The Internet has changed the world forever, but nobody seems to have taken much notice. We are being served the same old tired spiels and pitches, the same old geriatric advertising, the same old game shows and political propaganda. Worse, many seem to have accepted as god-given fact that the co-optation of the Internet is now complete and that hoping for anything better would be naive.
To such people, we can only say fuck you!
While Hunter S. Thompson pioneered the genre now called gonzo journalism, and Gonzo the Muppet has inserted some oddly skewed semantic drift on the concept into common parlance, we believe the time has finally arrived for something we will term Gonzo Business Management, or simply -- because acronyms cleverly imply previous acceptance -- GBM.
Our general theory of business is twofold. First, we believe it to be an activity that nearly everybody is sucked into in one form or another for the primary purpose of not starving or freezing to death. We suspect there will be little debate on this point among our readers -- excepting of course those True Buttheads who attribute to this otherwise pedestrian activity a form of Manifest Destiny or some Higher Calling horseshit. If this describes you, we have included a handy UNSUBSCRIBE form for your convenience...
Second, and less obviously, we believe business to be an adult carryover from childhood play. In more innocent days -- less obsessed with the Politically Correct -- we happily shot the Native Americans to pieces from our impregnable cavalry forts, or joyfully lobbed white phosphorous grenades into German/Korean/Viet Cong/Black Panther machine gun nests. This is pretty gender-specific of course. Little girls dressed up like Betty Crocker or Nancy Reagan and experimented with weird costumes, lipstick, and various other sorts of deadly charms and amulets. As adults, these same people have found cunningly camouflaged methods of continuing these practices under the guise of Serious Business. Men mount elaborate corporate campaigns against Evil Competitors. Women rip the imaginary dicks off their Ken-doll colleagues. We can't prove this without intensive double-blind research, but it seems to us to have that unmistakable Ring of Truth.
So what does this have to do with GBM? In a word: everything. Here we are, trapped in android jobs that leave no room for creative intelligence, replicating stereotypes, which -- if they ever approximated reality -- expired decades ago, and undergoing cortical delamination from the inevitable psychic strain. Companies are currently doing market planning using straw-man models of "the customer" that constitute a bad pastiche of Eisenhower-era sitcom out-takes and those throw-back Human Resources manuals that haven't been edited in 30 years (except, of course, for multicultural sensitivity and sexism). Was anybody ever this straight or this stupid? Are they now? If not, what does this say about current approaches to online marketing?
And how come nobody ever talks about this shit? It's patently driving most of the population of the planet toward some Global New Media Rubber Room, yet it's never mentioned in... oh say, MSNBC's "dynamic discussion of topical events."
Clearly, it's time to kick out the jams! To get ahead in Today's Fast Paced World, the modern business manager has to look for ways to identify with younger, more With It demographic sectors. While the following items hardly exhaust the possibilities, they are offered as a suggestive first cut on the impressive potential Gonzo Business Management brings to the party. Readers are strongly encouraged to submit additional ideas, tactics and techniques that will help establish GBM as solidly as the collected works of Peter Drucker and get it incorporated into the curricula of better MBA programs everywhere.
|Cut Through Tired Clichés|
|When your manager asks for that critical report you were supposed to have prepared, just say "Hey, jump up my ass!" He or she is sure to be impressed that you are Thinking Outside the Box. This can also work wonders with major clients. However, as the latter are often remote, how do you get the same shock value? Simple -- as in so many cases these days, just turn to the World Wide Web. For the benefit of readers contemplating this tactic, EGR has put together a little something you may find useful at:
If you do pass along this page location within a GBM context, all we ask in return is proper attribution (even though we plagiarized all the elements).
|Rip Off Your Clothes in a Crucial Meeting|
|Let's face it: disrobing is disarming. In that next high-tension sales meeting, if your ideas are getting insufficient consideration, just strip. This tactic is guaranteed to instantly galvanize your audience and bring them to full attention. This is even more effective if there are customers in attendance -- the bigger the better! You can be sure the CEO will be spending some serious Face Time with you real soon.|
|Braid Your Nosehair|
|Body piercing is passé -- and besides, the really interesting appendages you can do this to aren't (generally) visible. Try growing your nasal locks to enormous lengths, then plaiting them. Sure to turn heads, perms also offer endless possibilities. Western business persons have too long been ashamed of their bodies and natural body functions. Stop the Insanity!|
|Connect Your Intranet to the World|
|You've got a lot of great stuff on that internal web you built, but nobody in the firm seems to give a crap about your skunkwork fantasies. Easy to fix. Set up a simple mirror that automatically posts your company's financials to alt.hackers.malicious. Put the CEO's email address in the Reply-To line. That ought to get their attention!|
|Share Your Knowledge|
|Being a Good Networker begins with becoming a source of vital information. Here's a useful looking file that you can post to internal newsgroups. Most of your colleagues will have no clue what's going on here (sadly, neither will EGR readers seeing this in vanilla email). Here's what it will look like in Netscape:
Those who'd like to grab the HTML code can click here. When passing it along, be sure to give co-workers explicit directions for installing the file, and -- this is important -- deleting all their current bookmarks.
|Offer to Kiss Ass|
|Everyone expects you to do this, anyway, so why not be explicit? The next time your company chairman is visiting, just say "Would you like it if I kissed your ass, sir?" Watch your visibility in the corporation soar once you've done this a time or two! While it constitutes an enormously effective positioning tool, this particular practice is not recommended where kisser and kissee are members of the opposite sex.|
|Start a Webzine|
|So you just got tapped for VP Marketing. Congratulations! This is a terrific time to start your own zine on the Internet. If you also maintain your company's web presence (it could happen), experiment with switching the index.html files between the two sites. This can be optimally interesting if you manage to get ahold of the schedules for the major search engines. Since many bots and spiders index sites in the dead of night, no one need ever see the repositioned pages, yet your company will start appearing in weirdball Yahoo! categories. That'll keep em guessing.|
|Organize a Bake Sale|
|If you belong to a public company, you have stockholders meetings, right? Here's a perfect opportunity to perfect your GBM techniques -- and pick up a little spare change on the side. If possible, involve a local Scout Troop for the event. Remember that in the planning stages, secrecy is a paramount consideration. With something this big up your sleeve, you wouldn't want to sacrifice the all-important element of surprise. And what a surprise it'll be!|
|You guessed it? Good for you! That's a sure sign you've been keeping up with the latest from Tom Peters. Management By Walking Around On Your Hands is not for everyone, we'll admit, but for the physically adept there's nothing else that matches it for sheer GBM bravado. The first time you casually stroll into the Boardroom in this manner, you'll see what we mean! (For obvious reasons, women managers attempting this technique should not wear dresses.)|
|And a Host of Others...|
|While we've offered a handful of examples here, the GBM Philosophy seeks at every turn to undermine slavish adherence to fixed procedures. If a cool idea occurs to you on the fly, by all means, run with it! Say it's 12 below zero outside and you notice people are getting a little too comfy in their well-heated cubicles. Would shooting out a couple windows with your sawed-off be the right thing to do? Only long practice of GBM Principles can be your guide in such difficult cases.
We bet you've got a million great ideas out there. Please share them with fellow wage slaves by sending your tip -- along with a self-addressed stamped email -- to "I GOT A GONZO" in care of this station. Winners will be announced in our next front-line report.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come!
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