Blake Dowling, Author at Florida Politics

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

Blake Dowling: Elections are here. Who has class — and who doesn’t

Elections are upon us. Arguments are bound to spring up, especially in our highly charged 2018 world of politics.

We are presented with a good opportunity to see who has class — and who doesn’t.

The worst (in my opinion) are negative ads. It reminds me of an old quote about college football recruiting: You can either sell your school (and the program) or you can slam the opposition, not talking about how good you are, but how awful someone else is.

You see it all over, in fraternity-sorority rushing or in business. I would always rather see someone take the “we are the best” approach, versus the tactic of “someone else is a crook/awful, etc.”

Despite what I think some coaches say negative recruiting works. Sounds like old Jimbo might have engaged in the practice.

Consider this quote: “Recruiting is recruiting. People say and do things that sometimes they wish they probably didn’t do when it’s over with. That always happens.” — former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher.

So, to that end, I suppose you could make the argument that negative ads are effective.

Why don’t we check our good friends in the world of science? What do they think?

Donald Green, a political-science professor at Columbia (via Scientific American) says the results are inconclusive: “People were no less likely to turn out to the polls or to decide against voting for a candidate who was attacked in the ad.”

So much for science. Despite no real facts, the battle of the negative ads continued. You can read the full article here.

I can tell you one ad that will make you want to run for the storm shelter. Oh man, I could only watch a couple of seconds before pressing pause and looking for some wine.

This is from 2017. Dan Helmer versus Barbara Comstock for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. Dan is a veteran (and I appreciate his service to our country), but if he could have discussed that only; instead, he produced this Top Gun-based rodeo of awfulness:

For the record, Dan lost. The Helmer Zone requested a flyby, but the pattern was full (as the movie says).

YEE HAH! Great Balls of Fire!

Back to Florida, as all eyes in our nation are looking to see what is happening with our elections.

“What happens in Florida will most likely happen nationwide,” says Al Cardenas on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Of course, there are the negative ads in our state where the public doesn’t know who paid for them. These are all over. If a group does not spend more than 50 percent of its money on political activities, they are not required to disclose their donors, according to POLITICO Florida, which references the group National Liberty Foundation.

And another example of an anonymous group comes from WFTV Orlando …

Dark money groups are on all sides of the political fence, raising unlimited dollars without having to disclose donors, making large contributions to a political committee — with said dark money group often the only donor — to run negative ads. And donors to the group remain unknown.

As the battle gets more heated, we will soon see who continues to throw mud and who does not.

And in the category of “what not to do,” just look at Brian in Tampa.

This week, Brian got into a heated Facebook dispute, which led him to shoot the man he was arguing with … in the buttocks.

Please, don’t be like Brian.

Personally, I enjoy coaches and politicians who talk about accomplishments over the failures of opponents, but that’s just me.

Buckle up; it’s happening now, and Florida has a front-row seat for all the action.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: Elections and tech

I voted by mail this week. Done.

Neither Russians nor Scientologists, nor Canadians were able to influence or meddle with my selections.

What did those groups behind the headlines do to our electoral process? They created discord and a lack of faith in some areas — certainly one of their goals.

The last administration told the Russians to “cut it out” which they did not, and right now we have a very mixed message from the White House — I say mixed as the President and his team doesn’t always seem to be on the same page.

After last month’s Helsinki talks, the President said: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

However, right now, the White House (via intelligence director Dan Coats) is saying about Russia: “We acknowledge the threat, it is real, it is continuing, and we’re doing everything we can to have a legitimate election.”

Meanwhile, this week in cyberland: Facebook said it uncovered a brand-new coordinated political influence campaign, designed to mislead its users and sow dissension among American voters ahead of congressional elections.

More than 9,500 posts from now-removed pages — including “Mindful Being” and “Aztlan Warriors” — were among those accounts listed.

“We think it’s inevitable that we will find evidence, and we will find other actors, whether these are from Russia, from other countries, or domestic actors that are looking to try and abuse the platform,” said Nathan Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity.

The Russians are not going to cut it out, and they clearly are involved in meddling in some way. So, what do we do?

Stay calm. Get out and vote, trust the process.

There will always be attempts at shenanigans, and with the internet of things, it is expected.

Hackers and Cyber Clowns across the globe are trying to steal, delete, break, disrupt … everything. From power grids to elections to the Sports Book at the Rio. This is not new, this is to be expected. Fear is not needed.

Here in Florida, our government is beefing up security across the state to make sure we are battle-ready.

Handed out will be $10.3 million, but not to Duval or Dade. Sorry guys. Funds will go to training and cybersecurity solutions to make sure all is well come November.

Also, people need to remember it is not just social media and hacking attempts that these folks are into. They engage in targeted call campaigns, staging protests, hiring actors, sending bogus mailers, etc.

Don’t be afraid to report any wrongdoings to the authorities.

So, overcome your voter anguish, get out and vote. Our Democracy will once again set the bar for the world.

And to anyone that stands in our way — they’d better cut it out.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: The World-Wide Internets

The internet. The Final Frontier. To boldly post what no one has posted before.

These are the ramblings of me, on a never-ending mission to spread something you will find remotely helpful in your political, personal or business life.

Let’s talk about posting on Facebook. Do you post links from the press on a campaign or business page? In the past, you could post a link and yank the associated photo, changing it to something more crafted to your message or agenda.

This is no longer possible.

There have been those who have misused this feature, so the social media giant is trying to tighten things up.

For example, let’s say you post an article on Maxine Waters from CNN on your Facebook page, but replace her image that auto-populates from the article — changing it to Pee Wee Herman or Kathy Griffin.

You just might gain some new traffic with this clickbait-type tactic.

Long story short, Facebook doing everything they can to improve their cyber-integrity (to stop fake-news). So, while it is very annoying to me personally and professionally, this might actually do some good.

The official statement on the subject is here:

Speaking of Star Trek, the legendary character, Spock of Vulcan is back. Read here for more.

Now, back to the internet column … (I have some sort of cyber ADD going on, but I will try and keep the wheels on the road for the remainder of this piece).

Some might say Facebook is getting into the very delicate game of censorship vs free speech.

But those people would be wrong, as you must check the terms and conditions you agreed to when creating a page.

In essence, they can do whatever they want.

The days of Facebook and other social media used in politics are not over just because Cambridge Analytica went belly up and some Russians were indicted.

This month, we are seeing various groups use these platforms to steer policy. Two of them recently spent a lot of cash nationally — Judicial Crisis Network (formed in 2005 to support Bush judicial nominees) and Demand Justice (formed this year by Hillary and Barrack Campaign veterans).

The New York Times elaborates (in way too much detail) if you want to read more on them.

Granted, just like changing the editing link preview function, FB now regulates political ads with some new guidelines.

Just like a billboard, the ad must say PAID FOR BY someone in the ad. Guess what if you try and get around this, Facebook will yank your ads.

And just as I mentioned earlier — in regard to Terms of Service — they don’t owe you an explanation.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland both had ads taken down, and they were not alone. Several state lawmakers were abruptly exposed to the new rules.

Facebook also wants to verify you are a U.S. Citizen, and they make public total spends by candidate, which is very cool (or shocking) to see. Danny McAuliffe with Florida Politics did a nice piece on this earlier in the summer on politicians here in Florida.

Thank you for reading, and keep the new rules in mind as they will affect all of us who use social media to push forward our various messages regarding The Process, our businesses … or cat pictures.

As we close, we bring you to an FBI alert about a letter that is going around saying they know about YOUR affair that you are having. Please report this to the FBI so they can catch those responsible.

Lastly, a sincere thank you to Tallahassee police officer Tony Carlson for helping a citizen in need, far beyond the call of duty.

Well done sir, we salute you.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: A weekend of Alabama history and therapy animals

I visited Ozark, Alabama last weekend to attend a family reunion at my grandfather’s childhood home, the Holman House.

Holman House is a 15,000-square-foot historic landmark built by hand (with no electricity) in 1912 by a small team of local master craftsman.

A truly amazing feat, if you think about it.

The house sits directly across from the Dowling-Steagall House named after G.P. Dowling and U.S. Congressman Henry Steagall (the guy behind the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp).

Those Dowlings were a rowdy bunch, so I hear.

Anyway, during the weekend, there were lots of remarkable stories from the neighborhood told. Franklin Roosevelt once visited the Dowling House, and at one time it even served as a hospital.

From the imagery and stories of those days, one thing was prevalent — the animals.

In the days before tractors, mules served as the key component to agriculture and transportation. My family was in that business.

One family story (told by my relative Joe Adams, editor of the 100-year-old Ozark newspaper Southern Star) is that Mr. Holman told a client at the stable that he had a mule on sale, but with the disclaimer that he “didn’t look so good.”

Nevertheless, the client purchased the mule and moved on.

The next day, the client came back and said: “Mr. Holman, this mule is blind as a bat.”

 “I told you he didn’t look so good,” Holman replied simply. Zing.

It wasn’t just mules dominating the landscape to provide the people of our great nation with so much. Horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and chickens all had functions. From food and security to therapy.

I am sure the folks of Dale County did not think much about the therapy side of things, but animals can certainly be comforting to those in crisis.

Did you know that Florida passed several pieces of legislation in recent years to allow the use of therapy animals within our courts?

It began in 2011 with HB 251, and amended in 2014, then expanded again last year to further the use of therapy dogs in judicial settings. Through this program, therapy dogs have been a great resource (and friend) to young persons who find themselves in court.

The reasons they are there are most likely grim — abuse and the like. So, having a special friend like this is not only cool but a game changer.

I have an opportunity to meet some of these dogs and their human counterparts last week. To say the experience was powerful would be an understatement.

These animals are provided by the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Animal Therapy Program and they do not just function in courtrooms. Their programs are diverse and help so many in our great state.

The program began in 2005, and during 2017-2018, 150 teams have had over 35,000 patient interactions, logging 3,500 plus hours in over 50 facilities during 2017/2018.

Therapy animals help seniors, the young, and those in recovery or rehabilitation. The animals are not just dogs; there are miniature horses, cats, a bunny, a goat and even a therapy bird.

Animals in our world are part of our society and our lives. To those that have spent their careers in this kind of noble service, we salute you. And to those in south Alabama, thank you for the opportunity to come back home.

To anyone who says you can’t, they are wrong.

Between last week and this past weekend, I had an amazing visit with so many special people (and places) as well as a very memorable experience with some awesome animals.

Cheers to ya, Dale County and TMH.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and he spent his childhood in LA (lower Alabama). He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Stephanie Perkins, the organization’s program director said about the work they do: “We couldn’t be more thankful for each and every one of our volunteers. Each team embodies the therapeutic bond we strive for each patient to experience through visits and everyday interactions. We also love to see each pet and handler’s unique personalities shine through their service, as without their time and effort our program would not be possible.”

Blake Dowling: Happy Fourth of July

Our nation and our state are both the greatest in the land.

We have so many to thank for this, our armed forces, first responders, law-abiding citizens that vote, the media, government employees, athletes, the business community, even rock-n-rollers and anyone involved in The Process.

It might seem sometimes there are problems everywhere you look (like now), but as the saying goes we have more that binds us than that separates us.

But before we can thank the citizens, and today’s leaders, we must look to where it all began.

Let us look to the past, as it took a lot of guts, courage (and a little luck) for us to become the best nation on earth.

Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, the British had George Washington’s troops trapped in New York City, so it would appear.

However, Washington got his troops out of dodge, crossed the Delaware River and resupplied before taking the fight back to the Redcoats. Had the British been able to cut off Washington in Manhattan, the war could have been lost, the Declaration of Independence would have been nothing but evidence of treason — and there’s no telling what kind of history we’d be talking about today.

If you want to take a deep dive into this campaign, please go here.

Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in the days before July 4, 1776. The full Congress debated and changed the document on July 2 and July 3. On July 4, the wording was ratified and ready to roll.

However, the final copy of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially finalized until two weeks later; it wasn’t signed until Aug. 2.

John Trumbull’s famous painting of Jefferson, John Hancock, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Roger Sherman is, in fact, not showing the signing; they are presenting the draft on June 28, 1776.

Speaking of those times (1803), how great is the Capital One Louisiana Purchase ad? Gold.

Also, for those fans of history and politics in our state check out this piece detailing some stories of Floridians and the Declaration of Independence.

Back to present times if you are looking for the greatest displays of fireworks around our state check out the following and hopefully, you will get a nice display including a finale that features Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, or what about Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America?” Or straight from the Boss, “Born in the USA?” Or old school “This Land is Your Land?” Nice work Woody.

Bottom line any fire-work and music combo works for me.

You can check out where to watch the best fireworks in our state here.

Around the nation, the American Pyrotechnics Association (as they say there really is an association for everything) reports that over 14,000 large displays will be put on resulting in almost 25 million pounds of explosives being set off. That is serious business.

You could say the pyro business is really booming in the summer. (Insert cricket sound.)

It was John Adams who said in 1777 on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that the day is celebrated with “bells, bonfires and illuminations.” And so it has been.

Although the anniversary was celebrated each year, did you know that the Fourth of July did not become an official holiday until 1941?

Be safe as you head out to celebrate our Independence Day and enjoy all the freedoms that our great nation has to offer thanks to the courage and sacrifice of so many.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies in Tallahassee and tomorrow, he will be grilling everything in the Whole Foods meat case (from sausages to dry aged rib-eyes). Cheers.

Blake Dowling: Discrimination, bad behavior in 2018

There are certainly lots of hot topics of bad behavior lately.

Maxine Waters certainly got the nation’s attention with a recent statement: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out, and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

I think columnist Joe Henderson summarized that statement very accurately: “That’s ignorant on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start.”

Our Attorney General Pam Bondi was also harassed at a movie; Joe weighed in on that too. He is doing the fair and balanced thing too, as he is not a fan of the president or Pam but calls out bad behavior where he sees it.

You can check out his column here.

Everyone really needs to grow up, behave like adults and drop the bullying tactics.

I just wrote about this for the Tallahassee Democrat, and there are some stories there on Anthony Bourdain (and Ratt too), so check it out as well.

It may be the president, governor, CIA director, a Sony plant employee, or the lead singer of Ratt, but someone is going to do something you disagree with, and we as a nation need to handle the bad and good together when we can.

It’s embarrassing how we behave online and in person.

I have met Bondi, and (in my opinion) she was and is first class. I was shocked by that crazy video of her at the movies.

Anyway, speaking of bad behavior, there was another massive data breach this week. In fact, it was beyond massive, and it was right here in our state.

According to Wired Magazine, Exactis, a Palm Coast-based marketing and data-aggregation firm, had potentially exposed a database containing nearly 340 million individual records, on some type of public server.

According to security expert Vinny Toja: “It seems like this is a database with pretty much every U.S. citizen in it.”

Toja, who discovered the breach earlier this month, told Wired: “I don’t know where the data is coming from, but it’s one of the most comprehensive collections I’ve ever seen.”

It does not appear we are talking about Social Security numbers or credit card info, but it still looks to be sensitive information. Possibly including birthday, gender, likes, number of children, etc.

If you want to check to see if your info is on the dark web, you can check this site out for free.

Remember the breach by Equifax last year? This is bigger than that.

What makes that story worse, an employee of that company, Sudhaker Bonthu, immediately bet against the firm with some shady investing; he was charged with insider trading this week.

“Bonthu, who was entrusted with confidential information by his employer, misused that information to conclude that his company had suffered a massive data breach and then sought to illegally profit,” said Richard Best, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta regional office.

“Corporate insiders simply cannot abuse their access to sensitive information and illegally enrich themselves,” according to The Hill.

So am I sounding like Joel Osteen, preaching free advice to behave?

That is not my intention and (for the record) there is about 1,000 miles of desert between me and sainthood. But, come on, let’s work on upping our game: citizens, corporate America and elected officials.

The idea of children separated from their parents at the border is horrible; I get it. People get upset about health care; I really get that.

(I just found out mine went up again, double digits, that’s like four years in a row of increases.)

But I am not looking for someone to spit over it, or refusing them service at my company.

Like Bob Barker on the Price is Right, I say “come on down” to Republicans, Democrats, Independents — all are welcome at my office with respect.

Hopefully, protesters won’t show up in my parking lot cursing my stance on reminding people to have manners and respect one another even when in disagreement. Pretty radical view isn’t it? Thanks to Joe, Andy and Nancy Pelosi, as well as everyone else who calls out bad behavior.

Have a good one and … is it just me or was Al Gore right or what? It’s third-level-of-Hades hot in our state’s Capital.

BD signing off. #globalHOT

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and enjoys Gator sports and IPA’s. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: Social engineering

Do you need a break from Putnam, Donald, Kim and all the other headlines raging this week in the Sunshine State and our nation?

How ‘bout we talk cybersecurity, so you can make sure you have all the bases covered (baseball analogy for the upcoming College World Series).

Are you familiar with “social engineering?” The term gets thrown around a lot in cybersecurity circles, but according to Webroot:

“Social engineering is the art of manipulating people, so they give up confidential information. The types of information these criminals are seeking can vary, but when individuals are targeted the criminals are usually trying to trick you into giving them your passwords or bank information, or access your computer to secretly install malicious software — that will give them access to your passwords and bank information as well as giving them control over your computer.”

In the political, lobbying and business world we live in, we have long, complex passwords, perimeter security devices, layered anti-spam and anti-virus tools, someone watching the network with a remote monitoring tool, real-time backups, etc.

Social engineering bypasses all that.

I am sure everyone remembers former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. He got a bogus email from Google, saying he must change his password now, which he did. It was subsequently stolen (as it was not really from Google).

The ramifications were significant, as we all know.

Now think about how former CIA Director John Brennan’s personal email account was similarly hacked. That’s right. The CIA.

Hackers called Brennan’s internet provider, Verizon, and claimed to be from Verizon customer service trying to fix an issue with their client. They didn’t stop until they had his Social Security number.

The hackers took that info, did a password reset and — presto — complete access to all his email.

In Florida, I have personally seen phishing attempts to local, association and lobbying entities were hackers dig up info on key personnel in the organization, an attempt to impersonate them.

If your email address is posted on your website, the bad guys can find it. They then create a fake domain resembling yours and reference something in the news to make the email sound legit and ask for money.

As an example, Bob gets an email from his accounting person saying they need $4K to put on a rally in Miami, the individual needs the money wired because they “can’t use a credit card.”

You would think there’s no way this would work, but occasionally it does. I have seen it happen.

Last week, I took a call from a client who said Microsoft is calling them to do some maintenance and needs their password. As I have said before it is hard enough to get a call through to Microsoft, they certainly never call you for anything, ever. This is an attempt at a hack. What if you have an intern at your office or a campaign volunteer. Do they know about this? Or would they give their password to “Microsoft” putting all of your data in jeopardy?

Sometimes you can’t even trust the security companies as widely known security giant, Kaspersky was hijacked, or maybe even involved in some cyber shenanigans.

Here in Florida, we must protect ourselves every day, especially with some huge elections on the horizon.

Just like college football (and elections), Texas, California and Florida are the states you want to watch, and all eyes — including hackers — will be looking this way. Just like last time.

Make sure you and everyone on your team are ready.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: Oops

Technology can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Have you ever “replied all” to an email when you meant to reply just to the person who sent it to you? Has your phone ever pocket dialed your high-school sweetheart or the FBI?

The “oops factor” in tech is always looming, so make sure you are always diligent with your devices and treat your tablet and phone as sacred.

Also, remember your devices have a mind of their own.

Tech industry leaders like Elon Musk have been warning us that artificial intelligence will take over the world if we are not careful. I think we have a few college football seasons ahead of us before global apocalypse happens but in the meantime, AI is wreaking some havoc. How about Alexa sending out a private conversation between two people to one of the person’s contacts without their knowledge. That happened. The “smart” device heard a series of words within the dialogue that lead it to take several steps. 1) Record the conversation and then 2) send it to a contact. Mind blown.

The potential for scandal, disaster, embarrassment and hilarity are off the scale here.

So, while you chew on that, let’s also look at the other most common part of tech that is infested with oops: social media.

We have seen a renaissance in social media use the past couple of years. It seemed to me that a couple of years ago the worlds of Twitter, etc. had calmed down a little but man then the gloves came off in a big way, especially around the time of the last election.

People, especially politicians, started unloading on Twitter, attacking their enemies, defending their agendas, etc.

Even with all this raw content sometimes people have a “hmmm” moment and delete something.

Not so fast my friends.

There is an entire website devoted to the publication of deleted tweets from your fave politicians. It’s called Politwoops.

According to the site, Sen. Bill Nelson deleted this May 26 after posting it for two hours. I don’t see anything too threatening, and Alan Williams is cool, so who knows why this got deleted. But it did.

You can check out all fun for yourself here, I narrowed it down to just Florida.

So remember to treat your tech like the powerful tool it is and it can be your pal.

Also, give those posts some thought before posting as people are always watching. A lot of you out there might have someone to review your posts for you before hitting the enter button. This is a superb system of checks and balances. Consider putting this into play, especially if you work in the hypersensitive world of state, local or federal politics.

Lastly, considering unplugging those smart devices when they are not in use. As we are starting to see, they aren’t really that smart yet and they could accidentally open you up to a world of hurt by emailing private conversations to everyone you know, in theory.

Have a great week.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: Net neutrality redux

Net neutrality is back in the news.

There are 2 sides to the issue and everyone is weighing in. Except for the guy from now shall be known as “Shopping Center Man,” found at the 59-second mark of this WCTV News segment from Thursday night in Tallahassee.

When asked what is net neutrality, he says “he forgot” … “and back to you in studio Bob.”

 

Classic.

“I forgot.” That’s one I need to remember.

WCTV was kind enough to visit the office yesterday and asked my humble opinion on the issue, and it’s back to what happened late last year.

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission classification of the internet changed from that of “information services” to that of a “telecommunications service” — with all the regulatory oversight that comes with it.

That was repealed, until this week, when the Senate said: “No joy.”

Bottom line, there are two sides: one says “trust the government,” the other says “trust business.” Regardless which side you are on, the decision is not up to you.

When I wrote on the issue late last year, I brought in the team at the Florida Internet and Television Association to weigh in. You can check that out by clicking here.

What went down this week was Senate Democrats used the so-called Congressional Review Act to force a vote. This allowed Congress to appeal an agency rule with a majority vote (not the normal 60 vote threshold).

How did they get there? They had help from some Republicans, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose state certainly has faced challenges with internet connectivity.

Will this matter? It brought the issue of net neutrality back to the table for discussion, but it will probably get punted when it hits the House.

 So, any victory will most likely be short-lived.

From 1996 to 2014, the internet seemed to do just fine — regardless if a Republican or Democrat was in the White House. For a long time, rules were the same.

Perhaps the game has changed? Maybe there is too much connectivity? Too many dollars on the line?

Maybe not.

We need not forget that innovation still needs to take precedence over regulation, as the United States is not the fastest in the world. Most lists put Sweden and South Korea as top countries with the fastest Internet. However, we certainly can’t let Big Business block access to specific sites as they see fit.

We will see how this goes, but (most likely) any changes made will stay on course — we will have to see what happens. As long as I can watch Gator baseball on my iPad, I’m good.

Why is it not on regular TV? I am forced to watch it on an APP? Jeez.

Oh well, there’s always Shopping Center Man to make me smile.

Say hello to Shopping Center Man.

Have a great weekend.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Blake Dowling: All apologies

Last night, I was watching a Celtics game. Late in the half, during a timeout, there were back-to-back commercials — each a message of apology.

Wells Fargo was very sorry they created millions of fake accounts to cook the books; Facebook is very sorry about, I guess, lots of things.

Wells Fargo’s message was pretty clear, but the FB ad was a bit like a hurricane of messaging.

Bottom line, apologies are everywhere these days.

Or, maybe, are we a nation of apologists? Perhaps we have always been.

Are these nationwide campaigns helpful? Are they even necessary?

While Zuck was testifying to Congress and scandal after scandal was unfolding for his firm, meanwhile the company’s financials were skyrocketing, in fact, their first-quarter earnings for 2018 were up 60 percent over the same time last year.

All situations are unique, and maybe FB is bullet resistant (not bulletproof, mind you. No one is.) Its offering has integrated itself into the fabric of our personal and professional lives, and it is an extremely “sticky” company/offering to simply toss out the window.

Most of us are in professions where apologies are required and necessary. Think about KFC this year. They ran out of chicken. Ummm. Oops to the guy ordering the chicken.

You had ONE job, Daryl. 😊

How did they respond? With a pretty cheeky PR campaign.

How about politics? Apologies are welcome (it would seem) but a “there’s the door” approach appears to be the common end game. Plus, in situations last year involving state Sens. Jeff Clemens and Jack Latvala, we are not talking about creating fake bank accounts (or running out of chicken).

In these cases, more serious issues are at play. In the political world, once trust is broken and alleged bad behavior is exposed, it is much harder to get it back.

City of Tallahassee mayor? Apology.

More apologies in our state.

Joy Reid calls Charlie Crist “Miss Charlie.” Classy. Another apology.

Why are people apologizing so much these days? Doesn’t it seem as if apologies are rampant — money, data, sex (and chicken)?

Perhaps, the world of social media and our press focuses so much on those doing wrong and the apologies that come after.

Just a crazy thought: Maybe we should focus more on those business leaders and companies that are not apologizing for anything?

For example, Gov. Rick Scott’s leadership during recent hurricanes. No apology required. Thank you, sir.

Another is Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, who are fighting the good fight for the people of Puerto Rico. Great job, guys, as 10 percent of this U.S. territory is still without power.

So, if my thoughts in this column have offended you in any way, email me at the address below. Perhaps I will send an apology. (HA!)

As my friend Brad Swanson likes to say, if you aren’t taking any flak, you aren’t on target.

Have a great weekend.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He enjoys sports, IPA’s and can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons