Sunday, August 19, 2018

Variably Important Person

I just got the VIP treatment.

I was picked up at my home in a limousine, wined and dined for two days, and taken back home. Wow, I must be really special! [My wife says: not so much].

The Mohegan Sun properties, especially in Connecticut and in Atlantic City are indeed AMAZING. But to influence large groups of people to come to their resorts, to come to their hotels and casinos - they need for the "decision makers" to come for a visit. They need to get the VIPs to come on down and check it all out.

A "FAM" visit or familiarization tour is common in the travel business. FAM tours are very important in the travel and in the hospitality industry because if a person of influence, if the "decision makers" like your property and your amenities - it could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of (new) business.

And, if the decision makers LOVE your property and your amenities, it can turn into millions of dollars of repeat, ongoing business.

OK, so done deal! Effective immediately, all members of the now get special, value-added member only pricing at all Mohegan Sun properties! [ They had me at limousine..... ]

But this was not really what sealed the deal for me. It was not the amazing food, the state-of-the-art meeting rooms and conference center. It was not the limousine.

It was - the buses.

During my stay in Atlantic City, I watched the buses arrive. Dozens of buses. From New York City. From Philadelphia. From two to three hours away. People coming in to experience the Casino, and the boardwalk. In many cases, just for the day. In some cases, just for six hours.

These people arriving by bus were treated like VIPs! They were greeted as they arrived, with an entourage. They were welcomed to the property like millionaires, every one of them. It was obvious that many of the people arriving by bus were not "high rollers" but many were indeed rollers! [Many had walkers, and motorized scooters]. And each and every one of them, were greeted and welcomed to the property like they were "whales".

There are 55+ million people living, working and playing in the "New York Megalopolis".

Via the NYDLA, we effect, sway and impact many people of influence. 300+ of the Fortune 1000. The colleges, universities and corporations living, learning, working and playing in the northeast are going to have meetings and events somewhere. Why not host your meetings and events at a Mohegan Sun property? And why not do so with special NYDLA member only - VIP pricing?

So, I am considered to be a VIP by Mohegan Sun. Cool. But I am a Variably Important Person. 

If I left my position with the NYDLA tomorrow, my influence would then become minimal. My ability to direct and channel new business to anyone (or anything) would be dramatically reduced. I am not a big deal (personally). The NYDLA is the big deal, not me.

Every single person arriving by bus was treated like a TRUE VIP. They arrived with a smile, and they left with an even bigger smile. Winners or losers in the casino, all had a wonderful moment in the sun. And they will be back. They will return (by bus) and they will tell their friends. Like me, every single person who arrived by bus is now a "brand ambassador" for Mohegan Sun.

My VIP status is variable. Ah, but the people who arrive by bus every day - their VIP status is for life.

During my tour of the property, the video below was played on the big screen. Yes, I was wined and dined and treated like Frank Sinatra for two days. But it was the fact that Mohegan Sun LIVES the story of Johnny the Bagger that really impressed me. They treat EVERYONE like VIPs.

Yep, Johnny sealed the deal.

Customer Service: Expert Level

Sunday, August 5, 2018

$400 or your (Online) Life!

Do you remember the story (and then the Tom Hanks movie) about Captain Phillips? I remember when I first heard about "Pirates" I thought it was a joke.  Pirates? Like men on tiny boats attacking other people on massive ships? I said to myself, this cannot be true.

Michael Scott Moore spent 977 days held hostage for ransom as the result of pirates. The book covers the true root cause of the modern pirate problem. If there were more decent paying jobs for kids in Somalia, there would be fewer pirates.

It is connected to money, as most things in life usually are. I myself, will not be visiting the Somalia coastline anytime soon. And I do not anticipate that many of the people reading my blog will also not be anywhere near Somalia in the near future.

But many of us are "live" on Facebook. 
And that might be just as dangerous.

Cyber Crime is a plague on any size business. Ransomware. Identify Theft. Only a few years ago, it was only a problem for large corporations, targets of extortion. Pay a ransom, or say good-bye to your data.  Pay a ransom, or you are locked out of your account. Pay a ransom or your entire client and customer file will be compromised.

I am somewhat knowledgeable in the area of Cyber Security. Which makes me a little embarrassed.
Keep reading to see why.

Just this past month the hosted a "Cyber Security Summit" in New York City in partnership with Wells Fargo.

We had 1,206 "CISO" from very large corporations respond to our VIP invitation. Yes, Cyber Security is a big deal in today's world. A chief information security officer (CISO) is the senior-level executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and program to ensure information assets and technologies are protected.

This past week, my personal and business Facebook accounts were attacked. 

But it was not a sophisticated attack that a CISO would defend against. 

It was from an disgruntled employee from Asia who worked for us for a total of 11 days. They simply downloaded from Facebook all of our contacts (business and personal) data and held us ransom. 

I wonder how many of the 800 million Facebook users realize how exposed they are to such a Cyber Crime?

Pay us $400 or we shall take down your accounts.  Pay us $400 or we shall publish disparaging information. Pay us $400 or we shall destroy your reputation and your business. $400? I am insulted!

I mean, it's not Somali Pirate ransom money, but only $400? Come on! I think I need to teach this Filipino Cyber Criminal how to negotiate a ransom. 

But I do understand the low amount. If it is only a few hundred bucks, people might pay the ransom to just put it behind them and move on. 

Well first of all - it pays to have friends at and to also have deep relationships with the top Cyber Security vendors. I am in "the Cyber Security business" so I am a little embarrassed by all of this. It will be interesting to see how this escalates and how long it takes to have this knucklehead and his "gang" arrested. 

If such a ransom attack ever happens to you, your first step is to open a CASE at your local Police Department.  

From there, it will quickly escalate to the Cyber Crime unit at and also the Cyber Crime units at Facebook. Many countries (like the Philippines) take Cyber Crime very seriously. They realize that their Gross National Income (GNI) relies on their Internet Security reputation. 

So, this blog post is now less about ex-staffer Filipino Cyber Criminal Hackers, as it is really about Facebook itself. 

800,000,000 x 1% = 8,000,000 bad actors. Even if you cut that number in half many times, that is still a lot of Pirates! 

My friends are just not that into Facebook anymore. Maybe it was the way Facebook tried tracking us across the web. Or how it got busted for sharing our private information with advertisers. Or how Facebook used their platform applied rules that wound up favoring hate speech by conservative white men over political speech by leftists and people of color. Or how Facebook gave people a free, easy-to-use tool to broadcast anything, including gun violence and sexual assault. Or how it researched our emotions without our consent. Or how it enabled Russia to wage a successful propaganda campaign against the United States. 

I will probably not completely get rid of my personal and business Facebook accounts. 

I do use Facebook from time to time make a post, or to do research. Many of our vendors and sponsors have Facebook business pages. 

But in today's world, using Facebook has become more and more like sailing around the Horn of Africa. It's just not safe.