WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life

Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments. Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just click here to subscribe. If you want to succeed faster, get my 101 helpful marketing ideas, one every 3 days. People love them - maybe because they're free. Go to www.draytonbirdcommonsense.com and register. You also a get a free copy of the best marketing book ever written

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tales of Minsk, plus a golden oldie from that fount of jokes, GTH

First of all, thanks to everyone who responded to my little plea yesterday. And if you were thinking of doing so but didn't get round to it, please do. All contributions gratefully received.

Enough of that. When I got to Minsk on Friday the greeting at the Visa office reminded me of my first visit to the old USSR 29 years ago, when the very idea that the customer might be right was anathema.

A deeply unpleasant little bureaucrat who clearly hadn't had sex with anything except unwashed domestic animals for many months told me that the document I produced was the wrong one, and I had to pay lots of money to come in and "this is very bad".

He was unmoved by the fact that the said turgid form was downloaded from their own consulate's website and there was a facsimile posted not twenty yards from where his skinny little arse was plonked. My worries (am I going straight back to London without making a speech?) only subsided when the lovely Olga Parkhimovich came in with some dollars to rescue me.

The first night was a drinks get-together chiefly notable for the astonishing quantities of brandy two local businessmen on my table managed to get through. It reminded me of Dr. Johnson's adage. "Claret is for boys, port is for men: but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy".

The audience yesterday was amazingly enthusiastic, except for one or two professors from business schools who were furious because I always make marketing seem simple, when their entire racket is based on making it seem complicated. Neither of the two most famous business schools I have spoken at could promote or run a seminar properly. One I have been dealing with recently (allegedly one of the world's top three) can't even manage to arrange a meeting as far as I can see.

At a press conference yesterday someone asked what three pieces of advice I would give to local businessmen. I said: 1. Measure everything. 2. Ban meetings. 3. Never hire MBAs.

Someone asked me about the last bit, which I confess is a little extreme. I said, "Because they are taught to run things before they have done them."

But leaving that aside, here's an oldie my pal Glenmore sent me.

A father walks into a market with his young son. The kid is holding a 50 pence coin. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face.
The father realizes the boy has swallowed the coin and starts panicking, shouting for help. A well dressed, attractive, but serious-looking woman in a blue business suit is sitting at a coffee bar in the market, reading her newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee.

At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down on the saucer, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the market.. Reaching the boy, the woman carefully takes hold of his testicles and starts to squeeze, gently at first and then ever more firmly.
After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the coin, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand. Releasing the boy, the woman hands the money to the father and walks back to her seat without saying a word.

As soon as he is sure his son has suffered no lasting ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic.. Are you a doctor?" No," the woman replies, "I work for the Income Tax."

I suspect that as we spend the next few years coughing up to pay for the Brooding Toad's awe-inspiring hubris and incompetence that little joke will take on a certain poignancy. And of course, the higher tax rates will themselves discourage entrepreneurship.

blog comments powered by Disqus