Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Costs of Cheney's Heart Condition

Found a very interesting blog examining the issue of Dick Cheney having an ambulance always at the ready:

That the nation's vice president and de-facto leader is so frail and so close to death's door...should surely have been a major topic of conversation during the 2004 election.

But nobody mentioned it.

It's also worth pointing out that this same administration that is spending what must be millions of dollars on a mobile cardiac unit to travel with the vice president is calling for cuts in Medicare and Medicaid that will force poor Americans and the elderly to make do with second-tier medications for such things as heart conditions.

This blog is not set up with blog software. At the moment this is the second post. Or search for
Ambulance Chasing and the Veep

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Government Secrecy? Yes, But This is Ridiculous

Now they're reclassifying ancient once-classified documents, many of them with no secrecy value anymore and some of them widely published, The New York Times reports.

Among the 50 withdrawn documents that Mr. Aid [a researcher] found in his own files is a 1948 memorandum on a C.I.A. scheme to float balloons over countries behind the Iron Curtain and drop propaganda leaflets. It was reclassified in 2001 even though it had been published by the State Department in 1996.

Does this really need to be a secret? It's been over 15 years since there even was an Iron Curtain!

National Archives officials said the program had revoked access to 9,500 documents, more than 8,000 of them since President Bush took office.

Surely, there are more effective ways of deploying our anti-terrorism resources.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Excellent Article on Biz Ethics in China

This article from Maclean's covers many of the ethics issues involving business and China--not just the current controversy over Chinese censorship of the Internet (and the horrible fact that "Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for divulging state secrets over the Net. Tao anonymously posted details of the government's plans to limit coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on a pro-democracy website, and Yahoo handed over his identity to Chinese authorities")--but also looks at a wide range of issues involving western companies in China, from the making of clothing to the environmental and human rights nightmare of the Three Gorges Dam.

The article also compliments Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who "is sponsoring a draft bill that would require Web companies to establish a code of conduct for operating in repressive regimes, prohibiting them from facilitating unreasonable censorship or co-operating in the abuse of human rights."

And the article has a very illuminating comparison of how the international business community helped force the end of apartheid in South Africa, and what is not being done in China--or, for that matter, in Sudan.

">Go read it.

Another one who "Doesn't Know" His Own History

Two days ago, I wrote about the CEO of Radio Shack, who somehow didn't notice that he hadn't actually gotten the college degree he'd been claiming to have.

Now, I've discovered that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (a Democrat, I'll point out to those who think I only attack Republicans) somehow didn't notice that he hadn't been drafted by the Kansas City (now Oakland) Atheltics major league baseball team.

I don't believe this any more than I believed the guy from Radio shack. Sheesh! What's with these people?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lying Radio Shack CEO Tries to Duck--Quack, quack

You'd think people would know by now not to lie on their resume. Apparently not, however. Reuters reports that Radio Shack's CEO, David Edmondson, lied about his degree. Here's the story as reported in USA Today. Plus he's had at least three rounds of court proceedings for drunk driving.

Two things astonish me about this article.

First, his utter shameless chutzpah:

Edmondson issued a statement Wednesday admitting that he erroneously said he received a Bachelor of Science degree, a four-year college degree.

The CEO said he now believes he received a ThG diploma, which is awarded for completing a three-year degree in theology.

Uhh, hello--you don't erroneously claim a degree. an error implies an honest mistake. This was a lie, plain and simple, and please let's not try to pretend otherwise. the article goes on to speculate about whether he even receive the ThG, and also noted that he claimed a degree his school didn't offer, and that the school has no record of his graduation at all. Not pretty! This is the sort of ducking of responsibility you expect from an irresponsible teenager raised by incompetent parents--not the CEO of one of the largest electronics retailers in the world.

Second, the amazing statement at the end of the article:
The resume issues and DWI issues raised speculation about whether Edmondson would survive as RadioShack's CEO.

Speculation? Speculation! Any company that doesn't instantly demand the resignation of a CEO caught lying on his resume should have its collective head examined. If ethics means anything anymore, that should be a zero-tolerance, one-strike-and-you're-out, no-severance package offense. Followed by a lawsuit for fraud.

Best Example of Video Marketing I've Seen Yet

Unlike the GoDaddy valentine I wrote about last week, this one was not cheap. But it's promoting a movie so they probably had a lot of the footage.

A set of three trailers for "The Secret." After seeing the intro and the first trailer, I signed up for their mailing list--I'm ready to see this movie! The second and third trailers were significantly less impressive.

One particular thing that shows these people really understand marketing: once you've viewed any of the trailers, the finish screen gives you several viral tools I hadn't even come across before: Furl, Blogmark, and Delicious. I think we'll be seeing not only more really classy high-end videos like this (it even looked good on Windows Media Player, at both high and low bandwidth--while most WMP files look pretty jerky and crude on my system--they also offer Quciktime and Flash). Oddly enough, there were a lot more captions on the low-bandwidth version.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Even George Will thinks Bush has gone too far with his illegal spying.

If the Bush doctrine holds, he writes, future administrations won't even bother consulting Congress even before going to war:

Why would future presidents ask, if the present administration successfully
asserts its current doctrine? It is that whenever the nation is at war, the
other two branches of government have a radically diminished pertinence to
governance, and the president determines what that pertinence shall be. This
monarchical doctrine emerges from the administration's stance...

And derides Bush for a double standard on new interpretations of the law.

Worth reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Skilling said "This is the Number" (Enron Exec)

OK, it's starting: the sworn testimony under oath that tells us what we knew all along.

Here it is: Enron's top executives were directly ordering their cooked books.

In this story on the BBC, Convicted executive Ken Rice, who ran Enron's EBS Internet business subsidiary, testifies that Jeffrey Skilling himself told him, "this is what the number is going to be."

A number, of course, that had no relation to the real number. Rice said this division was actually selling future revenues, becuase there were no current ones.

And Skilling was involved at every level. "Mr. Skilling was very engaged in the business, he was very hands-on," Mr Rice said. "Almost any transaction of any size we would bring to Mr Skilling to get his approval."

Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Video Marketing and GoDaddy

There's so much buzz about video marketing on the Web this year, and not just from long-time advocates like Jim Edwards. Ken McCarthy, founder of The System (a long-running and highly successful Internet training that's helped to create a lot of online millionaires) has actually created a course in it, using lots of real-life high-end examples.

Sure there's a place for cheesy-but useful Camtasia how-tos that walk you through a procedure--but video is rapidly titling toward high-end production values that look good enough to eat.

I got a gorgeous video Valentine's Day card from GoDaddy this morning. This is the domain registration and hosting company where I register most of my domains. (I suspect that link is tied to me. If it doesn't load, try this)

Most of it isn't even animated--just the flame and the changing text--and therefore it probably wasn't even all-that-expensive to shoot. By using a steady background, the card achieves photographic quality that begins to approach printed art books. None of the jerky quality that online video usually suffers from. And let's face it, the roses, the whole setting, are beautiful. And yes, it actually did succeed in making me feel appreciated as a customer, which is the point, after all.

I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Free Care in Massachusetts: A Boondoggle?

As a Massachusetts taxpayer, I resent this. The Boston Globe reports that several Boston-area hospitals have wildly overcharged the state on charges for caring for indigent patients.

Two among several examples cited:
[Cambridge Health Alliance] charged the pool $6,469 for 100 tablets of the anticholesterol drug Lipitor, for which it should have charged $224. In total, overcharges for Lipitor amounted to $1 million.

Boston Medical Center dramatically marked up charges for CT scans: $2,677 for a specific type of scan compared to $272 to $436 that Medicare or a private HMO would pay.

Hmph. It almost sounds like these folks borrowed some procurement "experts" from the Pentagon. You'd think the Mitt Romney administration, which ran on a campaign of fiscal responsibility, would pay more attention.

Now, keep in mind, these are only allegations--note the question mark in my headline. But they're serious allegations, and I hope the Riley probe is thorough and fast.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

NASA's Enemy of Climate Change Reporting Resigns, with False Credentials

George C. Deutsch worked at NASA until yesterday. This was the guy who didn't want to let reporters talk to NASA scientists who believe that there is in fact a climate change problem--or other science issues that did not follow the Bush administration line. He's also the one who would not let the agency utter the phrase "Big Bang" without following it with "Theory."

According to his resume, he graduated from Texas A&M University in 2003. According to the university, however, in a document released yesterday, he did no such thing. He attended, but never finished.

He's only 24, but you'd think by now he'd have figured out a cardinal rule: never lie on your resume. Not only is it unethical, but it's awfully easy to catch if anyone bothers to check.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Abramoff's Chief Prosecutor Gets Kicked Upstairs

My congratulations to Noel L. Hillman, chief of the Department of Justice's public integrity division, and until the other day, lead investigator in the Abramoff scandal. President Bush just named him to a judgeship.

Unfortunately, this rather too conveniently leaves this crucial probe, which has reached into many corners of the Washington bureaucracy, a rudderless ship.

Is this a coincidence? I rather doubt it. I am in no way impugning the integrity of Mr. Hillman, but I do wonder if he would have been promoted had he not been uncovering this nasty bit of business.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One More Bit about James Frey

I wrote on January 29,
Meanwhile, the author claims he originally submitted it as fiction, the publisher--no tiny little outfit but Doubleday, one of the biggest in the nation--first called in creative nonfiction and when that didn't fly, said that Frey had hoodwinked them.

It would be very illuminating to see Frey's original book proposal and see where the truth lies. Meanwhile, the thing stinks.

Yesterday, Publshers Weekly interviewed Frey's agent, Kassie Evashevski, who had this to say:

I think the confusion over fiction vs. nonfiction may stem from the fact that early in the submission process, James raised the issue of whether he could publish it as an autobiographical novel--ONLY, he said, to spare his family undue embarrassment, NOT because it wasn't true. I told him I would bring it up with a few publishers, which I did, and the response was unanimous:if the book is true, it should be published as a memoir.

James personally explained to his editor that the events depicted in the book took place as described.Based on the information given us by the author, [editor] Sean McDonald and [publisher] Nan Talese believed in good faith they were buying a memoir, just as I believed I was selling them one.

I guess the only way we'll know for certain is if someone can turn up his original correspondence--but of course, even that will have to be scrutinized, as in this case, it would be all-too-easy to pull the kind of faked-memo shenanigans that got Dan Rather in so much trouble back in '04.