Yeah, yeah, I know, why not wish for a fucking pony too, right?
So in his latest steaming pile of ego left on his typepad site, "Seth's Blog" and "Eleven things organizations can learn from airports", we see that Seth doesn't know shit about airports. Not knowing a fucking thing about his example makes his attempt to use them as said example of a poorly-run business fail. Miserably. Tip for analogies/examples: you have to be familiar with at least part of what you're talking about. What Seth knows about airports/airplanes/aviation could probably fit in a midget's rubber.
With room left for the midget's fist.
Of course, he attempts to deflect that little problem in the first line of the post:
[Of course, this post isn’t actually about airports].
Dude, this isn't about anything. You could have used any business here, because the post is just that vague. But you chose airports, so fuck you, take your lumps for being an ignorant disingenuous shit who only used airports because other than Apple, "TSA" is some of the best fucking linkbait going.
I realized that I don’t dislike flying--I dislike airports. There are so many things we can learn from what they do wrong:
Seth doesn't know shit about airports, but he knows what they're doing wrong. Now, let's be clear, I am not an airport expert. They are hideously complex beasts. However, given my actual experience with aircraft maintenance, even in the military, and some occasional civil avaiation, I have at least a slight clue as to what's going on. Seth knows fuck nothing except Seth is inconvenienced by them. So fuck airports, right?
No one is in charge. The airport doesn’t appear to have a CEO, and if it does, you never see her, hear about her or interact with her in any way. When the person at the top doesn’t care, it filters down.
Bullshit. That's simply bullshit. Seth is not only bullshitting you, I'm going to say he's lying. He may not know who the chief airport administrator is, but that doesn't mean there isn't one anymore than because I've never seen Seth say anything worth listening to means he's incapable of it. Also, it's pretty clear Seth has neither the slightest clue as to how a major airport runs, nor any interest in learning. It's not hard to learn the basics. We'll use Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta as an example, since it's one of the biggest. Here you go Seth, the people in charge.. That was an entire 3-5 minutes of searching. By "searching" I mean going to the Wikipedia entry for the airport, then to the airport website.
The issue is, an airport, especially a major one like Atlanta, is a complex beast. For example, the airport itself is administered by the City of Atlanta/Department of Aviation, but that's only a millimeter's shaving of it. If you were to ask what governmental agencies have jurisdiction over that airport, the easier answer would be "Probably all of them other than the DoD and the Department of Education. I'm not really sure about the DoD, but there don't seem to be any AFR/ANG units assigned at the base. For example, when dealing with just the restaurant contracts at the airport, the following are involved: City of Atlanta, FAA, GDOT, and US. DOT. That airport employs over 55,000 people across private industry, city, state, and federal government. Border patrol, customs? yeah. I don't think there's a single federal law enforcement agency that doesn't have something to do with that airport. Hmm...probably the DoD OSI folks are there a lot too. Okay, so now we're just down to the Department of Education who isn't dealing with that place.
It is the largest employer in the state. As a comparison, Apple has 72,800 employees, and that's around the planet. ATL is just in that one place.
Yet, because the chief administrator of the Airport doesn't make himself known to Seth, he is "unknown" and "doesn't care". Never underestimate the size of New Media Douchebag ego. You'll always be wrong. Also, don't underestimate the lazy factor. All the facts I pulled while writing the above, I did in about 7 minutes as I wrote it. Yet somehow, it's a mystery for the ages for Seth. Fucking lazy douche.
Problems persist because organizations defend their turf instead of embrace the problem. The TSA blames the facilities people, who blame someone else, and around and around. Only when the user’s problem is the driver of behavior (as opposed to maintaining power or the status quo) things change.
"Only when user's problem is the driver of behavior"? It's all turf wars? Look, I know that Seth is completely unqualified to talk about anything but fugly eyewear for aging hipster douchebags, but come on. Do you really want the TSA managing the overall facility? Do you want the guy in charge of JP-4 deliveries taking time out to manage a problem at the security gate? No. What Seth is defining as "turf wars" is seen by the sane as "sensible division of responsibilities". But Seth, like many people, assumes that anything he doesn't understand is easy, and that his magical thinking automatically works for every situation.
"Hey, all you ATC folks! There's a baby crying in terminal A! Stop all that aircraft flight management silliness, we have to tiger team a solution for unhappy children!"
Really? Yes, I am being somewhat ridiculous here, but it's because of just how fundamentally ignorant Seth is about things. Airports are not a fucking web service. Things have to happen in a specific way at a specific time or bad things happen. You fuck up a fuel order, people can die. Let me repeat that: when you fuck up something involving airplanes, it is not "OMG, FACEBOOK PRIVACY FAIL!" It is someone on CNN solemnly talking about a lot of people who died in fire and shearing metal. There are issues with turf wars in any organization, but to blithely blame things he doesn't understand on groups he doesn't understand dealing with concepts he has no clue about?
That's deliberate stupidity.
The food is aimed squarely at the (disappearing) middle of the market. People who like steamed meat and bags of chips never have a problem finding something to eat at an airport. Apparently, profit-maximizing vendors haven’t realized that we’re all a lot weirder than we used to be.
You'd think Seth would maybe, possibly know something about this. After all, even a twat like him has to eat. But no. Seth has no clue. Look, even at a podunk airport like Tallahassee, I can get healthy, even vegan snacks, and there's only two places selling food in the secure area. At an Atlanta? Asian, Haute Sandwiches, Delis, Fancy coffee, Seafood, Salads, Yogurt, Southern, Vegan, fuck, there's even a brew house and a fucking Tapas place.
Maybe Seth should look around more. Modern airport food is actually pretty damned good, and there's a decent variety. You just have to look up from your fucking phone every so often.
Like colleges, airports see customers as powerless transients. Hey, you’re going to be gone tomorrow, but they’ll still be here.
Well yes, they're transients you moron, it's a fucking airport. It's entire reason for being wraps around servicing transient customers. What the fuck do you think people go to them for? To hang out? Fuck me running, even for a barely sentient moron like Seth, this is stupid. How the fuck does this point apply to anything? It's completely useless because it's equally completely ignorant!
Do you want to run an apartment complex like an airport? No, because they're two completely different things. Fuck, at least try to think before you start telling everyone how shit should work.
By removing slack, airlines create failure. In order to increase profit, airlines work hard to get the maximum number of flights out of each plane, each day. As a result, there are no spares, no downtime and no resilience. By assuming that their customer base prefers to save money, not anxiety, they create an anxiety-filled system.
Actually, airplanes do rather a lot to deal with anxiety, but part of the "anxiety" airports have to deal with are everything from crying babies to full-on phobias. It's a bit different than ensuring you can pay for your fucking overcomplicated coffee, or scotch made from artisianal dwarf urine with ease. Also, yes, airlines are about efficiency. You know why? A bit of poking around came up with a possible cost of $32,000 for a Boeing 777, a fairly new aircraft, to make a 3000-mile flight. That doesn't include the effort costs for planning the flight, and coordinating things like people and luggage. (You think it's simple to coordinate a flight nowadays? Try it some time.) You ever seen how a jet engine eats fuel? Of course it's all about efficiency you nimrod.
The spares argument is fucking stupid. If the airport is big enough, yes, there are spares available. But to keep extra aircraft sitting idle at every airport an airline flies to, just in case? for every airline that files at that airport? ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME??. Seth is so....almost incomprehensibly ignorant about this subject, that anyone with even a slight clue reading this post comes away thinking that he has never even tried to understand what is going on in the aviation industry. Or anything else outside of his own pants, and I'm not real confident he knows what's going on there either.
To use a thing as an example, you have to know something, hell, anything about it. Otherwise, you look fucking stupid, and with this post, Seth looks like a gibbering idiot with no more brains than a slug.
The TSA is ruled by superstition, not fact. They act without data and put on a quite serious but ultimately useless bit of theater. Ten years later, the theater is now becoming an entrenched status quo, one that gets ever worse.
The only time, the only time Seth comes close to anything correct, and he does what with it? Not a goddamned thing. The TSA is not run by fact, (it's not run by supersitition either mind you, it's run by politics. But at this point, I'm giving Seth a hug for spelling words correctly, it's all i have here.) But what good does telling anyone this do? Not much. It's not just enough to point out how an example of bad behavior is bad behavior. You have to finish the fucking point. For example, talk about how running your business based on politics and bullshit can hurt both customers and employees. Would you want to buy a car from a company that ignored sound engineering and science? No. Or what happens when you don't use reality correctly? Look at Lotus Notes. (Not for long, you'll be sick.) There's a product with gobs of testing, all kinds of people "engineering" it, and yet it's still shit to use because no one bothered to use all those programmers and designers correctly. It's not enough to just acknowledge reality, you have to constantly test your work to see if what you're building, what you're creating is doing what it's supposed to in a way that is most useful for the people using it, and doesn't make them hate you.
The TSA is an amazing example of what happens when you run into a serious problem and decide to solve it by doing "SOMETHING! ANYTHING" rather than taking a moment to do things the right way. It may be the ultimate example of "We have to do something", and yet, Seth never even tries. This is a guy people praise as a "genius".
Fuck, I'm not a goddamned business "genius" yet I could work the shit out of an airport example. Of course, I'm not fundamentally lazy like Seth is. He's not actually trying to help you use his "example" in a way that might be helpful. He just wants to get his list up and out the door as fast as possible so he can go on another speaking tour and get paid to share nuggets of "genius" like this.
The ad hoc is forbidden. Imagine an airplane employee bringing in an extension cord and a power strip to deal with the daily occurrence of travelers hunched in the corner around a single outlet. Impossible. There is a bias toward permanent and improved, not quick and effective.
Yeah. Imagine that. Where do you put it? Why, the only place possible, across a walkway. Yeah, THAT won't result in faceplants. Or it getting crushed by luggage. I know it's hard for Seth to imagine other people or places that aren't SethLand, but sometimes, ad hoc is a really crappy way to do things. In the meantime, the airlines and airports have recognized the need Seth spoke of, and while not as fast or cute as "HEY! LET'S HAVE 23452 POWERSTRIPS STRETCHED EVERYWHERE", they, led by Southwest, have been remodeling gate areas to allow for both AC and USB power in a way that doesn't trip people, and actually is more efficiently designed than Seth's idiotic Wal-Mart run idea.
Pro tip: "effective" is not just "any old damned fool idea I have." It actually implies a solution that solves the problem well, instead of creating more, worse problems than originally existed. Per usual, Seth misses the opportunity to talk about a combination of solutions. (Because again, Seth is an intellectually lazy twit.) This is a great chance to ask businesses, "are you so focused on long-term permanent solutions that you're overlooking great interim solutions that can bridge the gap?" For example, without being an idiot, one thing airlines and airports could look at doing, instead of seth's idiotic injury-causing idea, is that while the really nice power kiosk plans are being implemented and built out, could they add outlets to existing fixtures or more outlets on those circuits without having to overhaul the wiring in the building? It's not a permanent solution, and it doesn't solve the clustering issue, but it could be a way to help mitigate the problem a bit. Maybe just rearranging seating near outlets?
The idea Seth should be obviously pushing is to look at both short and long term effective solutions. But, because Seth is also a shitty writer, and again, doesn't know beans about the example he is using, what could be an effective point is screwed into the ground.
Everyone is treated the same. Effective organizations treat different people differently. While there’s some window dressing at the edges (I’m thinking of slightly faster first class lines and slightly more convenient motorized cars for seniors), in general, airports insist that the one size they’ve chosen to offer fit all.
Really? How do you make the first class lines faster? You have n people getting into x seats through a doorway on the plane that is z wide. What do you propose Seth, a 1950s Le Mans running start? The Roller Derby option? If you actually time them, (Seth doesn't do this. He's too busy complaining about the speed of the First Class line while he stands in it), First Class lines are pretty damned fast, they have fewer people and more room in the seating area. It's the fucking sardines in the back that take forever. Just get a private jet Seth, and stop yammering.
I don't even know what the fuck he means in his second point, and Seth doesn't explain anything. Ever.
This is, even for as bad as this dreck is, really, really bad. Seth, this isn't a fucking web site. This is a LOT of people. 92,389,023 in 2011. which divided by 365, gives us 253121 passengers per day. Every day, Atlanta airport has a quarter-million people going through it, and they have to somehow manage all that. The fact it happens as well as it does is amazing, and Seth thinks they're doing it poorly because his ass has to wait "too long" in line and he doesn't like the carts?
Customized service is a great idea where appropriate and if you actually look at airports closely, you can see there's more of this than Seth wants you to think. But Seth, like every other New Media Douchebag fuckwit, looks at nothing deeply. He skims the veneer just long enough to figure out where to drop his next load, pulls up his pants, and dances off to the next victim of his "wisdom".
There are plenty of potential bad surprises, but no good ones. You can have a flight be cancelled, be strip searched or even go to the wrong airport. But all possibility for delight has been removed. It wouldn’t take much to completely transform the experience from a chore to a delight.
This is so wrong, it's almost offensive. When I had to help a very wobbly soldier through ATL once, it wasn't just me. There were people at every turn helping me out. The Starbuck's. The dude who rescheduled this guy's flight. The gate agent who took care of him once I'd gotten him to the right gate. THose were all small surprises that were anything but bad. When I flew to Massachusetts a couple years ago, I left my iPad in the seat. The Delta flight attendant who went WAY above and beyond to get it back to me? That was a good surprise. Every time I fly, I see all kinds of little things happening to help people out. I see the pilot greeting passengers joking with a little girl and giving her a set of wings, so she starts a long flight with a smile. I see gate agents making sure an elderly flyer who is upset is taken care of and treated well so she's not upset any more. I see people at an airport that just finished having a snowstorm dragging luggage up the crew elevator because the regular luggage handling equipment broke so that people can get home okay, while their compatriots are rescheduling flights.
Maybe, just maybe if Seth wasn't such a goddamned snotty elitest who only cares about you when you're sucking his dick, he'd see all this too. But then he wouldn't be able to write shitty columns like this. Yeah, that'd be a shame. The problem is, Seth expects only bad things in the airport, and he's rewarded. I pity the poor bastards who have to deal with him and his ilk. This isn't even a point you can turn into something useful. It's just an overprivileged yuppie asshole slapping people with his dick.
They are sterile. Everyone who passes through leaves no trace, every morning starts anew. There are no connections between people, either fellow passengers or the staff. No one says, “welcome back,” and that’s honest, because no one feels particularly welcome.
You process a quarter million people a fucking day and tell me how well you remember them all. Fuck me, every time I think Seth has reached the nadir of his elitist whining, he reaches down and finds more power in that hipster steam shovel. The real problem here is that I doubt Seth is the kind of person anyone welcomes back. Somehow, I doubt he treats the fuckers at the gate with the same bonhomie he feels for those of his "circle". 600 years ago, Seth would have been that insufferably rude minor noble who delighted in kicking down and kissing up.
No one is having any fun. Most people who work at airports have precisely the same demeanor as people who work at a cemetery. The system has become so industrialized that personal expression is apparently forbidden.
I will bet you a solid gold dildo that Seth has not worked any amount of time in any kind of job you see people doing at the airport. Zero. The only time that fucker breaks a sweat is when the stage lights are too hot and he accidentally wore the wrong suit. These are not the "geniuses" Seth hires to work ungodly hours for salary building websites like Squidoo. These are people who have jobs that require actual hard work. You think it's easy yanking luggage 8-12 hours a day? You fucking try it. You think fixing planes is something you can do in your favorite hipster jeans and ironic t-shirt? Give it a fucking try. You think being a gate agent and dealing with entitlement queens like Seth is fucking easy? Again, step the fuck up or shut the fuck up. Either works. Wahh, the guy who just humped a ton of luggage didn't smile at me when I waved. Fuck me, Seth is the world's oldest two-year-old.
As we see at many organizations that end up like this, the airport mistakes its market domination for a you-have-no-choice monopoly (we do have a choice, we stay home). And in pursuit of reliable, predictable outcomes, these organizations dehumanize everything, pretending it will increase profits, when it actually does exactly the opposite.
Many organizations that end up like what? Entities you don't have the slightest fucking clue about? Again, why, why, why do people listen to this fucking pinhead? Based on the bullshit he writes, he understands reality even worse than Gene "Apple TV Hunter" Munster. He's Tweedle Dumber on a diet. There are a lot of really, really smart people who can help you make your business better. Seth Godin is none of them. You'd be better off asking a masturbating hobo for business advice than this pinhead. THAT guy at least has a grip on something real, which is more than I can say for Seth.
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