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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Jan. 19, 2024

It’s a quiet Friday here at the office, as many people decided to work from home today rather than enjoying the snow-covered roads.  We had a 10A Teams call with a vendor in Atlanta who immediately commented on the snow falling outside our office (and behind my back on camera).  When I told her we need more, she quickly decided I was nuts.  Hoping to get some skiing in this weekend but it warms up and ruins everything next week!  And to that end, I do have a ski video posted below, along with info on the SEC’s lack of cybersecurity, personal airbags, cyber liability, and more.  Enjoy.

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Cyber Liability

Back in 2017, Merck was hit with a huge data breach and claimed $1.4B in losses. Six plus years later, they’ve finally reached settlements with their insurance carriers who tried to avoid paying claims using the “act of war” exclusion.  


We don’t sell insurance, but we often get called upon to help our clients fill out underwriting checklists and review compliance guidelines to prove to their carriers that they’re doing all the can to avoid a cyber incident.  We also still see lots of companies who aren’t concerned by cyber threats and don’t see the value in insurance (or proper security measures, for that matter). 


A couple of good reminders from this piece; read the fine print, and confirm with your broker that you have the proper coverages.  And, unlike hurricanes and auto accidents, you can actually do a lot to defeat a cyber attack on your network. 


Progressive Field, where I’ve spent many hours over the last thirty years, is up for more renovations and a new website recently launched, showing all of the planned changes


At the same time, there’s another new venue being built in Los Angeles, this for the NBA Clippers.  I can take or leave the NBA, but when mention was made of a special section where cheering for the other team (or wearing their colors) is grounds for immediate dismissal, I had to check it out. Ownership’s goal is to bring a college student section atmosphere to the NBA, and I love the idea!    


I had a stretch back in 2015 when more than one person suggested I be wrapped in permanent bubble wrap.  It started with a split chin and trip to the ER from a hockey injury.  No sooner had I pulled the stitches out of my chin than I had a little skiing accident.  The surgeon who (mostly) fixed my knee said “the only thing worse would’ve been amputation”.  Then I fell down the steps when I lost my balance on my crutches.  Yes, bubble wrap would’ve been good.  Or maybe a personal airbag.  These things look pretty cool!

Marketing and Customer Service

Marketing and customer service usually sit in different parts of the building, but as these two posts from Seth Godin suggest, great customer service is a great marketing tool.  Ashton’s client satisfaction rate usually hovers around 98.5% for any given year, and that was the case for 2023, as well.  


Of the 1,120 people who took the time to respond to our survey (which is offered any time a help desk ticket has been completed), precisely three (3) had a negative reaction. Add to that the 13 people who had a neutral reaction, and we hit that magic 98.5% number on the nose.


Thanks to Travis (Ashton EVP/COO) for sending me two of Godin’s recent posts, one mentioning the idea that “you’ll pay a lot, but get more than you paid for“, and the 

second using the idea that customer service is a choice.”

SEC Cybersecurity

Over the past few years, the SEC has sanctioned numerous investment firms for not properly securing their networks, and not notifying clients of data breaches. Now, the SEC is under fire for not properly securing the X (Twitter) account, leading to hackers posting misleading information to skew the bitcoin market. Another example of the government pot calling the kettle ‘black’.  

You're Fired

“We’re letting you go.  We just can’t tell you why, because we’re really not sure.”  I heard something about this the other day and didn’t pay any attention because it was another TikTok thing.  Then Nancy sent it to me this morning, so I figured I’d read about it.  A young woman working in sales for a cybersecurity firm posted video of a call on which she was terminated from her job. 


I’m not a fan of TikTok, and definitely don’t understand the need for people to record every moment of their lives for the purpose of sharing with everybody else.  That said, it was pretty comical to hear two people who’d never met this woman before try to explain, without giving any good reason, why she was losing her job.

It makes me think I should’ve recorded the interaction with my boss (fake tears from her) and HR guy (shaking uncontrollably when I was the one losing my job) when KeyBank cut 15% of its marketing department (including me) back in 2008.  

This Week

You probably missed the fact that this past Tuesday was International Hot and Spicy Food Day (since everything needs its own day).  I celebrate that pretty much every day, but one of our engineers was kind enough to remind about this one.  If you get too much heat in your food, you can always go skiing.  The Streif downhill is this weekend, and if that doesn’t cool you off, nothing will.  


And last but not least, the high point of this week came thanks to Tampa Bay Bucs coach Todd Bowles.  He was asked by a clueless reporter for his thoughts on the chances of cold weather for this weekend’s game in Detroit.  In a dome.  (volume up on the video)


Clyde the Donkey’s two year mayoral term (Divide, CO) is coming to an end and new candidates are sought.  If you know anybody who might be interested (dogs, cats, goats, turtles, etc.), you can nominate them here.  

That’s all for this week. With the Browns done (good thing we had the company party last Saturday and I didn’t have to subject myself to that second half), it must almost be baseball season.  Something for all you cold weather-haters to look forward to!  That said, the Browns being done will give many of you an extra three hours in your weekend.  Looks like the weather will be perfect for husband tossing

Have a great weekend.


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