Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flying the physically challenged skies

Have just completed a business trip to Japan as a disabled physically challenged passenger. I tore a ligament playing sport on Sunday but wanted to continue with my trip to Japan, figuring that with car connections and wheel-chair assistance at each end it should still be a relatively successful trip.

I am usually a critic of Qantas for lots of things including charging me a fortune for free tickets, being anti-competitive in their route management and screwing up the implementation of their new video system. But I can tell you that they offer fantastic support for a person who can't walk. Wheel chairs appeared at every turn, staff jumped at the chance to help me move from one place to the other or bring me drinks/food and I was whisked through security, immigration, customs and quarantine at a speed so far unrecorded in my years as a air warrior.

The only downside was that due to security concerns my taxi driver at Sydney airport could not help me to the check-in counter and no-one could leave the check-in counter to help me so I had to struggle with crutches and bags from the curb side to the check-in area.

The Japan visit itself was very productive even if I was effectively confined to the hotel. I did have a chance to go out to dinner on Tuesday night with GTA head of Asia Pacific and Webjet Board Member John Guscic. We shared a great Japanese meal and reminisced about Cendant/Travelport re-organisations one through a hundred and one.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Can't ignore the Wotif results

There was no WTF for WTF as they reported a good set of results today. See
Courier Mail (number one Brisbane Newspaper - Wotif's home town)

Two interesting points from this

1. Net profit after tax of AU$16.5mm up 38% year-on-year. That is a great number as above guidance given but both the guidance and the growth is probably the lowest annual growth ever for Wotif. Market was expecting more and the stock price has dropped 3-5%.

2. They are paying a dividend of 1 cent. Investors do not normally turn to Internet stocks for dividend returns - that's what banks and telcos are for. Is only a distribution of $2mm or so. Not sure how to read that - is it just for show, to highlight that Wotif does not need money or maybe they are trying to build story that they should not be treated as an Internet stock and more like "regular" investment, one that can produce an attractive divident yield. Convincing the market that Wotif is "regular" will help with volatitity but not with the multiple on their value.

I have said before that growth out of Australia will be hard for Wotif
, so they are right to try and adjust the market's thinking on their future growth. Congrats to Graeme, Andrew, Robbie and the rest on this result and approach.

More new owners for Travelport

The steps toward a bust-up of Travelport has begun. Blackstone has flipped 14% of Travelport in record time to Technology Crossover Ventures. Superfast flip just days after the acquistion was completed. Could just be part of Blackstone trying to spread its risk, additional reworking of the balance sheet and draw out some value. However Blackstone and TCV are not famous for the long haul investments. They both will be looking for way to turn a $4.3 investment into min $5.5-6bil.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Best and worst business trip cities

Am travelling to Tokyo tonight for work. Spending two days there for a 3 hour meeting which means that I should have time to look around and see a bit of Tokyo. Unfortunately I will not actually have the time off as I have busted my ankle and cannot possibly walk around and see the site. However it led me to think about which were the best and worst cities that I have been stranded in after a business meeting with time to spare.

My top three stranded in cities are:

1. Paris - The key to a stranded city is can you go to one/two places quickly that will keep you entertained and able to see the heart of its culture, food and people. Paris is the clear leader here. Drop yourself in the middle of the Marias or St Germain for two hours and you will be entertained, fed and culturally overloaded with time spare to jump on the train back to Gare du Nord or CDG to head home. At times there are more tourists around you than (cranky) Parisians but that can be managed in short bites. Nothing beats a lazy stroll through St Germain ending up in garden just behind Notre Dame.

2. Amsterdam - it is a beautiful city but most importantly it is relative small and everyone speaks English. You can see a couple of key sites very quickly. If you are stranded for a night, the Dutch are a great party people. The city is flat and closely packed making movement from bar to bar, hotspot to hotspot easy and painless. There are also great art spots- Rijksmuseum - that can easily absorb a few lost hours. Anne Frank House provides a powerful emotional view into the dark side of European history.

3. Ho Chi Minh city - so different to any other city I have been to. Have travelled through crazy, fast growing, traffic mad cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong but Ho Chi Minh is unique. The city itself is not beautiful or magical in the way that the top European destinations are but there are chances to absorb a culture and see a history that I have not found matched anywhere else. For example, the traffic - while crazy - moves like no other city. There is a ballet like quality to the motorbikes. You would swear it is co-ordinated and coreographed. Some how it has moved beyond chaos to a form of understood anarchy. Then there is the history of the city. You can look around and see the French, American and Communist influences. The food is similarly drawn for Asian, European and North American influences unlike any other.

Bottom three are:

1. Kunming China - I spent a few days late last year at the China Travel Mart in Kunming China. Kunming is a 10mm plus people city but has nothing to offer the tourist/quick visitor. It is famous for three things - its tea, tobacco and tragically HIV rates. The International Airport is one of the most painful I have ever had to go through as all flights out to Hong Kong had to be boarded via a long and boring bus ride from the airport.

2. Kuala Lumpur - too busy, too hard to travel around and too many people trying to rip you off. One of my favourite moments was struggling with the heat and humidity - sweating profusely - when I came across a sunglasses shop. I was about to try on a pair when the vendor grabbed them out of my hand "You can't wear them, you are too sweaty" he screamed. "Of course I am it is 35 degrees and 90% humidity". "But, if you sweat" he said pointing to the sunglasses "the colour will come off" indicating the rims.

3. Stockholm - I should have loved Stockholm. The people are nice, the food nice, the drinks...nice, the old city...well...nice, the transport options and the hotel I stayed in was (yes) nice. That was the problem everything was so damn, unrelentingly, frustratingly, mind-numbingly nice. There were no disappointments but similarly nothing that grabbed your eyes, ears and bones and said - "Look at this, isn't it fantastic". Seems unfair to damn a city for being nice but sometimes nice can be painful.

Am disappointed that I will not be able to take up this chance to learn more about Tokyo. Share your top cities in the comment section if you have time.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Peace and quiet returns to the skies - for a little while

Sighs of relief across the business world as it was announced this week that Boeing's Connexion service is to be shut down later in the year. In the pre-connexion days there was a sense of calm and safety about being 30,000ft above the ground - able to do your work, watch a movie, have a drink with a perfect excuse for being cut off from the world and deadlines. Then connexion came along and there was no excuse, no escape, no time out - email was everywhere. The first time I saw the leaflet staring at me from the magazine pouch on a Singapore Airlines flight just before take off I almost ran from the plane screaming, ready to jump on a Garuda flight if necessary to escape.

I am sure the closure of Connexion will not be the end to connectivity in the sky but hopefully there will be a brief window before the launch of the next generation that will allow business travellers to once again have 30,000 reasons why they were not able to check their email.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

OK maybe not an acquisition in Japan for Expedia

Interview with Barney Harford on Expedia's plans for Asia sheds a little more light on what they are thinking about in Japan. He killed off my musings on an acquisition in Japan but indicates a determination to launch in the market with a hotel only offering and then look at expanding into full service. Selling flights online in Japan is extremely hard. On a stand-alone basis you need to connect to more than one GDS to see all of the domestic possibilities - no one has really cracked that yet. For packaging, you have to explain face-to-face the cancellation requirements and other restrictions killing off online packaging sales (assuming my understanding of Japanese tourism law is still up to date). That is before you get into licensing, bonding and fulfilment issues. Hotels are clearly the easy first sell but they too have some issues. Mytrip/Rakuten Travel created the online hotel market in Japan (like Wotif did in Australia, HRS in Germany, Venere in Italy etc). This is good news as the market is proven. The bad news is they did it offering less than 10% commission - I think as low as 6.5-7%. There is no way that Expedia can compete for domestic travel sales using 25% commission.

Barney will know all this - not least of all because before Rakuten bought MyTrip, MyTrip was the provider of Japanese inventory for

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What does Expedia need with $500mm?

So, Expedia wants to raise US$500mm through unsecured notes issue. What do they need with $500mm? Expedia has been profitable every quarter for the last 5 years.

The press release says

"Expedia plans to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which could include the repurchase of common stock, repayment of debt, acquisitions, investments, additions to working capital, capital expenditures and advances to or investments in its units. "

That is a very generic and boring PR comment. It is possible that this is just a balance sheet clean up with Expedia simply under-leveraged. The more interesting possibility is that they have their eye on some acquisitions to make.

For example there is the 50% of eLong they don't own. That's $170mm or so on current prices - likely much more if an acquisition is mooted.

Maybe the new Australian business needs a marketing boost from buying a local player.

The long mooted plans in Japan could also be expensive and invovle an acquisition.

Could they have their eye on someone in Europe? Who's left there...HRS,, Venere...

Or, the craziest idea of all, maybe Blackstone will hope to spin off part of Travelport into Expedia. That would be fun to see.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The cost of free travel

I gave up on efforts to use my family as a test for booking a holiday offline and went back to booking with frequent flyer miles and calling direct to hotels. Was able to find four free tickets on Qantas to my destination in the South Pacific. However as many of you will know free is not free in frequent flyer tickets. You still have to pay the taxes and charges on a ticket. In the old days this was just the costs imposed by governments and airports to make a trip. However in the new world, airlines have been using this bucket of costs as a place to hide operational costs especially the "fuel surcharge". These costs made my free tickets cost AUD$1,150 or just under $300 per head. I even had to pay $200 plus dollars in charges for my three month old daughter who will spend the entire flight sitting on my lap. As I said to the agent - "this is the most expense free ticket I have ever bought".

Qantas has been extraordinarily aggressive in pushing operational costs into the services and taxes bucket. They recently announced an increase in the fuel surcharge to $185 for Europe $145 for the US and for Asia, Pacific and Honolulu $115 (all up from $98). There is no justifiable accounting reason why the operational cost of fuel is put outside of the cost of the ticket. Fuel in an input cost just like staff, catering, technology etc. If an input costs goes up then Qantas should raise the cost of its tickets to compensate. Why does it make a difference where they charge a customer for extra fuel costs? Three reasons - advertising, frequent flyers and agents. It allows Qantas to advertise lower ticket costs they are not true; it makes frequent flyers (like me) pay more free tickets; and it denies commission to travel agents as they do not make commission on the charges part of the ticket. For a return flight to Europe that can mean as much as $25-50 that an agent does not make on a flight.

Qantas has a right to pass on the increased cost of fuel but by hiding it in the fees and charges section and not the ticket costs it is ripping off agents and annoying frequent flyers.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Great data source

Jared Blank at Online Travel Review had a good find - Gives you more than usual on-time and date data about flights. You can actually see a rating chart for each flight number that flies a particular route. Don't get me wrong its not like looking at this site is going to amuse you as much as The Onion or keep you as entertained as Defamer but it will feed the planespotter in you.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good news in Seattle - is that bad news for others

In line with the re-launch of Expedia in Australia, Expedia has announced its recent results and the news is good. Profit up 30%, sending the shares up 13% (though there is still a long way to go to recover from the decline over the last twelve months). This is on the back of better than expected results from both Priceline and Travelocity. Suddenly after a period of bad news from the big guys we are seeing a turn around. During the bad news period, start-ups appeared all over the place receiving funding for niche areas such as group, site comparisons (Kayak keeps raising money) and mashup/airline fare searches. Red Herring even started covering travel regularly again.

Now the bubble talk has started again. GigaOM asks the question - are their too many travel start-ups?

This is also playing out in Australia - though on a smaller scale. Local player Webjet has money to burn and is growing nicely. Local first mover is improving quickly especially its operation of proving a huge success. Local leader Wotif has a mountain of money and huge brand reach. These local players are not yet challenged by the big guys but this is only a matter of time. Zuji has made a few marketing mistakes recently but has made a strong move it changing its branding to be more like its Dallas parent - I am betting on a name change within 12 months. Expedia is finally in Australia with a great looking product. Expedia first launched in Australia in 1997, closing six months later. New staff were appointed again in 2002 but it has taken years to settle the strategy and get the product right.

Watching this mini version of the huge battles in Europe and America play out is going to be great fun to watch.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Spanish Eyes on the Euro market

One of my stories received a link from this great looking blog on the Euro Travel market. I don't speak Spanish but the topics covered look of great interest if there are any of you out there that do.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Expedia live in Australia

Congrats to Arthur and the team at Expedia in Australia. After years of false starts the site is live for flights and looks great. Looking forward to seeing the marketing campaigns.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Buying travel in the new old world

Am working on a family holiday. Is all a bit of a shock - not only do I have to make plans that include a second brand new child (I now have a three month old daughter) but I may have to pay full/normal price for hotels and flights. I have enjoyed industry rates and specials for so long that have forgotten what normal prices a like.

It has also given me a chance to test a few former competitors (and employers) and a few offline channels. Had a great informative experience today exploring booking a family package holiday offline. In a classic Internet generation way I called Qantas Holidays knowing where I wanted to go, the hotel I wanted to stay at and the price/deal that Qantas needed to beat to get my money. I found the relevant Qantas Holiday brochure online, investigated the flight options and then game them a call.

"Welcome to Qantas Holidays, this is Janine, how can I help you"

"Yes, I would like to go to [destination] and stay at [this hotel]"

She collected my basic details on number of people, ages and dates then typed away into Callypso and said "With that size family you will need to have two adjoining rooms".

"But" I said "this hotel doesn't have interconnecting rooms - it only has beach side bungalows - the rooms don't physically connect"

"Oh - you're right, but the system wont let me put two children in one bungalow with you. You'll have to book two".

"The hotels own website says that it can sleep two children in a bungalow with two paying adults" I add.

"That may be right but there is nothing I can do to change the room set up in the system" she blandly replies.

"OK - Thanks but no thanks....." click.

Running Qantas Holidays cannot be cheap for Qantas. They have tech costs that rival most of the larger online retailers, they print brochures by the truck load, put ads every other day in the travel sections of every newspaper sponsor half of the major travel shows on commercial television. Yet when it comes to booking they are as inflexible in their packaging now as they were 15 years ago. Another note to Qantas - no matter what the cost, you will need to upgrade your tech and product process or else very soon, Webjet and Zuji will take away even more of your holiday business with no chance of recovery.

So - Who settled

Worldspan are back in positive net income territory including US$10.5mm settlement

"related to a contractual payment that was received from a certain former online travel agency in final settlement of a dispute"

hmmmm - who's money is this?

Is it anything to do with the Expedia/IAC announcement that they are suing Worldspan seeking a declaratory judgement that Expedia is allowed to use other GDS?

Is it Cendant/Travelport's money - they bought Orbitz and ebookers, both of whom use/used Worldspan and would love to send those bookings through Galileo. However I had not yet heard of a conversion - especially for Orbitz.

How about Travelocity - Lastminute was also a one time Worldspan client. Did they convert Lastminute to Sabre too early. That does not ring a bell in my memory.

Also the comment cryptically refers to
a former online travel agency. Is this a clue or is the word “client” missing at the end of this phrase. If it is a clue I am struggling to think of any now defunct online agencies that used Worldspan or any agencies that used to be online but are now offline.

I think I have been able to build up the readership of this blog to a healthy single digit number. If any of you out there have a suspicion as to who this might be – I would love to hear for you. Post a comment below or send me a tip – anonymity will be respected.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Integration can work - now the results

Priceline is claiming that it is "number one in Europe and number two globally in online hotel room night sales.". Came off the back of 5 million room nights in the quarter. They made some smart buys in Activehotels and Bookings. But as I said before the secret sauce was effective integration. Finding the balance between maintaining the elements that make the acquired businesses successful by not forcing the synergies. A lesson for others.

VCs also like group travel

More buzz around group travel and Groople as they raised a further US$6mm in venture funding. Same partners as their earlier rounds - CEO and fellow Cendant escapee Mike Stacy had disclosed that they were looking for series C funding.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Unbelievable pictures from London

You have all by now heard the news from London (BBC, Skynews, SMH) and the now world famous quote "mass murder on an unimaginable scale". The threat of innocuous looking liquids being able to bring down airplanes is truly fightning

I was also amazed by some of the photos circulating of the chaos at airports with:

Flights cancelled across the board (BBC)

A sea of people at Heathrow (SMH)

All cabin baggage being checked and the limited stock of permissable in cabin items being stored in plastic bags (the Australian)

I find this last one the most chilling. The first two are the "standard" horror at the airport photos. I been there in the midst of Heathrow chaos - first the day after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and second just a few days after Sept 11 (an earie mix of chaos and emptiness at the same time) so can testify that it is even worse on the ground that he photos show. However, it is the final photograph that is the surprise and the most impactful as I haven't seen it before. I find it unnerving to look into the bag of a regular traveler in highly irregular circumstances and learn that the only things safe to take on a plane are your passport, some pills and your wallet. Tells a lot of the story in one image.

Qantas has listed the items banned on board from its flights out of the UK and they include - all liquids such duty-free alcohol, suntan lotion, creams, toothpastes and hair gels as well as books, laptops and of course the carry-on luggage itself.

Unbelievable stuff.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Truss - Beware the bolt of lightning

Transport Minister Warren Truss has outdone himself today in declaring in the Age newspaper

"If (the US Government) are interested in a genuinely open-skies agreement with Australia, then we certainly are,"

As you know one of my top tirades is the effective monopoly of Qantas on the Pacific route. If you are doing a multi-city in one week tour of America for work and need to be home in time for the weekend to function as a parent then Qantas is the only option - and they price themselves accordingly.

Truss told us earlier this year - somehow with a straight face - that there was simply no economic justification for allowing Singapore to flight the route. Clearly a stupid argument. If it were true it would be the first time in history that more flights, more cheaply meant no increase in travel and tourism. Now he has quickly dumped that argument and business model (presumably prepared on the back of a napkin the Qantas Chairman's Lounge in Sydney) and is blaming it on the Americans.

Now I blame the Americans for a lot - Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, this sort of religious wackery, all the Bushes, axing the West Wing and that smirk that John Howard gets when he returns from a trip to the US - but here the blame is squarely with Truss and him falling completely for the Qantas line on the Pacific Route. His stated commitments in the Age to competition on this route and more than just hollow they are an out-and-out lie.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lotsofhotels joins the hotel club

Webjet have announced the anticipated launch of lotsofhotels. I have already commented on the "new" nature of the site and the false starts with URLs but I think a separate brand name is a good move for them so long as it does not distract from improving cross sales and package sales on the webjet site. The main aim of a seller of domestic flights online should be to cross sell as much hotel inventory as possible. A hotel only site can be complementary to this strategy as you can try and pick up those customers that you lost on the flight sale or travel by car etc but it cannot replace this strategy. The big challenge in having a two brand strategy with both selling hotels is to make sure that there is something different in the product strategy. Customers will pick up very quickly - as they did with Expedia and - when it is simply the same inventory and pricing but in two different colours.

David says the site will "initially feature around 22,000 properties before expanding to approximately 60,000". 22,000 is a familiar number - sounds a lot like the HotelClub numbers. That's because it is - the launch version of appears to be a white-label affiliate deal with HotelClub. So while I applaud David on the launch, much like GoStay using needitnow/AOT inventory, he will need to develop his own inventory and ensure a differentiation with Webjet - then the hard job of taking on the big guys (Wotif, and RatesToGo/HotelClub) in marketing. He has the money for it so we have to give them a chance.

UPDATE - confirmation here of the Travelport/HotelClub connection in this deal

UPDATE 2 - thanks to Ciprian who points out that there is also inventory from HotelClub's FlairviewTravel stable-mate RatesToGo

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Qantas paints itself into an anti-competitive corner

Seems like Qantas' stance on the Pacific route is coming back to haunt. United is working in the background to block Jetstar's access to Hawaii - the Australian reports. You will know my view on the anti-competitive outrage that is the Pacific route. I look forward to seeing the triple speak political back-flipping that will be needed from the pretend pro-biz, pro-consumer Australian government as it finds a way to allow Jetstar to get more of the route while Singapore and Emirates stay locked out.

Supply deals will help Bezurk

Bezurk have announced a supplier deal with KLM. Good to see additional supply deals for Bezurk. They need to achieve a balance between focus on distribution and focus on supply. In my view it is not a chicken and egg debate - which one should come first - because for comparative shopping sites, supply has to come first. The KLM deal wont mean much in actual terms for AU customers as KLM pulled out years ago but will be good for Bezurk's Asian strategy - especially for the credibility it will give in discussions with other supply sources. Congrats Craig and Martin.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Zuji launches surprise new brand logo that ...looks alot like Travelocity

Zuji have launched their new brand/logo experience and it is a mirror of the Travelocity logo. Not surprising and I think the right move. There is a global effect from branding that all large ecommerce and media sites enjoy that Zuji can take advantage of. You could even start a long odds bet that Zuji will change its name - at least in AU and NZ - where there is no actual meaning (Zuji is a Mandarin word) and no real brand equity.

What is a little weird is that as of the time/date of this post the site has not changed over to the new logo. This is despite announcements in Australian trade press including a quote from local GM Pete Smith. Zuji marketing needs to get these things right.

Also announced the long overdue move into the Sabre/Travelocity office in North Sydney from the nice but expensive digs behind the QVB in Sydney.

Also some mention here (Travelweekly) of a plan for Zuji to launch offline kiosks in AU. Not sure what that will look like or why they would do that. There is still so much for the main online full service players Webjet, and Zuji to do to gain domestic air market share from the airline direct sites. This is not the time to distract yourself from that game with offline asset management and open up a new front battling the offline/shop giants like Flight Centre and Harvey World Travel on their home turf - the high street.

Friday, August 04, 2006

(Some) good news in Dallas

It has been tough times for the big three online travel bodies. Expedia’s stock is down 43% over the last 12 months with poor analyst reports not helping matters. Orbtiz is caught up in the constant re-orgs, staff departures, integration horror and spin-offs of Cendant. Travelocity has also been hurting. Now there seems to be some good news for Travelocity coming out of bad news for Sabre. Results out today show that Sabre’s net profit dropped 23% in the second quarter however sales were up 17% “with most of the gains coming from a 63% jump in sales at its Travelocity”

Hopefully good news for the boys and girls of Dallas is indicative of market improvements that the companies of Seattle and Chicago will enjoy. Seattle will need good news as its Chairman was delivering really bad news for ex-parent group IAC.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wotif to lead that right?

Canberra Times is more renowned for breaking news about which restaurant is lunch spot of the moment for politicians or which minor party nobody was found drunk at the Ranch in Manuka but it seems they are also getting into ecommerce and online travel reporting with a brief but interesting interview with Wotif's Graeme Wood. Not surprisingly Graeme confirms that he has no plans to expand beyond hotels. They have been consistent with this line for as long as they have been in business. What was interesting and surprising is this comment "Wotif will use funds generated by its floatation to swallow up other companies". Have not heard before any rumour or commentary that Wotif might go on the acquisition trail. Had expected them to focus their new found float wealth on marketing and product expansion. There are plenty of cheap interesting targets for them in the local market (travelmate/needitnow combo) but more likely this is the way they plan to crack the Asian market. The pickings in Asia for acqusition are pretty slim. Cendant/Travelport (with help from me) already picked up the best in Asia-hotels and Flairview (HotelClub/RatesToGo). Rakuten already bought mytrip. Leaves some smaller players like in Singapore and HotelThailand and Asiarooms in Thailand - but there are serious issues with each of these. I am looking forward to watching this unfold. Strange that I have to now add the Canberra Times to my watch list.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Expedia and Sabre finally join forces

It has been a long time coming. In 2004 Sabre and Expedia signed a deal for Expedia to send some bookings Sabre's way instead of just giving its GDS love to Worldspan. We have waited patiently for signs that the deal might actually go somewhere and today it finally did. Expedia announced "the activation of its long term partnership with Sabre". I was hoping that there would be a messy litigation to entertain us all and heighten the fighting between the Dallas and Seattle rivals. Instead it seems that two and a bit years of waiting are over.

I also love this piece of PR from Sabre that is simply headed "Sabre Signs Deal with Airline" . The article is actually about a content deal with Alaskan but I love the generic nature of the headline. Not sure if it is deliberate but highlights how bored we all are of the constant round of press releases from GDS about signing deals with airlines. Airline content is what they do it should not be announced as something special. It is like Coca-Cola putting a press release like "Coke signs deal to buy a lot of sugar", Qantas announcing "Hey - we flew some people to London" or George Bush pronouncing "I blew something up and chopped something down". Guys - send out a note when something interesting happens like the CEO saying "my products are ok, or at least as good as the other guy"