"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

2017 Business Blunder Awards…..

In a year that saw much change, scandal, and chaos around the globe, M5T takes its annual look back at some of the top business blunders of the past year.  As you ponder the dawn of a new year this morning whilst sipping your steamed coffee bean of choice, here are some of your scribe’s top picks for the absurd, the incredulous, and farcical from 2017.  And the winners are…..

1.  "Terrible Tweet."

Following the race in April, Adidas tweeted, “Congrats you survived the Boston Marathon.”  Social media quickly responded with how inappropriate and insensitive the tweet was given the bombings and deaths in 2013.  Adidas quickly took the tweet down with a sincere apology, but it makes one wonder who in the social media department at the company could have let that slip by.

2.  "Still Hot Stuff."

For the second year in a row, Samsung makes the M5T Business Blunder awards list.  You might recall the exploding batteries of the Samsung 7 phone in 2016.  Adding further insult to PR injury, in February of 2017, the factory that produced the exploding Samsung batteries, caught fire and burned to the ground. You can’t make this stuff up.

3.  "Is There A Doctor On Board?"

Bringing new meaning to the physiological reaction of “fight or flight” as well as taking the “red eye”, a top contender in this year’s awards goes to United Airlines.  We all repeatedly played the viral video of Dr. David Dao having his nose broken and front teeth being knocked out as he was dragged from his airplane seat that he refused to give up.   The carnage didn’t stop there as United CEO Oscar Munoz took three tries at an appropriate apology, finally calling the incident a “truly horrific event”, and “a humbling learning experience”…for himself!  The airline settled out of court with Dr. Dao, who may or may not be retired on a number of undisclosed private islands he recently purchased in the Indonesian seas.

4.  "I Don't Know At This Stage."

Equifax announced, in September, the discovery of a massive data breach that happened in July of 2017.  Over 145 million people had their names, addresses, and social security numbers left hanging out in the open to nefarious individuals.  A blunder of epic proportions in this day and age, and inexcusable for a company that holds such sensitive data.  In November, Equifax CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr was being grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill who wanted to know how this happened.  Lawmakers asked Barros if the Atlanta based company had finally encrypted its data after the breach.   And Barros’ response? “I don’t know at this stage.” Did I mention you can’t make this stuff up?  In related news, Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologized to the same panel for two data breaches suffered by the tech giant, blaming one of them on the Russians.

5.  "Make Mine A Double."

In May of last year, Bacardi announced the recall of 6,000 bottles of Bombay Sapphire Gin from Canadian shelves.  And the issue? According to Canadian health authorities, the bottles in question had an alcohol content of 70%.  It should have been 44%.  Oh, the horror!!!  According to Bacardi, “an isolated consumer complaint” prompted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to conduct a thorough investigation.  Canadians were warned by the agency “to throw out the bottles or return them for a refund”.  No word on the whereabouts of the person who filed the “isolated complaint”.  Bacardi issued a sincere Canadian apology and is still waiting for bottles to be returned.


And on that note, we have another year behind us, and a New Year in front of us.   Thank you for taking time out of your Mondays to read M5T.  Your feedback is always humbling to me.  Here’s to a year of keeping your blunders to a minimum, with blessing, health, and prosperity for you all!

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.  

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business.  He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe, and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive. 

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com  and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook.  Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine.  His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com .