Some commentators are suggesting that Ryanair needs lessons in how to deal with the blogosphere. However, I think it's worth noting that this style of communication is not out of character for Ryanair. The company (and its CEO in particular) appears to revel in its bad-boy image. The Economist magazine points out that Ryanair's CEO simply doesn't care if he's called a "loud-mouthed bully". He brashly brushes away any criticism that Ryanair should care about anything related to corporate social responsibility, customer service, environmental responsibility. Ryanair is all about offering cheap flights and maximizing profits. That is a formula that has worked very well for them to date.
Well... We're always advising companies to be sincere in social media. When you're corresponding directly with the groundswell, you can't "fake it". In that respect, I guess Ryanair is walking the walk. Its social media persona appears to be a true reflection of the company's ethos.
Please excuse this impersonal message: It seems to be the most efficient way to inform everyone that I am transferring to the Forrester Research London Research Centre. In London I will continue to work as a member of Forrester's Customer Experience research team, supporting Customer Experience professionals. I will be writing research with a European perspective, while keeping an eye on some Customer Experience trends in Japan.
Regarding my schedule - I'm traveling to London next week to find a place to live and set myself up in Forrester's London office. I'll return to Tokyo briefly in early April. And I'll be in London full time from late April. I apologize for not making an earlier announcement of this move.
I want to thank you for your support since I've been working in Japan. From establishing Forrester's presence in Tokyo to becoming an analyst and helping to introduce personas to Japanese companies, the last eight years have been filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with so many brilliant and inspiring clients and partners in Japan.
It's hard to get customers to pay any attention to an email newsletter. People are busy and their intrays are overflowing. But here's an opening line that grabbed my attention very effectively:
Letter from the Editor: Calling all usability participants
We're not interested in building software that you simply tolerate...or even kinda like. We want to flat-out delight you with tools that help you be awesome at what you do.
That was at the top of an email from TechSmith, a company whose software I've been trying out to capture screen shots when I'm doing reviews of Web sites.
What made me read on? ... Was it the bold, punchy promise? No. My intray is full of bold promises to make me rich, successful, and attractive. I am pretty cynical about such promises. (Besides, I am all those things already .... ahem).
I think I read on because the email got several things right:
The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.
Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.
The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).