The Pebble and the Avalanche

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Current Revolutions in Business and Technology

by Dr. Moshe Yudkowsky,

author of The Pebble and The Avalanche: How Taking Things Apart Creates Revolutions

 

Wed, 2010-Nov-17, 08:50

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What's Wrong at Starwood Hotels?

Last weekend I stayed at a hotel in the Starwood group; I'm a Starwood Prefered Guest, and until now they've been good about respecting my email preference — namely, none. In the three days since I left the hotel I've received two pieces of email from Starwood, neither of which contained interesting or for that matter accurate information (my reward balance is really zero?). If this continues I'll simply block the email address and move on.

Whenever sort of thing happens, when a sender acts against my explicit wishes and therefore their own best interests, I can't quite make out what the sender has in mind... Is it desperation in a search for new business? (That was my theory about Land's End, years ago.) Is it utterly clueless marketing departments? (CarRental.com comes to mind.)

Or is it just clumsiness? One post-stay message — hope you had a good time, please let give us feedback, etc. — would be acceptable. Not that I read that first one, of course, since it was captured by my spam filters. The second email contains three separate sections from three different corporate entities and a warning that links provided by outside entities contained in the email might violate my privacy. Makes me wonder if Starwood runs the rest of their business the same way: "We hire room cleaning from outside entities, and they might rifle through your pockets and bags to find interesting stuff."

Let's see what happens next. If they're sufficiently entertaining in their cluelessness, I might actually read some of these emails for a while before I shut them down.

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