Archive for April 2nd, 2012

April 2, 2012

#39) Learning from idiots, part 4: AWC never says die

How long would you keep emailing a prospect who had expressed interest in your services?

In the case of AWC, it’s three years and counting.  When I was starting www.findmymusicteacher.com, I looked at a variety of possible web designers and programmers.  Although I went with a different bidder, AWC continued – and continues – to follow up with me by email, on an average twice per week.  As somebody who has a habit of giving up when I don’t seem to be making much progress, I can’t help but have a certain weird admiration for that kind of persistence.  No, they haven’t gotten my business; I haven’t even gotten around to writing back to them and telling them that their service is not required.  (Yes, I know that begs the question why do I have time to write a blog about it?)  I also realize that the emails I get from them are undoubtedly automated; not the work of an impassioned copywriter who will stop at nothing to win new clients.  But the lesson is the same: enough persistence will get you noticed, one way or another.

A friend of mine told me that his dad always said, if you hang around outside a night club long enough and ask every girl who comes out if they’ll sleep with you, eventually one will say yes.  You’ll probably get smacked in the face a couple of times, and perhaps have to deal with an irate boyfriend or two, but ultimately, stubbornness will carry the day for you.   Whether you’re trying to get paid or get laid, sometimes you just can’t take no for an answer.

So will I use AWC next time I need a site built?  Possibly.  How long will I continue to let myself receive their emails?  I don’t know.  How long will they keep sending them?  Can’t help you on that one either.  But even though they never provided the service about which I had originally contacted them, in their own unique way, AWC has inspired me.

April 2, 2012

#38) Learning From Idiots, Part 3

Talk about hating your job.

Hans Url, a 56-year old Austrian man, was told that the government disability benefits he was receiving would run out if he refused a job that had been found for him.  He responded by sawing off his own foot to remain on disability.

As bizarre as the story is, and as unsympathetic a character as Url may be compared to the countless people in the United States and elsewhere who are desperate for work, I’ve caught myself thinking about his plight since I first heard about it last week.  When I’ve found myself being less than thrilled about work, I think at least I don’t hate my job enough to cut my own foot off.  Come to think of it, I’ve never had a job–even working in a Greyhound bus station or teaching special education in South Los Angeles–that I’ve hated so much that I would consider doing something like that.

It’s safe to say, too, that Url is obviously not quite right in the head.  Like the killers profiled in Jonathan Kambouris’s Last Meals Project (see D-Theory #24),   Url is a human being, however inappropriate and dangerous his actions may have been.  No, he doesn’t get many sympathy votes when compared to people who suffer such devastating injuries through no fault of their own, but he obviously was in some sort of emotional pain and distress.  After all, nobody wakes up in the morning wanting to cut off their own foot, no matter how much they hate their job.  Whether he’s a dangerous psychopath or a victim of an inefficient government bureaucracy, Hans Url’s story stood out to me among all of the other news items I’ve consumed recently.

The irony is that, for all of his efforts, Url may have to go to work after all.  Like Cary Elwes’s character from the movie “Saw”, his efforts may be all in vain.