Archive for December, 2006

I am Lex Luthor.

December 30, 2006 3 comments
Lex Luthor 93%
Dr. Doom 83%
Riddler 71%
Magneto 66%
The Joker 62%
Apocalypse 60%
Mr. Freeze 57%
Green Goblin 53%
Juggernaut 49%
Kingpin 47%
Catwoman 47%
Poison Ivy 39%
Venom 34%
Dark Phoenix 31%
Mystique 25%
Two-Face 21%
  A brilliant businessman on a quest for world domination and the self-proclaimed greatest criminal mind of our time!

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

Categories: personal

I am Green Lantern.

December 30, 2006 1 comment
Green Lantern 90%
Spider-Man 80%
Catwoman 75%
Superman 75%
The Flash 60%
Robin 58%
Iron Man 55%
Wonder Woman 48%
Supergirl 48%
Hulk 35%
Batman 25%
  Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the “Which Superhero am I?” quiz…

Categories: personal

Google's gone evil.

December 29, 2006 16 comments

Some of you might remember how worried Google has been about the possibility of Vista and IE7 recommending Microsoft’s search engine over Google when they shipped.

I certainly know I remember meetings at Google where this very fear was front-and-center and how Googlers at those meetings were very passionate about the issue. They all agreed – it was horribly wrong of Microsoft to recommend an inferior search engine simply because they had upgraded their desktop software.

Have you tried searching for ‘blog‘, ‘calendar‘, or my personal favorite, ‘photo sharing‘ at Google today?

That’s right. Since Google’s own products aren’t good enough to make the top of the rankings themselves, they’re starting to promote them directly, outside of AdWords, with bright logos and top placement (which no-one else can use).

Don’t get me wrong – it’s Google’s search engine, so they can do whatever they like. But let’s not forget that Google’s Code of Conduct specifically talks about trust. That’s one of the big reasons you and I use Google instead of, say, Yahoo – because we trust that the best results will more likely surface to the top at Google, unhindered by self-promotion of inferior in-house products.

I don’t think there’s much mystery that WordPress, TypePad, and LiveJournal are better blogging platforms than Blogger. It’s a shame Google’s resorting to self promotion and damaging their credibility rather than improving their products.

Trust is easily lost, Google. Tread lightly.

Blake Ross, he of Firefox fame, has a great writeup on the same subject. I’m sure there will be others, so keep an eye on Techmeme and Tailrank.

Categories: business, web 2.0

I love our community.

December 13, 2006 1 comment

The fact that I played some small part in building a community that comes together like this makes it all worth it.

My heart goes out to Haley’s family and friends.

Categories: smugmug

Worst. Service. Ever: Home Depot & HOMExperts

December 5, 2006 56 comments

I’ve written about great customer service in the past, and what it can mean to companies that pay attention. But today, I’m going to write about the worst customer service I’ve ever received. I’m hoping the power of the blogosphere can help The Home Depot and Owens Corning HOMExperts to sit up, take notice, and maybe even finish my kitchen. Please, please help by blogging about this story and digging it.

It was the summer of 2005, the end of August to be exact. My wife was pregnant with our twins, we’d just moved into a new house, and we desperately needed to get our kitchen remodeled. We headed over to the Home Depot Expo Design Center, met with a designer, and went to town. Everything sounded great – depending on materials, it would take roughly 6 months, they had a great selection of appliances and materials, and best of all, they held all of our money in escrow until milestones were reached with the contractors.

You see, we’d heard all sorts of horror stories about kitchen remodels from our friends. The contractors would often take the money in advance, and then had no incentive to finish their jobs. (I know all contractors aren’t like this, and it paints the good ones in a bad light, but unfortunately, it happens far too often). Home Depot’s approach sounded much better – they’d keep all of our money in escrow, trickling it out to the contractors as they finished parts of the job. They assured me, being a large corporation, they would have lots of control and organization around the project, and the contractors would be incentivized to finish the job quickly and thoroughly, lest they lose Expo’s business in the future.

How wrong that all was! I’m sitting here, December 5th, 2006 – a full 15 months after we began this 6-month project – in an unfinished $130,000 kitchen. Yes, you read that right. $130,000, 9 months overdue, and I can’t even get anyone on the phone to help us out. About once a month, if I’m very lucky, some contractor from Owens Corning HOMExperts comes over for an hour or two and screws a few things together. They came yesterday, for example, and tried to finish a few projects. Of course, what they ended up accomplishing was zero, and actually managed to damage some stuff, so we’re less finished today than we were two days ago. Lucky me.

The kicker? I paid for most of the kitchen on a 12-month, no-interest Expo credit card. You know the ones – they drool in anticipation of you defaulting and this mountain of interest landing on your account in a blink of an eye. Never in a million years did I dream I’d have paid the entire thing off (no interest!) before the kitchen was actually finished. But that’s exactly what happened.

The whole project is like something out of a Hollywood comedy, full of tragic moments. My twins were born seriously pre-mature, but of course our house was unlivable for far longer than the projected timeframe. We scrambled to find a place to live until June 2006, raising pre-mature infants outside of our own home, before finally moving in after the worst of the construction was finished. People left the company, like our project manager, and Expo didn’t feel compelled to replace them. Parts of the kitchen started breaking weeks after they were installed, and had to be replaced. The list goes on and on … many of the lights still don’t work.

As the CEO of a company that strives to provide top-notch customer service, this has been incredible to watch. At no time during the process, other than the design and purchasing phase, have we felt taken care of, or even like our satisfaction was even a consideration. I wish I could say that the experience has been highly educational, like my visit to the Ritz-Carlton, but I have to imagine that any human being would realize that this is ludicrously bad customer service. The two companies involved, The Home Depot and their contractors, HOMExperts, must have some serious problems internally. Steer clear of both of them, whether you’re an investor or a consumer. If they can’t take care of me, how many other homes are they destroying?

Please, help me spread the word and make some noise at Home Depot HQ. I’ve opened a BBB case, but I think the blogosphere is far more powerful. Help me get my kitchen finished!

UPDATE: Looks like Joel Grover at NBC4 in LA has done a report on Home Depot. Guess I’m not the only one.

UPDATE: We made the digg homepage in less than two hours. Awesome! Then someone buried us as ‘lame’ and we disappeared forever. D’oh! Guess I’d better call the lawyers and see if they can help, because I think the blogosphere failed. 😦

Categories: business, personal
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