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The Top 5 Prince Philip verbal Gaffs – more from the Prince of Cockups

My Top 5 Prince Philip verbal Gaffs – more from the Prince of Cockups

1.0 “If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”

(at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)

2.0 “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”

(in 1999, to young deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school’s steel band)

3.0 “If you see a man opening a car door for a woman, it means one of two things: it’s either a new woman or a new car!”

4.0 Edinburgh: And what exotic part of the world do you come from? Lord Taylor: I’m from Birmingham.

(1999 An exchange with Lord Taylor of Warwick, who is black).

5.0 “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”

(in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)

Honourable Mentions

“If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed”.

During a state visit to China in 1986 to a group of British students

“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”

To a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, he asked:

Still throwing spears?

(Question put to an Australian Aborigine during a visit in March 2002)

“British women can’t cook.” (1966)

“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”

(during the 1981 recession)

“We didn’t have counselors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking ‘Are you all right? Are you sure you don’t have a ghastly problem?’ You just got on with it.”

(commenting in 1995 on modern stress counseling for servicemen)

“If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?”

(in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting)

“Bloody silly fool!”

(in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him)

“They must be out of their minds.”

(in 1982, in the Solomon Islands, after being told that the annual population growth was only 5%)

“You are a woman, aren’t you?”

(in 1984, in Kenya, to a native woman who had presented him with a small gift)

“Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world.”

(in 1991, in Thailand, after accepting a conservation award)

“Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.”

(in 1992 in Australia, when asked to stroke a Koala bear)

“You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.”

(in 1993, to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary)

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

(in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands)

“You managed not to get eaten, then?”

(in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)

“You look like you’re ready for bed! “

Said to the President of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional robes.

“Where did you get that hat? “

(1953 To her Madge the Queen, immediately after her coronation)

“The only active sport I will follow is polo – and most of the work is done by the pony.”

“The bastards murdered half my family.”

(1967 When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union)

“I’m one of those stupid bums who never went to university, and a fat lot of harm it’s done me.”

What do you gargle with – pebbles?”

(1968 said to Tom Jones after the The Royal Variety Performance

“Oh! You are the people ruining the rivers and the environment.”

(1999 Said when he met three young employees of a Scottish fish farm)

“Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car – we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.”

(2001 Talking to Elton John after he told Prince Philip that he had sold his gold Aston Martin

“You were playing your instruments, weren’t you? Or do you have tape recorders under your seats?”

(2002 Said to a children’s band in Australia)

“If you travel as much as we do you appreciate how much more comfortable aircraft have become. Unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”

“French cooking’s all very well, but they can’t do a decent English breakfast.”

(2002 Aboard the floating restaurant ‘Il Punto’ on the river Orwell in Ipswich, after thoroughly enjoying an excellent full English breakfast (Il Punto is owned by Frenchman Regis Crepy)

“It doesn’t look like much work goes on at this University.”

(2005 Overheard at Bristol University’s BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamic Engineering) facility, which had been closed in order that he and the Queen could officially open it

“Never pass up a chance to go to the loo or to take a poo.”

When asked his secret for dealing with public appearances.

“Do we need ear plugs? “

At the Royal Premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day on being told that Madonna sung the theme song.

Priceless – its almost worth keeping them for this alone



Marketing Focus on customers – slide show lecture series from the University of London

This is the first in a series of lectures given at London University – the title of this one is focus on customers and looks at the psychology of buying behaviour and demographics. This is a particularly good lecture and many of the ideas included are valuable in the context of emarketing and on-line business.

Should we include service credits when we design a service level agreement?

Service Credits in a SLA good or bad idea?

In terms of a general principle it is not recommended to build into an SLA a so-called ‘service credit’ process. In such schemes, when the service measure falls below the agreed levels, a form of credit to the buyer is given.

As an example, a payment schedule is defined for, say, a 98 per cent service level and, should service be 95 per cent, a lower price band becomes applicable – I have also seen SLAs with performance credits, with increased revenue for a supplier should the ‘standard’ performance be exceeded. There are several reasons why this is old-fashioned and bad practice.

* First, the point of a service level is to define the required levels needed to support the business and no more. Improvement levels over time can be defined but the service needed is what the business should pay for – if it is exceeded you may have to increase your targets, but certainly not pay more for just doing the job.
* Second, with a service credit clause you have no leverage over the supplier to fix the problem. The focus should be to restore the service to the agreed levels as soon as possible.

Rather than a service credit clause, it is far better to put in place governance that forces the supplier to act to fix the issue, perhaps to the extent of the customer being able to call in independent consulting advice at the supplier’s expense to support service resolution. This use of an ‘independent’ adviser can be useful in monitoring the overall value of the outsource deal as it matures through its stages. It is important to include this in the SLA and agree the principles and ground rules for such an ‘independent’ with the outsource partner.

Your staff will often see the problems much later down the line if you get it wrong, as one of our research participants said:

“Because the company have these people, they’ve got professionals who only write contracts, and they know how to work them, and the client haven’t got a clue, eventually they tried using some outside firm of solicitors, to read through the contract, but it’s too late then, and even they might not have been professional contract people. And they still got screwed in the end, and they still don’t understand, nobody, I haven’t met anybody who understands what the hell outsourcing is all about, has it saved them a lot of money, no it’s cost them more, have they got an improved service, no it’s much worse, why? Why have they done it? They say ‘oh well we are saving money on pensions’, you are not, you’ve transferred the pension money over, ‘we’re saving money on accommodation’ well you’re not really, ‘we’re saving money on pay’ well you might be saving money on some aspects of pay but look at how much money you are paying the outsourced companies to run these things, and of course the classic mistake they made is, they’re paying for a fixed sum of money, millions of pounds a year, for maintenance of the existing system, nobody mentioned, changes to the system, like, I don’t want the machine here any more I want it in the room next door or in the new building, ah that’s a change to the contract, it will cost you an extra x hundred thousand pounds, and I think the contract in the first six months was something like thirty million over the estimate because they are moving things all the time, closing buildings, building new ones, every time you get a change of hierarchy, it’s new broom, right we will change all this we’ll have the (Dept.) over here and that group over there, we’ll swap those two over, and they do it regularly and it all gets charged!”