Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for June 2023


  • Bimbo
  • May 31, 2023
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image b

What a great month of lessons! BIMBO comments from KKR’s CFO, Rep. George Santos (sigh, again), and Andrew Tate’s lawyer. Wrong Thing to Say includes Noam Chomsky’s explanation of Jeffrey Epstein’s donation to MIT, Honeywell’s CEO on recruiting, and my alma mater, Smith College goes silly woke. Good example of how to use statistics in a WSJ editorial (hint: where did Miami move?), and a great quote about storytelling in the obituary for Nobel-winning economist Robert Lucas. T. Rowe Price tackles PowerPoint, and a reader shares an example. Remember to send us yours!

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I think at the end of the day, we do not have a debt default,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a mid-May CNBC interview the whole world was watching. As we write this, speaking as citizens, we hope he’s right! But this looks like the classic BIMBO comment. 

Reuters, “House Speaker McCarthy says he thinks U.S. will not default,” May 17, 2023

THE RUNNERS-UP

“I’m not nervous,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan when asked about whether the meltdown last December could reoccur over the summer. Oops. He did go on to express confidence in the steps the airline had taken. Note, the negative – the BIMBO comment – overshadowed the positives and became the headline as it frequently does.

WFAA, “'I'm not nervous': Southwest CEO confident a travel meltdown won't happen again,” May 17, 2023

“I’m not labeled as a dirty player,” protested Philadelphia 76er James Harden after being thrown out of a game for slamming into an opposing player. Even the analysts questioned whether he deserved the penalty or whether the NBA was reacting to a spate of bad sportsmanship. Leaving aside the broader debate, Harden missed his chance at the right quote. He should have turned the debate around and said, “I have a reputation for being a worthy competitor,” which is true. He did point out that he had never been ejected, which is also true. As with so many examples, our “good/bad” word exercise would have prevented this error. 

The New York Times, “Their Reputations Precede Them. And That’s the Problem,” April 27, 2023

“We are not forced sellers,” said KKR CFO Robert Lewin after the private equity firm saw a huge, 26 percent decline in profits after tax deductible earnings. Note the “forced sellers” phrase made the article subhead. Again, you can’t keep criticism or allegations out of a report, but you can control your attributed quotes. If he had a sense of humor, he might have quoted New York State Senator George Washington Plunkitt in the 1800s who became wealthy. His explanation? “I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.’”

The Wall Street Journal, “KKR Reports Decline in Key First-Quarter Profit Metric,” May 8, 2023

“I will not resign,” said Republican Congressman George Santos on being indicted. He did add "I'm going to fight my battle. I'm going to deliver. I'm going to fight the witch hunt. I'm going to take care of clearing my name and I look forward to doing that." But the denial about resignation led the news. He pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal charges, hours after federal prosecutors formally accused him of misleading donors and misrepresenting his finances to the public and government agencies. He has tried to compete with the narrative by using the phrase, “witch hunt,” which did get a lot of pick up – but we don’t think it’s going to work. 

The Wall Street Journal, “George Santos Faces 13 Felony Charges, Including Fraud and Money Laundering,” May 10, 2023

“He never took money from the girls,” said Eugen Vidineac, lawyer for influencer and self-described “king of toxic masculinity” Andrew Tate, who is under arrest for a variety of criminal charges. The lengthy New York Times article is sensational reading. The lawyer’s comments are all wrong. He rebuts allegations that Tate and his younger brother maintained a Playboy-mansion-type establishment and filmed women and sex scenes. Vidineac’s response – that the brothers are “famous, rich, young, and beautiful. What would be their interest in forcing women to act as slaves?” He made the case that “Lifestyle is not a crime. What matters is what is illegal, not what is immoral.” It’s hard to advise what Vidineac could have said. Possibly the old standby about looking for the opportunity to provide an alternative picture and a commitment to contributing to Romania – where the brothers have set up shop. Of course, that would have to be true to be effective. It looks like it will be an interesting trial.  

The New York Times, “Andrew Tate Thought He Was Above the Law. Romania Proved Him Wrong,” May 22, 2023

WRONG THING TO SAY

A list of prominent names who met with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein sent people running for the woodwork and rationalizing the meetings in many ways. One of the worst excuses came from iconic MIT professor Noam Chomsky who protested that there are “far worse criminals who not only donate to MIT and other institutions, but…are greatly honored by them.” Chomsky met with Epstein numerous times between 2015 and 2016 where he told the outlet that they discussed politics and academia. Epstein donated $850,000 to MIT between 2002 and 2017. Chomsky said that those funds have now been donated to sex abuse victims.

The Post Millennial.com, “REVEALED: Jeffrey Epstein met with current Biden CIA Director, Obama White House attorney after sex crimes conviction,” April 30, 2023

“If you’re a young hotshot code developer, Honeywell may not be at the top of your five to ten companies that you want to go work for,” said Kevin Dehoff, CEO of Honeywell’s Connected Enterprise Software group. Ouch! What a terrible way to use your one quote in The Wall Street Journal! Later in the article, Dehoff is described as saying that the company is offering more mission-oriented work with a chance to see the impact. 

The Wall Street Journal, “Not a Tech Firm? Snaring Top Laid-Off Tech Talent Won’t Be Easy,” May 17, 2023

Paul Weiss litigator Kannon K. Shanmugam was excoriated on Twitter for calling U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar's work "a hot mess" in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. It reminds me of the 2009 lawsuit of Pursuit Capital against UBS which found in discovery that investment firm Goldman referred in internal emails to the securities they were selling as “vomit.” It made for one of the more interesting trial transcripts.  

Law 360, “Use Of 'Hot Mess' In High Court Brief Draws Ire, But Isn't New,” May 3, 2023

Smith College has removed the word “field” from the title of its social work department as racist. The reason? It reminds some people of the field work of slaves. The department formerly known as the “Office of Field Education” will be now referred to as the “Office of Practicum.” Carolyn McDaniel, a spokesperson for Smith College, explained that this change is “consistent with the guiding principles of the social work profession, Smith College’s School for Social Work strives for intentional accountability.” Using terms like “field work” is now considered triggering and micro aggressive. Smith is my alma mater, so I’m allowed to say, “This is ridiculous!” 

Zero Hedge, “Smith College Drops Use of Word ‘Field’ as Racially Insensitive,” May 26, 2023

STATISTICS

According to the latest Census data, New York City lost 468,297 people between April 2020 and July 2022, about 5.3 percent of its population. How many is that? Numbers don’t mean anything, so The Wall Street editorial team handily pointed out that’s more people than live in the city of Miami (449,514). So basically, the equivalent of the city of Miami picked up and left NYC, which is a great visual statistic.

The Wall Street Journal, “Escape From New York, Etc.,” May 21, 2023

GOOD EXAMPLE

“We economists have to be story tellers,” said Nobel prize winning economist Robert Lucas. OK, he said it in 1988 but we’re just now seeing it in the eminent man’s obituary, but we want to pass it along as sage advice. He continued, “We do not find the realm of imagination and ideas is an alternative to or retreat from practical reality. On the contrary, it is the only way we have found to think seriously about reality.”

The New York Times, “Robert E. Lucas Jr., Nobel-Winning Conservative Economist, Dies at 85,” May 17, 2023

THE POWERPOINT PROBLEM

In its drive to operate more efficiently, asset manager T. Rowe Price took aim at a staple of corporate work: the PowerPoint presentation. For years, salespeople have spent hours building customized slide decks to explain their company’s products to clients. An internal database used to help create these PowerPoint presentations ballooned to more than 8,000 slides. “The company realized the database was too large to sift through, so employees often repeated work in building slides that already existed elsewhere in the organization,” said Kimberly Johnson, T. Rowe’s Chief Operating Officer. Time spent customizing each presentation meant employees couldn’t do other client-focused work. A committee of roughly two dozen people at T. Rowe Price spent about 18 months trying to fix the PowerPoint problem. It reduced the number of slides down to roughly 3,000 and built a modular tool that allows employees to create customized presentations, graphics, and data more easily in just a few clicks. The team wrapped up its work in the fall of 2022. “We don’t have to pull PowerPoint slides out of the PowerPoint universe anymore,” she said. “We freed up hundreds and hundreds of hours of people’s time.”

The Wall Street Journal, “The Boss Wants to Make You More Efficient,” April 29, 2023

This PowerPoint failure example comes from a reader who wrote, “I don’t have the slide, but will just share the most infuriating PowerPoint presentation ever!”  In a room full of over 500 accountants, the presenter stood at the front of the huge ballroom and projected a blurry, murky screen of words written in a light grey tiny font and began by saying, “Now, I know you can’t see this, but…” I thought to myself, “Why not just put a bag over our heads and be done with it!”

 

The BIMBO Memo is a reminder not to repeat and deny a negative word because of how the listener hears words. When you repeat and deny a negative word, the listener is likely to overlook the denial and hear the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. It’s named for the young woman who was caught with a high profile, but alas married man. She held a press conference and announced, “I am not a BIMBO,” thus causing everyone to think she was. 



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