Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump - Mexican Flags

Donald Trump. At his rally in Costa Mesa, protesters were waving Mexican flags. That sends a message, it causes a perception. Some US citizens may identify with the Mexican flag, but far more with the American flag.

UK Daily Mail:
Police clashed with protesters outside Donald Trump's rally in Costa Mesa, California Thursday night
One group of protesters was filmed trying to flip over a police car outside the Pacific Amphitheater where he spoke
Hundreds of demonstrators flooded the streets, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition
One Trump supporter was seen bloodied after being punched in the face, while about 20 people were arrested

LA Times reports:
“Protesters chose to bring out the Mexican flag to demonstrate their culture and not their nationality,” Villanueva said. “In this election year, I find the fact that people are waving Mexican flags more important than people waving American flags because of the diversity within our own American culture.”

Source: Reuters

USA Today

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Dogs of Amazon

Amazon is in a perception management battle. There are tons of links complaining about Amazon's workplace condition. Nightline may have one of the best balanced reports:

Amazon, puts out their own material, such as the Dogs of Amazon:

And they have their own YouTube Inside Amazon channel, but most videos do not get much traction. This is one about Amazon women in engineering.

The implementation of Democracy in the USA

Huffington Post:

"More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

GEICO automated billing does not inspire confidence

I am about to call 1-800-841-3000 and practice staying on hold. Why? Take a look.

I do know I have an insurance bill coming up, but I do not have and have not had a VISA card ending in 0264. So, I try to log in:

They appear to want me to put in my email address. But it is an odd way to do it. Two different problems means I probably need to call, sigh.

Pay what you want - Humble Book Bundle - Hacking

I am from the US. I find buying a car stressful. I have to negotiate, I am used to having the price posted, accepting or rejecting that price, and paying that price or abandoning the shiny object.

People from other cultures are used to negotiating, they expect it. But what about the business model where you name your price? Today, I received an email from No Starch:

San Francisco, CA (April 27, 2016)—No Starch Press, arguably the most widely respected publisher of books for hackers, teams up with Humble Bundle to offer a pay-what-you-want collection of ebooks called the Humble Book Bundle: Hacking. The bundle includes a selection of the company's finest—such as worldwide best seller Hacking: The Art of Exploitation; classics like Hacking the Xbox; and more recent best sellers like Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, Black Hat Python, and Practical Malware Analysis. This bundle is a true bargain—valued at over US $350—and with Humble Bundle's pay-what-you-want model, customers can pay whatever price they think is fair.

That is quite a deal I have read and reviewed Black Hat Python, in fact it is at my desktop within arm's reach. I have read Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, nice book. I am not sure what Xbox is, *grin* so that is a pass. I think I will buy Automate the Boring Stuff, or maybe they will let me review it . . . that is how I was trained.

I own the Smart girl's guide and have read it. It is OK, covers the basics, targeted not at security people, but teenage girls. But Violet Blue is some sort of porn writer and I am not sure what the secondary effects of giving a young girl this book would be. That is probably another study in perception management.

Some of these are own my shelf. Silence on the Wire is probably at least ten years old now, but if you can check it out from your local library or company bookshelf, the points he makes are very valid even if the technology has changed. Python Crash Course is a way to get your career on track. You can't be fully successful in cybersecurity if you don't know the basics of Python.

"Many people call themselves hackers, but few have the strong technical foundation needed to really push the envelope," says Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press. "True hackers never stop learning, never stop pushing boundaries. Our core mission is to produce the books that hackers really want and need, and we're not pulling any punches here. We've included several of our best sellers to make this bundle right for just about anyone."

So the bottom line. Some great books. I do not know how the name your price campaign will be received, but I would love to hear your comments.

Stephen Northcutt is an advisor for the SANS Technology Institute, a cyber-security graduate school and chair of the upcoming SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6 where he will be teaching MGT 512, Security Leadership Essentials.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Linkedin and the "land of small numbers"

Linkedin and the "land of small numbers"

I was asked to be chair for SANS Boston 2016. The responsibilities include managing the marketing. I am a scientist and I try to track the success or failure of everything I attempt. So I keep a log. At this point I have about 10k followers, but if I create an update or post, at best, I reach ten percent of that and two percent would be a norm. I live, (and try to market), in the land of small numbers. Is it me, is my stuff that boring, or is it a function of the mysterious Linkedin content algorithm?

Let's use a case in point. We ran a contest as part of the marketing efforts where my friend Judy Novak created a PCAP containing a secret message. 4/20/16 we announced the contest to 101k people. There were no immediate solutions. Over the weekend I started to get nervous, what if nobody solves it? So I posted to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter. Still no results. Monday, 4/25/16 I announced the contest to the GIAC Advisory Board and there were four solutions in about an hour. So, I went back to Linkedin and created a post about the solutions. In addition to the Linkedin content algorithm that either is or is not displaying it to my Linkedin followers, I announced it to the GIAC Advisory Board and wrote a piece for NewsBites. 24 hours after I posted it, there are 1093 views. While getting over 1,000 pageviews is a banner success for me, considering the firepower I employed it is a terrible result. There are a couple possible reasons for this:

  • Nobody knows or cares about a PCAP file
  • The Linkedin content algorithm is not causing it to be displayed
  • My advertising is that lame
  • People are so overwhelmed with content, this is just a blip

I am trapped in the land of small numbers, but I have hope in the law of small numbers

This is a blog about perception management. I am probably not succeeding in going viral, but that is not my charter. I am supposed to market SANS Boston 2016. Before I began this journey, I reread The Tipping Point.

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. 

Small, precisely targeted push! This marketing campaign depends on small targeted pushes. While I do not expect to go viral, I expect to achieve good registration results and I am counting on the law of small numbers even while trapped in the land of small numbers. There are many definitions of the law of small numbers. For this discussion let's use this one from econlib based on the work of Kaheman and Tversky:

"One bias they found is that people tend to believe in “the law of small numbers”; that is, they tend to generalize from small amounts of data. So, for example, if a mutual fund manager has had three above-average years in a row, many people will conclude that the fund manager is better than average, even though this conclusion does not follow from such a small amount of data. Or if the first four tosses of a coin give, say, three heads, many people will believe that the next toss is likely to be tails. Kahneman saw this belief in his own behavior as a young military psychologist in the Israeli army. Tasked with evaluating candidates for officer training, he concluded that a candidate who performed well on the battlefield or in training would be as good a leader later as he showed himself to be during the observation period. As Kahneman explained in his Nobel lecture, “As I understood clearly only when I taught statistics some years later, the idea that predictions should be less extreme than the information on which they are based is deeply counterintuitive."

Each push may only reach 100 people. But of that 100 people, a few have already decided to take a SANS course, the question is which one and where. Others are thinking about taking a SANS course, they have not decided. Still others are thinking about taking a course from someone, somewhere. Between all the communication channels available to me, (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, NewsBites, the three email blasts, blogs), the strategy is that touchpoints will occur:

"Marketing touch points are any methods or modes of contact between a company and the consumer. Touch points can be face-to-face discussions, promotional fliers, online ads and anything else that involves a business marketing message, brand name or logo reaching the customer. The amount and effectiveness of your small business marketing touch points can determine your level of success and the ways your marketing can be improved."

If I can reach my targeted population AND the law of small numbers works, if there are enough touch points, it will be possible to help them along their buyer's journey from Awareness, (knowing SANS and SANS courses exists), to Consideration, (looking into courses that meet their needs), to Decision, (Choosing and registering for a SANS course and, (holy grail), doing it at SANS Boston),

Monday, April 25, 2016

How does Linkedin actually work?

I was researching a lady who is using social media very effectively, Candice Galek. She wrote a viral post titled Is This Appropriate For Linkedin? The story got picked up by a Forbes blog:

"When Candice’s posts on LinkedIn started to go viral, the social network’s content algorithm kicked in, proactively deleting her post and profile picture without her notice. Rather than reach out in righteous indignation, however, Candice chose to engage intelligently with the team at LinkedIn.

After speaking to high-level employees of the company on a near-daily basis, Candice managed to get all of her posts and pictures put back in place. In fact, she is now has her own follow button, and her posts now generate almost as much engagement as well-known business leaders like Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates."

What is this content algorithm? I tried looking it up on Google and found this post, which says:

"I conducted a study which analyzed 561 Top Posts featured in 48 Pulse channels with a single goal in mind: I wanted to know why the algorithm chose certain posts and ignored others."

Channels? What are channels? I guess that would be topic areas.

I would assume if I am in a channel, or if I can get in a channel, it would be technology, but most of my posts are tagged, the interface suggests you do that and I usually use cyber-security because that is what I do. So I did a search for cyber-security and at the bottom of page one of results was my friend Jim Voorhees and it listed two of his posts.

So I clicked on one of them and one of its tags is cyber-security. Now you may be wondering about the hyphen, typically people write cybersecurity as one word. But Linkedin forces the hyphen, you can't just make up any tag, they have a pool of them. When I did a search on cybersecurity I got vastly different results. So I went to my profile and changed my industry to Computer & Network Security. It will be interesting to see if that impacts my articles getting picked up.

Back to Candice Galek, what is her industry? Retail and that is not a channel either. Sigh, this is going to take some time.

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Focus

Seeking Alpha Wall Street Breakfast 4/25/16 reports:

It looks like Chipotle's free burrito strategy might be working: a survey shows that 41% of respondents who received a free burrito coupon visited Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) 3.8x over the prior 30 days vs 1.4x for the 59% who didn't receive a coupon. Brand perception was also higher in the couponed group. Meanwhile, analysts at Credit Suisse found that Google searches for food-safety issues related to Chipotle have dropped sharply since the beginning of the year.

CMG has managed the burrito program well, remember the Kentucky Grilled Chicken Opra promotion? Free often works, but that is a cost. It is no secret their stock has lost value, (30% in a year):

Earnings report is tomorrow. Let's examine the perception management part of this. According to Profit Confidential: 

Chipotle’s food safety issues have weighed heavily on its financials—that much we’ve established. With Chipotle having warned that it expects to announce its first quarterly loss since going public next week, with same-store sales having fallen 26% in February and having stayed down in March, the company is ensuring expectations remain in check. (Source: “Chipotle Is Warning Investors About Seriously Grim News,” Time, March 16, 2016.)

There will be no surprises, they told investors in advance this would be a bad quarter. They have owned up to the food safety issues. They should be able to get back on track. But to continue growing? USA Today reports:

Chipotle Mexican Grill said Wednesday it has applied for a trademark for "Better Burger" as part of a business diversification move to open a burger restaurant chain.

"We have two non-Chipotle growth seeds open now ― ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale ― and have noted before that the Chipotle model could be applied to a wide variety of foods," said Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman.

ShopHouse, a Southeast Asian food chain, opened in 2013. Last year, Chipotle began expanding Pizzeria Locale, which specializes in wood-fired pizza, beyond its initial locations in Denver and Boulder, Colo.

I have been to a ShopHouse and it didn't really move me. And these are crowded market sectors; the world needs another burger or pizza chain?. From a perception management perspective, investors may well get spooked that they are not focusing on core competence. I will close with a nearly prescient observation from Barons from July 2015.

Chipotle is trying to address the growth issues with brand extensions like a Southeast Asian cuisine start-up, ShopHouse, in Washington; and Pizzeria Locale in Kansas City and Denver. Their food no doubt will be fresh, but they represent more risk than Chipotle’s tried-and-true menu for success. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hallelujah - the Song

You have all seen the auto sticker battle of the Christian Fish, (Ichthys) and the Darwin fish. It is humorous and various manufacturers are probably making a modest profit. And it is perception management. If you drive in an area where everyone has an Ichthys and you have a Darwin fish, you are probably a little self conscious and careful what you say, (and vise versa).

I think the Leonard Cohen song, Hallelujah is powerful. It has perception management power. The music is great, the pace allows you to listen to the lyrics. And if you do listen to the lyrics, I think you will agree it is closer to Darwin fish than Ichthys. So of course, there is a rebuttal. Play this.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Radiation - Power of Graphics

Chernobyl and Fukushima had highly publicized nuclear events. Both governments cleaned up the areas, but doubts remain. Mashable published an article with exhibits by, "Greg McNevin, a photographer working with the environmental group Greenpeace, set out to visualize the radiation that persists in many of these areas."

"Using a programmable LED rod that when connected to a Geiger counter (a device that measures ambient radiation) translates the analog signal into a light display, McNevin walked through long exposure photographs he was taking of affected areas, showcasing the live radiation data his counter was reading."

Here is one of the photos, you see the radiation, likely tracked by shoes leading up to a school.

How dangerous is the radiation? Don't know. But would you want your kid to be attending that school? Probably not. Powerful perception management. Read the article, it is well done.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Linkedin, Forbes and Revcontent

In this blog post, Linkedin is going to show me an article that is "trending". I think it is relevant to my industry, (it is not). I get ads on the page and more at the bottom that are tuned to my location. Here is the blow by blow.

I saw an interesting tag line on LinkedIn that got my attention and it lead to a Forbes Blog. Note it says trending in the Computer and Network Security Industry, (I changed my industry from academic to Computer and Network Security recently. Therefore I thought the article would be about a job in cybersecurity.

It turns out the article does not have anything to do with cybersecurity. Nice trick the "Dear Liz" question followed by Liz's answer.

At the bottom of the blog post this graphic was displayed, (I am using TOR so my location is unknown, note "local area", "Australia", and I guess that is German):

I came back to the same article using Safari. At the bottom of the blog post was this graphic (I am in Kapaa HI), note Hawaii, (HI), is used twice and Kapaa once:

I clicked on the link, in a different browser. Notice it is not an article it is labeled at the top as an advertisement, but it looks like an article. Also, note the ad tag line on Forbes is different than the header of the article.

What happens if I try clicking on the Linkedin article with a safe browser, (Authentic8 Silo)? I can't get to the content.

Boston Strong

NOTE: this was originally posted on my "Sticky" blog, but I want to explore the perception management piece of this a bit more.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev certainly succeeded in perception management. In my Sticky blog I wrote: "Almost nobody you meet remembers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Maybe a brief thought when you are reminded to leave your backpack or large bag at home on race day, but everyone remembers Boston Strong.

I was wrong, as the Boston marathon came an went with an Ethiopian sweep, ABC news and others recounted the story and more importantly, anchored the story with pictures.

However, Boston Strong, is the stronger perception manager. On April 19, 2016 a Google search for "Tsarnaev" yields 356k links, "Boston Marathon Terrorists" yields 630k links, "Boston Marathon Attack" yields 2.2M links and "Boston Strong" 345M links.

From the sticky post: "Just read the article about the Boston Strong banner being displayed on the final stretch of the 120th Boston Marathon next week.  When I read that I got just a bit teary. You know the story, two college students, Nicholas Reynolds and Chris Dobens, came up with the idea of the t-shirts, published it on Facebook and by the time the smoke cleared, earned almost a million dollars for charity. Some claim the phrase is losing steam, but I beg to differ, so does the One Fund.

In the words of Howard Fineman, "Today, rescuers were running toward the wounded on Boylston Street in acts of true heroism -- running toward the sound of the screams.

In the end, the terrorists will fail because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men -- they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind."

Sticky, why some ideas stick and others don't, is a subset of perception management.

The reason I think this is "sticky"(Simple/Unexpected/Concrete/Credible/Emotional)" 
  • Simple: Blue and Yellow, block letters. There are other renditions of course, but this is the core.
  • Unexpected: Two college students, near instant turnaround, it went viral. No way to see that coming.
  • Concrete: "Concrete details allow us to imagine a scene and, crucially, imagine ourselves in it." [] I have the slogan as a refrigerator magnet and reflect on the heroics and strength of the people of Boston every time I see it.
  • Credible: This is what they call internal credibility, "Internal credibility is the ability of our ideas themselves to convince through an appeal to our audience’s sense of how the world works and how they see it." [] It is credible! The rescuers ran towards the screams.
  • Emotional: Here is an article with just five of the heroes of the bombing. Feel more than a bit teary? Of course you do. Me too. 

(Stephen Northcutt is the conference chair of SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6. Boston is one of his favorite cities. )

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fake Diane on Linkedin

Ever seen this on Linkedin? I have. Multiple times. The text is: So, I get an invitation to link today from someone calling herself Dianne and claiming to be a programme director based in the UAE. No connections but membership of lots of groups related to cyber security. I thought I'd do a reverse image search and it seems Dianne  has lots of other jobs given by the number of hits I got. You know what? I don't think she's real...

David I think you might be right! And trying to find out can be risky.

So far, here is what I can discern. If you do a reverse picture search you currently get about 146 results all different businesses.

One of the links is a Twitter user, @JoannaWalton82, seems to be trying to sell email lists. Last tweet was in 2015.

Deep down in the results are a number of free software sites all with the same variation on the picture.

Using a safe browser, (Authenti8 Silo), I went to one of the sites and download the free software and then upload it to Virus Total.

Cool, ransomware! With apologies to Cheech and Chong, good thing I didn't step in it. To summarize. We do want to be careful who we link to. We don't want free software from sites buried deep in search engine results. This isn't the first or last time this has and will happen, perhaps you remember fake cyber analyst Robin Sage.

Completely Wrong - Google Bombing

If you type "Google Bombing" into Google you will see several examples of successful efforts to cause Google to rank a page very high that is not actually correct. One example is the search term "Completely Wrong. At least on April 18, 2016 here is a screen shot with all types of results:

Here is what Google images returns: 

Psycology "science" can't be trusted

According to The Week:
"For starters, there's a "replication crisis" in science. This is particularly true in the field of experimental psychology, where far too many prestigious psychology studies simply can't be reliably replicated. But it's not just psychology. In 2011, the pharmaceutical company Bayer looked at 67 blockbuster drug discovery research findings published in prestigious journals, and found that three-fourths of them weren't right. Another study of cancer research found that only 11 percent of preclinical cancer research could be reproduced."

"Then there is outright fraud. In a 2011 survey of 2,000 research psychologists, over half admitted to selectively reporting those experiments that gave the result they were after."

This article was based on a First Things article:

The Open Science Collaboration announced that it had tried to replicate one hundred published psychology experiments sampled from three of the most prestigious journals in the field. Scientific claims rest on the idea that experiments repeated under nearly identical conditions ought to yield approximately the same results, but until very recently, very few had bothered to check in a systematic way whether this was actually the case. The OSC was the biggest attempt yet to check a field’s results, and the most shocking. In many cases, they had used original experimental materials, and sometimes even performed the experiments under the guidance of the original researchers. Of the studies that had originally reported positive results, an astonishing 65 percent failed to show statistical significance on replication, and many of the remainder showed greatly reduced effect sizes. 

The paper can be found here: It was also covered by Nature:

According to the replicators' qualitative assessments, as previously reported by Nature, only 39 of the 100 replication attempts were successful.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The curious case of Candice Galek

I do most of my social media on Linkedin. April 4 2016, one of the people I was a first connection with posted a picture of a girl in a bikini.  The next day, another of my followers was re-posting, (sharing?) pictures of females in bikinis. I unfollowed these first two. With the 3rd one I noticed the source for all of them is the same. Candice Galek, CEO of posts as much on Linkedin as I do, has 26k LI followers, (3x what I have).

Titles of some of her most effective posts:
Is This Appropriate For Linkedin? – UPDATED 45k pageviews
5 Things Unhappy People Don’t Know 10k pageviews
4 Habits of Respected Leaders 6.5k

Titles of less-effective posts:
Is it Appropriate to Talk About Politics on… 268 pageviews
4 Surefire Ways To Motivate Your Employees 149 pageviews
20 Things You Should Ditch From Your Closet 134 pageviews

When I clicked on her name, LI gave me two choices, to Follow or to Connect. For the present I am choosing neither. On Twitter she has 10.4k followers with less than 500 tweets. Clearly she is using social media well.

I decided to send a Facebook friend request. She graciously accepted. Today she posted a link on Facebook that fills in some of the missing pieces about her story.

"One entrepreneur who has recently managed to go viral is Candice Galek, founder of Bikini Luxe, an online swimwear retailer. Bikini Luxe does much of its marketing via traditional social media platforms, including Facebook and Pinterest. However, it was Candice’s decision to focus on LinkedIn that turned heads."

Apparently her viral post was Is This Appropriate For Linkedin? The Forbes blog goes on:

"When Candice’s posts on LinkedIn started to go viral, the social network’s content algorithm kicked in, proactively deleting her post and profile picture without her notice. Rather than reach out in righteous indignation, however, Candice chose to engage intelligently with the team at LinkedIn.

After speaking to high-level employees of the company on a near-daily basis, Candice managed to get all of her posts and pictures put back in place. In fact, she is now has her own follow button, and her posts now generate almost as much engagement as well-known business leaders like Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates."

On 4/23/16 I see this Linkedin post:
So I read the article in the Examiner:

For those whose mail boxes are routinely inundated with Victoria's Secret catalogs, change is afoot. The company recently announced that it would no longer be issuing catalogs starting at the end of the year. The brand is also eliminating its swimwear line, choosing instead to focus on athletic wear, lingerie and its popular beauty products. 
The swimwear game has also become more competitive with sites such as Beverly Swimwear, Bikini Luxe and Everything But Water offering high quality suits in a variety of options. Many of these retailers also offer a better variety of plus size suits that are more flattering on voluptuous women.

Victoria's Secret is a strong brand. This is going to give Bikini Luxe a little more running room.

UC Davis - Pepper Spray - Revisionism

NOTE: this was originally posted in my security blog. Since this blog has been created, all new perception management posts will be here.

Today Slashdot had a story from The Verge that UC Davis spent at least 175k trying to bury a story about spraying students with pepper. Many of you know I was the information warfare officer of the Missile Defense Agency and I have seen a lot of historical revisionism. According to the Sacramento Bee,  "UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students and to improve the reputations of both the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, newly released documents show.
The payments were made as the university was trying to boost its image online and were among several contracts issued following the pepper-spray incident."

So, in the spirit of keeping the truth alive here is the Wikipedia account as of 4/16/16:

The UC Davis pepper-spray incident occurred on November 18, 2011, during an Occupy movement demonstration at the University of California, Davis. After asking the protesters to leave, University police pepper sprayed a group of demonstrators as they were seated on a paved path in the campus quad. The video of UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike pepper spraying demonstrators spread around the world as a viral video and the photograph became an Internet meme.[3] Officer Alex Lee also pepper sprayed demonstrators at Pike's direction.[4]

In October 2013, a judge ruled that Lt. John Pike, the lead pepper sprayer, would be paid $38,000 in worker's compensation benefits, to compensate for his psychological pain and suffering. Apart from the worker's compensation award, he retained his retirement credits. As of August 2014, Lee's name no longer appeared in a database of state workers.[5]

5/25/16 While looking for information about the UC Davis "half humans", I found this SACBEE article: Citing “serious questions” about whether UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi violated policies on employment of her family members and the use of contracts to remove negative information from the Internet, UC President Janet Napolitano placed Katehi on leave Wednesday night pending the outcome of “a rigorous and transparent investigation.”

“Information has recently come to light that raises serious questions about whether Chancellor Katehi may have violated several University of California policies, including questions about the campus’s employment and compensation of some of the chancellor’s immediate family members, the veracity of the chancellor’s accounts of her involvement in contracts related to managing both the campus’s and her personal reputation on social media, and the potential improper use of student fees,” Napolitano’s office said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “The serious and troubling nature of these questions, as well as the initial evidence, requires a rigorous and transparent investigation.”

Read more here:

Of Paper Towels and Dyson

In my previous post, I referenced the movie, The Intern. if I can learn just one thing from the movie, it is to consistently carry a handkerchief. I own the bloody things, used to carry them, but when I got a puppy I started using that pocket for poop pick up bags.

If that is not a compelling enough reason to carry a handkerchief, there is an information warfare battle going on that could impact you, especially if you travel. It is either true or not true that both Dyson Air Blades and Paper Towels spread germs, a lot of germs.

"Dyson Airblade hand-driers spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers, and 1,300 times more than standard paper towels, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

University of Westminster researchers carrying out the research dipped their hands into water containing a harmless virus. They then dried their hands with either a Dyson Airblade, a standard hot-air dryer, or a paper towel.

According to their findings, the Dyson drier's 430mph blasts of air are capable of spreading viruses up to 3 meters across a bathroom. The standard drier spread viruses 75cm, and the hand towels 25cm."

Who funded the research? No sure, but an earlier similar study "was funded by the European Tissue Symposium. A spokesman for Dyson said at the time: “This research was commissioned by the paper towel industry and it's flawed."

Dyson released a YouTube saying that other air driers spread germs. Now everyone is in the act, all quoting various studies, most of it - bad science. It is hard to say how this will play out. But one thing is certain. If you travel, if you use public bathrooms, you are probably going to be exposed to germs regardless.

The Hubspot controversy

The movie, The Intern, is first class, I did a review here. This is on my must see again list especially since I saw it on an airplane. Robert De Niro really shines. And it is so real. Right after I saw the movie, I read the Dan Lyons post from April 5 2016, When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie on Linkedin. At the time of this posting he has 725K pageviews, (I have only topped a thousand a couple of time). He is using to posting at least partially to draw attention to his book, Disrupted, which is about his time at Hubspot. One except from his post:

"One excuse for pushing out older workers is that technology changes so fast that older people simply can’t keep up. Veteran coders don’t know the latest programming languages, but young ones do. This is bunk. There’s no reason why a 50-year-old engineer can’t learn a new programming language. And frankly, most coding work isn’t rocket science.

What’s more, most jobs in tech companies don’t actually involve technology. During my time at HubSpot fewer than 100 of the company’s 500 employees were software developers. The vast majority worked in marketing, sales, and customer support. Those jobs don’t require any special degree or extensive training. Anyone, at any age, could do them."

His post also collected over 2K comments, about one percent of all readers, commented. That is a very high degree of  engagement on a touchy subject.

On April 12,, 2016, Hubspot, by way of CTO Dharmesh Shah, responded, with a Linkedin post: Undisrupted: HubSpot's Reflections on "Disrupted". At this point they have 460k pageviews and 647 comments, so currently their message is less viewed, but their reader engagement is higher. And as you can guess, the comments are on both sides of the issue. Here is a snippet from their reply:

Dan had applied for a job and we were pulled into the process. He was looking to transition away from a lifelong career in journalism after a long tenure at Newsweek. He wanted to join the wacky world of tech, an industry he had written about for many years. We respected that. So, we offered Dan a job at HubSpot, and he accepted.

About 20 months later, Dan resigned from HubSpot and then went on to write “Disrupted”. It is a broad criticism of the tech industry including companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Box,, LinkedIn, Amazon and Netflix. But mostly, it’s a scathing and sweeping criticism of HubSpot: our culture, our people, our business, our inbound philosophy, our office, our logo, our IPO, our company color, and our annual event -- pretty much everything about us. Dan pokes particularly hard at HubSpot’s culture.

Back to the movie, The Intern, it could have been about them, (except that Ben Whittaker - Robert De Niro's character has the grace and humility to shine in the whacky tech bubble he found himself in). Now the question that matters is will this impact HubSpot's brand? If I simply type HubSpot into Google, the controversy does not make page one, so my guess is no.

Why blog about perception management?

In the past few days I have seen several examples of activity designed to manage or control what we believe. This blog will be used to "store" these. In the course I wrote and used to maintain, and teach occasionally Management 512, Security Leadership Essentials, there was a section on Information Warfare, (which is different than cyberwarfare), and it was mostly about perception management.