links for 2011-07-18

  • You hear a lot of horror stories in my line of work – everything from tales of inexcusably rude employees to complaints about products that break when they’re taken out of the box. So when I say something is quite possibly the worst customer service experience ever, you can take it to the bank. Literally. Here’s what happened to Ikenna Njoku, of Auburn, Wash., when he tried to cash a tax rebate check at Chase Bank.
  • A crazy fad is sweeping the blogosphere: Prominent tech bloggers, including Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, and Bill Gross, founder of startup incubator Idealab, are giving up their blogs and pointing their eponymous domain names at their Google+ streams. That's right: KevinRose.com now redirects to https://plus.google.com/u/0/110318982509514011806/. And why? "G+ gives me more (real-time) feedback and engagement than my blog ever did," writes Rose. Sure, it could all be a big press stunt, the web equivalent of reviving one's personal brand by going on Celebrity Apprentice. (It's been an eternity in Internet years since Rose was any kind of Valley it-boy, and Idealab has long since been eclipsed by Y-Combinator and its imitators.) But the speed with which bloggers who have spent years building a presence on the web, accumulating credibility with search engines, etc., made the switch to a platform they don't really control, shows that blogs themselves have outgrown their original purpose
  • A sadistic puppet-master who verbally abuses and humiliates, a coke-addicted lunatic who berates and blackmails, and an over-the-top nymphomaniac who subjects her assistant to constant sexual harassment – these are the “horrible bosses” played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston in the movie released last Friday. In real life, horrible bosses don’t have to go to extremes, or even say a word, in order to demean, intimidate or discount employees. An eye roll, a smirk, a “whatever” shoulder shrug, an expression of disgust or contempt – all of these send their own clear signals.
  • The annual shareholder meeting of Yahoo! Inc. last month was an "unlikely lovefest" — according to the report of the event in the New York Times — unlikely because the company's stagnant stock price and poor performance against its competitors would seem to have invited a more critical session. The lovefest carried through more than an hour of glowing outlook from the board and management as well as softball questions from the shareholders.

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