall direction. That face-saving news probably helped insulate Apple’s stock from the bad news. As of this writing, it has taken a five-percent hit, much less than the cataclysm many predicted would befall Apple should Jobs have died, quit or otherwise left the company abruptly.
Apart from sadness and a vague sense of unease or disquiet, I have these thoughts on hearing this news.
Whatever health issues Jobs has been dealing with, he has not been able to overcome them. Jobs must have reached a point where he and his doctors realized his recovery would make no more significant progress. It is possible (and I certainly hope) that Jobs has many years ahead of him in which to contribute to Apple and to enjoy life with his family and friends. However, it is just as possible — and knowing Jobs’ concern for his privacy, not at all unlikely — that there may be more bad news about Steve Jobs ahead, and that it will come sooner than anyone wants to accept. I take no pleasure in thinking that. But I do think it.
In a sense, we are about to see the ultimate test of Jobs as a businessman and leader. How well has he inculcated his values and expectations into Apple’s culture? How well, in other words, has he enabled it to continue as though he were still there? The answer to this question will not be apparent for some time; Jobs will, as noted, continue to be involved with Apple, and it will take months or even years for the efforts he has overseen to come to fruition. That will not, alas, stop the tech pundits from clucking over Apple’s “loss of vision” at the first post-Jobs bump in the road to come along. For example, if the iPhone 4′s “Antenna-gate” issue had happened at a post-Jobs Apple, no one would skip a beat before denouncing the scandal as the inevitable result of Apple adrift in the leadership vacuum left by its departed visionary: “This would never have happened if Steve had been there.” There’s going to be a lot of bullshit like this in the months ahead, I’m afraid.
But it is true that, at some distant point, people will look at Apple and have to decide, as well as they can, whether the company they see is truly living up to its founder’s standards, or whether it shows the first signs of an inevitable decline. Apple could easily remain unassailable with no input at all from Jobs for at least three years, and probably closer to five. By then, the tech landscape may have shifted sufficiently to allow a smaller, faster competitor to undermine Apple’s dominance or to establish a new computing paradigm ahead of it. This is going to happen eventually; it’s just a matter of when. The only real question is: will it happen sufficiently far in the future that no one can reasonably blame it on Jobs’ absence? Indeed, could Apple remain dominant for so long that Jobs himself one day becomes a hazily remembered, almost mythic figure like Henry Ford, with no direct associations with any of Apple’s then-current products?
I think it could happen. If it does, that will be the true confirmation of Steve Jobs’ genius. He would not have merely started Apple. He would not have merely rebuilt it from a teetering computer company into the world’s most valuable technology company, capable of redefining entire markets at a stroke. He would have given it a soul, and not just a soul but his soul — the one thing even some of his greatest admirers were convinced he could not do. He would have achieved a kind of immortality: a cluster of dedicated people who absorbed his ways of thinking and distilled them into an essence that can be taught and passed on after he was gone. If he succeeds in this, then there is no telling how long Apple could remain in its present dominant position. Jobs came back to Apple 15 years ago. What could Apple be in another 15 years? It could come back down to earth, become just another successful purveyor of computers, gadgets and lifestyle accessories. Or it could be something that no one today can see, an integral part of industries we haven’t yet imagined. We might even one day call it the most powerful and innovative company that has ever been — greater than U.S. Steel, greater than Ford, greater than AT&T or Microsoft — a company so ingrained in our lives that it literally has no precedent.
Knowing what little I do about Steve Jobs, I am guessing that is the legacy he strives for. Will he succeed? I wouldn’t bet against him. How amazing it is to think that for all Jobs has accomplished, today really only marks a new beginning.