Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 1997)
 

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Subject: RE: fresh horror from AOL
From: "Dr. Manion" <CEO @ Citadel . Net>
Organization: Execu/Quest Marketing Consultants
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 14:01:44 +0000
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
Comments: Authenticated sender is <citadel @ citadel . net>
Reply-to: CEO @ Citadel . Net

On  2 Feb 97 ,Chuq Von Rospach insightfully wrote:

> Dr. Manion: I'm curious. Since you're so down on AOL and how it
> doesn't contribute to teh net (or what it does contirubte you choose
> to not value, a very different thing...)

Actually, I'm not down on AOL. I have nothing personal against AOL. In
fact, my original posting met with very little fan fair. The subject
died. Then a week later, Brad opened up the discussion.

First, he sent a notice to myself and the lists that I was wrong and
that I should consult with AOL's press releases and their willingness
to settle out of court.

In fact, I wasn't wrong. At the time of my posting my comments AOL had
not taken the steps that Brad claimed. This came *after* my posting.

He was responding to something that was a week late. I responded to
his mistake and pointed this out. Of course, he's never admited to
making this mistake or any other. 8)


> What have YOU and your group contributed to the net such that you
> can lob stones at AOL's glass house and feel virtuous about it? 

You know that's funny, since Brad sent me basically the same 
question. However, my answer is this. I have never ever suggested that
everyone should be grateful for anything either I did or my group did
for the Internet. Nor, have I ever made any claims that anyone should
be grateful for what I do. Nor, that I have made vast contributions. 

This is something that Brad and AOL have made claims to. It seems they
want to claim all the glory for things they do right. But, don't want
to accept responsibility for things they do wrong.

And, no I don't feel "virtuous" or "smug" about anything. That's
strictly AOL's domain. 8)

Brad, in his original response to me, stated that there was no 
problems with AOL. That my statements were just AOL bashing. That no
one wanted to discuss these problems, but me. However, as you can see
from the response to the list, obviously there are others out there
who are experiencing the same problems with AOL as I have.

I never said that AOL is the only culprit. What I said, was that AOL
was the only one I was having problems with. I never said that AOL
didn't contribute to the Internet. What I said, was that I have never
seen any benefit from AOL. For someone in my profession, there is very
little that AOL can offer.

You see, if I was having the same problem with Juno or AT&T or any of 
the others, I would have said so. It just so happens that AOL is the 
one I'm having problems with.

>Your name
> and organization don't ring a bell to me. Why have you made the
> internet such a better place that you can dump on AOL from a
> position of righteousness?

You are just a big a mystery to me as I am to you. Just because we
don't circulate in the same circles, doesn't mean that we don't have
some standing among our respective peers or validity in our own
 areas of expertise.

What you see as "rightiousness" I see as pointing out problems. It is
my belief that you can't begin to solve problems until you first
become aware of them and then acknowledge them. I am pointing out
problems that I am having and other list owners, I know of, are
having. 

I am not the one claiming to be the "leader". Or, claiming that 
people should be grateful for my presence. Or, bragging to the world
how great I am and self-important I am. That's AOL's domain.

I personally could care less about AOL. What I do care about is the
wasted resources of myself, my staff and my server directly caused by
AOL's policies. Which are:

1. Allowing their 50/hr. wonders loose on the Internet.
2. Expecting list owners to educate their subscribers for them
3. Allowing their subscribers to block mail they requested
4. Allowing their subscribers to choose aliases which they can 
    abandon at any time.

to name a few....

> Or is this a case of "don't do what I do, do what I say?" Because I
> can name a lot of things AOL's put time and energy into -- I'd like
> to know what *you've* done along those lines as well, so I can be
> appropriately impressed about your knowledge and contributions to
> us.

Chuq, I believe that you have me mistaken for AOL. I could care less
if you are impressed with me or not. I'm not here to impress you or
anyone else. Frankly, I don't need to impress. My work speaks for
itself. 

On my lists, I *educate* people. That's what I do. I allow them to
learn. I take full *responsibility* for what happens on my lists. I
protect my subscribers from 90% of the spams. I take the time to
*listen* to my subscribers, understand their problem, *ackowledge*
 the problem and then help them solve the problem. 

I take the *iniative* in improving the services I offer to my clients
and my subscribers. I don't wait for someone else to do it. I don't
say, "Well none of the other list owners are doing it, so why should
I?". I don't ask my clients to solve their own problems. 

You may be under the mistaken impression that because I am a list
owner, that I am a programmer or software developer. I'm not. I am a
consultant. A problem-solver. That's what people pay me to do. Solve
their problems. 

My clients don't pay me to ask them what the solution is. They pay me
because they have a problem they want solved. I don't have to brag
about my accomplishments. Or, tell people how grateful they have to be
because I can solve their problems. I don't make claims that I'm the 
biggest. 

You see, Brad wants everyone to come up with the solution to his/AOL
problems. But, that's what he gets paid for. To solve the problems.
It's not my job to solve the problem for him so he can collect a pay
check.

I don't know what you do. Let me assume for a moment that you are a
programmer. A client of mine comes to me and wants a CGI program for
his website. I don't know how to write CGI. But, I accept my usual fee
of $500/hr. consulting fee to write the script for him. 

<Don't make my fee an issue. If it scares you, make it $5/hr. My fee 
is not the issue>

How would you feel if I came to you and said, "Chuq, my client needs a
CGI program to do this and he's paying me $500/hr. to provide it to
him. Would you mind doing it for free?"

What would your response be?

That's the response I am giving Brad. The one you feel is 
"rightious". You see, it's not my job to find his solutions. Only to
point out the problems for him to fix. That's what AOL is paying him
for. Why should I give him the solution to his problem so he can be a
hero at AOL? So, that AOL can be a hero to the rest of the Internet
and make another claim of something the Internet can be grateful that
"AOL" solved? 

I believe that I am being part of the solution by pointing out the
problem. One of the first steps to finding a solution is to become
aware of the problem. That's what I've done.

Thanks for your comments.

Leonard





Follow-Ups:
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From: "Dr. Manion" <CEO @ Citadel . Net>
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