Another week according to Twitter

Twitter bird cartoon by Hugh MacLeod

On Wednesday my Twitter stream was dominated by the Politics & Technology Forum, and I’ll write more about that later. The other highlights this week:

  1. MYOB continue to flood me with far too much promotional material, even when specifically requested not to. Losers.
  2. People continue to install new software on the very day of its release, discover that it’s still buggy or insecure, and then complain. Do you never learn?
  3. The Aurora Hotel in Surry Hills and the C Bar on the corner of Pitt and Campbell Streets in the Sydney CBD have free Wifi.
  4. The comedians on stage at The Sly Fox Hotel on a Monday night are 300% more bitter & disturbed than I am.
  5. There is no evidence that 17 Massachusetts schoolgirls became pregnant because of a “pregnancy pact”
  6. There is not, but should be, continuous 3G or HSDPA phone coverage on the highway between Sydney and Canberra. In some places there isn’t even GSM!
  7. “The 7 categorises of satedness: Food. Sexual pleasure. Alcohol. Music. Visual appeal. Amphetamines. Blue cheese. Agreed?”
  8. The Concourse Bar at Wynyard Station has Coopers Ale for $4.70 a schooner and a choice of six cocktails for $7 each.
  9. “Backpacking” has descended from “travel world for enrichment” to “global party by indulgent drunken arseholes”. Hence, “gas them”.
  10. Automatic weapons really do solve so many everyday problems.

[Credit: Cartoon Twitter-bird courtesy of Hugh MacLeod. Like all of Hugh’s cartoons published online, it’s free to use.]

MYOB, you’re dumped! Hello NetAccounts

Saasu logoMarc Lehmann, you just scored your business Saasu a new customer because you commented on my gripes about MYOB. We’ve just made the decision to run my business with NetAccounts.

Marc, there was a steady flow of “Gee, wow!” moments as we looked at how NetAccounts might work for us — I’ll come back to that. But what really made the difference was how your company communicates. Especially when compared with MYOB…

  • MYOB only ever communicate with me to ask for money. Once, they were quite aggressive about it.
  • MYOB don’t reply to emails.
  • You have to wade through so much clutter to find what you want on their website.

Imagine MYOB were a person. You’d say something to them, but they’d never respond. Instead, they’d just be talking at you — either asking for money or telling you how good they were. Constantly.

You, on the other hand, joined a conversation about MYOB by talking about your product — but you added another insight and kept the conversation alive. “Well,” I thought, “if they’ve won an award and they’re clueful about blogs, maybe I should look at their product.” So I did.

And while NetAccounts certainly looked capable of doing what we needed — gawd, our accounting needs aren’t rocket science! — it was the quality and sincerity of your communication which persuaded me to take a proper look.

  • Your online demos are voiced by you, not some slick presenterdroid. This is reassuring.
  • Your website won’t win a design award, but there’s no clutter and so far I’ve quickly found everything I’ve looked for.
  • Saasu speaks in simple, direct language. You don’t shout about “Your business will be transformed”, you show me how I use your tool to do everyday things.

Imagine Saasu were a person. They’d be conversational, straightforward, to-the-point. All elements which build trust. All characteristics of someone you’d actually want to be involved with your business.

I’ll certainly have more to say about NetAccounts while I set it up over the weekend. But for now, my office manager Virginia Bridger had this to say after an hour or so poking around:

It’s a program that’s obviously been built knowing that human beings are going to be using it.

Oh, and Marc? I’ve just used your logo without asking first. I’m guessing that you won’t mind, given the context. 😉

Why does MYOB always seem so desperate?

MYOB is an annoying company — literally. They annoy me. I’ve written to them about this — but of course like most companies they never bothered replying.

They’ve already sent letters and faxes and emails about renewing before 30 June. Today they phoned. “I’m at a client’s,” I said, “So I can’t talk now. But yes, we’ve received the faxes and we will be renewing before the end of the month.”

Now at that point I’d expect a polite goodbye. Something like “OK, good. Have a nice day, bye.” But no. Mr MYOB sort of stumbled and asked me if I wanted to pay with my credit card.

“No,” I said with a sense of deja vu. “I’m at a client’s, so I can’t talk now.” And of course I’ll give my credit card number to a complete stranger who called me unexpectedly.

Sheesh. I know, software is a competitive industry, there’s a target to meet etc etc. But please be able to understand simple human communication protocols.

An open letter to MYOB

Today I received a letter talking about upgrading to “the latest version” of the MYOB AccountEdge accounting software — but nowhere did it mention a version number. So I looked on the website under AccountEdge — but once again, nowhere could I find a mention of version numbers.

Since the version number of software is a key piece of data, why is is missing from all the promotional material?

Leaving out the version number was either deliberate or a mistake — logically there’s no other option. If it was a mistake, that’s just incompetence. If it was deliberate, the intention can only be to confuse or mislead — either encouraging people to call and get the hard-sell, or to spend money on upgrades they don’t need — and that’s despicable.

Which is it?

[As an aside, roughly 18 months ago an MYOB salesperson called, trying to convince me to purchase MYOB extended cover. He was extremely aggressive, to the point where I eventually said, “This is now the third time I’m telling you that I’ve already made my decision not to purchase extended cover, I am now angry.” I have become less and less impressed with MYOB over time.]