1,500 Articles and What Did We Learn?

One fact is beyond doubt: I must be peculiar. This is the 1,500th article I have written for Commsrisk and its predecessors. That makes me as predictable and unrelenting as those fitness junkies who rise every morning at 4am so they can run 20 miles before dawn. Perhaps my write-athons have done some good, but they have not lowered my blood pressure. Has anyone learned anything as a result? For many years I have covered all the expert advice on how to prevent fraud, improve the accuracy of bills, and cope with rapid change. Recent articles show that we currently work in an industry where frauds are always said to be getting worse, the number of billing complaints is higher than ever, and few business leaders have a credible plan to counter the inevitable decline of voice revenues. But I did learn a few things about people, if nothing else.

Give, and You Shall Receive

It takes time to write 1,500 articles, and I am reluctant to calculate how long I have spent tapping away at keyboards. But information does not travel in one direction only. Whatever I shared through these articles, I always ended up learning more, thanks to the response from readers. Many of their insights cannot be published! Almost all of it would have remained a mystery to me, if it were not for the web of relationships built up by interacting with professionals around the world. I keep learning from the experiences of people in places I have never been, and who work for businesses that will never employ me. There is no university for our profession, but there is a universe of professionals, and much is gained by sharing information with them.

Priezkalns 3, Rest of the World 1

Commsrisk will publish its 2,000th article next week. So it does not take a maths genius to calculate the long-run averages: I write three-quarters of all Commsrisk articles. A younger version of me would question why the world does not have more to say. The older version recognizes that amassing 500 articles by other writers is a significant milestone. As a platform for sharing information and opinion, Commsrisk has advantages and disadvantages. Not everyone wants to spout drivel on a daily basis, but this platform has created an opportunity for a diverse range of voices to influence how our work progresses.

Finding Balance

I have always written about the scoundrels who work in our discipline. People want to learn about naughty behavior, but they are also afraid to blow the whistle for fear of potential repercussions. This affords me the double benefit of writing articles that the audience will enjoy reading, without needing to worry if copycats will compete with me. However, my focus on the worst people working in telecoms risk and assurance does not mean our discipline is full of bad actors. Considering the many different people I have encountered through this line of work, I have found the mix to be evenly balanced. For every over-promoted buffoon there is a professional who does great work without feeling the need to boast about it. For every scumbag trying to cheat their way to success there is an unsung hero who deserves more praise.

You can pick any scale you like – generous versus selfish, truthful versus dishonest, modest versus egotistical, hard-working versus lazy, knowledgeable versus ignorant – and you will find there is a similar number of practitioners at both ends of the scale. That gives rise to a conundrum: how can you attain better results, whilst appealing to everyone? The answer is that you cannot. If you seek the approval of everyone then your results will tend to be average. To beat the odds, you have to concentrate on those who are better than average. After 1,500 articles, I am happy with the results obtained by Commsrisk, because it attracts the best audience in the world.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.