11-10-12 Hodgepodge

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Spotting "Toxic Customers"

An article about a troublesome-looking prospective client validates my thoughts on gauging the epistemology of people one is considering doing business with:

And while you (luckily) won't encounter many toxic customers during your lifetime, after the first few you learn how to identify and gracefully step away when you see them coming. This is because toxic customers are not just a hassle, they can chew up support time, cost you money, damage your reputation by posting to Twitter/forums/review sites, and stress you to the point of wanting to commit an act of violence on yourself or others.
It is interesting to consider where some of the behavior entrepreneur Rob Walling describes might be coming from. That said, if one observes just one or two of his "red flags" alone, the behavior might be easily-enough explained by other factors to not warrant avoidance.

Weekend Reading

"Anyone who denies the viciousness of Obama's campaign is just lying." -- Richard Salsman, in "America's Declaration of Dependence on OPM" at Forbes

"Making excuses for, accommodating, or attempting to reason with the bully gives him psychological visibility and validation that he's somehow worthwhile." -- Michael Hurd, in "Say No to Bullies!" at The Delaware Coast Press

"[T]he way we phrase things has an impact on how we view them, and sometimes it can be unhealthy." -- Michael Hurd, in "Listen to Yourself" at The Delaware Wave

"A limit on big sodas may seem like a small thing, but if we let government limit the size of soda, where does it end?" -- Michelle Minton, in "Would a Soda Ban Make DC Thinner?" at The Washington Examiner

My Two Cents

The Minton piece linked above notes a problem that anyone who delves into the scientific literature of nutrition or medicine should be aware of:
How can studies come to such different conclusions? One likely explanation is the evidence of bias in obesity research. In their 2010 meta-analysis looking at hundreds of publications on obesity research in the last decade, David Allison and Mark Cope of the Biostatistics Department and Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama found disturbing levels of bias and coined the term "white hat bias" to describe the tendency among researchers to distort data in order to advance what they consider a good cause.
Arguably, Allison and Cope needn't have invented a new term for this, since we could draw on history and call this "incipient Lysenkoism", instead.

Good! Other Consumers Do Have Limits!

I have sometimes speculated here that certain business models -- such as capriciously changing proprietary adapter cables and then milking customers for them -- would be far less common or successful in a more rational culture. An article about adverse reaction to something more obviously ridiculous -- a computer mouse that needs an Internet connection to work -- seems to bear this out.


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