Mr. Smiley the Bus Driver

One thing I love about living in the United States is the sense of humor that finds its way into daily life.

The baggage handler at JFK that shouts out “Welcome to America!” at the top of his lungs as he hauls your bags off the conveyor belt.

The Bart train driver who takes the time to explains the history of the West Oakland shipping cranes and how they were the inspiration for George Lucas when he designed the Imperial Walkers for Star Wars, all in the tone of a pleasantly brain dead Disney tour bus operator.

The New York subway driver who tries to convince commuters from rushing into the same door at the bottom of the stairs by yelling into the intercom, “REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY. Everyone please jam into the same door at once!”

Today’s wisecracking bus driver is the latest example of this very American humor. The ride back home on the Transbay bus is usually a mundane affair – folks are tired after a day in the work-a-day world and the muffled quiet on the bus is deadening as most just want to sink into their seats and reflect quietly on the day gone by. I have a choice of three buses to take me home so before boarding a bus I usually glance at my watch just to gauge if I should take the local before me or wait for an express. As I ran through the mental calculation the driver hailed me with a greeting and then said, “What are you lookin’ at your watch for, I’m on time. You want to leave earlier? I can do that too.”

As I climbed on board he went on, trying to snap me from my post-work haze, “Hey, you dropped a $20 bill behind you.” when there
was none there. Made you look is written on the faces of all the other riders already seated as I took my seat.

Now alert, I patted the driver on his arm, thanking him for the joke and taking my seat. Each new rider was greeted with a new round of jokes and quips as he poked and prodded each commuter out of their automatic pilot.

“I almost have enough, can I get on?” says a student. “I almost can take you, is that ok?” the driver shoots back.

We’re pulling out of San Francisco and we’re all smiles, heading over the bridge with the sun setting behind us, a bus full of kids on a field trip.


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Thomas Nelson Corporate Blogging Policy

One of the best corporate blogging policy guidelines I’ve seen. Written in plain English with just the right tone; not too corporate, not too casual – it’s just the right. I guess that’s to be expected coming from a publishing company. Their goals are simple:

At Thomas Nelson, we want to encourage you to blog about our company, our products, and your work. Our goal is three-fold:

  • To raise the visibility of our company,
  • To make a contribution to our industry, and
  • To give the public a look at what goes on within a real live publishing company.

They also have established a Blog Oversight Committee, “a group of fellow-employee bloggers who are committed to promoting
blogging within our company and making sure that the Company’s
interests are served.” The BOC is there to evaluate new blogs to make sure they set the right tone and be there to provide direction if there is any doubt on what one can or cannot post on their blog. Their carrot and stick is inclusion into the corporate blog aggregator page which is equivalent to an endorsement.

If you would like to have us link to your blog, you must submit it to
the BOC. Before doing so, you should design your blog and write at
least one entry. Once you have done this, send an e-mail to Gave Wicks
with a link to your blog. The BOC will then review your blog and notify
you whether or not it meets the criteria.

The idea that one should dive in, set up the design and make their first post before submitting their blog for evaluation is a great idea too. Only those that are serious about blogging will get to this stage and by the time they have, they will have thought about their message and tone.

It is also interesting to note that Thomas Nelson views each blog as the employee’s creation and therefore does not endorse a specific blogging package nor do they allow employee’s to expense costs for the blog (they also allow employees to run advertising on their blogs to offset expenses). This gets back to something Andy Lark explained to me. Whether they blog about their company or not, make sure to own their blog and it’s content. Your thoughts and relationships in a blog develop outside the context of your corporate affiliation and his view is that your blog, being the embodiment of all this, should be portable and follow you from company to company. This is why Andy established a blog on TypePad even while he was an employee at Sun which makes their own blogging product.