Archive for July 23rd, 2007

Notification is Not Communication

July 23, 2007

Ever since the Virginia Tech tragedy in April, there has been a tremendous increase in interest in emergency notification. There is almost a sense of panic, so many seem so intent in putting emergency callout capability in place. This is positive in many respects because it is a strong indication that more are starting to understanding the growing expectation that today’s stakeholders have for DIRECT communication. When their lives are at risk, or what you are doing affects them, they want and expect to hear from you directly, not the media, not from blog sites, not second hand–directly from you.

But there is a lot wrong in this frenzied rush to buy notification solutions. We have bandied this about in our offices for weeks and with the prompting of Marc Mullen, my associate who drafted the first version of this paper, I finally put down what I think is wrong with the current thinking about emergency notifications.

Here is the White Paper.

I fully expect that those providing telecom-based notification services will disagree. Good, let the debate begin.

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Good news for the oil industry–some honest discussion

July 23, 2007

The New York Times article this weekend on refinery problems will probably not change any minds about what is happening in the oil industry. Those, like the junior senator from Washington State, who are convinced that it is all a big conspiracy and that refinery problems are just one more way the three-piece suited slobs in smoke filled rooms have figured out how to gouge us all, will see in this confirmation of their views. Others will see glimmers of hope that the real issues of no new refineries, billions spent on environmental regulations, burden-some boutique fuel requirements, etc., are emerging and will become part of the national debate about the price of fuel.

What is most bothersome to me about this important issue of fuel prices, fuel supplies and energy policy is how one-sided the debate is. Most seem to believe that anyone with any ties to big oil has no right to speak because clearly all they care about is obscene profits. Meanwhile, those ignorant of the situation along with the populists looking to boost activist or political careers, have the field of public debate to themselves. So we have a national debate going on with only one perspective being heard. Sure, the media has a role to play in this (which is why the balance in this NYT report is so welcome), but more important, the industry has a role to play. They have sat on the sidelines and kept quiet for far too long. Yes, I know it is because a CEO of the Giant wanted it that way, but he was wrong and he is gone. Time to speak up, loud, long, sustainably. The national debate about our energy future is too important to muzzle anyone–even if the muzzling is self-inflicted.