Editorial: Cybersatire

Cybersatire: The Lighter Side of Business and Technology

2003 Volume 6 Issue 4

Where can you go to get your electronic funny-bone tickled?

For many years we enjoyed the droll humor of our Loop Master, who helped us throw the proverbial spitballs from the back of the room at business practice. It was good. For the most part, it was funny. Now that our Loop Master is no longer with us, we have said our farewells to the Loop (though we encourage you to relive the magic by revisiting some of our timeless Loops). Where else can you go to get your electronic funny-bone tickled? The good news is that, aside from the GBR, there are plenty of places to go for cyber humor written by “.com” insiders that targets not only the web itself, but also the business practices that its creation has unleashed.

Take for example, Free-houses Inc. This unique site mocks those that offer “free” products that are actually too good to be true, and generally aren’t! The site offers free three- and four-bedroom homes available in such expensive areas as Palo Alto, Beverly Hills and Scarsdale. The bad news is that you have to sign a 30-year agreement to purchase maid service, a personal butler, and telephone and Internet access from Free-houses, Inc. You apparently also have to tolerate banner advertising in each bedroom and bathroom.

Then there is The Corporation. This is a fictional manufacturing company that…well…manufactures humor. In an orientation letter, The Corporation’s CEO, F. Walter Ellison, Jr., tells us (apparently we are all employees) that, “The Corporation has mounted successful hostile takeovers of every world company worthy of acquisition. Whomever you used to work for, we probably own them.” The site indexes The Corporation’s products, which include a review of the new CD-ROM children’s book “Do Whatever the Media Tells You To.”

There are even sites developed by Cybersatirists such as Bob Hirschfield. He asks the questions that really matter, such as, “What’s funny about computers?” His answer: “You always hear how computers free up our time. They do. Every time your PC crashes, it frees you up to take care of errands. Why do you think Microsoft uses the slogan, ‘Where do you want to go today?’ I need to pick up the laundry, get my car repaired…”

The GBR will soon be offering some features to replace the LOOP, so stay tuned to see what is coming to a computer screen near you. In the meantime, be sure to take a look at the variety of material we offer on more serious business topics.

In this issue, Terry Young and Peggy Crawford compare the current economic situation in the U.S. with those of Japan and Germany. Their article “Inflation to Deflation and Back?” addresses some critical questions in this increasingly interlinked global economy such as: “Does the US face deflation?” “Should businesses focus on increasing productivity and limit new hiring?” “Should consumers postpone spending to take advantage of the potential fall in prices?” Be sure to read this article to find out more.

Charlie Kerns takes us into the mental mind games behind some business leaders’ bad behavior. His article, “Why Good Leaders Do Bad Things” helps us to see how bad decisions resulting from these mental maneuvers can have a compounding effect when it comes to ethical decision making.

Now that the holidays are just around the corner, many people–and even companies–are looking at purchase return policies. In fact, many firms have faced situations in which they have purchased parts that were defective, or they have encountered buyers who claim that the parts that they were sold are defective. What rights do buyers and sellers have in these situations? Do their rights change depending upon when notice is given that the buyer no longer wants the parts? Keith Gregory and Stephen Baumgartner lead us through this complex but critical issue in their work entitled, “What Stays and Who Pays?

Since negotiations are a fact of life, particularly in business practice, how should we approach these situations strategically? Michael Rainey explains in his article “Negotiating Effectively” not only the important things to remember in negotiations, but also why the decision of whether or not to make the first offer is strategically important. Rainey also has provided a training exercise entitled “The Car Deal” that can be used to help employees or students understand the importance of the “first move.” In the last issue of the GBR, Darrol Stanley defined various hedge fund strategies and briefly explained their underlying concepts. This article noted the difficulty Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) has had in properly quantifying the risk-return tradeoff, especially when so many funds were created as well as destroyed over the past fifteen years. As a follow-up in this issue of the GBR, “Main Street and Hedging” is directed towards an examination of two of the most popular approaches in the field: funds of funds and market-neutral securities portfolios.

Professor Owen Hall shows us how user friendly business intelligence systems can help increase organizational participation as well as improve bottom line performance in his article “Using Dashboard Based Business Intelligence Systems.” It will help you to check your corporate “gas gauge!”

Before you leave this issue, don’t forget to go to the Book Corner and take a look at the book reviews. This new feature provides some recommendations on reading that are useful and relevant for business practitioners. Then give us your feedback on whether this is a feature that you would like to see continued.

Finally, take a look at the Ebizbuz and the Quiz. The ebizbuz takes you for a walk on the wild side where the CFO, CIO and CEO meet identity management systems. These systems are in response to the new Sarbanes-Oxley legislation as well as other regulations which require the electronic version of a paper trail.

Happy reading, and happy holidays.

About the Author(s)

Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD, is an associate professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. In 2004, Dr. Griffy-Brown received a research award from the International Association for the Management of Technology and was recognized as one of the most active and prolific researchers in the fields of technology management and innovation. A former researcher at the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development in Tokyo, she has also served as an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffy-Brown graduated from Harvard University, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and holds a PhD in technology management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and has taught innovation/technology management courses in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. She has also served as a consultant for the United Nation's Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.

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