The Business Forum

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Letters to the President

For many years I have received letters, emails and thank you notes, and the personal ones of course I have never shared with anyone, until now.  In fact it has always surprised me how so many people with different opinions have been able to unite in The Business Forum - and even stay friends with me when they fervently disagree with something I either say or do.  So to protect the identity of my critics and supporters I will just sign each letter or email with their initials when I put it up in this section. I know who they are and they know who they are, and now they know that I really do take all advice, compliments and criticism quite seriously. 

Responses to my December 5th, 2003 Email
"Letter from the President"

Hi John,

Nicely done... the new URL email format that is. And, I enjoyed your letter. Baan has been absorbed into SSA Global - the 4th largest ERP provider WW.  This should allow some flexibility in the future for us... still is TBD.

Kind regards,

Responses to my November 24th, 2003 Email
"Stop Spam Now"


I've been on your list for a while now, and learn some new things about the world here and there between the invites that I can't ever make (live in the DC area).  I generally support your mission and would one day like to attend a forum.

I'm replying to the email about stopping Spam, the one where you sent a non linked link to Spamarrest (had to search for the little SpamArrest logo on the main bizforum page).  If you want to sell SpamArrest, that's fine, but you're starting to cross into becoming a vendor for commercial affiliates in a way that doesn't really align with your main product i.e. the forums.  This move may be problematic to some of your subscribers, as it's not what they expect from you and haven't really opted in for marketing of this type (not quite spam in a legal sense but close enough for some sensitive souls).

As if that wasn't bad enough in a general sense, SpamArrest SPECIFICALLY has had issues with their marketing strategies. I'll let you read about them, and decide for yourself. Simply enter Spamarrest into your search engine,

Then take 15 minutes to read about the problems with Spamarrest sending unsolicited marketing emails to everyone who completes the test to prove they're humans.

I confirmed this issue on the phone a couple of weeks ago, they're still hiding behind the lame legal excuse that they're in some sort of business relationship with the people who use the service...

I too like to make money but cannot in good faith promote this product until they cease this ridiculous practice. 

Just trying to help,


PS By the way, I lectured about CAPTCHA technology at a SANS conference in San Diego last Spring and specifically mentioned Spamarrest as a good and effective product, which unfortunately practices lame marketing email techniques, so it was actually a non-endorsement for the company.

Solution?  Remove the logo from your site.  Tell Spamarrest you can't support their practices, and would love to work with them if they get better.  Again, this is confirmed as of two weeks ago, you might want to reconfirm with them.  I REALLY doubt they changed.

Let me know how it goes!

My response:

As ever, I learn by making mistakes.  I have followed up on your suggestions and I will drop the link by the end of the week.

Thanks for your help.


Her response:

You're a man of integrity, I really respect that.


Responses to my November 14th, 2003 Email
"Some Extraordinary words by George Carlin"

"An old friend of mine just sent this to me, and I enjoyed it so much I thought that I would forward it on - we all need a little something to contemplate in this fast and crazy world. It is amazing that George Carlin - gross and mouthy comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent ... and so very appropriate post 9-11. 

Hi John: Being a skeptic, but realizing that George Carlin IS very intelligent for all his nonsense, this still didn't match up to me.  So, I went to his website and checked it out.  In some rather unflattering words he says he didn't write the piece.

I still like it, it just isn't his. One of those "best laid plans ... " problems.


It is amazing that George Carlin - "gross and mouthy comedian of the 70's and 80's" - could write something so very eloquent ... Probably because he didn't.  (Just a guess).


Responses to my November 18th, 2003 Email "I am a fool"

End of last week I sent out an email saying: "It is amazing that George Carlin - gross and mouthy comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent ... and so very appropriate post 9-11. So - a Message from George Carlin for your consideration a few days before Thanksgiving."  

Turns out that I just believed the old friend who sent it to me.  I liked it, and so I forwarded it on to my contacts.  I still like the words, however it appears that George Carlin did not write them.  That will teach me to check everything - twice - even when it comes from people I have trusted for years.  

John, so sorry you got burned by an urban legend. I always check such things out at the Urban Legend Reference pages. 

This piece is covered at: where they say, "The true author of the piece is neither George Carlin nor Jeff Dickson, nor is he anonymous. Credit belongs with Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle's Overlake Christian Church. (He retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post). The essay appeared under the title "The Paradox of Our Age" in Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead's 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts."

Note the year: 1995. Makes you think.


Dear John

We featured your piece from anonymous (not George Carlin) in our europa column this week.

IT'S 8.30am on Wednesday (press day for European Voice) and my computer inbox already contains what looks like at least a tonne of emails. It's funny how that rather effeminate extra 'ne' in tonne still grates with one brought up on imperial measurements.

Can one measure emails by the tonne? I don't know. But there's a lot of them. Especially from MEPs (or rather their hard-pressed assistants and spokespeople) who have to work especially hard to make their individual voices heard above the throng during a plenary week in Strasbourg.

There's plenty of reaction to the latest Court of Auditors' report, which, for the ninth year, has failed to give the EU's accounts the all-clear. Does anyone, apart from Marta Andreasen or Chris Heaton-Harris, care anymore? I suppose we should, even though the content of these reports is now as predictable as the rugby world cup. And, oh yes, there's the small matter of George W. Bush's state visit to London and Colin Powell's understated trip to Brussels.

Is it even worth checking the emails? We all know the score by now. Dubya's the bad guy who conned America into believing Saddam Hussein had WMD and was best friends with Osama bin Laden. Colin's the reasonable guy that Europe can do business with.

Then there's the usual array of would-be 'op-ed' pieces from Israeli writers keen to explain why building a wall makes perfect sense, and yet another missive from the Beverly Hills Business Forum, which I haven't quite got round to unsubscribing from.

Why do they think an EU paper is much interested in California? Thank goodness for the delete button. But, hey, wait a second, what's this? 'Some extraordinary words by anonymous' reads the lead item on the aforementioned Business Forum. Lured in by the title, I hit a link which takes me to some, well, extraordinary words. This 'letter from America' is a bit cheesy in parts, so be warned, but it's also jam-packed with observations about life that totally hit the mark.

Read on and see if you agree:  Library Paper


I forwarded this on to my contacts, probably like many of your other contacts, because I really liked the message.  So I too have to learn that lesson.

John, do you know who wrote the piece?  I'd seen this before.


Yes, sadly, we have to check even the good postings.


We used to trust the typeset word in bygone years, now we have transferred that to the cyber words.. Ironic.  Is it the power of the Medium of communication or the power of the word ...such a play


We've all been there before.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  The message is still quite profound.


Don't go there. It is better to be an acknowledged fool who can enjoy life than a paranoid who loses the ability to participate in life.


John, the characteristic of attributing wise sayings to Carlin and other show biz people (Andy Rooney, et al) is amazing. Most all are phony.  These guys live in a self-worship cocoon, like Streisand, and are not to be taken seriously. Don't worry about it.


John, You're right, always double check.  Good advise nonetheless.


No John, you simply trusted a friend you thought worthy. A laudable error, in my book.


The revised piece can be found at:

Some Responses to Novembers' Letter from the President


Thanks for taking the time to compose " Letter from President".  It echoes the thoughts of my family and I completely,  and we frequently discuss it.  You left out one item that irritates us immensely.  Those same TV stations that you mentioned constantly bombard us with left leaning, anti-US, and Socialist rhetoric by giving exposure to types of politicians, news anchors, and others  who  want to destroy this country and the freedoms and capitalistic basis on which it was founded.

Also I want to thank you for forwarding the good suggestions from the Attorney.  I will share those suggestions with my family and business associates.

It has been a very tough year in the IT business, but unlike many other small IT companies, we have survived because we run a very tight ship.  Like many others in business for ourselves, we work 60 to 80 hour work weeks, often at great sacrifice and little monetary reward.  We know you do the same.  So therefore I am taking this opportunity to thank you, not only for these items above, but also for the great work you do and the services you provide.

Best Regards,


Right on John!!!!


Thanks, John. I shared the advice about identity protection with my department. They're all good ideas.


John, John, Dear John:

Pull your head out of the sand, my man.  This is not a matter of numbers [("Let us be honest, it is almost a given that far more innocent Americans will die a violent death in California this year (CA population 34,501,130) than Americans will die violent deaths in Iraq (population 24,683,313")].

These are young soldiers dying for absolutely nothing. There is no al-Queda connection to 9/11, there are no weapons of mass destruction, there is no enriched plutonium. Each of these soldiers is a precious life of promise and fulfillment. Their deaths are not numbers. We are not in medieval times when you cast hoards of faceless, expendable masses against the enemies of royalty.

Let us be honest John, they die for nothing.


Response to the above:


Keep up the good work. People who think this way, "John, John, Dear John:  etc., etc.," have no clue.
I found it interesting that a poll reported last week that 59% of Europeans consider Israel the greatest threat to world peace. Not Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea or Cuba;   Israel!
The US is disliked, world wide for its stance on Israel and now Iraq.  Those who would have us abandon
these efforts,  "because of World Opinion",  are as morally bankrupt as the above stated Europeans.
Saddam was the weapon of mass destruction!
Best Regards,


A Response to our piece on California Wild Fires

As one who almost lost a home in the Old fire, I am dismayed that the message is now focused only upon insurance, etc. and still there are millions of trees dead and dying in our local mountains which is being ignored.  The public "up the hill" still seems to think that we've dodged the bullet and now big brother sees the dead pines and will somehow take the responsibility of all tree removal.  So far I fail to see that happening or even a target plan out there other than it will take about six years, once started.

With arsonists out there who will continue to take advantage of our governmental reactions to another coming disaster prevention must become a plan with a high priority.

Next time the fire will not start at the shrub level... it's gone.  It will start in the villages in the mountains and spread (like wildfire) through the million dead pine trees left.  I've removed my pines and so have a few of my neighbors but hundreds of thousands are dead or dying with no plan of attack coming forth.

A worried Californian.



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