When Instagram’s interests are not your own

Now that I changed my mind and have augmented my personal Instagram account with a Bredemarket Instagram account, Instagram is sending Bredemarket helpful tips and messages. Here’s part of a message I recently received from Instagram.

Let EVERYONE know how to connect with you, including friends and family?

What’s wrong with letting EVERYONE know about your business social media account?

While there is some merit in Instagram’s advice, there’s one very important caveat if you are trying to build a business, rather than just trying to build follower count.

Only invite people to follow your business account who are genuinely interested in your business.

  • Obviously current customers are interested in your business, and inviting them to follow is a good idea.
  • The same goes for potential customers, a category that Instagram inadvertently left out of its pitch.
  • And some of your friends and family who are knowledgeable about the issues in your business may be good invitees, because even if they can’t provide business (and sometimes they can), they can serve as evangelists to others. Someone of my Facebook and LinkedIn friends have already helped me in this capacity.

But I haven’t gone out of my way to invite my friends who do not own or work for identity, biometrics, technology, or local (Inland Empire West) firms to follow the Bredemarket Instagram account. Why not? Because it provides no benefit to Bredemarket.

So why does Instagram want me to invite friends and family to follow the Bredemarket account? Because it does provide benefit to Instagram. The more people engaged on Instagram translates to more opportunities for Instagram to display ads, which benefits Instagram’s bottom line. But it won’t benefit your bottom line as a business.

So if my European daughters’ retired high school teacher is waiting for that Instagram invite from Bredemarket…keep waiting.

Shameless non-sponsored plug for Ray of Social

Incidentally, my thoughts on WHO to invite to follow your business social media accounts have been heavily influenced by Georgia of Ray of Social. Her Instagram account is here. Pay special attention to her “3 things that harm your growth,” especially thing 2 (although thing 1 and thing 3 are also important).

Excuse me, but I have a lot of questions…

I’ve previously shared how I’ve revised my content creation process.

Like any good process, the not-so-new-anymore Bredemarket content creation process asks a lot of questions up front. These questions ensure that I perform the project in accordance with the wishes of my client.

Because, as we all know, it costs more to rework a project at the end than it does at the beginning. (Or maybe you didn’t know that; it’s something I included in some work I did for a client. But the client knows.)

Specifically, early in the engagement I reach agreement with my client on all or most of the following questions on the content:

  • The topic.
  • The goal.
  • The benefits.
  • The target audience.
  • If necessary:
    • The outline.
    • The section sub-goals.
    • Relevant examples.
    • Relevant key words/hashtags.
    • Interim and final due dates.

When you break it out, that’s a lot of stuff.

And there’s more stuff that I need to know from the client that I’m not sharing publicly. But I’ll give you a hint: some of the questions are driven by a recent experience with Google Docs, and the fact that two different people weren’t using the same fonts, sizes, and styles. Well, if Google Docs can’t take care of it automatically, I can ask about fonts/sizes/styles (when applicable) so that the issue can be resolved manually.

So I’ve created a form that I can use for either the content or proposals sides of the Bredemarket business, and the form contains all of the questions that I need to ask a client at the beginning of an engagement.

My in-house form, first iteration.

Or at least I think it contains all of the questions.

I’m going to try it out with a future client.

And perhaps I’ll iterate it afterwards.

Google Docs format sharing non-standards

In the past, I’ve mentioned that blog posts are often transitory. I hope this one is transitory and that I can come up with a technical or a procedural solution, because as of now I don’t have one.

Most of my writing experience over the past…many years has been with various versions of Microsoft Word, with the exception of a brief period in which I used FullWrite Professional. (The then-current version of Microsoft Word was NOT Mac-like, and FullWrite Professional was reputed to have a more graphical interface. It did…but it was slower than molasses, so we switched back to Word.)

Google Docs. Can’t you tell?

However, two of my recent projects used Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word, primarily because of Google Docs’ excellent collaboration features, including:

  • The ability to share a document with multiple collaborators, even outside of your organization.
  • The ability to restrict collaboration permissions to only allow commenting, or only allow viewing.
  • The ability to assign items to collaborators, and have the collaborators resolve them.
  • The ability for multiple people to edit the document at the same time. (This could be a drawback, but in my experience it was a plus.)

Everything worked well in my first project, a fairly simple project in which my collaborator took final ownership at the end and performed the final formats.

It was a different story with my second project, a much more complex project.

From my experience with Microsoft Word, a person could modify the existing styles, define new styles, and ensure that anyone who edited the document used the defined styles.

Google Docs is…a little different, as I found out the hard way.

First, Google Docs doesn’t allow you to define custom styles. So if I’m doing work for WidgetCorp, I can’t define styles like WidgetCorpAnswer or WidgetCorpHeading1.

Second, even Google Docs’ standard set of styles is limited.

Normal, Title/Subtitle, and six levels of Headings. That’s it. Forget about special styles for captions, table contents, or anything else.

Third, while Google Docs lets you modify these nine standard styles, there’s no good way to let other people use your modified styles. Here’s how I shared the issue in a Google community:

How can style customizations be shared between collaborators to avoid this issue?

Person A and Person B are collaborating on a Google Docs document.

Person A defines custom styles for Heading 1 and Heading 2.

Person B moves text from Heading 2 to Heading 1.

Person B’s heading style (not Person A’s heading style) is applied.

Person A has to reformat the text in Person A’s custom Heading 1 style. 

This happened on a recent project. I was Person B.

I was hoping that there was some easy way for “Person A” to share style definitions with “Person B” without having those become Person B’s defaults. (Because, after all, Person B may eventually collaborate with Person C, who has different style preferences.)

Sadly, my hopes were dashed:

I feel your pain. Sadly, there currently isn’t any way around this, as editors have free rein. The only solution would be to change their access from “Editor” to “Commenter.”

In other words, only one person can perform final formatting of a Google Docs document. While this restriction can apply to some business workflows, it can’t apply to all of them.

So is there a solution that allows multiple people to format a Google Docs document, and use common formatting styles?

(And before you say “Use Word,” I should also add that real-time collaboration is essential.)

As I said, I hope this post is transitory and I can come up with an acceptable solution.

(But even then, there are other drawbacks in Google Docs, including the inability to automatically number figure and table captions…)

Behind the scenes postscript: I was getting ready to write another post that referenced this post, and then I discovered that I had never actually finalized or shared this post. So now I’ve shared it, primarily so that I can reference it in the future without confusing everyone.

Investigative leads and DNA booking stations

A July Bredemarket post on Facebook has garnered some attention in September.

I wanted to answer some questions about rapid DNA use in a booking station, how (and when) DNA is used in booking (arrests), what an “investigative lead” is, and whether acquiring DNA at booking is Constitutional.

(TL;DR on the last question is “yes,” per Maryland v. King.)

Are rapid DNA booking stations a Big Brother plot?

The post in question was a Facebook post to the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services Facebook group. I posted this way back in July, when Thermo Fisher Scientific became the second rapid DNA vendor (of two rapid DNA vendors; ANDE is the other) whose system was approved by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for use as a law enforcement booking station.

When I shared this on Facebook, I received some concerned comments:

“Big brother total control”

“Is this Constitutional??? Will the results of this test hold up in courtrooms???”

I’ll address the second question later: not just in regard to rapid DNA, but to DNA in general. At this point, however, I will go ahead and say that the use of rapid DNA in booking was authorized legislatively by the Rapid DNA Act of 2017. This was followed by over three years of procedural stuff until rapid DNA booking station use was authorized this year.

To accurately state what “rapid DNA booking station use” actually means, let me refer to the FBI’s language, starting with the purpose:

The FBI Laboratory Division has been working with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (CJIS APB) Rapid DNA Task Force to plan the effective integration of Rapid DNA into the booking station process.

By way of definition, a “booking station” is a computer that processes individuals who are “booked,” or arrested. The FBI’s plan was that (when authorized by federal, state, or local law) when an arrested individual’s fingerprints were captured, the individual’s DNA would be captured at the same time. (Again, only when authorized.)

The use of the term “reference sample buccal (cheek) swab” is intentional. The FBI’s current development and validation efforts have been focused on the DNA samples obtained from known individuals (e.g., persons under arrest). Because known reference samples are taken directly from the individual, they contain sufficient amounts of DNA, and there are no mixed DNA profiles that would require a scientist to interpret them. For purposes of uploading or searching CODIS, Rapid DNA systems are not authorized for use on crime scene samples.

“CODIS,” by the way, is the Combined DNA Index System, a combination of federal, state, and local systems.

“Rapid DNA” is an accelerated, automated DNA method that can process DNA samples in less than two hours, as opposed to the more traditional DNA processes that can take a lot longer.

The FBI is NOT ready to use rapid DNA to solve crimes, although some local police agencies have chosen to do so. And until February of this year, the FBI was not ready to use rapid DNA in the booking process either.

So what has been authorized?

The Bureau recognizes that National DNA Index System (NDIS) approval of the Rapid DNA Booking Systems and training of law enforcement personnel using the approved systems are integral to ensuring that Rapid DNA is used in a manner that maintains the quality and integrity of CODIS and NDIS.

Rapid DNA Booking System(s) approved for use at NDIS by a law enforcement booking station are listed below.

ANDE 6C Series G (effective February 1, 2021)

RapidHIT™ ID DNA Booking System v1.0 (effective July 1, 2021) 

If you read the FBI rapid DNA page, you can find links to a number of forensic, security, and other standards that have to be followed when using rapid DNA in a booking environment.

But those aren’t the only restrictions on rapid DNA use.

Can ANY law enforcement agency use rapid DNA in booking?

Um, no.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (2013; see PDF), not all states authorize the taking of DNA after an arrest. As of 2013, 20 states did NOT allow the taking of DNA from individuals who had been arrested but not convicted. And of the 30 remaining states, some (such as Connecticut) only allowed taking of DNA for “serious felonies,” some (such as California) for all felonies, and various mixtures in between. Oklahoma, for example, only allowed taking of DNA for “aliens unlawfully present under federal immigration law.”

Now, of course, a rogue police officer could take your DNA when not legally authorized to do so. Then again, a rogue restaurant employee could put laxatives in your food; that doesn’t mean we outlaw laxatives.

An “investigative lead”

So let’s say that you’re arrested for a crime, and your state allows the taking of DNA for your crime at arrest, and your local law enforcement agency has a rapid DNA instrument.

Now let’s assume that your DNA is searched against a DNA database of unsolved crimes, and your DNA matches a sample from another crime. What happens next?

If there is a match, police will likely want to take a closer look.

Wait a minute. There’s a DNA match! Doesn’t that mean that the police can swoop in and arrest the individual, and the individual is immediately convicted?

Um, no. Stop trusting your TV.

It takes more than DNA to convict a person of a crime.

While DNA can provide an investigative lead, DNA in and of itself is not sufficient to convict an individual. The DNA evidence usually has to be supported by additional evidence.

Especially since there may be other explanations of how the DNA got there.

In 2011, Adam Scott’s DNA matched with a sperm sample taken from a rape victim in Manchester—a city Scott, who lived more than 200 miles away, had never visited. Non-DNA evidence subsequently cleared Scott. The mixup was due to a careless mistake in the lab, in which a plate used to analyze Scott’s DNA from a minor incident was accidentally reused in the rape case.

Then there’s the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth that any of us could have DNA present at a crime scene—even if we were never there. Moreover, DNA recovered at a crime scene could have been deposited there at a time other than when the crime took place. Someone could have visited beforehand or stumbled upon the scene afterward. Alternatively, their DNA could have arrived via a process called secondary transfer, where their DNA was transferred to someone else, who carried it to the scene.

But there is a DNA case that was (originally) puzzling. Actually, a whole bunch of DNA cases.

There is an interesting case, known as the Phantom of Heilbonn, that dates from 1993 in Austria, France and Germany. From that year the DNA of an unknown female was detected at crime scenes in those countries, including at six murder scenes, one of the victims being a female police officer from Heilbronn, Germany. Between 1993 and March 2009 the woman’s DNA was detected at 40 crime scenes which ranged from murder to burglaries and robberies. The DNA was found on items ranging from a biscuit to a heroin syringe to a stolen car.

Then it got really weird.

In March 2009 investigators discovered the same DNA on the burned body of a male asylum-seeker in France. Now this presented something of an anomaly: the corpse was male but the DNA was of a female.

You guessed it; it was the swabs themselves that were contaminated.

So a DNA match is just the start of an investigative process, but it could provide the investigative lead that eventually leads to the conviction of an individual.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I use the phrase “investigative lead” a lot when talking about DNA and about facial recognition. Trust me, it’s important.

But is the taking of DNA at booking Constitutional?

Obviously this is a huge question, because technical ability to do something does not automatically mean that you are Constitutionally authorized to do so. There is, after all, Fourth Amendment language protecting us against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Is the taking of DNA from arrestees who have not been convicted (assuming state law allows it) reasonable, or unreasonable?

Alonzo Jay King, Jr. had a vested interest in this question.

Alonzo Jay King Jr…was arrested in 2009 on assault charges. Before he was convicted of that crime, police took a DNA sample pursuant to Maryland’s new law allowing for such collections at the time of arrest in certain offenses….

I want to pause right here to make sure that the key point is highlighted. King, an arrestee who had not been convicted at the time of any crime, was compelled to provide evidence. At the time of arrest, collection of certain types of evidence (such as fingerprints) is “reasonable.” But collection of certain other types of evidence (such as a forced confession) is “unreasonable.”

So King’s DNA was taken and was searched against a Maryland database of DNA from unsolved crimes. You won’t believe what happened next! (Actually, you will.)

The DNA matched a sample from an unsolved 2003 rape case, and Mr. King was convicted of that crime.

Sentenced to life in prison, actually.

Wicomico County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth L. Ireland said she requested the court impose a life sentence on King, not only because of his past criminal convictions, but also because it turned out that he was a friend of the victim’s family. She said this proved King was a continuing danger to the community.

Before you say, “well, if he was the rapist, he should be imprisoned, legal niceties notwithstanding,” think of the implications of that statement. The entire U.S. legal system is based upon the premise that it is better for a guilty person to mistakenly go free than for an innocent person to mistakenly be punished.

And if that doesn’t sink in…what if YOU were arrested and convicted unlawfully? What if a plate analyzing YOUR DNA wasn’t cleaned properly, and you were unjustly convicted of rape? Or what if a confession were coerced from YOU, and used to convict you?

So King’s question was certainly important, regardless of whether or not he actually committed the rape for which he was convicted.

King therefore appealed on Fourth Amendment grounds, the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned his conviction (PDF), and the State of Maryland brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 (Maryland v. King). In a close 5-4 decision (PDF) in which both conservatives and liberals were on both sides of the argument, the Court ruled that the taking of DNA from arrestees WAS Constitutional.

But that wasn’t the end of the argument, because a new case arose in the state of California. But the California Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the practice was allowed in that state.

So the taking of DNA at booking is not only authorized (in some states, for some charges), it’s also Constitutional. (Although the Supreme Court’s opinion is still widely debated.)

So anyone who gets arrested for a felony in my home state of California should be ready for a buccal (cheek) swab.

Now that I quantified my proposal service accomplishments, it’s time for the content side

I won’t belabor you with the process of summing up Bredemarket’s content accomplishments for clients. Suffice it to say that I used Toggl Track and other sources, in a manner similar to the way in which I summed up Bredemarket’s proposal accomplishments for clients.

If you don’t want to be bothered with downloading a brochure, here’s a picture.

Or you can download the PDF.

Until I added everything up, I didn’t realize how many case studies I had written.

If you want to receive my 12th case study…

Using Toggl Track to quantify proposal services for marketing purposes

Bredemarket’s slogan should be “better late than never.” It took me a year to print business cards, and it has taken me almost a year to quantify my proposal services work for clients. But Toggl helped me quantify my work.

Incidentally, this post is NOT sponsored by Toggl. If I were smart I would have pitched this post to Toggl and gotten something substantive in return. But I’m not that smart; I’m just a happy Toggl Track user. Sure the service has had a couple of hiccups in April and August, but Toggl responded to these hiccups quickly. In general, Toggl Track has been very useful in tracking time, gathering data to bill clients, and (as I just discovered this week) very useful in quantifying Bredemarket’s work and accomplishments.

Quantifying hours per proposal

The whole Toggl Track quantification exercise started over the last couple of weeks, when I had two separate discussions with firms regarding the number of hours that a contractor usually spends responding to a request for something (proposal, information, comment, etc.). Acronym lovers can use RFx, RFP, RFI, RFC, etc. as needed.

After the second client raised the issue, I realized that my Toggl Track data contained time data on all of my billable proposals work. (Helpful hint: even with the free version of Toggl Track, you can set up project names to keep track of billable hours, although you have to manually calculate the billing yourself.)

So I logged into Toggl Track, selected the billable projects that I knew had Rfx hours, downloaded a comma-separated values (csv) version of all of the data from January 1, 2021 to present, opened the csv file in Excel, filtered out the columns that I didn’t need, filtered out the rows that didn’t pertain to RFx work, sorted the data by description (for example, “AFIS proposal for Noname County”), then subtotaled the hours at each change of description.

And then I realized that I did something wrong.

When the Toggl Track data was loaded into Excel, it used a standard hours-minutes-seconds format. What that meant was that the subtotals also displayed in a standard hours-minutes-seconds format. So if I had three time entries—one for 10:00:00, one for 9:00:00, and one for 8:00:00—the resulting subtotal would be 3:00:00, or only three hours.

Whoops.

I played around a bit with the number formats in the Duration column, and found a format (displayed in Excel as “37:30:55”) that correctly rendered my subtotals—in the example above, yielding the correct value of 27:00:00, or 27 hours.

So once I got the subtotals to work correctly, what did I find, based on my own RFx proposal work data?

  • One of my projects required approximately 20 billable hours of work.
  • Three of the projects required less than 20 billable hours per project.
  • The remaining three required more than 35 billable hours per project.

Obviously my results do not apply to other independent contractors, and certainly do not apply to employees who are involved much more intimately in a company’s proposal process. So don’t try to extrapolate my numbers and make the declaration “Studies show that nearly half of all RFx responses require over 35 hours of work per person.”

But this data gave me the information that I needed in my discussions with the second firm.

But this exercise raised another question that I should have answered long ago.

Quantifying total proposal work

As Bredemarket, I have not only worked on RFx responses, but have also worked on sole source responses, and on proposal templates.

But I’ve never compiled a definitive overview of all of my proposal work.

Now I’ve certainly discussed bits of my proposal work here and there. You’ve probably already seen the testimonial that I received from a client regarding my proposal template work:

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

But after the proposal hours exercise above, I decided that it was time to quantify this work.

  • How many competitive proposals have I worked on for clients?
  • How many sole source responses have I worked on for clients?
  • How many of these “extremely simple to use” (my client’s words, not mine) templates have I assembled?

Obviously I had all the data; I just had to pull it together.

So I went to Toggl Track (and to other sources) to quantify my total proposal work, searching for billable (and in the cases of Bredemarket’s own proposals, nonbillable) work and identifying all the projects.

Sharing the quantification

Once that was done, I was able to create a neat handy dandy summary.

Which I put into a brochure.

Which I then added to various pages on the Bredemarket website.

September 10, 2021 iterative revision to https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-proposal-services/.

And, of course, I’ll share the information in this blog post when I publish it and distribute it via my social media outlets-not forgetting Instagram, of course. (Did you notice that my statistical graphic is square? Now you know why.)

And I need to share this information in one more place, but that’s a topic for another time.

Can my proposal services help you?

If my experience (now with better quantification!) can help you with your proposal work, then please contact me.

Three reasons why Bredemarket doesn’t need its own Instagram account (and why I created one anyway)

In the course of doing business, Bredemarket has created some dedicated social media accounts, while also using some existing social media accounts of my own.

  • As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, Bredemarket has its own dedicated LinkedIn page, LinkedIn showcase pages (including my new one), Facebook page, and Facebook groups.
  • Bredemarket doesn’t have its own Twitter account, but Bredemarket content is posted on the “professional” of my two Twitter accounts, @jebredcal.
  • Finally, as of yesterday Bredemarket didn’t have its own Instagram account.

Why didn’t Bredemarket have its own Instagram account? For three reasons:

  1. Reason 1: Bredemarket is a TEXT creation service, and that doesn’t lend itself to Instagram’s image-heavy environment. Let’s face it: if I were to take a picture of myself typing away at my computer right now, it would be VERY boring.
  2. Reason 2: Instagram is primarily an environment for influencers, viral content, and the like. Bredemarket wouldn’t really create content that fits into that environment.
  3. Reason 3: If I were to create an Instagram account, that would be just one more social media mouth to feed. And I as well as anyone else know that if you don’t feed the content beast, people will think you no longer exist.

Well, that sounds like three pretty convincing reasons NOT to start a Bredemarket Instagram account.

So why did I do it?

Because I looked at those three reasons right now, and decided that I was wrong on all three of them.

Start with reason 1, content creation. As time has gone on, I have created more and more visual content, including images of my (finally received) business card, brochure images with QR codes, and pictures of locations relevant to Bredemarket’s markets.

True, but as reason 2 asks, would this content fit into Instagram’s environment? Actually it would if used properly. After all, while perhaps the influencers receive the primary attention on Instagram, many of my people are there too, including biometrics companies, technologists, and (becoming more important) local businesses and organizations. My personal account has been interacting more and more with these accounts.

Finally, reason 3 and the whole “feed the beast” issue. Well, I’m already feeding the beast, because I’ve been creating Bredemarket posts on my personal Instagram account @johnebredehoft. So many Bredemarket posts, in fact, that I started a highlights category on my personal Instagram account for Bredemarket content. I’ve highlighted blog posts, podcasts, a video, Instagram posts from others, and related content.

Interestingly enough, one of the stories in that highlights category reminded me of something I had forgotten about. Obviously I’ve been weighing the question of a Bredemarket Instagram account for some time. About twenty weeks ago, I asked my personal Instagram account followers if I should create a separate Bredemarket account, and 60% of them said yes.

Of course, I’ve concentrated more on local business in the last twenty weeks (although I’m still addressing identity/biometrics/secure documents), so the case to market on Instagram is even more compelling.

So look for @bredemarket on Instagram. I’m just getting started.

(But I still wish that links in Instagram posts were clickable…)

A view of 9/11 from the 9/11 Commission’s border counsel

There are different ways to look at 9/11. I’m familiar with the reconstructions of Vice President Cheney’s actions in Washington on that day, and of President Bush as he flew around the country on that day (the only plane in the sky).

But what about the activities of the hijackers on that day, and in the months preceding that day?

All of this was examined by the 9/11 Commission. As a result of its investigation, this body made significant recommendations, some of which have only taken nearly two decades to implement, assuming they ARE implemented as (re) scheduled.

By Cleanup by Andrew_pmk (talk · contribs); straightened and cropped by Holek (talk · contribs) – http://www.9-11commission.gov/press/911report_cover_HIGHRES.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2376314

Janice Kephart was border counsel to the 9/11 Commission, and has been involved in homeland security ever since that time. She is currently CEO and Owner of Identity Strategy Partners.

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Kephart has released a documentary. As she explains, the documentary contains a wealth of information from the 9/11 Commission’s investigation of the hijackers, much of which was never officially released. Her hope:

If we are never to forget, we must educate. That is the purpose of this documentary. It is history, it is legacy, from the person who knows the details of the hijacker’s border story and has continued to live it for the past 20 years. I hope it resonates and educates.

When listening to Kephart’s documentary, keep in mind how much our world has changed since 9/11. Yes, you went through a security screening before you boarded a plane, but it was nothing like the security screenings that we’ve gotten used to in the last 20 years. Before 9/11, you could walk all the way up to the gate to send off departing passengers or greet arriving ones. And identity documents were not usually cross-checked against biometric databases to make sure that applicants were telling the truth.

I personally was not as familiar with the stories of the hijackers as I was with the stories of Bush and Cheney. The documentary provides a wealth of detail on the hijackers. (Helpful hint: don’t be afraid to pause the video when necessary. There’s a lot of visual information to absorb.)

Toward the end of the documentary, Kephart concentrates on Mohamed Atta’s return to the U.S. in January 2001, when his tourist visa had already expired and his student visa application was still pending. Kephart notes that Atta shouldn’t have been allowed back into the country, but that he was let in anyway. The details regarding Atta’s January 2001 entry are discussed in detail in a separate report (see section III.B).

(Incidentally, Atta’s student visa application wasn’t approved until July 2001, and his flight school wasn’t notified until 2002.)

Kephart wonders what might have happened if Mohamed Atta had been denied re-entry into the United States in January 2001 because of the visa irregularities. Since Atta was the ringleader and the driving force behind the attack, would the denial of entry have delayed or even terminated the 9/11 attack plans?

If you want to view the documentary, it is hosted on YouTube.

Shattering my assumptions by using LinkedIn for local marketing

At the same time that Bredemarket helps other firms to market themselves, Bredemarket has to market ITSELF, including social media marketing. And for the past year I’ve subscribed to the following formula:

  • Use LinkedIn for professional marketing to biometric/identity and technology clients.
  • Use Twitter as a supplement to this.
  • Use Facebook as a supplement to this, and also use Facebook as Bredemarket’s sole foray into “general business” marketing.

It sounded like a good formula at the time…but now I’m questioning the assumptions behind it. And I’m hoping that I can prove one of my assumptions wrong.

My initial assumptions about marketing to local businesses

As I write this, Bredemarket has no clients in my hometown of Ontario, California, or in any of the nearby cities. In fact, my closest clients are located in Orange County, where I worked for 25 years.

It’s no secret that I’ve been working to rectify that gap and drum up more local business.

So this was an opportune time for me to encounter Jay Clouse’s September 2021 New Client Challenge. (It’s similar to a challenge Clouse ran in August 2020. Repurposing is good.) Clouse’s first question to all participants asked which market we would be targeting, and in my case the local small business market seemed an obvious choice.

And this dialogue played in my mind…

So when I market to local businesses, I’ll want to do that via relevant Facebook Groups. Obviously I won’t market the local services via LinkedIn or Twitter, because those services are not tailored to local service marketing.

Questioning my assumptions

Then I realized that I was wrong, for two reasons.

  1. First, there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on my local area, just as there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on biometrics. I had already quit a number of the dormant Inland Empire LinkedIn groups, but I was still a member of two such groups and could (tastefully) market there.
  2. If LinkedIn doesn’t provide an opportunity for me to do something, why don’t I tailor my use of LinkedIn and provide myself the opportunity?

Specifically, some of you may recall that I only have two LinkedIn showcase pages, but I have three Facebook groups.

  • “Bredemarket Identity Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • “Bredemarket Technology Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • “Bredemarket General Business Services” is only present on Facebook.

I explained the rationale for the lack of a third LinkedIn showcase page in a nice neat summary:

Using myself as an example, I have segmented my customers into markets: the identity (biometrics / secure documents) specific market (my primary market), the general technology market, and the general business market. I don’t even target the general business market on LinkedIn (I do on Facebook), but I’ve created showcase pages for the other two.

If you consider that “local business services” is a subset of “general business services,” some of you can see where this is going.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

But it took a while for the thought to pound its way into my brain:

Why DON’T you target the (local) general business market on LinkedIn?

I could just create a new showcase page, a process that would only take a few minutes. I wouldn’t even have to create any new artwork, since I could simply repurpose the Facebook general business artwork and use it for a LinkedIn local business showcase page. (Repurposing is good.)

(As an aside, my approach to artwork for Bredemarket’s marketing segments was dictated by LinkedIn Stories. Which is now disappearing. Oh well.)

So anyway, LinkedIn is now the home of Bredemarket Local Firm Services.

Now I just have to populate the showcase page with content (and continue to do so), invite people to follow the new showcase page, and proceed on my plan for world domination, one loft at a time.

Call to action time

And if you’re a small business in the Ontario, California area, here’s some information on the services I can provide to you.

And if you want more detailed information, please visit https://bredemarket.com/local/. (Read to the end.)

And if you want even more detailed information, contact me.

So which assumption will I shatter next?

I’d like to prove THIS assumption wrong:

(Still waiting for that $10,000 per hour client.)

A tool is not a way of…bad things

For years I’ve uttered the phrase “a tool is not a way of life,” and a recent statement from Rank One Computing reminded me of this fact. In a piece on the ethical use of facial recognition, Rank One Computing stated the following in passing:

[Rank One Computing] is taking a proactive stand to communicate that public concerns should focus on applications and policies rather than the technology itself.

I emphatically believe that all technologies are neutral. They can be used for good, or they can be used for…bad things.

And yes, facial recognition has been misused.

It is an undeniable fact that a police jurisdiction used a computerized facial recognition result as a justifiable reason for arrest, rather than as an investigative lead that would need to be supported by additional evidence.

But that incident, or ten incidents, or one hundred incidents, does NOT mean that ALL uses of facial recognition should be demonized, or even that SELECTED uses of facial recognition should be demonized (Amazon bad; Apple good).

Policies are not foolproof

Now I will grant that establishment of a policy or procedure does NOT necessarily mean that people will always act in compliance with that policy/procedure.

As an example, one accepted practice in lineup generation is double-blind lineup generation, in which you have different people involved in different parts of the lineup generation and witness viewing process. For example, these two roles can be distinct:

  • A person who knows who the arrested individual is creates the lineup (with additional safeguards to ensure that the created lineup isn’t biased).
  • A second person who DOESN’T know who the arrested individual is shows the lineup to the witness and records what the witness says and doesn’t say when viewing the lineup. The reason for the presence of a separate person is to ensure that the person administering the lineup doesn’t provide subconscious (or conscious) hints as to who the “right” person would be.

Now you can set up your police department’s procedures to require this, and your software vendor could design its software to support this. But that doesn’t prevent a corrupt Chief of Police from saying, “Jane, I want you to create the lineup AND show it to the witness. And make sure the witness chooses the RIGHT guy!”

But policy-based facial recognition is better than no facial recognition at all

But…if I may temporarily allow myself to run a tired cliché into the ground, that doesn’t mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater.

From 1512. Old clichés are old. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=689179

Rather than banning facial recognition, we should concentrate on defining ethical uses.

And there’s one more thing to consider. If you ban computerized facial recognition, how are you going to identify people? As I’ve noted elsewhere, witness (mis)identification is rampant with biases that make even the bottom-tier facial recognition algorithms seem accurate.