Tag Archives: Walking Dead

You Always Hurt The One You Love

There is an old song made famous by The Mills Brothers. The first two lines are:

You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all

Today’s screed is the unbelievable tale of a media entity that is doing just that. Why unbelievable? Because if I asked you to tell me the absolute dumbest thing any company could do you just might respond with exactly what this company is doing. Let me explain.

The Walking Dead is AMC’s (and maybe TV‘s) biggest show. Not unexpectedly, there are many fan groups that interact via social media. One of the biggest – about 400,000 strong – is a Facebook group called “The Spoiling Dead Fans.” As you might guess from the name, part of what the group does is to make predictions about what will occur in upcoming episodes, and lately, it’s about who was killed by a barbed wire coated baseball bat (named Lucille). These fans, as you might guess, would be classified as “hard-core.” They watch the show, the discuss the show, they pick apart every episode for clues. In short – they’re what every media entity wants: engaged, excited consumers.

So how has AMC rewarded these loyal fans? In their words:

In the past two years, AMC has filed several wrongful DMCA notices against us with full knowledge that we could not file counter-notices, hired investigators to intimidate our members, and threatened our local members with arrest, among other questionable acts.

Yep. They’re threatening to sue them. AMC believes “the predictions on the board are based on copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased next season of The Walking Dead”. If you’re not shaking your head about now, you should be. It’s not as if the fans have released footage or are torrenting purloined episodes. All they’re doing is keeping the show top of mind while it’s off the air between seasons. Is suing them for that really the best response?

If you’re over the age of 30, you’re old enough to remember when the music industry spent a lot of time and money suing consumers rather than using those resources to come up with a better business model (Steve Jobs did that for them). I think that alienation persists to this day.

I can’t imagine any instance where suing your best customers – hurting the ones who you shouldn’t hurt at all – is the best solution to a problem. Frankly, I’m not even sure that in this case there even is a problem. You?

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The Walking Dead

I realize I may be the last one to the Walking Dead dance. Don’t rub it in. I just started watching the show a little while ago and have meant to write about it but with the season finale last night I thought I’d better do so while it’s still relevant. I realize as well that it’s April Fool’s Day so writing about a show built around a zombie apocalypse seemed appropriate.

Seeing as the screed usually covers business, I know you’re wondering how this could, in fact, be an appropriate topic. If you need to ask you must never have worked in a company of more than 10 people.  If you have worked in that larger environment you’ve probably encountered zombies on many occasions   Maybe you’ve never  recognized them as such?

On the Walking Dead, the zombies are portrayed as slow-moving “walkers” with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.  Of course, they themselves were once human and productive members of society.  Now, they roam the planet spreading disease and death and living as parasites on the dwindling numbers of humans around them.   Not to sound deranged, but I’ve seen this exact thing in a business environment.   There are the “undead” staff members who roam the halls, attracted by loud noises and movement (on the show, a sure-fire way to attract walkers is to fire a weapon).  These zombie workers might once have been alive and productive but now their work life is gone.  Maybe it was a stifling boss that strangled them to death or maybe it was terminal burnout from pushing themselves too hard.

Just as the zombie apocalypse is destroying the planet on the show, so too are the zombie workers killing many businesses.   Once the zombies show up they infect others.  In fact, they’re aggressive about doing so.  They spread rumors, they bad-mouth bosses and coworkers.  They denigrate everyone else’s work.  They don’t seem to have any feelings and they rarely contribute.

Obviously I’m not advocating removing the zombies as they do on the show (you need to destroy their brains – even cutting off their heads doesn’t kill them).  I am, however, encouraging you to look carefully at those who appear to be human all around you  with an increased sensitivity to zombie infection.  Sometimes the infection hasn’t turned them yet and you can intervene.  Sometimes you can put up enough barriers between you and the zombies that they can’t get near you.  Most of the time, you’re better off just running away.  Remember – the title of the show refers to the humans that are left, not to the zombies!

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