By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning,
and the music is The Best Of The Beach Boys 1970 – 1986: The Brother Years
by The Beach Boys, gems from such grossly underrated post-surf music albums as Holland,
Sunflower and the ironically-titled Surf’s Up:
Qwest isn’t giving up on its quest for MCI. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that MCI could be facing shareholder dissent over its acceptance of an $8.5 billion sale to Verizon. A shareholder vote could as soon as late June or early July.
Qwest withdrew a $9.9 billion offer last week, but was in
talks with MCI shareholders and “believed there could be enough support to vote
down Verizon’s bid,” the paper said, citing people close to the situation.
MCI, the second-largest U.S. long-distance carrier, said at the time it had accepted Verizon’s lower price because its large business customers had threatened to defect if it was sold to Qwest.
Qwest had not decided whether to re-enter the bidding, the article said. Uh…huh. In related news First Coffee© has learned New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has not decided whether to enter the presidential nomination race in 2008, either.
At least two of MCI’s biggest investors said they have
called Qwest urging the company to reconsider its withdrawal. Bruce Berkowitz,
whose Fairholme Capital owns about 11 million shares of MCI, is urging Qwest to
round up MCI investors and get them to commit to Qwest’s bid – which of course,
doesn’t exist, right? Riiiiight.
Italian telephony provider Teleunit S.p.A. has announced a significant investment in IP, heralding a strategic shift to penetrate the residential market.
Heretofore concerned primarily with SMEs, Teleunit S.p.A. is promising “fully featured telephony lines, including analog and ISDN interfaces for phone, fax & modem calls, to both the business and residential sectors throughout Italy” using Israeli system provider Lead’s TelcoSuite access system.
Francesco Cimica, Teleunit’s CEO said their integrated
IP-Telephony access services will pilot “within days” and swing into the full
commercial phase “within a few months.”
Northern Italy-based Teleunit is gunning hard to become a nationwide telephony service provider, having recently launched a major expansion of Wireless Local Loop (the connection between a home or business and the local switching office) in the Toscana region to offer SMEs carrier-grade services such as traditional voice, Voice over Internet Protocol and data.
Teleunit’s one of the few companies in Europe to have use of a WLL license, and is beating the pants off the centrally-controlled state utility Telecom Italia, mainly because Teleunit comes from northern Italy, the Veneto, “the part of Italy that goes to work in the morning.” A year ago Teleunit became the first Italian company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.
First Coffee© remembers a recent trip to the Veneto, sitting
in an outdoor café in Verona and seeing a liter carafe of water going for 1.50
euros and a liter carafe of the excellent local wine going for one euro. Would
that all of life’s decisions were so easy.
First Coffee© doesn’t pretend to understand macroeconomic concepts like “the adjusted gross national product,” “Federal Reserve interest rates” or “the new Harry Potter book,” but feels it’s probably good news all around that the is reporting 274,000 jobs in April, much higher than had been expected.
What’s even better, the average price of gas dropped three
cents a gallon and Americans worked more hours in the biggest jump in that stat
since February 1997, and wages, in the technical economic term, “perked up.” So
maybe that ol’ soft patch in the economy ain’t so soft after all.
Charlotte-based NouvEON Technology Partners and Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc. are announcing an alliance which will, they claim, deliver “impartial, analyst-vetted software selection assessments to enterprise IT clients.”
First Coffee© doesn’t see much genuine impartiality in
today’s world, but is willing to be pleasantly surprised.
The idea is that TEC teams up with “impartial” IT professional services providers – know of any? – in order to produce software package selections and IT assessments. Barry Melsom, vice president, global marketing and sales at TEC says NouvEON gets reduced time and costs in meeting clients’ needs out of the deal.
Evidently service providers will apply TEC’s knowledge base of detailed current data about hundreds of software products and vendors, and “impartially” spit out matches between software and a series of statistical stipulations.
There – work “series of statistical stipulations” into
Icon Training is taking a new approach to call center training: Run your own little war.
Philip Chaganis, a retired, decorated British colonel is convinced that the principles which enable soldiers to take spur-of-the-moment decisions while remaining focused on strategic goals could transform the corporate workplace.
According to Chaganis the British military fosters a culture where risk-taking is rewarded and the fear of failure does not discourage young soldiers from using their initiative, whereas call centers, he’s found, foster a “fail to deliver more than once and you’re out” culture, he tells icWales.
“Whenever people are trained to go to war,” Chaganis says, “they are expected to grasp the initiative whenever it presents itself, to not waste the opportunity by wondering what the penalty will be if they get it wrong.”
First Coffee© remembers the incessant yapping in the media about how nothing in the recent Gulf War was going “according to plan.” Col. Chaganis’s view would help explain why it was such a swift, decisive success.
In his presentation to call center managers Chaganis used
the example of Private Johnson Beharry, a 25-year-old army driver whose extreme gallantry, acting on his own initiative, saved the lives of over 30 soldiers in Iraq: “There’s
a young soldier of no rank who… takes charge of the situation and runs his own
Concordia Coffee Systems is announcing the Concordia Self-Serve Espresso Bar, the first turnkey espresso kiosk.
Contained in a stylish cherry cabinet-like kiosk is Concordia’s Acorto Model 2500i automatic espresso machine, which produces lattes and cappuccinos at the touch of a button. The machine grinds whole coffee beans and steams and froths fresh milk.
Mike Pelchar, National Service Manager of Green Mountain
Coffee Roasters and Training Committee member of the Specialty Coffee
Association of America says the kiosk is “a great way to give consumers a real
café experience without incurring high construction costs,” so First Coffee©
wonders where the black-turtlenecked poseur reading the ostentatiously
pretentious newspaper or book will be located.
First Coffee© would like to remind the world at large, preferably with a substantial fine, that it’s “espresso,” not “expresso.”