Saturday, December 4, 2010

Communists, Engineers and Social Media (part one)

I have a friend who grew up in Romania during the rule of Communism. As is the case with others I have known who are familiar with life behind the Iron Curtain, he has plenty of stories that amuse and confuse me.

One came to mind the other day.

There was a man in my friend's home town who accused another man of stealing a significant number of potatoes from his field right around harvest time. On the date of his trial, the accused entered the court and when asked to present his case, the man simply said, "I could not have possibly committed this crime. There were no potatoes in the field on the day I supposedly stole them."  

Of course, the accuser knew that there were potatoes in the field on the day the crime was committed. In this agrarian community, everyone (even the judge) knew when fields were harvested. This pathetic line of defense was surely going to land the accused man in jail.

However, the accused produced a copy of the official Communist newspaper for the region which stated that the harvest had been good that year and that the farmers had been efficient and had every potato in the barns two weeks early.

According to this official, state run, news source, the potatoes were in the barns a full week before the crime had supposedly been committed.

Whether it was sloppy reporting or if the government officials had seen some political advantage in exaggerating a story about the good potato harvest, this judge was not going to question the veracity of the local paper or the Communist officials quoted in it.

The man was declared innocent.

What does this have to do with engineers and marketing? I will cover that in my next post

James Snider is a marketing consultant, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James has over 16 years of marketing experience with 7 years working for Fortune 100 companies, 8 years as executive director of a non-profit and, since the summer of 2009, as a strategic business development consultant.

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