Wednesday, March 08, 2006

AAAA Acme Ace Internet

So I'm reading my new copy of the 2nd annual CEO Trends Business Survey from Business TN Magazine. First of all, it has a $55.00 cover price, which is pretty ridiculous for something that I get from a free "subscription" request. It must be priced by the same people who put a value of Vanderbilt football season tickets: fifty bucks each for the UT and Bama games, but an entire season ticket costs $140.00. But I digress...

It's your typical list of lists: self-serving rankings of the biggest law firms, most business-friendly communities, largest privately held companies, etc. I noticed that it mainly features paid advertisers of the periodical, though I'm not sure which came first: the ranking or the ad dollars. But I trigress...

What struck me was the listing under Business Resources of Internet Service Providers. "I wonder how they'll rank them?" I thought. "By number of subscribers, amount of revenue, bandwith carried?" Then I read the small print. "Ranked alphabetically."

Alphabetically?! Poor XO Communications. They're really sucking hind tit on that one. I knew BellSouth was smart, and they're only looking better with this AT&T merger deal. Genius!

Our company occasionally is approached by business peridicals for these types of rankings. Because we're privately held, depending on our CEO's mood and whether he's feeling like bragging on himself at the moment, we either respond to them, blatantly lie about our sales figures, or tell them to go pound sand because it's none of their damn business.

Unfortunately, one year one of these rags employed a Vandy biz school professor who applied some arcane formula she had devised based on industry type and number of employees to estimate our sales. Mrs. Trump came up with a number which was about $100 million dollars short of our actual sales and about $200 million short of the number we had made up the previous year when we actually did respond to the inquiry. So that put us right at the top of the sidebar column of "Biggest Loser Companies of the Year." Try explaining that to your bankers. Our CEO got back on the bandwagon the next year with a number that put us on the honor roll again. The reality gap is getting bigger, though. I'm afraid I'll be the one that has to deal with our salary cap issues someday.

Paging Floyd Reese!

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