Learning from the losses

From my years in proposals, and from my time working to secure contracts for Bredemarket, I’ve had a lot of experience with win/loss situations. Often we compete for things, and we usually either win the things, or lose them.

But sometimes things are a little more complex. Take the example of my first three Bredemarket opportunities. At the time I wasn’t trying to win independent consulting contracts; I was trying to secure full-time employment. I’ve told the story before, but here’s a brief version of the story as a set of win/loss experiences.

CompanyDid I get the job?Did I get a consulting contract?
Company #1No, I wasn’t trying to get a job with this company. The head of the company approached me for consulting work.Yes, I got a consulting contract. (Actually multiple contracts.)
Company #2No, I didn’t get the job. Yes, I got a consulting contract.
Company #3No, I didn’t get the job.No, I didn’t get a consulting contract. (Yet.)
Three companies, no jobs, two consulting contracts. Did I win, or did I lose?

In terms of job offers, I got exactly zero job offers from these three companies. But I did get consulting contracts from two of the companies. So as a true marketing professional, I will officially declare a 67% win rate, unless I want to round it up even further and declare a 70% win rate.

But throughout my experiences, I’ve found that I’ve learned a lot from the losses. I’ve told a number of stories in this regard, but today I’m going to share a story that I haven’t shared publicly until now. So gather round while I tell my story. (No pranking.)

Photograph of sculpture “The Storyteller”, featuring Ken Kesey, in Eugene, Oregon. By Original work: Pete HelzerDepiction: Jonesey95 – own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48410264

Once I was competing for an opportunity to market two products for a firm. The two products competed in markets that were outside my identity (biometrics / secure documents) comfort zone, so I had to do some cramming to learn about the products and their markets. As I crammed, I discovered three “opportunities to excel,” or what some people refer to as “challenges.” Or “land mines.”

  1. Who? First, the two products had come to the firm by way of acquisitions, so the market was confused about not only the names of the products, but the name of the company that was now offering the products. Market confusion is never good.
  2. Um…who? Second, if you looked at the markets for these two products, this firm’s offerings weren’t widely known to some people. In my competitive research, I was checking a lot of sites that listed leading players in the two markets, and this firm’s offerings weren’t always listed. Market apathy is never good.
  3. What? Third, the markets themselves were somewhat complex and ill-defined. The markets had a number of sub-markets, and some competitor products would concentrate on some sub-markets, while others would concentrate on others. It was cumbersome to compare these two products and evaluate the competitors and sort-of competitors. Market complexity is never good.

Anyway, despite my cramming sessions on these two products and their respective markets, I did not win the opportunity to market these two products for the firm. Someone else got that opportunity. (I never even got to show off my cramming knowledge, which is probably just as well.)

So now I can sit back and watch how the winner will take advantage of these opportunities to excel. Since the firm now has someone who can market these two products, I expect that we will all hear more about them soon.

But what did I personally learn from this experience?

  1. First, I learned that it’s possible to extrapolate from your own experience to analyze new opportunities. (Actually, I already knew that, but it was good to have a reminder.)
  2. Second, I learned a lot about these two markets, these two products, and their competitors. I won’t share this here, but maybe I’ll have an opportunity to share it some day. (If I can remember the results of my cramming exercises.)
  3. Third, I was reminded (yet again) that a loss can sometimes be a win. After all, I got a blog post out of the experience.

POSTSCRIPT

Fourth…as I was trying to find a good illustration for “cramming” for this post (as you can see, I didn’t), I discovered an alternate term for cramming: swotting.

Marketers know that the acronym SWOT can also refer to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

By Syassine – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31368987

SWOT analysis is a technique to size up a product, a market, or a company.

Ironically, I didn’t perform any SWOTting while I was swotting.

How many vaccine certificates (not health passports) will citizens in Africa and elsewhere need to do anything?

This is a follow-up to my April 9 post, with a slight correction. I need to stop using the term “health passport,” and should instead use the term “vaccine certificate.” So starting now I’m doing that. Although I still think passports are cool, even if vaccine certificates aren’t passports.

An Ottoman passport (passavant) issued to Russian subject dated July 24, 1900. By FurkanYalcin3 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27699398

It’s also a follow-up to my February 16 post, which noted that there are a whole bunch of health pa- I mean vaccine certificates that are being marketed by various companies and organizations.

In addition to Clear’s Health Pass, there are a myriad of other options, including AOKpassCommonPass, IATA Travel Pass, IBM Digital Health Pass, the Mvine-iProov solutionScan2Fly from AirAsia, VaccineGuard from Guardtime, VeriFLY from Daon, the Vaccination Credential Initiative, and probably some others that I missed.

Obviously it takes a while to solve such issues, so you can’t expect that all of this would be resolved by April.

And you’re right.

As Chris Burt of FindBiometrics recently noted, the whole vaccine certificate issue was recently discussed by a panel at an ID4Africa webinar. Now even if you haven’t heard of the organization ID4Africa, you can reasonably conclude that the organization is in favor of…IDs for Africa.

And even they are a bit skittish about vaccine passports, at least for now.

Questions around how these digital health certificates should work, where and whether they should be used, and what can be done to mitigate the risks associated with them remain, and were explored by an international panel of experts representing major global organizations convened by ID4Africa. They found that too much remains unknown to inform final decisions…

The panel warned against rushing headlong into adoption of vaccine certificates without a better understanding of what they were, how they would work, and how individual information would be protected. And there are major questions all over the “how they would work” question, including the long-standing question of how vaccine certificates would be interoperable.

It quickly emerged that while several groups represented are working on similar projects, there are some key differences in goals.

The WHO is building specification which are intended to create digital records not for crossing borders or proving health status to any third party, but merely for continuity of care. Its working group also includes ICAO, IATA, and ISO, each of which have their own applications in mind for digital health credentials.

See the list above.

And even if you just look at the WHO’s project, it’s still not finalized. The present timeframe calls for a version 1.0 of its specification by the end of June, but timelines sometimes slip.

Chris Burt details many other issues in his article, but for purposes of my post, it’s relevant to say that it will be months if not years before we will see any sort of interoperability between vaccine certificates.

Should engineers rule the world?

TL;DR – No, but.

But for the rest of you who want to consider the question for a couple of minutes…

Life is messy. It’s easy to look around and find examples of ways in which people do things incorrectly. “If only people did things rationally,” you might think to yourself, “these problems would be avoided.” So some desire rational solutions, such as those that could be provided if engineers ruled the world.

Engineers conferring on prototype design, 1954. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-23805-1665 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5349654

In 2016, Global Construction Review asked the question “Should engineers rule the world?” But before I look at the possible answers to that question, let me share a couple of anecdotal stories.

Years and years ago, I worked for company that prided itself on being run by engineers, and having an engineering mindset. For this company, that meant that it exerted great effort to design technically superior solutions. Since I am not an engineer, I was therefore able to observe from the sidelines as the company designed and (after some time) released a product that was a technical marvel. There was only one problem: the product was so expensive that no one would buy it.

That same company had designed another technically superior product, but this one was priced reasonably enough that people throughout the world would buy it…except in the United States. There were established competitors in the United States, and it would take a great effort to displace them. From my vantage point in the US, I asked the product people an apparently simple question: why should US customers choose our company’s product rather than the competitors’ products? Apparently my question “did not compute” with the product people, because I never got an answer to my question. I guess they expected the US customers to be dazzled by our product’s obvious superiority or something.

Now that I’ve gotten those two anecdotal stories out of the way, let’s return to Global Construction Review’s question: “Should engineers rule the world?” The article begins by citing an example in which application of engineering principles at the outset could have prevented a catastrophe later on.

Take the Syrian civil war, for instance. In a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Colin P. Kelley and co-authors proposed that a record-breaking drought in northeastern Syria between 2007 and 2010 caused the sudden migration of 1.5 million poor farmers into cities, setting the scene for the widespread unrest that erupted into outright revolt in early 2011.

The thinking, of course, is that if the drought had been minimized or averted through the timely application of scientific principles, the migration would not have happened, and the resulting unrest would not have happened.

So the question about engineers ruling the world was posed to several thinkers, beginning with Tim Chapman, described as the leader of an infrastructure group. Chapman began by observing that politicians concentrate too much on the short term, while some others concentrate too much on the long term.

Engineers are able to bridge this gap. A world run by engineers would be more planned, more strategic, more organised.

But Chapman wasn’t willing to hand the engineers the keys to everything. While he wanted them at the table, he noticed one drawback that engineers need to overcome.

But engineers also need to change, too, if they are to sell their answers to a sceptical world. They need to be better story-tellers who bring society along with them, rather than trying to impose solutions.

Some of the other people interviewed in the article echoed the thought that engineers should be at the table, but no one was willing to let them be the sole arbiters of what is best.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not so oddly, there was one word that I was unable to find in the article.

That word was “listen.”

It’s fine for engineers to be able to tell the story of why a solution should be adopted, but it’s also necessary for engineers to be able to listen to the people who may or may not benefit from the solution. Perhaps the proposed solution is too expensive (see my first anecdotal example), or perhaps existing solutions are perfectly fine (see my second anecdotal example). Or perhaps the solution goes against a group’s most important cultural values; while foreigners are often baffled by Americans’ resistance to government dictates, the fact remains that American history has influenced us to resist such dictates.

So while engineers should be heard, they shouldn’t rule the world.

Marketers should rule the world.

Am I right?

How many health passports will convention attendees need to revisit Las Vegas?

Two years ago, this picture wouldn’t look strange to me. Now it looks unusual.

I took this picture on the morning of April 5, 2017. I had just flown from Ontario, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the ISC West show for a day, and would fly home that evening.

The idea of gathering thousands of businesspeople together in Las Vegas for a day obviously wasn’t unusual in 2017. While many think of Las Vegas as a playground, a lot of work goes on there also, and Las Vegas has superb facilities to host conventions and trade shows. So superb, in fact, that Oracle announced in late 2019 that it was moving its annual Oracle OpenWorld conference from San Francisco (up the road from Oracle’s headquarters) to Las Vegas.

But then 2020 happened.

One month after Oracle started planning for the Las Vegas debut of Oracle OpenWorld, the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show took place in Las Vegas. Unbeknownst to the 170,000 attendees at that show, they were unknowingly spreading a new illness, COVID-19. They did this by doing things that people always did at trade shows, including standing next to each other, shaking hands, and (in business-appropriate situations) embracing each other.

Of course, the CES attendees didn’t know that they were spreading coronavirus, and wouldn’t know this for a few months until after they had returned home to Santa Clara County, California and to other places all around the world. By the time that CES had been identified as a super spreader event, Las Vegas convention activities were already shutting down. The 2020 version of ISC West had already been postponed from March to July, was then re-postponed from July to October, and would eventually be cancelled entirely. Oracle OpenWorld’s September debut in Las Vegas was similarly cancelled. As other companies cancelled their Las Vegas conferences, the city went into a tailspin. (Anecdotally, one of my in-laws is a Teamster who works trade shows in Las Vegas and was directly affected by this.)

Today, one year after the economies of Las Vegas and other cities shut down, we in the United States are optimistically hoping that we have turned a corner. But it’s possible that we will not completely return to the way things were before 2020.

For example, before attending a convention in Las Vegas in the future, you might need to present a physical or digital “health passport” indicating a negative COVID-19 test and/or a COVID-19 vaccination. While governments may be reluctant to impose such requirements on private businesses, private businesses may choose to impose such requirements on themselves – in part, to reduce liability risk. After all, a convention organizer doesn’t want attendees to get sick at their conventions.

As I noted almost two months ago, there are a number of health passport options that are either available or being developed. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a bad thing for reasons that I noted in February:

In addition to Clear’s Health Pass, there are a myriad of other options, including AOKpassCommonPass, IATA Travel Pass, IBM Digital Health Pass, the Mvine-iProov solutionScan2Fly from AirAsia, VaccineGuard from Guardtime, VeriFLY from Daon, the Vaccination Credential Initiative, and probably some others that I missed….

But the wealth of health passports IS a problem if you’re a business. Imagine being at an airport gate and asking a traveler for a Clear Health Pass, and getting an angry reply from the traveler that he already has a VeriFLY pass and that the airline is infringing upon the traveler’s First and Second Amendment rights by demanding some other pass.

When I wrote this I wasn’t even thinking about convention attendance. In a worst-case scenario, Jane Conventioneer may need one health pass to board her flight, another health pass to enter her hotel, and a third health pass to get into the convention itself.

This could potentially be messier than I thought.

Revisiting my unintentional viral tweet, and revisiting my mini-goal for April

You’ll recall that on March 31, a tweet of mine (from my “amateur” Twitter account) unexpectedly went viral.

Within 15 hours, the tweet had over 48,000 impressions and over 1,000 engagements.

Things have hit a plateau since then—the good times weren’t going to last forever on this one, after all—and the tweet currently (1:34 pm PDT Tuesday April 6) has the following statistics:

  • Impressions: 68,721
  • Total engagements: 1,470
  • Likes: 1,009
  • Detail expands: 302
  • Profile clicks: 116
  • Retweets: 32
  • Replies: 11

But that’s not the important part.

As I noted in my prior post, the TRUE challenge is to create meaningful content on my “professional” Twitter account @jebredcal. Specifically, I challenged myself to have an April tweet with 212 or more impressions and 10 or more engagements.

How am I doing? Not there yet. My top tweet in April so far has 167 impressions, 3 engagements, and unquantifiable value add (specifically, my statement that “[t]he standard is ‘currently going through the adoption process'”).

Hmm…perhaps Elena Salazar can help me. After all, she’s written a post about writing highly engaging tweets. And she specifically used the word “engaging” rather than “impressionable,” so you can see she’s interested in results.

I’m not going to reproduce the whole post, of course, and I’m already doing one of the things that she mentioned – after all, my unintentional viral tweet would not have gone viral if it hadn’t been a reply to Greg Kelly.

One of her suggestions in her post was to “have fun.” As long-time readers of this blog will appreciate, that particular suggestion resonated with me, since it’s one of my goals for 2021. Salazar notes that human connections are prized more than ever. (Provided that you’re not faking your humanity, I guess.)

Salazar also had two suggestions on the timing of tweets. No, she wasn’t talking about tweeting on Mondays at precisely 8:22 am. (These suggestions never did much for me anyway. Bredemarket’s target geographical market is the entire United States, from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, and there’s no ideal time that appeals to everyone in that geographical market.)

Bredemarket’s geographic market, according to Google. https://g.page/bredemarket

What Salazar WAS discussing was participating in timed Twitter chats, and tweeting during live events. While I’ve engaged in the latter at times (most notably during the years that I regularly attended Oracle OpenWorld), I have rarely participated in timed Twitter chats that were not connected to an event. Here’s some of what Salazar said at the time (August 2019, before the world changed) about Twitter chats:

I personally try to attend 2-3 Twitter chats per week.

Tip: Some of my favorite digital marketing chats are #CMworld (Tuesdays at 9am PT), #SEMrushchat (Wednesdays at 8am PT), #Adweekchat (Wednesdays at 11am PT) and #TwitterSmarter (Thursdays at 10am PT). 

Checking the Twittersphere, #CMWorld (CM = content marketing) still seems to be a thing (I missed it by a few hours this week), as do #SEMrushchat (tomorrow), #Adweekchat (also tomorrow), and #TwitterSmarter (Thursdays, although it may go on at all times like #MarketingTwitter).

Of course, these hashtags are general and not specific to identity or even technology, but maybe I’ll try to drop in on one or two new Twitter chats this month.

(Note to self: tag Elena Salazar on the tweet that links to this post.)

When you go viral unintentionally, how do you reproduce this?

Since last night, a tweet of mine has been going viral.

Sadly, it’s not a Bredemarket tweet, so the virality isn’t directly benefiting my marketing and writing services business. But perhaps I can learn from it.

I maintain two Twitter accounts. The @jebredcal account which tweets posts from this blog is my professional account, which naturally means that the other account, @empoprises, is my “amateur” account. I intentionally segregated it because I figure that most of you aren’t interested in my tastes in music…or my Mad Libs.

Mad Libs?

Let’s start last night’s story with Greg Kelly, a well-known Newsmax host with nearly 300,000 Twitter followers. Yesterday afternoon, he tweeted this rather bizarre item:

SMOKING WEED (aka GRASS) is NOT a good idea. I’ve tried it (back in the day) and it was WORSE than anything that happened to HUNTER BIDEN. I “toked up” with some buddies in Kentucky and woke up 4 days later in Nairobi, Kenya. With no idea what happened. DON’T DO DRUGS.

Because of Kelly’s prominence as well as the content of the tweet itself, this has received major attention from TMZ, Huffpost…and Brian Hamm.

Now Brian Hamm is not quite as famous as Greg Kelly, but he made a rather interesting point in his tweeted reply.

Reads like a Mad Lib.

SMOKING (Drug) is NOT a good idea. I’ve tried it and it was WORSE than anything that happened to (celebrity). I (slang for drug use) with some buddies in (State) and woke up (number) days later in (Foreign City) with no idea what happened. DON’T DO DRUGS.

Now yesterday I hadn’t seen what TMZ wrote about Kelly’s tweet, and I hadn’t seen what Huffpost wrote about Kelly’s tweet…but I had seen what Brian Hamm wrote about Kelly’s tweet. And I took a position that isn’t all that unusual on my amateur account.

Challenge accepted. (I hadn’t played Mad Libs in a while, anyway.)

Now the tweet itself is not a remarkable tweet. Frankly, it wasn’t even the best tweet that I wrote on the @empoprises yesterday. (I think my “Disneyland launches its plan to enforce social distancing in the park” tweet is better.) And on my “professional” Twitter account, I tweeted a link to my “trust” post as well as a link to the Innocence Project’s efforts to improve the forensic science discipline. A Mad Lib about smoking pizza and ending up in Ottawa falls pretty low on the importance scale AND the interest scale.

Or so I thought, because the Twitterverse disagreed with me.

Within two hours, my throwaway tweet had received over 9,000 impressions. Within fifteen hours, the statistics for the tweet are as follows:

  • Over 48,000 impressions
  • Over 1,000 engagements, including over 700 likes, 78 clicks on my profile, 21 retweets, and 8 replies

And the statistics still continue to climb.

Now I did not sit down yesterday evening and plan to latch on to a popular tweet to drum up impressions and engagements. Frankly, if I HAD planned this, I would have latched on to something other than a Greg Kelly tweet, and I would have planned a response that would provide some more tangible benefit to me. (Unless the Ottawa tourism folks decide to use me, there’s no way I can monetize my viral content.)

And to be honest, I’m repulsed by the idea of latching on to every single identity or technology trend and trying to insert monetizable content into it. I could do it, but I would do it very badly. (Hey, here’s a trending tweet from a famous politician about proposed forensic science legislation! Time for another Mad Lib!)

But perhaps I should keep my eyes open in case a relevant, popular tweet shows up in my professional Twitter feed. If I can contribute something MEANINGFUL to the conversation, perhaps I could get some deserved attention.

So now I’m challenging myself. In March, my most popular tweet from my @jebredcal professional Twitter account received 211 impressions and 9 engagements. (And it wasn’t a reply to a tweet, but it did mention two Twitter users with 800+ follwers and 5400+ follwers.) Let’s see if I can beat that in April and get 212 or more impressions and 10 or more engagements on a tweet.

Challenge accepted.

The importance of trust

I’m thinking about filing a patent application, but before I do so I want to bounce my idea off of you to see if it’s viable. (I assume that none of you will steal my idea from me.)

Basically, I would like to patent what I am going to call the Bredemarket Important Delivery Execution Technology, or BIDET for short. The purpose of BIDET is to deliver important items from one entity to another, where a sending or receiving entity can be a person, a business, or a government agency.

I have designed BIDET with the following features:

  • The BIDET “envelope” that contains the important item will include, in cleartext, both the origin of the envelope and the destination of the envelope in an easy-to-read, unencoded format.
  • BIDET envelopes themselves will be easy to open (within less than one second), and will include features that allow the envelopes to be opened and closed again BEFORE arriving at their destinations.
  • A group of people will be entrusted with the transmission of BIDET envelopes from their origins to their destinations. This group of people will number approximately 600,000, any one of whom will have the technical capability to fully interact with the BIDET envelopes.
  • The BIDET “envelope” that contains the important item will include, in cleartext, both the origin of the envelope and the destination of the envelope in an easy-to-read, unencoded format.
  • BIDET envelopes themselves will be easy to open (within less than one second), and will include features that allow the envelopes to be opened and closed again BEFORE arriving at their destinations.
  • A group of people will be entrusted with the transmission of BIDET envelopes from their origins to their destinations. This group of people will number approximately 600,000, any one of whom will have the technical capability to fully interact with the BIDET envelopes.

So, what do you think of my idea? Does it sound like a winner?

Or does it sound like an insurmountable privacy nightmare? I mean, who would want to entrust financial information to a delivery service that hundreds of thousands of people can easily violate in less than a second?

Well, if you’re not already ahead of me, it turns out that hundreds of millions of people would entrust financial information to such a delivery service. After all, we’ve been doing this since the days of Benjamin Franklin, since what I described is not a “new” patent idea, but the actual operational model for the U.S. Postal Service.

Screenshot of Cliff Clavin from “Please Mr. Postman (episode 158, 1989). By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50708166

This thought occurred to me when I was reading this Valid LinkedIn post about its DMV@Home™ service that “gives residents the ability to perform safe, secure, and reliable digital transactions anytime, anywhere, and on a preferred device.”

And when I imagined the reaction of some people claiming that something like this would NEVER work.

Yet these same people receive all sorts of things by snail mail, including bank statements, credit cards (and credit offers), health records, voting registration information…and driver’s licenses.

But these people TRUST the U.S. Postal Service, or at least they trust the USPS more than they trust a smartphone app. Sure, there are the anecdotal stories of postal workers stealing mail, but that would never happen to me. Smartphone hacking, of course, definitely WOULD happen to me, because smartphones are mysterious things.

Now of course there ARE people who trust smartphone security more than they trust physical security. Without imposing a value judgement on one set of people over another, I can say that those who trust smartphone security feel that the risks of using smartphones are less than the risks of using physical methods.

So how long will it take until a supermajority of people TRUST digital delivery more than they trust physical delivery?

When biometric readers are “magic” (it’s a small face after all)

The news coming across the wire is that Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida is testing facial recognition. (H/T International Biometrics + Identity Association.)

“At Walt Disney World Resort, we’re always looking for innovative and convenient ways to improve our guests’ experience—especially as we navigate the impact of COVID-19. With the future in mind and the shift in focus to more touchless experiences, we’re conducting a limited 30-day test using facial recognition technology.”

If the test is successful and facial recognition is implemented, it would be a replacement for (touch) fingerprint technology, which the Disney parks suspended last July for health reasons. (Although touchless fingerprint options are available.)

Disney’s biometric history extends back to 2006, when it used hand geometry.

Pangiam, a new/old player in biometric boarding

Make vs. buy.

Businesses are often faced with the question of whether to buy a product or service from a third party, or make the product or service itself.

And airports are no exception to this.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the entity that manages two of the airports in the Washington, DC area, needed a biometric boarding (biometric exit) solution. Such solutions allow passengers to skip the entire “pull out the paper ticket” process, or even the “pull out the smartphone airline app” process, and simply stand and let a camera capture a picture of the passenger’s face. While there are several companies that sell such solutions, MWAA decided to create its own solution, veriScan.

https://www.airportveriscan.com/

And once MWAA had implemented veriScan at its own airports, it started marketing the solution to other airports, and competing against other providers who were trying to sell their own solutions to airports.

Well, MWAA got out of the border product/service business last week when it participated in this announcement:

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pangiam, a technology-based security and travel services provider, announced today that it has acquired veriScan, an integrated biometric facial recognition system for airports and airlines, from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (“Airports Authority”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pangiam is clearly the new kid on the block, since the company didn’t even exist in its current form a year ago. Late last year, AE Industrial Partners acquired and merged the decade-old Linkware and the newly-formed Pangian (PRE LLC) “to form a highly integrated travel solutions technology platform providing a more seamless and secure travel experience.”

But in a sense, Pangiam ISN’T new to the travel industry, once you read the biographies of many of the principals at the company.

  • “Most recently (Kevin McAleenan) served as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)….”
  • “Prior to Pangiam, Patrick (Flanagan) held roles at U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Navy, the National Security Staff, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
  • “Dan (Tanciar) previously served as the Executive Director of Planning, Program Analysis, and Evaluation in the Office of Field Operations (OFO) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”
  • “Prior to Pangiam, Andrew (Meehan) served as the principal adviser to the Acting Secretary for external affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
  • “(Tom Plofchan) served as a National Security Advisor to the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before entering government to serve as the Counterterrorism Advisor to the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and as Counterterrorism Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

So if you thought that veriScan was well-connected because it was offered by an airport authority, consider how well-connected it appears now because it is offered by a company filled with ex-DHS people.

Which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily indicate that the products work, but it does indicate some level of domain knowledge.

But will airports choose to buy the Pangiam veriScan solution…or make their own?

I really want to know (if this song is truly related to crime scene investigation)

I was performing some website maintenance this afternoon, and decided to add a page dedicated to Bredemarket’s services for identity firms. I was trying to think of an introductory illustration to go with the page, since the town crier can only go so far. So, claiming fair use, I decided that this image made perfect sense.

“Who Are You” by The Who. Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11316153

Now while use of the “Who Are You” album cover on a Bredemarket identity page makes perfect sense to me, it may not make sense to 6.9 billion other people. So I guess I should explain my line of thinking.

The link between human identification and the song “Who Are You” was established nearly two decades ago, when the television show “C.S.I. Crime Scene Investigation” started airing on CBS. TV shows have theme songs, and this TV show adopted a (G-rated) excerpt from the Who song “Who Are You” as its theme song. After all, the fictional Las Vegas cops were often tasked with identifying dead bodies or investigating crime scene evidence, so they would be expected to ask the question “who are you” a lot.

Which reminds me of two stories:

  • I actually knew a real Las Vegas crime scene investigator (Rick Workman), but by the time I knew him he was working for the neighboring city of Henderson.
  • CSI spawned a number of spinoffs, including “CSI:Miami.” When I was a Motorola product manager, CSI:Miami contacted us to help with a storyline involving a crime scene palm print. While Motorola software was featured in the episode, the GUI was jazzed up a bit so that it would look good on TV.

So this song (and other Who songs for the CSI spinoffs) is indelibly associated with police crime scene work.

But should it be?

After all, people think that “When a Man Loves a Woman” is a love song based upon its title. But the lyrics show that it’s not a love song at all.

When a man loves a woman
Down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery
If she is playin’ him for a fool

So are we at fault when we associate Pete Townshend’s 1970s song “Who Are You” with crime scene investigation?

Yes, and no.

While the “who are you” question has nothing to do with figuring out who committed a crime, it DOES involve a policeman.

This song is based on a day in the life of Pete Townshend….

Pete left that bar and passed out in a random doorway in Soho (a part of New York). A policeman recognized him (“A policeman knew my name”) and being kind, woke him and and told him, “You can go sleep at home tonight (instead of a jail cell), if you can get up and walk away.” Pete’s response: “Who the f–k are you?”

Because it was the 1970s, the policeman did not try to identify the drunk Townshend with a mobile fingerprint device linked to a fingerprint identification system, or a camera linked to a facial recognition system.

Instead, the drunk Townshend questioned the authority of the policeman. Which is what you would expect from the guy who wrote the line “I hope I die before I get old.”

Speaking of which, did anybody notice that on the album cover for “Who Are You,” Keith Moon is sitting on a chair that says “Not to Be Taken Away”? Actually, they did…especially since the album was released on August 18, 1978 and Moon died on September 7.

While Moon’s death was investigated, no crime scene investigators were involved.