“Idealists.” I return to Dischord founder and Fugazi member Ian MacKaye, in a short passage I dig, in The Idealist, Glen E. Friedman’s enduring monograph chock-filled with images of, and essays by, a rogues gallery of principled and uncompromising icons. “Sometimes we may fool ourselves,” he writes, “but at least we’re not in the business of fooling other people.”
Last month, I dug a live talk by Glen E. Friedman, moderated by Alec MacKaye (Untouchables, Faith) at the D.C. Public Library. Which is partially why I’m so jazzed up.
Corollary: If you are in the business of fooling others, you’re probably just fooling yourself.
Not to equate art with work, but at the Driving Sales Executive Summit 2015, I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation of Alan H. Bird, President and Chief Executive Leader of SCI Marketview, operators of General Motors’ lead-distribution engine, on a study of email responses to online inquiries in my industry (retail automotive): statistical proof that the success of replies had more to do with the quality of their content than the speed of response. In a field where everything is measurable, it wasn’t too long ago that one took as gospel that speed was everything, and “stopping the clock” was the benchmark of all things awesome. Yes, some individual thought leaders saw through such simplistic notions early on. Joe Webb understood that the emperor had no clothes.
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But back in the fall of 2009, SCI Marketview themselves built the clock that we were all hellbound to stop. From October, 2009, through April, 2010, I slept in four-hours-or-less shifts each and every night, so that no less than 95% of leads were responded to in less than five hours, and all leads were responded to in an average of less than two hours. Yes, 24/7, days nights holidays and weekends. A great deal of money was at stake. Eventually, that work was allowed to be outsourced, and soon after, when it became obvious that stopping the clock was simply bought and paid for, the time measurements no longer had big money riding on it. So, what else is state of the art, 2015, in the world of digital marketing? Healthy concepts, like emotional intelligence, trust, and employee retention. And common sense, I think.
Those reading this, who may not know the car business from the inside, could be most surprised. Check out my full meeting notes.