Annual Report sense – finally!

23 08 2007

I received some mail today from Telstra, the Australian telecommunications giant. I have shares in them (which I really should get rid of… they’ve never done well). In amongst all the puffery about how good they are was a slip of paper that was a welcome relief. To quote from it:

“Recent amendments to the Corporations Act allow companies to provide their annual reports to shareholders on the Internet rather than by hard copy. … commencing from the 2007 Annual Report we will no longer mail you a hard copy unless you specifically ask us to do so.”

At last! Some sense. An opt-in clause versus an opt-out one, and a massive saving for companies in not having to get these glossy tomes printed and mailed out. An even better saving for those shareholders who receive these missives because it’s required by law but who just throw them out without doing more than skim them (if that).

I only own a few small parcels of shares in a couple of companies, but it still bothers me to get these 100+ page documents every year. They all try and outdo each other every year in the glossiness, paper stock, fancy wancy bindings etc. So I’m very pleased that the lawmakers have seen fit to enter the 21st century and allow alternative corporate reporting mechanisms.

Of course, elements of the printing industry that have survived only because of this cash cow may be squealing in pain right now. But I’d suspect many ‘Mum and Dad’ shareholders may be cheering these changes.

A better experience

23 08 2007

We decided to give Jarrah Jack’s another try (see previous post for our bad experience there a few weeks ago). I’d taken the day off work so we drove down to Pemberton for lunch and to sample the wines and beers at Jarrah Jack’s Brewery and Woodsmoke Winery.

Our experience this time was much better. Not perfect, but decidely better than the last one! They must be doing something right as there was a decent crowd there for mid-week lunch: in winter and not in the school holidays. Small groups of people too, so it’s not like there was a busload of tourists that had to be catered for. We arrived just after 1:00pm so were at the tail end of the traditional lunch period. We had a short wait for the beer tasting sample, and a bit of a wait for our lunch. But nothing out of the ordinary. Lunch was nice, but nothing to rave about. And this time the service was friendly.

Can’t ask for much more than that, really. At least, we now have a better impression and will likely return. They need to do something about that awful potholed gravel road and driveway though…

Photo of the beer tasting rack to come…

Beer tasting rack

Number plates

23 08 2007

On the way down to Pemberton for lunch today a black Mercedes drove past us heading north. The number plate? “O Lord”

Made me laugh!

PS: It helps if you’re a baby boomer or you know the Janis Joplin song! Otherwise you’ll wonder why on earth I found it funny.

Good customer service

23 08 2007

I received this on Wednesday, a few days after last week’s Skype outage:

As a goodwill gesture to all you faithful Skype Pro, Skype Unlimited, SkypeIn or Skype Voicemail customers, we’re adding an additional seven days to your current subscription, free of charge. And even if you didn’t miss out on using Skype last week – you can still have a week free on Skype, on the house!

They didn’t have to do that, but it’s nice that they did. An ex-colleague of mine once told me that it’s not the problem that causes customer anger so much as how you deal with the problem. Skype kept their users informed every few hours via their blog, and when the situation returned to normal, they ‘rewarded’ their customers with this extra.

Well done, Skype.