Have you ever wanted to write a personal letter to a senior executive of a major corporation, perhaps with a comment or two about a product or service? It isn’t all that easy. With e-mail as our dominant way to write letters, try looking up an address connected with a name on the ‘contact us’ link on any major corporate website. You won’t find much. Sometimes one has to be diligent just to find the ‘contact us’ link.
Oh well, what about an old fashioned postal letter? All you need is a name, address and stamp. That may not be all that easy either. Corporate websites are full of everything but names of senior executives. It’s not that they’re secret. If you know how to do it you can ferret out everything you need, just not on their websites.
In my previous post I mumbled on about boundaries and barriers. These are barriers. The information is not there because they do not want to hear from you, whether for good or ill, unless you have been authorized to enter through the gates and into the fortress. That really gets under my skin, but I do have a certain grudging sympathy for them. It’s a sympathy generated by the public comments section at the end of all Yahoo News articles. There are some thoughtful comments, but the majority seem to be rude, contemptuous, ignorant and juvenile. And those are the ones not screened out for crudeness of language by the censors. Who would want to be inundated by thousands of e-mails from them?
What got me started on this was Shell Oil. Not only have they publicly tut-tutted BP before congress, but they have begun airing television ads touting themselves as the good oil company. That just flies in the face of their own performance in places such as western Africa. So I thought I might pop a note to their CEO, or some other senior executive, suggesting a little more humility and a little less hubris. I have no illusions about how much influence a retired Episcopal priest from Walla Walla might have, but the idea of just popping a note to a person whose name and address are easily available is out of the question.
I do pop a note to Mr. Obama on occasion. His name and address I have. It’s on the White House website. No doubt you have noticed how my well reasoned thoughts have influenced him.