September 30, 2005
Too funny - (d)evolution...
Beat the vandals by copying them
According to the Russian Marketing Blog (via Global Voices - a fantastic blog btw) - Hachette was able to thwart vandals who were braking the light boxes and spraying graffiti on their Maxim magazine ads by modifying the ad so it looks as if it's behind broken glass and has graffiti already on it.
Not a single light box was broken since they did that!
Is it time to revive Knowledge Management?
David Pollard over at How to Save the World has a good post on the old KM vs. the new KM. He summarizes the differences between the first wave and the second as:
"First-generation KM has vainly sought one-size fits-all integrated enterprise solutions, which are complicated to use and expensive to change, and which focus on content + collection; Second-generation KM must look instead to simple, lightweight, cheap, intuitive, stand-alone apps, which are easy to use, add or change, and which focus on context + connection. In the shift from first to second generation KM, the holy grail changes from cost savings to improvements in knowledge worker effectiveness."The article also contains a list of 23 human behaviors that impede the sharing of knowledge and collaboration, and how some recent organizational and technological changes do alleviate some of those impediments. The main message he conveys is:
"The challenges we face today in getting people to share what they know and to collaborate effectively are not caused or cured by technologies, they are cultural impediments. It's extremely difficult to change people's behaviours (they usually exist for a reason), so the solutions we find have to accommodate these behaviours, and these cultures, rather than trying to 'fix' them."While I buy most of what he's saying, I think that he is missing a few key points. There are two main reasons why KM has not worked in the past. The first one that in most organizations it was a top-down exercise with a disproportionate amount of "perceived" benefits for the organization vs. the individual (we will build a system to make sure that we capture all "your" knowledge if you walk out the door - or if we push you out the door). The second reason is that previous KM tools and processes (i.e., best practice teams, etc.) were never integrated with people's real work. That meant that KM became a "voluntary" extra-curricular activity - and guess what - most people don't do that.
For KM initiatives to work, they will have to be grassroots in nature (i.e., no taxonomy but folksonomy), and will indeed have to be based on lightweight tools (including Wiki's) that integrate with people's daily work. And most of the "perceived" benefits of the initiative have to be for the individual.
links for 2005-09-30
Story of a publicist being fired for anonymously blogging negative stuff about her employer
September 29, 2005
The world (of music) is flat
While reading Thomas L. Friedman's new book, The World is Flat, I started poking arout the net for innovative examples of how one of the key flattening enablers-- cheap, fast, globally distributed bandwidth--was breaking the barriers of time and space for communities of individuals with shared interests. Somehow I found this one, and it is definitely going to flatten the world of music. For some recent comments on this innovative breakthrough, check out Robin Good here.
Symposium on Social Architecture
Corante is producing a real cool Symposium on Social Architecture in partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School (note: I am a partner at Corante). The event is scheduled to take place at various venues at Harvard University on November 14-15.
We promise to produce an event free of boring, over-debated agenda items. Instead we plan to move the debate a few steps beyond where it is now - and considering the importance of everything "social" in people's daily life and work, we thought it was an oportune time to get the leading thinkers together to debate the driving forces and the future of the underlying infrastructure of the emerging social web.
Attendance will be limited to ensure a high level of attendee interaction - so sign up quickly. If you click on the event banner in my site bar, you will be getting a discount when registering. If you are interested in extending a similar offer to your audiences, or if you'd like to sponsor parts of the events, let me know and we'll set you up.
PS - if writing about the event - please use the tag "ssa" - thanks!
WOM and Botox
Do you know the latest product to be sold at parties - much like Tupperware and some other products?
According to Cosmetic Enhancement (no, I am not a regular reader, my BlogBridge smartfeed finds stuff for me like that - disclosure: I am affiliated with those guys), the success of Botox has much to do with how it is marketed.
Doctors buy the stuff in bulk, and at a discount, and then organize Botox parties.
Interesting word-of-mouth marketing tactic for such a product...I wonder what's next, liposuction parties, silicone parties?
This also reminded me of the interview that Terry Gross did yesterday with writer David Rakoff - who basically listed a whole list of great actors & actresses who would never get a job today without some form of extreme makeover. I am not sure this is a good thing...but with consumer-driven health care on the horizon, I guess it is inevitable.
links for 2005-09-29
Great article on marketing & innovation
September 28, 2005
Interesting move at Nickelodeon
My son told me that Nickelodeon will not play any programs on Saturday afternoon. Instead they want kids to go out and play!
"Ad skippers" are more likely to respond to consumer-generated media
It's a fact - word-of-mouth (WOM) continues to grow in importance in consumer awareness, trial, and purchase of new products. In fact the study finds that "consumers are 50% more likely to be influenced by WOM from their peers than by radio/TV ads."
Interestingly enough the study also found: "important correlations between consumers who regularly skip over or delete television or online ads and those who shape, create, and absorb consumer-generated media (defined as experiences, opinions and advice posted on the Internet by consumers for others to read and share). "Active ad skippers," for example, are 25 percent more likely to create and respond to CGM on Internet message boards, forums and blogs."
Other interesting findings include:
- Teens lead all segments in overall CGM creation but remain more trusting of advertisers
- Bloggers create an enormous amount of CGM, elevating their overall inlfuence
- Negative reactions to "shill" marketing - that is when people are paid to spread WOM - no surprise here
Of course it's always fun to watch dinosaurs in the making - see what Bill O'Reilly has to say about CGM.
links for 2005-09-28
Cool article on why ideas that spread online tend to be shallow and why ideas never spread because they are important to the originator
Interesting tool to brand the "from" field in email
$1M lawsuit for allowing offending comments on a blog
Interesting observation from an American taking a major trip abroad
September 27, 2005
In the year 2014
I haven't posted for a while, and this will be very brief but I think you'll thank me for it. I really can't remember how I found this site, but if you check it out here, I think you will find the presentation thought provoking to say the least. What's it about? It is about emergence. Be adventuresome. Go see it now. What do you think?
Put the customer in the center
The CMO special report on innovation has a great interview with Jim Stengel - the CMO at P&G. His take: "Put the consumer at the center of all we do".
This sounds so obvious, yet so few companies message or position products that way. Go browse a lot of web sites, especially tech company web sites - and you will find that many of them put either the product at the center of their communication or worse, their company and it's divisions.
Besides enabling consumers to better associate with your offer, Stengel sees a few other benefits from living the customer-centric moto:
- Tremendous effects on culture - with people being out of the office more and working together in unexpected situations.
- It galvanizes teams on what's really important
CMO Magazine Special Report on Innovation
WARNING: this is a shameless self-promotion post.
It is flattering, however, when a respectable magazine like CMO magazine lists your blog as one of the "10 Blogs that can jump start your creative spirit".
Here is the list:
- Idea Flow: Creativity and Innovation (disclosure: this is a Corante Blog - where I am partner/exec/investor)
- Good Morning Thinkers
- Creativity and Innovation Blog
- Michael Osofsky on Innovation
- Innovation Weblog
- The FastCompany Weblog (Multiple posters)
- Emergence Marketing (yours truly)
- Innovation Blog
- Innovators' Hub
Ok - and now we'll return to our regular programming...
Boomers turn 60 in 100 days...
The Wall Street Journal yesterday had an in-depth report and podcast on boomers turning 60 next January.
The article takes a look at what we can expect from this generation that brought us rock 'n' roll, working moms, SUV's, Botox , Viagra and Starbucks.
Here is the list of what possibly to look forward to:
- longevity for sale - with boomers expected to live much longer and having tremendous spending power, expect seeing consumer-driven health care
- work - take two - 75% of boomers intend to keep working past retirement
- a return to communal living - 55+ communities are springing up all over my area already
- personal technology - memory boosting games, etc.
- already 7 out of the average 13 cars one buys over a lifetime are being bought by buyers over 50 - and with that number expected to go up - we can look forward to a big boomer impact on everything that helps us get around
- leisure quest - enough boomers will have enough money to drive up the demand for exotic travel destinations
- legacy - the movie - new and creative ways to expressing their death
The article has some interesting (and sometimes scary) stats too:
- in 25 years - boomers will make up 20% of the population (between 66-84)
- in 2000, only 7.3 of the boomers lived below the poverty level, lower than any other segment (that is not good - the middle class is what made this country strong!)
As I said before, the difference in population distribution across the different world economies will lead to interesting challenges for worldwide brand marketers.
links for 2005-09-27
interesting - del.icio.us now has 200,000 users
September 26, 2005
Web 2.0 - moving towards a good definition
You've probably heard about the web 2.0 terminology - referring to the fundamental changes that are going on with the Internet/web right now. While we all agree that what is happening now is fundamentally different (and more powerful) from what happened with the web 1.0 wave of innovations, the problem with the term is that it was never properly defined.
John Hagel - author, visionary and consultant on everything related to the web 1.0 & 2.0 waves of innovations takes a stab at defining the web 2.0 on his blog, stating that web 2.0 refers to: “an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.”
Don HinchCliffe over at WebServices Journal also talks about the web 2.0 - marveling at the ways that "people are remixing, aggregating and syndicating stuff."
It is indeed fascinating to try to envision the future web, where virtually everyone can be an application developer and where we'll potentially end up with more content producers than consumers.
Plague in virtual world...
The plague started as a spell in a dungeon, but when people returned to their town they infected people nearby. Apparently the administrators were baffled and tried to quarantine areas of the world - but the plague quickly spread beyond their control.
links for 2005-09-26
Washington Post on continued Detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan
September 24, 2005
links for 2005-09-24
Interesting article on the impact of innovation on intelligence
Open source advertising
September 23, 2005
links for 2005-09-23
Great article on PR and transparency
September 22, 2005
Advertising for boomers - right picture, wrong message?
The point is that while the largest growing population segment in the US is that of the aging boomers - advertising still focuses primarily on the young. And even when companies try to appeal to the aging boomers by putting un-models and older people in their advertising, the message is clearly developed by young people and most often does not appeal to the value framework of aging boomers - so they see the pictures without resonating with the message.
It would be interesting to put that in context with the fastest growing population segments of growing economies like China and India - and see what challenges that mix brings to global brands.
links for 2005-09-22
Don Tapscott site on the naked corporation
September 21, 2005
Interesting virtual world story
I had an interesting conversation with my 10 year old son this morning as I drove him to school:
he: I had a really good morning so far
me: oh yes, how so?
he: I had a great talk with my good friend hello137
me: where is he from
he: New Zealand - we've been friends for over a year
he: we are in the same business you know
me: really - what business are you in these days (he's been in the fishing biz, the coal trading biz, the smithing biz, etc.)
he: yew tree selling business
he: it's a good business - yew trees sell for about $300/each and I have been able to buy a real good axe
he: but hello is more of a merchant than me - he barters stuff and then resells those things
He was talking about an exchange he had this morning in one of his favorite online communities - runescape.
So, who said that online gaming is bad for you?
Employee blogs - continued...
A great example of the power of employee blogs can be found at Mini-Microsoft right now. The blog does act as a virtual water cooler for hundreds of Microsoft employees, who feel comfortable venting their frustrations without fear of retribution. Note that both he (the anonymous blogger who writes the Mini Microsoft blog) and Balmer were profiled in BusinessWeek this week.
When you compare their points of view it makes for an interesting perspective of what may actually be happening at Microsoft. If not that, at the very least it points to the disconnect that exists between top management and the rank and file.
Balmer on company morale: "We have as excited and engaged a team of folks as I can possibly imagine"Mini-Microsoft blog comment on company morale: "Morale amongst the rank and file remains universally low"
Balmer on bureaucracy and leadership: "Great companies and the way they work start with great leaders. We have fantastic leadership team in place. Our leadership team is empowered..."
Mini-Microsoft blog comments on bureaucracy and leadership: "Microsoft is very top-down heavy; even as an exec VP, your every decision is second-guessed and interfered with by Bill and Steve.."
And I could keep going with more examples on accountability, innovation, etc.
Companies just do not "control" their message anymore. I think that is a good thing - and it calls for senior managers and communications professionals to start talking frankly and openly rather than talking like politicians - both internally and externally!
September 20, 2005
Intelliseek and Edelman just released a new white paper on employee blogging (here - pdf).
In this day and age, where more and more goods are being bought based on word of mouth, the paper analyses the reasons and motivations for employee blogging as well as the benefits when done right.
The report cites interesting research by Intelliseek in which they analyze the impact of certain situations on people's buying decisions. At the top of the list is negative word of mouth by someone they personally know (with an impact of 8.6 on a scale from 1-10), followed by positive word of mouth by someone they personally know. Further down the list is a positive comment about a product by an employee of the company - with a 7.0 impact. Further down is a positive comment from an individual on the internet with comment postings from others agreeing with the original poster - with an impact of 6.8. A negative comment by an employee has an impact of 6.6.
High on the list as well are positive comments by "experts" or credible professionals - with an impact of 7.1 for positive comments and 7.0 for negative comments.
The report also talks about CEO blogging and lists a few case studies where it works - both for internal communications and external communications. Unfortunately, they stop short of recommending whether CEO's should blog in the first place. While I am still not convinced that CEO blogging is the right thing, others, like Jeneane Sessum over at PR Blog Week 2.0 do think it is.
The report also touches on the benefits of using internal blogs for internal communications and collaboration. While I see the benefits for internal communications - it acts as a virtual watercooler - I cannot see blogs being successful for collaboration. Blogs enable non-threaded discussions - and that is not how people collaborate. The right metaphor for collaboration in my mind is the wiki.
links for 2005-09-20
Interesting article on the shif of direct marketing in the face of pull-media
September 19, 2005
Advertising on money to promote TV show
According to the MIT Advertising Lab, NBC is promoting a show by advertising on money. They go into grocery stores and offer to pay for people's purchases using stacks of one dollar bills that have tiny advertising for the show attached to them.
I'd be curious to see how far these bills spread. Hopefully someone will do some network analysis on this one.
eMarketer has new study on online ad spending
eMarketer released a new study on online ad spending - talking about online advertising as the comeback kid.
Some highlights include:
- 2005 will see a 33.7% growth in online ad spending year over year
- 2005 will see online ad spending go over $10B for the first time - and double the amount spent in 2002, when the market bottomed out
- as can be expected - much of the online spending growth comes at the expense of traditional media
links for 2005-09-19
September 16, 2005
Why monopolies are bad for customers
I lost Internet access at my place up in Vermont. I called Adelphia and in a relatively painless fashion they dispatched a technician out today.
He was a nice enough guy, knowledgeable too, and clearly going the extra mile to help me out – except that his company had decided that Internet access technicians do not need laptops. So in order for him to diagnose the problem correctly, I had to loan him my brand new laptop for two hours. He took the thing outside, schlepped it up and down the stairs – you get the picture. Plus it made me nervous as I have sensitive information on there.
Of course, and in this country, cable companies are holding somewhat of a monopoly – so in a way that could explain why they make such customer-unfriendly decisions.
But is nobody thinking about the future?
As they are starting to roll out VoIP and other services, they will start running into competition. And then of course, even in their core offerings – cable and high speed Internet access – they will increasingly have competition.
But wait – the competition is coming from large telephone companies!
…never mind – they’ve got us cornered…
links for 2005-09-16
Donate frequent flyer mileage and more to the rescue operation
September 15, 2005
Such a German thing to do...
Pathetic - but in line with the quality of their products. Yes I did finally buy a Benz for my wife a few years ago. That thing has been nothing but trouble ever since we bought it...the car has 60K miles and has been leaking oil for a couple of years, the air conditioning has an "unexplainable" leak, the electrical system goes berserk every now and again, and the car seems to need new breaks every few thousand miles. Oh and did I mention that the customer service department in most dealerships in the area sucks - like in being rude, expensive and non-helpful. They seem to have adopted the attitude "you should consider yourself lucky that you can use our product."
Although they do start out their "Rules of the Blog" on a positive note: "In the spirit of honest, free-flowing conversation we'd prefer you post comments using your real name" it quickly deteriorates after that -
- Users must stay on topic within any given thread
- Blog users must not post sensitive personal information. (I guess that includes what I just described as my personal experience)
- The FireHouse.biz is not intended as a forum for outside suggestions, including but not limited to those which pertain to vehicle design, product attributes, marketing or advertising, and no such material will be posted.
Oh well...time to short the stock!
September 14, 2005
Marketing Sherpa releases top three search marketing trends to watch in 2006
Excerpted from their Search Marketing Benchmark Guide 2005-2006, this short report (pdf) on "the top three search marketing trends to watch" is pretty interesting.
The three trends are:
- Search engines as tv networks jockeying for audience - using search engines is the third most popular activity online, just behind email and surfing. The fact that there are only a few search engines being used reminds the author of the TV audience in the 70's when there were only 3 channels.
- SEO still a tiny portion of total search marketing spend - only 12% of paid search budget was spent on SEO/free listing optimization (although that number is growing)
- Search marketing - a new application for press releases. This one states that if end users can now read press releases online, reporters are no longer interested in them. Companies now use search engine optimized releases to talk directly with end users.
links for 2005-09-14
public vc companies
September 13, 2005
Product placement in other companies' ads...
According to Agenda, Inc. - that's apparently the latest trend
...no more room left I guess.
The importance of product names on consumer choice
Sin Blush, Riptide Rush Gatorade, ionic antiperspirant...how about Orgasm Blush? Well - apparently the latter sells even better than Sin - which is a best seller. When names focus on emotions - the products sell better than if the names are functional.
The study looked at 4 types of names: common (i.e., dark blue), common descriptive (i.e., cherry red), unexpected descriptive (Coke red), and ambiguous (antique red). What they found is that students liked the ambiguous color names better when they saw the name before the color and preferred the unexpected descriptive ones if they saw the color first.
September 12, 2005
Marketing requires a little common sense
I am amazed to see how some companies market themselves. Sometimes it is as if nobody is thinking at the company.
We have a big french door that needs replacement, and after getting quotes from multiple vendors we selected one over a month ago. At the time, the vendor told us that it would take no longer than 2 weeks to get the new window manufactured and then a day or so to install. Well over one month later - and after a lot of increasingly angry phone calls - our door is still in manufacturing. Then this weekend I get a letter from them - explaining to me that their best sales channel is word-of-mouth - and asking me to recommend someone else in return for a $500 coupon on my next purchase.
How hard is it to tie your direct marketing efforts to your CRM system? Forget about me being ticked off - but how does the company expect me to recommend them to someone if I have not even been serviced yet? Like I said before - trying to stimulate WOM is the right idea - but unless you apply some common sense when you implement the program, you may as well flush your money down the drain.
links for 2005-09-12
Interesting tool to analyze keywords
September 11, 2005
links for 2005-09-11
great post on the Katrina "refugee" controversy - refugees must be from refugeekistan
interesting list of idea generation methods
great vetting process we have for senior government execs
A piece of history that showed up when ego surfing
September 9, 2005
Search Marketer Performance Study
It is interesting to see how most companies still use an old time-tested non-working reward system. Indeed, just like many companies used to measure and reward direct marketers by the number of leads they brought in - instead of the actual business - most search engine marketers are rewarding their people on traffic metrics and search results ranking - instead of actual business results. And of course, most live in a vacuum - not being measured or rewarded for cross-channel results (e.g., if you buy something offline based on a search-based research campaign online).
I bet you that most of those companies also focus primarily on direct marketing - forgetting the importance of trying to influence the influencers in getting the word out.
September 8, 2005
Facebook - an amazing story
Only four months ago, Jeff Clavier wrote a post on the meteoric rise of FaceBook.
Now TechCrunch reports that 85% of College Students use FaceBook.
Check out those numbers:
- In May they had 640 universities - in September 882
- In May they had 2.6M users, now 3.85M
- In May they had about 65% that visited the site every day, now that seems to hold at 60%
When you have something to cover up...
The government has finally found it's way to New Orleans - only to kick out the press and making sure that we won't be seeing any coverage on the recovery operation.
You don't believe it? Read Brian Williams' article over at MSNBC: "the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history." See also Jeff Jarvis' post - Stop the cover-up now.
This sounds like some sort of third world country. What do you think our government's reaction would be if a foreign country would botch a natural disaster as badly as we did, refuse our aid, and then prohibit free press to report on the aftermath?
Actually, now that I think about it - perhaps nothing...
The darker side of the Blogosphere
David Sifry from Technorati has a great post over at AlwaysOn on the darker side of the Blogosphere - the spamming world. He describes techniques that include:
- Spam blogs - used to manipulate search engine rankings
- Fake blogs - created to perpetuate click fraud
- Comment and trackback spam - to increase their search engine ranking
The bad news of course is that spammers have already killed a lot of the "conversation" capabilities inherent to the blogosphere by making many bloggers turn off their trackbacks and sometimes even their comments.
[Technorati Tags: spam ]
links for 2005-09-08
Sign the petition to make Rove stop his rumor campaign
September 7, 2005
Forrester looks at Social marketing
In a weekly email, and in an effort to promote their "social marketing bootcamp", Forrester this week talks about "social marketing" - those marketing vehicles that are being embraced by consumers who increasingly distrust traditional forms of advertising.
As part of "social marketing" they consider:
- WOM marketing (word-of-mouth)
- and podcasting
Interestingly enough, they do have a small graph showing RSS users as real Info Junkies - with 42% using national news sites every week (vs. less than 15% for non RSS users), and with 40% researching products for purchase (vs. less than 20% for non-RSS users).
The email also reiterates some of their previous findings - that only 2% of the online adults use RSS.
links for 2005-09-07
Great article on collaborative knowledge and innovation
Powerful video clippings from New Orleans
great questions by Steven Levitt about Katrina
Full interview with the New Orleans Major last week (via NYT) - the message: KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT
September 6, 2005
Product innovation and the impact on revenues and margins
What happens when your product lifecycle decreases by 10% every year, while your new product introduction success ratio decrease at the same time, and increasing competitiveness means decreasing margins on new products in general?
The key to survival - according to John Hagel at Edge Perspective - is in rapid incremental process innovation.
While I agree with that, I also believe that companies have a lot of room to increase their new product introduction success ratios. Most errors leading to new product introduction failures can be tracked back to the front end of the product lifecycle - that time when you get your market requirements and your ideas. For most companies that whole process is an un-managed black box. People build product without sufficient ideas or with the wrong market requirements - a formula for disaster.
The most powerful form of WOM (word of mouth) – rumor/whisper campaigns…
As communicators, we should learn something from the current US Administration. And when I say learn – I mean “learn” and find ways to “immunize” ourselves from these nasty practices – and definitely not copy them as best practices. And while the “lesson” for me is not a new one – it is an important enough one to pause and take a closer look at it.
The lesson I am talking about is the one teaching us that the power of whispers and rumors far outweighs communication campaigns based on facts and rational arguments (surprise, surprise…).
Remember the McCain rumors swerving around during the South Carolina primaries after he soundly defeated Bush in New Hampshire – unsolicited black child (he, unlike most of us, had enough room in his heart to adopt a girl from Bangladesh), mental problems, being gay, drug addiction issues of his wife, etc. The facts – all allegations were false. The result – a deafening defeat for the candidate who had much of the truth and credibility on his side. Then came the “swift boat” veterans’ ads against Kerry. The facts – dubious claims at best. The result – a deafening defeat for the guy who actually fought and defended our country instead of going AWOL (I am not arguing whether he did or not – just that the “facts” on that never got cleared up vs. the “rumors” on Kerry totally overshadowed his real record). Then there was the leak exposing an active, deep undercover CIA agent by a senior Bush Jr. Official – something which Bush Sr. had declared an "act of treason." Such information is not only good enough to ruin your career, but it is life threatening as well.
Another example happened just a few days ago – when the Washington Post (here - requires subscription), Newsweek and NPR incorrectly announced that the Governor of Louisiana had never declared a State of Emergency (via TPM – here). According to the Washington Post, the source of this rumor was a senior Administration official – probably the same person who should be in jail instead of Judith Miller of the New York Times.
Heck, after hearing the story on NPR - I found myself retelling the story. And needless to say, I really regret that now!
Why do rumor stories spread like wild fires? Why do they defy factual counter arguments? Why do they even fool those whose job it is to fact check information?
Part of the reason is that people have a bigger sense of ownership in those stories. They feel more “in the know” and are more likely to “retell” the story as is. Often times, these rumors are also easier to understand than the factual stories that matter – again, making them easier to “retell”.
So what do you do if such a rumor campaign hits you?
Short term, the only thing to do is to rectify the record (for posterity – as you cannot win the battle with facts in the heat of a rumor campaign) and change the playing field as quickly as possible. In order to do that, you need to find something more viral than the original rumor campaign.
[UPDATE 09/07] Here is an actual timeline of what happened (Adapted from: Katrina Timeline)
Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.
Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.
Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of Levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be "uninhabitable" after Hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.
Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees but giving them two days to arrive on site.
Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor's earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock Hurricane news.
Wednesday, Aug. 31: Tens of thousands trapped in New Orleans including at Convention Center and Superdome in "medieval" conditions. President Bush finally returns to Washington to establish a task force to coordinate federal response. Local authorities run out of food and water supplies.
Thursday, Sept. 1: New Orleans descends into anarchy. New Orleans Mayor issues a "Desperate SOS" to federal government. Bush claims nobody predicted the breach of the levees despite multiple warnings and his earlier briefing.
Friday, Sept. 2: Karl Rove begins Bush administration campaign to blame state and local officials—despite their repeated requests for help. Bush stages a photo-op—diverting Coast Guard helicopters and crew to act as backdrop for cameras. Levee repair work orchestrated for president's visit and White House press corps.
Saturday, Sept. 3: Bush blames state and local officials. Senior administration official (possibly Rove) caught in a lie claiming Gov. Blanco had not declared a state of emergency or asked for help.
Monday, Sept. 5: New Orleans officials begin to collect their dead.
links for 2005-09-06
Unbelievable incompetence at FEMA
More on the incompetence
Media failure - "senior official" spreading false rumors about when Bianco called a state of emergency - was also on NPR
September 5, 2005
What the heck happened?
Well I am back…relaxed but like many others, outraged at what happened last week in Louisiana.
I guess there are few lessons that can be drawn from this whole debacle.
- Command and control does not work when you have as much incompetence at the top of the command chain as we have.
- Command and control does not work when the planners cannot do their job and come up with credible contingency scenarios.
Heck, maybe command and control does not work at all – period!
What would have happened with a networked organization – an organizational structure that does not rely on the top only, but one that is self-organized and full of redundancies? Would it have taken as long to come up with actual help? Would it have stranded thousands of people without evacuation options? It’s all speculation now, but I bet you it would have worked different.
And let’s not forget that this serves as an example of the type of response we could expect from our government for any kind of emergency. If we had 1 week warning for this one, what would you think would happen with no warning?
This whole thing is just beyond bad…it is a disgrace…