More Mattison Madness and Mirth

Papa Rob Mattison, self-proclaimed President of the Revenue Assurance World, is up to his tricks again (but you did not need me to tell you that, did you?) I am trying to stick to a policy of ignoring this silly bugger, I promise. However, he is a hard man to ignore, thanks to his endless self-promotion. When I saw the announcement that he is offering revenue assurance training and certification to national telecommuications regulators, my brain went through a mental cartwheel. Revenue assurance training for national regulators? Is he serious?

Papa Rob’s announcement begins

“responding to demand from national telecommunications regulators…”

Pull the other one. Let us imagine what national telecommunications regulator has been writing to Papa Rob…

“Dear Mr. Papa Rob, I saw your website and was very very impressed by your global organization, GRAPA, and its certificate, CRAPA, and how you have so many members and have trained so many professionals and clearly sets the gold standard for the revenue assurance regulation, as you yourself often say on your website. I know nothing about the revenue assurance but it is top priority for my government, in the middle of the world economic slowdown, to pass new laws to force telecoms companies to do the revenue assurance whether they like it or not. That is why I typed the word ‘revenue assurance’ into Google and found your website, and was very pleased to see that it exists and you are such an honourable man with fine ethics, as it says on your ethics page, because all educated peoples know that if you read something on the Internet it must be true.

As you say yourself on your home page, the revenue assurance gives telcos a critical competitive edge. Because of this, my government believes we need to spend taxpayers’ money to forcing the stupid backward executives, with their stupid MBAs, that run our telecoms companies to do the revenue assurance, even if they are too stupid to do it, though apparently nobody is too stupid to do it, because everybody is doing it and has joined your magnificent global organization and I can find no contradiction in anything I just wrote. For this reason, although I am a lowly government official and there is no reason why a government official would want to enforce laws to make telcos do revenue assurance (that would be like passing laws to say telcos should really try hard to make a profit instead of making a loss), I want to join you and spend a week (and two weekends!) in the wonderful city of London, England, visiting the Tower of London where they chopped off Henry VIII’s head and Buckingham Palace where the Queen has the tea with the corgis, and also learning to write laws that tell people to do the revenue assurance things they should do.

Passing the new laws and regulations for revenue assurance is very necessary for my poor country to become strong, like yours, which is why I must have the help and experience of someone with the impressive beard like yours. In my country they have a saying: “the man with the big beard is known to sell his cow at the very fair price” which means you can trust a man with a beard and that his cow will be good for milk and making the baby cows. I was thinking we should have a law to make telecoms companies reconcile CDRs to billing and if they do not get it 100% right we will fine them and send the analyst responsible to prison because he obviously is not taking his job seriously enough (and maybe we will beat him a little too). Do you agree? I would also like to see the British House of Parliament – will you be providing tourist maps or maybe taking us around with a guide? This, of course, is a high priority for my government (by which I mean passing laws about revenue assurance and not the visit to the House of Parliament, though I would be very happy if you could arrange that and perhaps even a meeting with the British Primeminister, Tony Blair, because I am a big fan of him and he seems like a very nice man with a very fine and honest smile and I also like Cherry, his wife).

Our government has recently had to make cutbacks in spending on education and health and building our roads, but I am happy that there is still plenty of money in the government’s training budget for vital new regulations like the ones we need for the telecommunications revenue assurance. It was so important that I spend the week with you in London, that we took the money from the government’s budget for fighting corruption. I know our taxpayers will be very happy to find out their government is doing such a good job during this difficult economic times. Please also advise whether my wife and children can also come along and stay at the hotel with me. They would very much like to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, so please send me the timetables for when the guards change so they can take the photo. My wife also needs to know the opening times at Harrods so she can buy some souvenirs for her family, including my stupid mother-in-law who will not believe we have been to London unless we bring her back the very nice china plate with pictures of the Queen and maybe one of those toy soldiers in the red coat and the big black hat of fur.

I have one humble suggestion for you, President Papa Rob. When I was looking for other countries that have the telecoms revenue assurance regulations, so I could just copy what they did and make my life very easy, I was very disappointed as it was very difficult to find any. It seems other national governments are a long way behind you and me in understanding the importance of regulating companies to force them to be profitable. I was most disappointed to see there were no regulations in your home country, the United States of America. You should speak to your very admirable President Obama who has so far ignored the impressive global organization of the Global Professional Revenue Assurance Association. Maybe you are already in contact with Mr. President Obama, in which case you should not be so modest and you should share the news of your conversations with your country’s ruler who is so very fine and well respected in this part of the world. I have the suspicion that the revenue assurance is the next thing for President Obama to do, after he fixes the cars and the banking and the Guantanamanamo Bay and the hospitals and the schools in your country. Maybe you should meet with him and explain the importance of the revenue assurance and ask him to pass laws to force the telecommunications operators to do the revenue assurance sooner, maybe before he spends time worrying about the schools or the hospitals which I am sure are fine and the best in the world already.

As you know, every nation follows the lead of the mighty USA, which is why the GRAPA was formed in the country of your birth and why it was so very surprising to learn that there is no revenue assurance regulation in your country. Perhaps there is a conspiracy against the revenue assurance within America, as I also see that your GRAPA seems to be very much less popular in your country, even though so very many people are employed in the American telecommunications. You Americans must set a good example for other countries with your integrity and never telling lies on the Internet. Clearly your USA needs the new regulation to make your operators do the revenue assurance and take GRAPA seriously. I believe you should meet with Mr. President Obama as soon as possible, and get him to give the revenue assurance a higher priority. That would be so fine, to see President Papa Rob and President Obama – two Presidents! – standing side by side and shaking hands and making the world a much better place. When you meet him, please let me know, as I will ask my government if they can send me and I will represent our country too, although I am just the minor government official and not anybody important like a Mr. President like you. If you could have the meeting in the White House, in Washington D.C. that would be very good as I always told my wife’s parents that one day I would be in the White House and my stupid mother-in-law does not believe me. This would be a perfect opportunity to shut her up and make her finally realize how important my government job really is. Please also, I would very much like to meet the Queen of England if you can arrange that to.

Yours Most Sincerely,

[name withheld for security reasons]

Private Secretary to the Junior Under-Commissioner in the Ministry for the Vital Improvement and Advancement of National Telecommunications Infrastructure”

It was probably a letter just like that which created the ‘demand’ for Papa Rob’s new course. The ‘demand’ for training regulators must be like the ‘demand’ that Papa Rob give advice with detecting fraud and the ‘demand’ that Papa Rob provide lots of other sorts of telecoms training – though the ‘demand’ for both evaporated just as quickly as his plans to charge a membership fee for GRAPA. The new plan seems to be to levy extra fees from the chumps (sorry, I mean ‘certified professionals‘) who take his course by making them pay for mandatory top-up training every year. Considering his knowledge has not moved on since the 1990’s, it will take some kind of miracle for Mattison to keep on fooling people into wanting repeat doses of his hogwash.

It is a shame that Papa Rob did not tell us which national governments were chasing him for revenue assurance training. Papa Rob is not normally so shy about naming his fans. After all, as he keeps telling us, he has astonishing popularity. His website says the GRAPA course has been taught to “over 500 students over the past 3 years”. Did you spot the deliberate mistake? Yes, we all know the GRAPA course was only developed/ratified/approved by the GRAPA “community” less than a year ago… unless he set up GRAPA and its ‘ratification’ as a promotional scam to help him sell the same old training course that he was selling all along…

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others.

Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.
  • dead cat bounce

    Eric,
    You’d made my day.
    LoL

  • fleeced and furious !!!

    i concur, i don’t see why regulators would be interested in RA, they stand to gain nothing from it, if anything, they’d rather it didn’t exist. we’ve really made this man very rich, i was as shocked to see the need for attendance to keep certification, in other professions it’s called CPE, and usually costs $40-$60 to attend an in-country conference for 1 day, what he’s suggesting is in the region of $1000 ….. NEVER AGAIN …. somebody please stop this guy …..