John weak's diary: Weak at the top

John weak's diary: Weak at the top - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Sir Marcus (CEO) reminded me that e-commerce was the new way to market. And there was me thinking e-commerce is how we do business with Yorkshire. He demanded a demonstration of our web site by end of week (lucky for me he can't operate a computer himself - he thinks a laptop is an optional extra from lap dancers). Also reminded me how much he hates wheelbarrow management; ie unless he's hands on and pushing, nothing happens. Sadly, we don't have a web site because when Sir Marcus first asked me to explore channel implications of internet all I heard was 'channel' and 'explore' and spent two weeks 'fact-finding' in some outstanding French hostelries. Now I'd better think of something fast otherwise I'm FAQed, as we netheads like to say.


Asked IT department if they could build a fully interactive commercial site for a live demonstration on Friday. Of course they couldn't do anything but then they're probably all still working flat out to prepare us for the millennium bug. Have decided that internet really isn't my thing: you can't have a drink with it, you can't take it to a box at Twickenham and you can't get its kit off and shunt it round the carpet - so how the hell are you expected to do business with it? The sort of people who spend time online are sad, socially challenged individuals whose idea of a night out is to move their chair further away from their computer. Who wants to do business with them? Not me.


Interviewed web designers. Generally teams of two - one in anorak who's not allowed to speak and one in rectangular glasses who doesn't shut up. He said there were three important things in e-commerce: magnetism, stickiness and community. I told him there was one important thing in meetings with me and that was not to talk bollocks. He said he could build an online interactive community for us for about pounds 500,000 and was I comfortable with that? I told him he could shove his web site up his Zip drive and was he comfortable with that? Real-time offline lunch with Bill Peters (chemicals) to discuss e-commerce. He gave me some web site addresses that were definitely more mucky than sticky.


Disaster! Asked IT department to register Smokehouse name. They said it was already owned by a barbecued meat shop in Kansas. I e-mailed the owner that we were a global industrial giant and we wanted our name back. He replied saying I could 'swivel'. Liked him immediately and we got chatting online (we crashed a couple of times when his brother Homer plugged the coffee machine in their only socket). I suddenly had a brain wave and offered him a couple of grand if he would put up a big picture of Sir Marcus on his site on Friday. He said he was insulted and shocked and could we make that five big ones US. Went to gym after work and saw Howard standing stock still on one of these Nordic skiers with his bum sticking out. Said he was downhill skiing. Nutter.


Gave Sir Marcus a live online demonstration of our 'barbecue meats site'. He said he didn't even know we sold barbecue meats but he liked the local home-produced style of the site. I said that was the beauty of the internet - global reach, local feel. He wanted to see another page so I clicked on the photo of himself and suddenly the site was very sticky indeed. Then, thank God, Homer in Kansas must have wanted a cup of coffee because the whole site crashed. I told him IT were having difficulty keeping it online and that they all required continual wheelbarrow management. Sir Marcus said I'd done a grand job. Later Hayley (secretary) asked me what wheelbarrow management was. I told her it was an efficient way of moving piles of manure from one place to another. She said I was a top wheelbarrow manager. Smart girl.

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