Equifax

Much is being written about the Equifax data hack. You can read about it here or here or here if you’ve not yet read much about it.

I saw a post on Twitter the other day that cracked me up.

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One report in the NY Times suggested that Equifax doesn’t even know who is impacted.

Here is the deal, Equifax’s business is to gather this information and sell it to 3rd parties. When you need a loan or want a new credit card, the company extending credit to you goes to this company, or ones like it, to check on your credit. They gather this information from lots of different places and you have no options to tell them to stop doing this. They are creating this database of information about you and you have no control on how they protect this most sensitive information.

We are the ones impacted by their lack of security. We are the ones further impacted by the huge delay in telling us. What was stolen is about us and it impacts us. Equifax might take a stock hit, but not much more.

 

This company needs to be put out of business. The class action law suit should put them out of business. There should even be clawbacks on executive compensation and stock options.  

A year of credit monitoring is not even meaningful punishment for this poor stewardship and lack of property security protection.

Company and organization leadership teams need to take the protection of confidential information seriously.  There need to be examples, like here, where the company is put out of business because of their lack of proper attention and focus. Probably the CIO will be fired, but really, the board and the senior leadership team should be fired.

 

Supply Chain Fails

A year and a half ago I ordered a number of actual, physical paperback books to give to some friends at an event where I was speaking. The book was one I wanted to hand out related to the topic of our discussion and my time with them. A certain big book company began shipping these books in separate shipments from around their universe. However, the books kept coming and went way over the amount I ordered. I kept getting new shipment notices in email when I had already received the ones I had ordered.

This particular company is a big web based company and it is hard to actually talk to someone there. I sent emails and finally got a hold of a person and explained the problem. The first person couldn’t understand and didn’t fix the problem. I called again and got another person who did see the problem and managed to cancel what was happening. I offered to ship books back, but they said keep them and give them away.

Seven months ago I ordered some socks from another online business and got double the shipment.  Two weeks ago I ordered some running apparel and instead of three items, I got six. In both these cases, I offered to return the over shipment and they told me to just keep them.

A big company which ships a lot of books and two smaller, niche companies who are probably closer to the edge getting their order management and shipping wrong.

I don’t know if this is IT or order management or their online revenue engine, but in any case, companies big and small must get this right. You can’t stay in business long if you are getting so many shipments wrong.

I should have ordered iPads.

 

Autonomous Trucking

When I wrote earlier about autonomous vehicles and mentioned trucking and truckers I hadn’t even considered the idea that someone could move faster if they didn’t try to solve the problem of the ‘last mile’ and instead just focused on autonomous driving of trucks on the highways and interstates. Have the vehicle drive itself 95% of the way there, but then have a ‘real driver’ meet the truck for the last leg of the delivery. Use real drivers out and into cities and complicated areas.

Brillant.

See a write up about it here.

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Priorities

A really great post about priorities and how we really don’t work on the things we ‘say’ are our priorities. We don’t want to do the work or pay the price to do that which we say is a priority.

We spend lots of time talking about our priorities, but not nearly enough time actually working on them.

I shared this with a friend who works on a college campus and she said she is reading this to everyone who enters her office.

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Real Customer Relationship Management

Yesterday at exactly 5:59 PM I received an email from the car dealer where I bought my car before the current one. I bought it probably 6-7 years ago and traded it in 1.5 years ago for a different car at a different dealer. The email was from a person I don’t know there complete with their picture letting me know that they were thinking about me on my birthday (today) and were wanting me to have a fantastic birthday complete with an exclamation point.

Two minutes later, I received an email from the dealer of my current car saying they were thinking of me and they were hoping my birthday would be amazing. This was from someone I didn’t know either.

Two minutes later, and four minutes after the first message, I got an email from the dealer where we bought my wife’s car 4 years ago, wishing me a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Emails at 5:59 PM, 6:01 PM and 6:03 PM.

I’m really touched that these people were having coffee at the end of the day and looking through the list of their prior customers and thought they’d drop me a note wishing me a happy birthday.

What are the odds that these three separate car dealers owned by different auto groups happened to be thinking about me all at the same time and wanted to drop me a note wishing me a happy birthday?

Organizations try to automate parts of their customer relationship management and more times than not they fail completely. I’d rather get nothing about my birthday than get an automated message trying to look personal. But I do think less of them when they have automated the whole process to a 3rd party and at an appointed time a cron job runs and I get fake personal email from them.


Mark,bday

We wanted to wish you a
VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY
from all of us here at XXX
Hope you have a great one and
Drive safe!

Push for Electronic Payments

I went in Chick-fil-A today while traveling and noticed they accept Apple Pay. Walgreens, McDonald’s, and Panera Bread are sites I visit regularly and now they accept Apple Pay. I try to use it everywhere it is available.

The point of this post is to say that we need to use this wherever it is available. We’ve got to get the balance to tip towards electronic payments, with their higher security levels, and away from sliding plastic cards through primitive readers.

Do your part. If you’ve not set up electronic payments on your phone (whatever kind) get it setup and start using it everywhere that it is accepted.

Apple Pay can be used at these sites. Samsung Pay here.

Learning to Drive

I missed this thought.

Tesla is rebooting their autonomous driving vehicles and re-teaching them how to drive. Wired has this great article about the changes.

They’ve rolled out a new architecture which uses a very different sensor strategy,” says Tim Dawkins, an autonomous car specialist at automotive tech research company, SBD. “They needed to spend a little time building up their base data before they were able to release the same level of functionally as they had with hardware version 1.0.”

The first iteration of Autopilot relied on a single camera made by Israeli supplier Mobileye. The new setup uses eight cameras, dotted all around the car, feeding an in-house Tesla Vision system. The 12 ultrasonic sensors have been upgraded, the radar is improved. A new on-board Nvidia computer is 40 times more powerful than its predecessor, and runs the necessary artificial intelligence software.

and here is the money quote:

Where a conventional automaker might do that training with qualified drivers in controlled environments, or on private tracks, Tesla used its customers. It pushed fresh software to 1,000 cars on December 31, then to everybody in early January. That code ran in what Tesla calls Shadow Mode, collecting data and comparing the human driver’s actions to what the computer would have done. That fleet learning is Tesla’s advantage when it comes to educating and updating its AI computers.

“This is the uniquely Tesla approach, in the way that they have their consumers build up that rich data set, from which they can train up their AI,” says Dawkins.

Of course. Why didn’t I think of that. I mean, I didn’t have to go do it, but just consider the idea. The car is full of sensors and why not let the car shadow read drivers for a season and learn how real drivers deal with real situations that appear on the road?

Better than rules based. Learn from those who already know how to drive.

You need cars with the sensors. You need a connected car back to Tesla/cloud. And you need lots of drivers driving through all different conditions. Rain, snow, fog, fast, slow, city, suburb, rural, interstate, toll roads, bridges, tunnels, parking garages, etc.

Brillant.