Plugging the gap on data value

I had some interesting exchanges recently that took me to a UK  firm who specialize in data cleansing, They reminded of a survey we did some time ago that asked the question, How do Business Intelligence solutions provide value?

Of the 86 replies the answers varied in weight but it was clear Sales Growth and Operating Performance are the top issues. image

In my discussion with Chris Johnson at CNM in the he said

Companies waste so much money and cause harm to the environment by not regularly cleansing their data. Data is one of our biggest assets. You wouldn’t drive around in your Ferrari or work in your high rise office block without getting it cleaned once in a while would you?

Clean data means happy informed customers and less environmental impact to our planet.

In my personal opinion it should be a legal/moral obligation to clean data regularly.

This was very sound advice which I was looking for to help me in my work in Business Intelligence that relies so much on clean data.

As I looked through the impressive product list at CNM, (Yes it is one of those coveted TLA names) it seemed to focus on these needs so well so I decided to keep it as a reference list of issues that people in business face.

For example in their How can we help? section it bring to the forefront familiar issues with some pertinent questions that just make think about the quality of your data.

yes Telephone Number Appending

Have you got a list of contacts without a phone number? We have one of the most efficient and accurate telephone numbering services in the UK. more…

yes TPS Screening

Need to comply with the law? Our TPS matching service can flag or remove TPS registered records from your data. more…

yes Tracing Services

Lost contact with your debtors? Our tracing service is second to none, we not only find new addresses for your debtors we can also give you an indication of how likely they are to repay their debts. more…

yes Data Supply

Need campaign specific profiled data? Then look no further. At CNM we have access to the most up-to-date data available in the UK. more…

Their full list of Core Services, in context also provides valuable insights about uses of data. A most useful resource.



I have no interest at all nor do I get any benefit from this firm aside from the value of having connected at an intellectual level.  I just like what they have to say hence I am sharing it.

Bangkok recovery is now encouraging


The Curfew still remains in force in Bangkok as clean up operations continue and order in the city and provinces is resorted. Even so headlines of last 2 days still show dangers are still present.

The Bangkok CentralWorld management just sent me by our office provider SERVCORP gives some good news about our office in there. In it they advise the extent of the fire damage generally to the Centralworld complex on the 19th May 2010.

Centralworld management advised that the Zen department store has been completely damaged and Zen Tower is partly damaged.

    Initial inspections show the following areas have not been damaged:

  • Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center at CentralWorld
  • The Offices at CentralWorld
  • Isetan Department Store
  • TK Park
  • SF World Cinema

They told me for now people will be not be permitted in the premises until more inspections are carried out.

In the face of the miseries people have suffered, we know of no-one in our circles who have been hurt. The good news is we may soon be able to return to work in our office which survived the arsonists work.

I have Been in Singapore today and now in the terminal 3 lounge waiting to board a plane for Melbourne as I write this. This will be my last post on this subject but I am keen in future to tell some of the stories about leaders in business and the community I saw who handled a very hard situation well to look after their people and their customers in the face of the crisis.  There are many lessons to learn and acknowledge. as it is still continuing.

As an information record, here are the last couple days headlines from The Nation

? Military nurse killed in drive-by shooting

? Bail applications for 114 red shirts denied

? Arisman negotiating to surrender

? C4 bomb found on pick-up truck in Pratunam

? Probe underway for three schools torched despite curfew

? Two M67 grenades found in pick-up truck of red-shirt guards

? 7 Bangkok districts to be declared disaster zones

? PM vows to move the country forward

? 13 Khon Kaen reds get suspended jail term

? Man found suffocated on fourth floor of CentralWorld

? Prosecution of reds involving in mayhem

? Nov 14 poll date should be postponed:

? Public utilities services around Rajprasong could resume Friday

? CRES sets up rapid respond units to help people

? Government sets up rally relief centre

? CRES announces it has done clearing streets around Rajprasong

? Free services to send red shirts home completed

? Dearth toll from May 14 rises to 52: BMA emergency centre



imageOur office providers SERVCORP. who thru the crisis, kept me up to date on events in the Rajprasong area and Centralworld give us great service. When we needed they found alternative accommodation so we could continue business. I recommend them highly and include their details here if you want to have local office needs, not only in Bangkok but mostly anywhere.

Do you sell using a Mattress Test?

image Here is some advice I got as a student. To make ends meet, I took a job selling wedding chest products. (Those old enough to remember may recall Carrigans, a boutique firm that sold a quality product range by referral based selling.

My sales coach at the time told me.

“Don’t try to sell products, show solutions to real problems” and something practical that goes with that is a mattress test” 

“What is a mattress test?” I quizzed.

It is a simple concept that alerts or disturbs a prospect unexpectedly that he or she has a problem, But the skill is to do it in a way you and your product or service are seen as part of the solution.  Most rookie sales people learn this but rarely apply it.  If you do, you will sell well”

He went on to explain the metaphor:

For example you may not know it, but a vacuum salesman knows a used mattress has a lot of dead skin in it. And he also knows any decent vacuum will pull it out easily.

So if  when he demonstrates to a prospect with a quick swipe across an old mattress it will show on the filter pad a pile of dead skin. That disturbs people and it also does a lot of the work for his sale so he needs to talk a lot less to close it.

It seemed to me as I applied that lesson, it is not about being slick and not always about having the best product or service. It is about identifying and solving problems. When a prospect becomes concerned they’ve got a real problem and you not only help them to see it but also become  part of the solution, you spend less time on vague conversations and more on working out the terms of a deal.

The use of a mattress test concept does take work to find a prospects real pain point. And to pick the timing and have skill to make it show up in a way that lets you be seen to be part of the solution. Doing your home work is the key, and it works a treat too, as you have happy customers and do good business.

At time of writing this post I am sitting on a plane with a colleague from Infor, our solution partners, who provider enterprise software solutions.  Being a seasoned salesman and someone I trust, I asked him for his experience on this. His reply was un-expected.

In that case if you are selling vacuum cleaners it may be a good idea to hook up with a mattress company. Sometimes the customer may need a new mattress rather than just getting a new cover and or a quick clean up tool”

By the way my boss at Carrigans always got mad at me for giving away fine linen table cloths and without making a sale. And I was not supposed to cannibalize my samples case either, which annoyed the stock room too.

But when I did I found what disturbed my prospect was the thought that they may not be able to get the full matching set later when I was gone. I closed heaps of sales that way as I had the solution right there or when I rang back in a day or as promised and remade the point. With a good offer on terms many then bought the whole chest and even better I always got heaps more leads.

It was great fun too as I made lots of friends of clients who we very happy with what they had bought.

Since then I suspect nothing has changed… But I wonder what others do now?

Bangkok Ignites:The City of Angels is on Fire

image Tonight there is an eerie yellow feel in the city of angels with Bangkok now under a curfew . The only people on the streets are the army, police, authorized people and emergency services.

The events of today that saw the protest rallies ended and leaders arrested then transformed into lawless rioting and burning.

I just went to the rooftop of my apartment building where I can see the normally busy street now empty below. And to the north the famous Bangkok expressway hub that normally has constant flow of vehicles, now as none.

I took this photo over the nearby Bumrungrad Hospital where you can see the fire dominating the skyline as the Central World Mall just 4 Kilometers away continues to burns. Red flames are clearly visible reflecting on the billowing smoke as this landmark burns to the ground. 

I am not sure yet if the office tower attached to the Mall is burning too. If so like many others effected our business will be a casualty too as our office in on one of the higher floors.  


(Click on this picture to link  to the original CNN Video showing the Central World Mall on fire.)

In the last few days it is difficult to move around in the city. Today was worse as the army moved to control escalating events. People were advised  to do only what are essential things. Many have left the city to go to the provinces including some of our staff. For many foreigners they have or will return to their counties in fear of further escalating tensions.

I had to walk quite a distance from my home to get past the razor wire blockades set up by the army to contain and defend against the ongoing civil lawlessness. Just nearby it was curious to see a mix of soldiers crouched and behind sandbag defense lines in readiness for potential attack while people streamed past purposefully as they leave new danger zones.

imageFor .

As cell tower towers communications were being cut in attempts to stop rioters re-grouping so many people I saw had cell phones to their ears as it seemed intent on learning of troubles ahead and where the dangers might be.

Needless to say my venture out was short as I competed my errand and returned home.

As a chronological record I have updated the detail events of today in. 

I have also pasted it under the fold below: 

Bangkok Wednesday May 19th

This morning around 10:30 am troops secured the protesters stronghold areas around the King Rama VI Statute in front of the Lumpini Park. Troops used armoured vehicles to demolish the bunkers and moved in to secure the area. They then moved to secure other areas.

Natthawut Saikua announced from the rally stage at Rajprasong to stay and fight along with protesters, dismissing speculation about fleeing or surrendering in the face of advancing security forces.

Around 11.00 am, the security forces have moved passed Sarasin Junction heading to Rajprasong along Rajdamri Road.

Women, children and the elderly have been allowed to seek refuge in Wat Pathum Wanaram, the designated safety zone.

The red-shirt leaders still remaining at Rajprasong include Natthawut, Jatuporn Promphan, Kwanchai Praipana and Nisit Sinthuprai.

Arisman Pongruangrong, weng Tojirakarn and Suporn Atthawong have been absent since the morning. Police subsequently confirmed Arisman fled in a Yaris car

About 1.40 pm today, red-shirt leaders arrived at the Royal Thai Police on Rama I Road, located next to the Rajprasong rally site, to surrender. that seemed like a relief to many that it was all over. But that was short lived as riots and burnings broke out across the city.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva later issued state of emergency in Kalasin and Mukdaharn after riots spread to the provinces. The riots broke out in many spots in Bangkok after some red shirts leaders surrenders to police, ending Rajprasong rally site.

Tonight the government imposed a curfew in Bangkok from 8 pm to 6 am. which will be in place until further notice

Arisaman Pongruangrong, a red-shirt leader, was then arrested, in Plonechit area near my office at Central World. It was reported that he was taken to the Naresuan Border Patrol Police Base in Hua Hin. (That is 3 hours outside Bangkok)

The Criminal Court today also approved arrest warrants be issued against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and nine other people on charge of terrorism.

Angry protesters set fire to 27 spots across the capital. The fire at CentralWorld was still out of control at 9 pm tonight.

Here is a full list in lastest first order of the updates I got via my SMS today Bangkok Wednesday May 19, 2010

• Fires erupt at 27 spots across Bangkok
• Thai Airways International will operate regular scheduled flights
• Arisaman arrested: reports
• Court approves arrest warrant against Thaksin, 9 others on terrorism charge
• Police Hospital evacuates patients from building opposite from Central World
• Central World building may collapse after arson attack
• Transport Co cancels bus services after 8 pm
• Outbound travellers need to show travelling document
• Kalasin and Mukdaharn under state of emergency
• Protesters set fire to at 1east 15 spots in Bangkok
• Curfew imposed 8 pm to 6 am
• Protesters loot Siam Square, set fire to Siam Theatre
• BTS suspends service Thursday
• Looting taking place at Central World
• 4 troops, 1 reporter injured in M79 attack on Thai-Belgian Bridge
• Angry protesters set fire to Channel 3
• Fire breaks out at 7-Eleven shop at Din Daeng
• Nation staffs told to go home
• Gunfight continues at Din Daeng Intersection
• Curfew to be imposed in Bangkok Wednesday night : defence minister
• Protesters set fire to Central World
• Protesters burn tyres on Lard Prao Road
• Pockets of red shirts continue to riot
• Summary of operations to gain control of Rajprasong
• Italian reporter killed in Bangkok clashes
• Red-shirt leaders surrender to police
• Jatuporn pleading with his red shirts to end protest
• Banks to close at 1.00 pm
• Jatuporn to surrender at police headquarters
• Natthawut vows to fight on at Rajprasong
• Thai stocks exchange closes 12:30 noon Wed
• Panithan: Red-shirt leaders have fled
• Troops detain 20 red shirts protesters
• At least two killed at Saladaeng clash
• 20 armed men in black captured by soldiers, Arisman believed fleeing
• 2 injured in clash at Samyan Intersection
• Troops secure area in front of Lumpini Park
• Panithan urges public members to stay away from besieging areas
• Thai stocks open down 5.27 pt, 0.69 pct
• Thaksin responsible for collapsed negotiations: Korbsak
• Senate cancels mediation talks
• Banharn calls for decisive, swift action to contain terrorism
• Protesters seized Thai Com satellite uplink station in Nonthaburi
• Rubber tyre fire near Chulalongkorn Hospital put out
• Gunfight erupts at Saladaeng
• Protesters set tyres alight at Saladaeng Intersection
• Protesters torch ONCB’s cafeteria building
• Troops push protesters back from Saladaeng Intersection
• Govt troops prepares to disperse red shirts at Rajprasong

Bangkok is a tinderbox right now


 Bangkok 6:30 PM May 17, 2010

imageAs I post this I am getting live reports via my Skype

I just heard that in Rama 4  in Bangkok, four people have just been shot. 

One is dead and three injured.

Since my post on Saturday I have kept it updated in the comments section as events occur,

Tonight as tensions seem to be heightening I have included this as a separate post too.

Here is an update on events in Bangkok before to 6PM., Sine then a critical meeting between the opposing sides has been cancelled. The casualty count as reported is 60 dead and 1000 hurt.

Bangkok 6PM May 17, 2010

Right now as I am watching the TV reports here in Bangkok there are signs that violence will erupt again in the Indra Hotel Area with tires being paces in front of the hotel in readiness to burn.

It is not sure if it is protestor or other ill meaning people The Soldiers have prevented anyone from entering the area so no civilians are present.

Soldiers have also let people know that three shots in the air means warning if people intend to set them alight or cause trouble.

In the Bang Kai and Ding dang area are still critical area. There was a tanker stolen from a petrol station presumably full of fuel that has been rolled into the road and people shouting fireworks constantly at the truck in attempts to ignite. The TV news reporter nearby is trying to find out if the truck is loaded and if there is full on board.

Wireless s road just now is quiet and peaceful just now.

Gun fire has been regular in Rama 4 but other than this. it is quite just now.

It seems from the reported information following a phone call at 4 from the government to redshirts official who since have had a meeting it seems they are ready for negotiations. The content of the conversations is not known but it presumed it was somehow persuasive.  (meeting since cancelled)

At Victory monument it is difficult for security as protester have taken control of the area .One of my staff lives in the Victory monument area and who is on the line to me now says she is staying indoors as there is shooting nearby and a lot of redshirts and police and army are there. It is very dangerous on the streets.

Being on the spot in Bangkok is not a good scene.

Bangkok 2PM May 15 2010

imageThis week  when I returned to Bangkok the scene is far from good.  While I was at a business dinner last night in the peace of the famous Enocteca Italian restaurant, violence was erupting just nearby in the city for the second day running.

This morning when I awoke 16 more people are dead including some foreigners with scores more injured as the government tries to end the two month long protest rallies.

Heading along the 2 Km stretch from my home in Sukhumvit to our Bangkok office in Central World in Chilton is not an option as it stands in epicenter of the troubles. On that stretch all business there is now closed.

All around the city in the last few days I have seem army and flak jacketed police which tells the tail of the tensions here. To visit one of our clients in the east of the city means I have to go past the Prime Ministers home which since the trouble began has been heavily guarded.

Following last nights violence as I went for some breakfast nearby this morning, I was most disrtubed at hearing a motor bike rider say he had just seen three people lying dead on the road near the rally zone. He said  they been left unattended because no-one wanted to risk their life to remove the bodies.

As an insight to the perspective of some who is involved in the troubles, sadly this morning I read a former senator and secretary of a children foundation, Wallop Tangkhananurak, called on leaders to immediately evacuate children and aged people from Rajprasong rally zone. Wallop said about 70 per of the demonstrators are children and aged people.

And this morning Silom Road, which is always bustling, became deserted. It has just been reported that only a few 7-Eleven shops are remaining open. At 10:30 am , troops used orange plastic roadblocks to set up several layers of barricades to seal off the area.

The escalating gravity was lifted on Thursday when Seh Daeng, who is one of the protest leaders was shot. He remains in critical condition after being shot in the head while engaged in an interview with foreign press.  This and ongoing events is reported to be fueling calls by protest leaders for people in some provinces to come to Bangkok to bolster the protesters.

I just heard report of two explosions being heard in front of the Ua-Chuliang Building near the Saladeng Intersection  (11:40 am Saturday.) The sound of gunfire followed the explosions.

The major area of troubled activity is in the clusters around the Rajprasong intersection as shown on this map


Needleless to say, it is not a safe scene to be in the streets near the troubles so the advice is to keep a safe distance and don’t venture far. I intend doing just that until I leave for Australia next week.



Following May 15, 2010 chronology published in the Nation earlier this morning shows events of a military operation to close in on the red shirts’ protest site.

12.12pm: Five thousand troops start blockading Suan Lum Night Bazaar and fire tear gas. Gunshots are heard shortly afterwards.

12.15pm: Soldiers fire tear gas to reclaim the area near Suan Lum Night Bazaar that was occupied by the red shirts on Thursday night. Protesters try to besiege the troops inside the night market, and smoke is spotted coming out from inside Lumpini Park.

12.30pm: The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration rejects police request for city officials to drag away a police truck set ablaze by protesters at Sala Daeng intersection, saying its officials would be under threat from the gunfire exchange.

1pm: Protesters burn car tyres opposite the Lumpini Boxing Stadium, about 100 metres from the Thai-Belgian Bridge. Sporadic gunfire is heard. A clash between security forces and protesters kills one man and injures 20 others, three of whom are journalists.

1.30pm: Protesters outside the boxing stadium attack security forces with slingshots and petrol bombs, while soldiers respond by firing several rounds in the air, followed by teargas and rubber bullets. Twenty protesters are arrested.

1.50pm: Protest leader Jatuporn Promphan announces on stage that the situation could lead to civil war.

2.30pm: Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, spokesman of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, tells the press that government forces have secured the area around the Thai-Belgian Bridge and set up road barricades on Wireless Road.

3pm: Reinforcements of troops are sent to guard Government House.

3.20pm: Troops and red shirts clash at Rajprarop intersection and there is noise of gunshots. Protesters retreat to the Pratunam intersection.

4.20pm: Red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua calls on the government to order troop withdrawal and rescind the emergency decree.

4.25pm: Residents of Rajprarop Soi 4 and Soi 6 try to boo away red-shirt protesters, who are armed with petrol bombs and looking to confront soldiers.

4.30pm: Ruam Katanyu Foundation worker Sarayut Amphan is accidentally shot in the arm during a clash in Soi Ngam Duphli.

4.50pm: Protesters throw burning tyres from the Sala Daeng overpass at soldiers waiting at the foot of the bridge. Noise of gunshots and firecrackers is heard from the protesters’ side, while soldiers fire into the air periodically.

5pm: There is a confrontation between both sides near Dusit Thani Hotel and the Thai-Belgian overpass. Burning tyres cover the area with smoke.

6pm: Two grenades, believed to have been launched using an M-79 grenade launcher, explode in Soi Sala Daeng and in front of the Dusit Thani Hotel. There are no reports of injuries.

6.20pm: Explosion is heard at the red-shirts’ stage on Rajprasong intersection, as speakers jump down and tell protesters to duck. No injuries or deaths are reported and the cause of the explosion remains unknown.

6.40pm: An armoured vehicle moves into Sala Daeng intersection from Wireless Road. Protesters throw bottles, petrol bombs and lit firecrackers at troops.

NYC Parking Ticket goes international


The process of writing this blog often puts me into another level of human commutation. Many do blogs to make money while others have different motives. My sister for example posts recipes for fun. In my case I do it with some forsaken idea that the those who know me in business will pass on the word because we try attempt to share our ideas. Noble for sure but maybe not so smart you must agree. We work in Asia Pacific and now have readers all over the world who will never hear of or even care about engaging our consulting firm.

But the upside and one of the delights is meeting like-minded people who also blog. For me as I attempted it increase my traffic twitter face book and so on were obvious choices. Three I got a surprise one day when I got a warm welcome to the community from a New York Lawyer who runs a blog with a difference. He bases it only on NYC Parking Ticker issues where he helps people understand the law and their rights.

image Larry Berezin, who runs the blog and who is a principal is the law practice it promotes, is now a great friend who I enjoy sharing ideas with.

But, you may ask, how does a Lawyer make any money out handling issues from such a mundane commodity service like parking. Yes you have to wonder?

Just now while reading his blog for this week I noted a testimonial from one of his practice customers, It tells the story in one shot

Clients say:

My company manages a large fleet of trucks. We’re on the road daily in the five boroughs of New York. Our parking ticket fines between December, 2007 and July, 2008 were $663,321. New York Parking Ticket saved us $456,372. My company paid only $206,949, a 69% savings. 

New York Parking Ticket will save us more than $1M for the 12 month period ending December, 31, 2008. I heartily recommend New York Parking Ticket. They keep their word, deliver significant savings at a very reasonable cost. It’s a no brainer.

Jonathan Smokler Uptown Communication & Electric 

imageEven though you may not live in New York or even in the US like me, I recommend his blog as informative and common sense. He turns what is a very dry and sometimes painful subject we all relate to into a load of fun as he provides valuable information.

When you look it you will see the experiences and law is mostly the same everywhere and does not just apply to New York

Larry also hosts a radio show where he talks on the subject to make it human and very enjoyable.

imageIn keeping with his sense of humour this banner ad says it all too!!

One question I have for Larry is “When are you going to go international?  Perhaps we could be your APAC rep!!