IBM, is this good customer service? NO!


I recently posted about my hard disk dying.

The IBM technician came out today. He brought the wrong hard disk – a 60Gb model rather than the 40Gb I had. He wouldn't let us have the larger drive, he even refused to even try the larger hard disk in my notebook to confirm that the problem is the hard disk (there is some speculation that it could also be the motherboard). He'll be back again tomorrow with the right hard disk. Is this good service or even good business sense?

  • The IBM support centre have the records for my notebook and the technician should have had the right drive.
  • The difference in street price on these drives is only AU$35. I suspect that this is much less than IBM's cost in getting the technician to make a return visit.
  • Consider the lost opportunity to create good will by providing the upgrade for free. Or even in offering me the opportunity to pay the price difference.
  • Consider the ill will created by yet another day without my notebook. And the extra ill will that will have been created if we find out tomorrow that its not the hard disk (when we should have determined that today).

Is anybody at IBM listening? Is this good service or even good business sense? NO!


[Update 1/June: IBM came today with the right hard drive. It turned out to be a problem with the main board after all. We could should have found that out yesterday and had the notebook fixed today but now I won't be getting my notebook working until Monday at the earliest.]

[Update 6/June: IBM tech fixed the problem yesterday by replacing the memory and the CPU. So it took – new HHD – new mainboard – new memory – new CPU. First time I've ever been thankful to have an extended on-site warranty.]


Knowledge and Information Sharing Behaviours

Shawn at Anecdote posted a list of knowledge behaviours. Jack Vinson of Knowledge Jolt with Jack followed up with some additional behaviours aligned with the individual.

I already had the following list (developed for a professional services company) of what I have been calling information sharing behaviours.


  • participate in knowledge sharing activities
  • develop resources as directed
  • proactively find and use resources

Senior Consultants

  • participate in knowledge sharing activities
  • work with associate directors to identify and develop best resources
  • proactively find and use resources

Associate Directors

  • lead and participate in knowledge sharing activities
  • lead idenfitication and development of best resources
  • promote resource usage


  • promote, lead and participate in knowledge sharing activities
  • assure use of tools and processes
  • enhance connections between disciplines
  • sponsor identification and development of best resources

List of activities that demonstrate required behaviours

  • Submitting an item to the "significant projects" list
  • Attending a knowledge-network meeting
  • Updating the Intranet
  • Submitting a document to a shared drive
  • Participating in an After Assignment Review
  • Updating our property database
  • Giving a presentation at a team meeting
  • Notifying team of a useful new resource (such as a dataset)
  • Maintaining project history database
  • Maintaining your CV
  • Providing new material for tenders and submissions folder

A few of these are, perhaps, more knowledge than information related but I think it is time for me to create another list that takes in Shawn's and Jack's insights.

Do you have a backup?

About an hour ago my hard disk died. Knowing the perils of technology I have a fairly recent back up of all my content. I know it is going to take a while to get my applications and configuration back the way I like them but that is managable. Apart from losing a couple of days work I feel like I’ve got off lightly.

Do you have a current, tested backup?

You never know what might happen if you show a little kindness

Fifteen year old step daughter of a friend of mine was waiting for her singing lesson yesterday. She noticed a lady setting up tables and chairs nearby, offered to help, and did. “You wouldn’t want a part time job, would you?”, the lady asked… Apparently they have functions every weekend nad sometimes during the week.

It just goes to show how showing a little kindness can provide unexpected benefits.

A story of a failed portal

I've heard this story from too many Telstra employess, ex-colleagues, to hold back on it now… It's just a story and so perhaps not fully representative of the truth. But is seems to be a great example of the misapplication of technology to knowledge management.

There is minor variation but the mian elements of the story proceed as follows:

  • Ted Pretty, head of uber geeks at Testra visits Infosys in India, sees their knowledge portal and says "I want one". (As an asside, this is in 2002 while I am still in Telstra and, as Principal Architect for knowledge management, I get to say no – this is doomed to failure. Perhaps saying no is one reason I left the organisation shortly after.)
  • After much angst and investment the Telstra "K-portal" is created, as a pilot. Ted Pretty is asked not to publicise it yet.
  • Ted Pretty gets up in fron of the entire Telstra technology group (TPIPS) and talks about the portal and says that the portal is open for business and that anyone who contribues will get $100 per contribution.
  • Needless to say that the contributions come and the pilot server crashes.
  • I know people who made money out of contributions.
  • But was it ever used? That's a lot less certain. Comments I have heard include that the contributions were "of very low quality" or to even "full of crap".
  • Later, Ted leaves the organisation, for reasons totally separate from the K-portal and, just weeks after the new person is appointed, the K-portal is shut down. The content is deleted.

What lessons could Telstra learn from this?

We’ll miss you Euan

So Euan has had enough of act-km's discussion list moderation policies. I understand his points and share some of his perspective. However, I know that the people who run act-km are doing a good job in difficult circumstances. It's difficult because the group has such a wide variety and levels of interest and expertise (all somehow vaguely related to broad church that is KM) the that one set of 'rules' does not suit all.

Computer simulations of social decision making

If computers could create a society, what kind of world would they make? Thanks to the work of an ambitious project that adds a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘computer society’, in which millions of software agents will potentially evolve their own culture, we could be about to find out.

By the time it has run its course in August 2007, NEW TIES will have provided food for thought in several fields, and perhaps taken us a step closer to the days Eiben anticipates, when politicians will be able to run simulations on computers to test scenarios (for new tax laws, for example) before carrying them out in real life. “Simulators now allow us to optimise car engines or train timetables,” says Eiben. “But why shouldn’t they help us optimise social decision-making?”

Intriging possibilities from Searching for the soul in the machine at

New blog for the Melbourne KMLF

I'm a committee member of the Melbourne Knowledge Management Leadership Forum which is a local (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) knowledge management networking group.

Shawn Callahan, Luke Naismith, Keith De La Rue, Frank Connelly and I (collectively known as the KMLF Committee) met for lunch yesterday and during the discussion on what shall we do for KMLF in the second half of the year we decided to create a new blog.

The purpose of the blog is to keep members up to date on KMLF activities, provide a window into the work of the KMLF committee and provide you with news about KM happenings in and around Melbourne. We will also use this site to publisize our upcoming events.

More about the KMLF. 

Example of wiki use

Some pages are worth republishing, and this is done by taking the page name and push it through a simple PHP script I’ve got that fetches the page content through web services and displays them on our various other webs. Over time this will probably run the whole website, but currently there’s an assorted pages done this way, and I’me working on making all news / newsletters done this way, repurposing bits of news. (Our Confluence supports various blogging paradigms, and creating and reusing newsfeeds from pages/ Wiki blogs is easy)

ShelterIt – My digital think-tank: Wiki as a KM and PM tool

Via Knowledge Jolt with Jack

Very interesting and sophisticated use of a wiki as a platform.