The Dissociation problem with Pathao, Pran, and Bangladeshi Companies as a whole!

A couple of days ago, it transpired that Pathao had been uploading all SMS/Texts from User’s phones to their server – un-encrypted and open to MIM attacks – which can typically be considered as a terrible way to harvest private data.

Their response to the public outcry? 

  • পাঠাওয়ের কাছে এসব তথ্য সম্পূর্ণ নিরাপদ ও সুরক্ষিত
  • কতিপয় ব্যক্তি হীন উদ্দেশ্যে পরিকল্পিতভাবে সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে এসব ভুল ও মিথ্যা অপপ্রচার চালিয়ে যাচ্ছে

No, you cannot call it safe and sound when you are transferring it over an un-encrypted channel. Storing it god knows where.

No,  ভুল ও মিথ্যা অপপ্রচার just makes you sound like the government of a certain country where democracy is a joke. You need better copywriters.


Coming to the second story, a couple of days ago, I noticed how Jamuna TV launched a huge campaign to malign(?)/tell-the-truth regarding Pran and their products. Now, let’s be frank – Pran isn’t the best company in the world when it comes to quality standards. Starting from banned gelling agents, to rodent excrement, and lead – there is nothing that hasn’t been found in their products yet.

Their response to the continued public outcry?

  • যমুনা টিভির প্রতিবেদক ও উপস্থাপকের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা

All hail defamation cases and downright lies, but what these organizations fail to realize is that they have a serious PR problem. They sound like a ridiculous প্রেসিডেন্ট অফ এ কান্ট্রি দ্যাট আই কান্ট নেইম কারণ আমার ভিসা লাগতে পারে কোনোদিন।

The best approach towards solving a fuck-up is to admit that you fucked up. If a policeman stops you for over-speeding, the usual best practice is to admit that and say sorry – not এইগুলা কতিপয় ব্যক্তি হীন উদ্দেশ্যে পরিকল্পিতভাবে করেছে।

For instance, the API Endpoint where Pathao was sending its SMS was directed towards ‘/me’ and not ‘/collectsms’. This was a good game to play. ভাই, ভুল হয়ে গেসে – আগের ডেভেলাপার এই এন্ডপয়েন্টে এস এম এস পাঠাইলেও আমরা এইগুলা স্টোর করিনাই কোনোদিন। এক্ষনি এই রিকোয়েস্ট ডিলিট করে দিচ্ছি। ১২ ঘন্টার মধ্যে দেখেন।

Wouldn’t that have sounded nicer?

You see, you cannot dissociate yourself from a problem and hope that things will just work out over the longer term. The best idea is to listen to what people say and react to that. Say what they want to hear. Million dollar companies don’t just represent a business – they represent a lifestyle that you have to live upto!

Similarly, what if Pran had come up and showed the exact same places that Jamuna showed in their video feed, except improved and cleaner?

Wouldn’t it have been nicer to see no more mangoes stored out in the open? 

Wouldn’t it be nicer to see how milk is tested in a FDA approved/standard laboratory to prove that there is zero chance of chemical দুই-নাম্বারি?

At the end of the day, the necessary realization is that Press Releases aren’t just about sinister tones and legal battles. Sometimes, its nicer to see a personal touch to things.

By dissociating yourself from your problems and letting your PR Team handle issues, what you are doing is taking life away from a lifestyle product. That’s just lazy! Why not live up-to your standards and admit guilt and promise a fix?

Zuckerberg did when Cambridge Analytica explosed, so did Eddy Cue from Apple when Taylor Swift went bonkers, Hastings did from Netflix when they had a pricing issue, Brian Chesky from AirBnB did regarding racism on their platform, Sundar Pichai did regarding sexual-harrasment!

If they can, why not us?

Closer to home, here is a audio chat I had with a local company called Gazzeto who sounded fairly ‘nice’ in their apology! Just because of that, I wasn’t angry at them at-all!

But the sheer best of the local lot is probably the Shwapno Team, who you can find in their help-group, where the head of marketing, Mr Tanim Karim regularly apologizes to clients whose problems are as little as a 0.060 dollar refunds and service issues!

Not their head of legal affairs. Not their press release team. Not their CS reps either! Neither for problems that he created himself!

Away from home, Johnson & Johnson probably pulled the best apology of the year when they individually apologized to 10,000 customers, and ended up winning a Bronze at Cannes Lions for just that!

Notice how in each of these situations, the companies are actually not shying away from saying that they made a mistake. Be it silly, or be it humongous.

By not disassociating their fault, and taking charge of the issue – they all ended up winning the game!

Sorry > মামলা দেওয়ার আগে ডিলিট কর

– সচেতন এলাকাবাসী

I remember this curious problem we had at GradConnect, where a very random client came up and reviewed us badly because we weren’t providing a niche service that he needed.

The problem was, he was asking for help regarding something that we clearly do not assist clients with. He didn’t pay us. He didn’t sign up, and neither did we promise anything! It made no sense for him to review us badly for something we clearly do not do. Do you rate your hair-oil company for improper performance as an engine-lubricant?

But we are a small company with niche target-market clients barely ever review us/anything. One 0 star meant a fall of 0.7 in a scale of 5. It was a bad day for the Communications Team.

So what did we do?

We said sorry about a hundred times, fixed the issue and created a service for the client, and serviced him for free. For a problem we did not cause.

You know what happened? That zero-star review no longer exists. And we did not even ask that client to remove it.

High time we learn to replicate that model locally, and around the country. Its time to say sorry personally. And it is high time to mean it.