Business

Dear Ms. Bartz, I just finished reading your demoralizing letter regarding recent layoffs at Yahoo over at All Things Digital. Although I’m only a Yahoo user, not an employee, I am a heavy user of your Flickr product — a product that I’ve enjoyed and loved for many years now. As such, I watch how Yahoo is run with keen interest, mostly because I’m worried about how your corporate leadership will affect that site which I love so much. For your first year of your reign at Yahoo you gave yourself a grade of B-, this past year you seemed a little more defensive and gave yourself a grade of simply “pass.” You’ve had the you know what kicked out of you, of course, by most of the tech and financial press over the past few years and have come back swinging yourself in odd ways. Telling Mike...
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Dear Tom: I hope you don’t mind the open, public nature of this letter. I tried to find a way to contact you directly, but your email address seems to be guarded with all of the security of Fort Knox. How do you get that arrangement? I ask, because I think it would make my life easier in corporate America if I, too, could shield myself from any concerns, wants, needs or questions that others might have. That might, in fact, make my workday a whole lot easier. So, if you have thoughts on how I might accomplish that, I’m looking to you for guidance. Tom, I didn’t even know you existed until I began to explore Comcast’s website for ways that I might solve my ongoing Comcast issues. You see, I tried to call today to follow up on something your company committed to communicating with...
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Dear Mr. Chairman: We believe the Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called "quantitative easing") should be reconsidered and discontinued. We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances. The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed's objective of promoting employment. We subscribe to your statement in The Washington Post on November 4 that "the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy's problems on its own." In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus. We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that...
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Dear Mr. Schultz, While I have expressed my doubts about the wisdom of encouraging any potentially controversial conversations while in the time-sensitive position of serving customers, I appreciate that your heart is in the right place. People across the country already engage in conversations about life's many challenges and controversies as they develop relationships with baristas, clerks, barbers and mechanics across multiple interactions as those interactions lead to a greater feeling of familiarity and friendship. Sometimes it leads to greater understanding and/or tolerance of different points of view. Sometimes it leads to lawsuits (ask the owner of Arlene's flowers), but I for one appreciate the role the free market has in bringing people together in a diverse society and...
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Dear Super-gassed up entrepreneur that has millions in the bank, Forgive my naivete when it comes to starting a startup, for I am a fledgling entrepreneur learning to fly. But I challenge you to DO BETTER. Your past success is a golden ticket to Silicon Valley capital -- capital that the likes of us first time CEOs can only dream of. Please use this power more wisely. Please execute on an idea that provides value. The writings of Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Vinod Khosla and countless other gurus of the startup world highlight that the best ideas Pay attention to users and solve their pain points So how is it that you are able to get capital even though you aren't doing this? With your next startup product, please solve a real problem in the world. Do we really need...
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Dear Mr. Campbell, On August 31, Vedomosti, one of Russia's leading newspapers, published an article referring to a special study by IDC entitled "Total cost of ownership of IT infrastructure in Russian schools", which had been ordered by Moscow municipal center of information technology and educational equipment (http://www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/article/244690/idc_sela_za_partu). The article targets the comparison of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of free and non-free software in schools. The conclusions set forward in such a study are of major significance in Russia now, as by the end of the year 2010, all of the 55,000 secondary schools in the country must decide whether to migrate to free software or to purchase Microsoft products and other proprietary software instead....
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Dear Jim at the Oregon Department of Revenue, When I filed my taxes in February last year I just assumed that I would be receiving my refund. When I got a letter that I needed to prove the identity of my five dependent children, I forked over the hundred bucks for birth certificates, without calling you a fucktard like I wanted to because I understood audits happen and am glad to be a citizen of this fine state. When I got the notice that the birth certificates weren’t enough and that our dependents wouldn’t be considered exemptions and we now had a large tax bill, I didn’t send back an envelope full of dog shit because this sort of mix up does happen. I wrote to request an appeal and waited. And waited. And waited. This January you called and assured me it was all a paperwork...
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Dear Job Market, I don’t want to be a designer, a marketer, an illustrator, a brander, a social media consultant, a multi-platform guru, an interface wizard, a writer of copy, a technological assistant, a personal assistant, most any kind of assistant, a data calculator, an aesthetic king, a profit-maximizer, a bottom-line analyzer, a meme generator, a hit tracker, a re-poster, a sponsored blogger, a starred commentator, an online retailer, a viral relayer, a handle, a font or a page. I don’t want to be linked-in, tuned-in, “liked,” incorporated, listed, or programmed. I don’t want to be a brand, a representative, or an ambassador. I don’t want to be your special candidate, your human resource, or a coin in your bank of human capital. I don’t want to be an entrepreneur of myself....
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Dear Targeted Online Advertisers, I hesitate to write this, because honestly, much of what you do for me is still spot-on. Sometimes, when I go to read my ‘recommended’ articles on the Washington Post online and I see a sidebar ad showing the exact model and color Mazda CX-5 I have been salivating over during the last several months, I feel so unconditionally loved and understood that it brings tears to my eyes. In those moments, it still seems as though you know me better than I know myself.

 But lately I’ve noticed a growing disconnect between the types of purchases I’m interested in making, and the ads you’ve been showing me based on the sites I visit, and the key-words you’ve pulled from the text of my personal emails. In short, despite the ample evidence I give you every day...
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Dear Craigslist Sellers of Sofas, Please learn to rotate your photos so they’re right side up. I shouldn’t have to visit the chiropractor after looking at your delightful purple sofa. I would also appreciate it if you could stand back a few feet when you photograph your couch so that I can see more than a part of one arm or a one-foot-wide section of the back. You’re not Annie Leibovitz, I presume (because why would she be in Binghamton trying to sell a sofa?), so a single photo that consists of an artistic close-up of your late grandmother’s “vintage Victorian” couch doesn’t do me any good. If you live in a home that is approximately the width of a tractor-trailer, standing diagonally across and back from the sofa to take the photo might work. When you don’t include a full-sized...
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