E-tales: Gattung’s baaaa-faced future

Telecomms? Wool? Where's the synergy?

People, processes, procurement

One of our e-talers is feeling mightily peeved… after getting the government run-around yet again.

He had a query about a government request for proposal, but didn’t want to go to the “communications team”, as this usually slows things up, so he went to the procurement officer, as they usually speed things up. They usually know who’s best informed.

All good… until the next day, when calling back, our e-taler finds his friendly contact gone and his voicemail opaque. “The person at [gobbledegook] does not subscribe to this service.”

“He’s new here,” says the receptionist, “and his voicemail probably hasn’t been set up yet.”

Another day, and right on deadline, and our e-taler gets a call, and a ticking-off, from the communications team — “If you’d come through us your question would have been answered sooner.”

Supplementary query Mr Communications: If your process had been set up properly, shouldn’t the procurement officer have known to direct media inquiries to you?

Steak2go — fast

A colleague down at E-tales headquarters has just returned from a big Microsoft event in the US and reports that, although SUV sales may be down state-side, any cut-backs in the food department are just not happening — at least in Microsoft-land.

And one Kiwi really tucked it away. Megan Reelick, of Microsoft NZ, a tall, super-slender lady — E-tales has seen the photo — managed to put away a 12oz steak in five minutes flat, ahead of all the admiring blokes at her table.

Go, Megan.

Housing slump not all bad news

Now, here’s a tip. It may not be much fun for investors trying to unload properties two, three, four or whatever, but the interest.co.nz website has been busy monitoring mortgagee sales — in over-priced Auckland in particular — since March and, yes, there are lots more. For anyone hoping to buy a home (rather than an “investment opportunity”) at a reasonable price, the word to watch is “motivated”.

Marketing hits the pits

E-tales is still trying to work out if a story from the UK, about arm-pit marketing — which involves new-style human billboards getting little digital televisions stuck under their armpit — is a joke or, more possibly, a clever bit of viral marketing.

It’s the “silly season” in London, when everyone who can afford it toddles off to toast themselves in Spain and other Euro hotspots. This, inevitably, leads to a dearth of real news. It also presents a great opportunity for enterprising marketers like the one at deodorant-maker Right Guard who came up with idea of getting “Pitvertisers”, equipped with little screens sewn into their shirts advertising the company’s smelly wares.

Gattung’s baaaa-faced future

E-tales is also a bit perplexed about former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung’s appointment as chair of The Wool Company. Telecomms? Wool? Where’s the synergy?

It may be in confusing customers — remember the comment she made a couple of years ago that “What has every telco in the world done in the past? It’s used confusion as its chief marketing tool”. It does constitute a form of marketing, but… it would take more that that to pull wool out of the doldrums. But, then again, any marketing is probably good marketing if you’re trying to step up from just producing a commodity many people no longer want very much.

E-tales actually thinks wool is wonderful, but where’s the marketing excitement around it? Maybe our Theresa is the woman to generate it? One can but hope.

Laptop lazy-boy

Sometimes you come across one — a product you never knew you needed until you saw it. And, this German-designed laptop chair is just such a product. Go-anywhere laptops are great, but you tend to be doing other things — like reading and drinking coffee — at the same time, so you find yourself perching your precious machine unsteadily on, well, anything. This chair, with two flat surfaces, solves the problem beautifully.

As the designer says: “It’s not just lazy lounging. It’s not just high concentration. It’s just right there in-between.”

Hopefully, laptop lazy-boy will be coming to a home or airport right near you soon.

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