Monday, April 18, 2011

Fava Beans and A Nice Chianti

Call me the sick puppy I am but I enjoyed the movie The Silence of the Lambs. The psycho-drama kept you on the edge of your seat until the very end and no one but no one comes close to Anthony Hopkins in his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lector.

There was an event that happened in our industry a week or so back where a press release went out over the newswires and basically said one of the biggies in our industry- Iron Mountain- was getting out of the cloud storage market. Now my ear is usually pretty close to the ground with events like this so it took me completely by surprise. Apparently the Gartner Group put out a press release with the heading "Iron Mountain to shutter cloud storage service" and I questioned if this had any impact IM’s healthcare segment. Since the event was reported in at least 20 trade journals on Monday and numerous others since then I reprinted one of the stories from one of the journals (ComputerWorld®) on AuntMinnie’s® PACS Discussion Forum and asked the question, quite responsibly I might add, " So...what does all this mean for IM healthcare clients? Virtual File Store® and Archive Service Platform® were directly addressed but the DRC (Digital Record Center®) that addresses healthcare was not even though this too is an IM digital cloud solution that should fall under this "cloud". Very weird that this market sector wasn't directly addressed one way or the other in the release through Gartner so it makes me wonder...IM- is you in or is you out? Inquiring minds want to know... “

I expected a response like this :

Thank you very much for your concern.

Despite a headline that makes it sound to the contrary, IM’s digital healthcare solution is very much alive and well. While the post erroneously made it sound like all of IM’s cloud storage services were closing, this closing only affected two small divisions of IM that were not profitable. The DRC (Digital Record Center) for Medical Imaging is not affected by this and continues to do enjoy a strong presence in the medical imaging marketplace.

Should you or any of AM’s readership have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at …….
The Big Kahuna at IM

That would have cleared it up for me and everyone else and the company could have put this PR nightmare behind it. Instead I, and the industry, got absolutely nothing publicly while behind the scenes I was made out to make Dr Lector look like Tinky Winky.

I loved initial call I got 15 minutes after the initial posting hit the PDF asking me who my sources were for some of the broad comments made - “they are- and will remain- confidential” - but even Stevie Wonder could read the rest of the stuff which was all public. So out of courtesy I revised my initial post to reflect the company’s posture (which they should have done, not me) slapping them on the hands only for allowing this release to get out but otherwise doing no harm- or so I thought. The next thing I know I get a voice mail on my cell phone at 9:30 p.m. that starts out “You have got to be kidding me…” then TELLS me in a demanding manner (not politely asking) what I MUST say to make this right. I also had comments made about how I was embarrassing myself through this post, yaddi yadi yada as if I was the reason for it hitting 30 journals. Apparently winning through intimidation may work well in certain organizations but it doesn’t work with me. So I sent this e-mail to the big Kahuna there:

“I made the modification to my original post and it stands. I am not IM's mouthpiece nor do I represent IM's position or any other vendors position in this industry for that matter. I also made this post as an individual and not as someone representing AM or anyone else so please don't try and make that connection either.

This was a valid press release published in several trade journals, one that lead to the question I asked- is IM healthcare involved here because it sure reads that way with the global headline as stated. You answered it, I included your response as a courtesy in the revised post and that should be the end of it. Obviously it's not. If you want more you need to do it yourself. I also am not embarrassing or meaning to embarrass you or anyone else or me here; how you can say I am embarrassing myself just defies logic. Maybe from your perspective but not from anyone elses.

The bottom line is we can agree to disagree here but if a press release is made about IMC in print like this I would take immediate actions to modify this. This release actually went out last Friday (4/8) so the problem is not just with Gartner but IM as well for not catching it and addressing it promptly. You caught my post within 15 minutes of it hitting AM- why couldn't IM catch this one equally as fast and address it? Someone obviously is not minding the fort there. I also told you that I was modifying it on AM and here it is 5+ hours later and you are just getting around to calling me about it? That's not what I would call being proactive in my book either.

If you care to add to the post on AM you are more than welcome to do so and were even invited by Outcast to do so as well. His post reads:

They have a brand name and were supposed to use their current relationships to try to build up this business. Other than the occasional press release, I never heard about any customers signing on with them or about an active sales force.

I would be interested in the hearing from IM to clarify the facts.

Many people in this industry feel the same way- we never hear anything about you even though you consistently claim to be so much larger than all the "little piss ant" companies you compete with. That doesn't speak very well for IM now does it?

So here's your chance….get on your pedestal and clarify the facts. Just don't make it personal because that would be a violation of AM's terms and conditions. State your case and let's see where it go where it goes...

Good luck. I'm in tomorrow if you want to chat but I'm not changing anything. Also, if you call please use the business line and not my cell-….

Thanks. Sleep well.


So where are we today? Let’s go back to the Silence of the Lambs- a great scene where Dr Lector and Clarice have a bit of “interaction”…

Hannibal Lecter: I will listen now. After your father's murder, you were orphaned. You were ten years old. You went to live with cousins on a sheep and horse ranch in Montana. And...?
Clarice Starling: [tears begin forming in her eyes] And one morning, I just ran away.
Hannibal Lecter: No "just", Clarice. What set you off? You started at what time?
Clarice Starling: Early, still dark.
Hannibal Lecter: Then something woke you, didn't it? Was it a dream? What was it?
Clarice Starling: I heard a strange noise.
Hannibal Lecter: What was it?
Clarice Starling: It was... screaming. Some kind of screaming, like a child's voice.
Hannibal Lecter: What did you do?
Clarice Starling: I went downstairs, outside. I crept up into the barn. I was so scared to look inside, but I had to.
Hannibal Lecter: And what did you see, Clarice? What did you see?
Clarice Starling: Lambs. The lambs were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: They were slaughtering the spring lambs?
Clarice Starling: And they were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: And you ran away?
Clarice Starling: No. First I tried to free them. I... I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run.
Hannibal Lecter: But you could and you did, didn't you?
Clarice Starling: Yes. I took one lamb, and I ran away as fast as I could.
Hannibal Lecter: Where were you going, Clarice?
Clarice Starling: I don't know. I didn't have any food, any water and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought if I could save just one, but... he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn't get more than a few miles when the sheriff's car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again.
Hannibal Lecter: What became of your lamb, Clarice?
Clarice Starling: They killed him.

I did my best to try and keep the little lambs from being slaughtered, yet the company sat back and did nothing while poor little Clarice gets sent off to the Lutheran orphanage. "I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run." . Sounds a lot like what is happening in Massachusetts. What’s funny in a not so funny way is while I was being presented to many as the Anti-Christ by individuals within the company I was actually trying to HELP Iron Mountain, not hurt it. I gave them a chance to clear the air publicly and they blew it, not I. That said, I’m sure it will be my fault again/yet/still for resurrecting this nightmare on my blog site but it defies logic that it should take any company a week or longer to put out a clarification on this. My God even GE can- and would- do it faster…

I used the analogy in the PDF that waiting for IM to do something is like an ED doctor watching his patient die instead of triaging them first and wondering about the how and why later. After much reflection I think instead it’s closer to your wife asking you if this dress makes her look fat. There is only one correct answer and “No honey, your fat is what makes you look fat” isn’t it. You think it through and answer honestly- “While you look stunning both in and out of your clothes, sweetheart, that dress doesn’t compliment you nearly as well as others I have seen you in.” Fred Astaire may have died in 1987 but any man worth his salt knows how to dance.

So here it is a week later and there is still nothing clarifying or correcting this release in print. If/when something finally does come out in print it will no doubt be so anticlimactic it will be all but worthless. There is only one way to address this nightmare in print but I’d be willing to bet they completely miss it in whatever they do. I know what will work here but I don’t work for free and besides they have so many marketing, PR and legal types up there that I’m sure someone can figure it out. That said, doing something now will be like bringing flowers home after making a huge faux pas, walking through the door finding a home as empty as Guido the killer pimp did to Joel in the movie Risky Business and a note that the wife moved in with the neighbor- and BTW here is my attorneys number. Ouch.

This post should have been titled “You Can’t Fix Stupid- Part II” but the “stupid” company I wrote about before has parts II and III coming up because they really are that stupid and for that reason alone they get their very own post. God there are so many stupid companies out there….

Dr Lector asked the question that made Agent Starling pause before answering: “Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?“ I can only hope that they do for everyone’s sake. But in the interim I would ask that this company not test me or my patience any further because as Dr. Lector also said, smiling, “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”