GRAPA Reaches for the Bottom of the Barrel

Not content with pretending to manufacture professionals in the space of a few days, Papa Rob Mattison’s Global Revenue Assurance Practitioner’s Association is now promising to turn his suckers chumps members into engineers. Yes, engineers. People who do engineering. Like building bridges, except these bridges would fall down. Meanwhile, the rumour mill suggests that time is running out for GRAPA, as Papa Rob is struggling to squeeze repeat fees from the gullible HR departments which have paid for his training services in the past. Papa Rob started his reign of terror error by describing himself as the chief wizard world’s leading buffoon global president of all matters relating to revenue assurance. He later extended his tyranny absurdity authority to fraud management, and then internal audit. Now Papa Rob is set to become the world’s leading charlatan fantasist proponent of telecoms revenue engineering. Which may prove difficult, as he will struggle to find sources to copy for his imminent training course, website, and theatrical production motion picture self-published book. Or maybe not…

This is how GRAPA’s website explains the new need for telecoms revenue engineering:

After multiple interviews, benchmarks, and analysis, GRAPA has found that those who once were considered revenue assurance professionals are now taking on the crucial roles of managing and assuring profitability, new products, migration, and marketing.

This may be true, in the sense that even the number two is a multiple, and Papa Rob has several family members working for him. Some people who used to work in revenue assurance may now do other things. Some may do revenue assurance and other things. Some people may never have worked in revenue assurance, but they still do other things. So there is some potential to sell training to people who do other things than revenue assurance. However, I am pretty sure that people did jobs like marketing before anyone did revenue assurance, so I am unclear why now is the time for marketeers to turn to Papa Rob for guidance.

Revenue Engineering is the art and science involved in harnessing the power of marketing, getting control of new technologies, and bringing these together in the design of commercialized products that are saleable, marketable and profitable.

Honestly, he wrote that. Word for word. I actually find it hard to know where to start when making fun of it. As I look at my calendar, I see this is the year 2013 CE. Does Papa Rob really think that nobody, before now, ever thought about sales, or how to make a profit? And what kind of product would be unmarketable?

Telco CEO: We’ve got this new product, and we need you to market it.

Telco CMO: You gotta be kiddin’ me boss!! Nobody can market THAT product! We’ll just have to put it out there, and hope we get lucky with the whole sales and profits thing.

Telco CEO: I guess you’re right. If only somebody had invented a science AND art called ‘revenue engineering’ we probably wouldn’t be in this mess now. Remind me to book myself on a 3-day revenue engineering course if anybody is smart enough to offer one.

The only good thing about Papa Rob is that he listens to many voices and everybody has a chance to influence the agenda of his democratic association. No… wait… that is total nonsense. What I meant to say is the only good thing about Papa Rob is that he always gives credit to all the other professionals who do so much to develop new practices.

We are proud to recognize GRAPA members who have pioneered this discipline and now we strive to continue to help telecoms professions to revolutionize the way they approach the most challenging and most critical of their new responsibilities.

I told you! Like I said, Papa Rob is always giving credit to the fellow professionals who do so much to develop new practices. Unfortunately, never lists the names of his co-pioneers, because they do not exist. We all know the revolution only begins in the classroom, after your company’s HR department has paid your tuition fees.

In an effort to continue to be a relevant and reliable source of information and standards for our 7500+ members…

At last, a smear of truth can be found in Papa Rob’s pile of prevarication. It is true that GRAPA is struggling to stay ‘relevant’. One GRAPA insider recently told me that we may not have to worry about GRAPA for much longer. (Message to Papa Rob: I know you read this, so feel free to sue, if you dare!) A quick review suggests GRAPA is running out of juice. The number of training events are well down. Papa Rob issued RA ‘standards’ in 2009, and has been unable to update them since. Follow the links from GRAPA’s home page, and you soon find an enormous entanglement of half-finished or discarded websites. And consider his spam distribution membership list. Nobody ever leaves GRAPA. Anybody foolish enough to send an email to GRAPA should expect to be listed as a GRAPA member until the end of the universe. Or until Papa Rob grows up and get a real job, if that comes sooner. (That was a stupid thing to write. The end of the universe is obviously going to happen first.) Papa Rob used to add thousands of emails to his spam list every year. Now he is stuck in the 7000’s. As of today, GRAPA boasts of 7612 members in 3468 companies. And yes, some GRAPA-certified clowns really are too stupid to see what is wrong with those numbers. 7612 members. 3468 companies. 2.2 members per company. Bear that ratio in mind, next time you see a photo of Papa Rob posing with 12 employees from the same company. GRAPA’s stooges clearly lack the instincts for audit and data analytics. It is easy to see how unreliable the data is. The list of companies includes businesses which have stopped trading. Others are listed multiple times, because of a change of name, or because both the brand and the name of the official corporate entity have been stated. Even with such obvious flaws, there is nobody in GRAPA with the professionalism to correct them.

The mission, then, of our Revenue Engineering Professionals Association is to ensure our members are can (sic) handle this high-risk responsibility, and empower them to continue to deliver value in the ever-changing world of telecoms.

Let me tell you two things that never change. A leopard never changes its spots. And Rob Mattison never updates his blustering brassneck bragging backward, basic, and narrow perspective on how telcos work. Revenue engineering may be a new slogan for Papa Rob, but it is not a new product for him. Let us review some of the many books Rob Mattison has written. Before Papa Rob appointed himself Grand Poobah Global Lifetime President of Revenue Assurance (and Fraud Management, and Internal Audit, and Everything Else He Fancies In His All-Knowing Wisdom), he squeezed out, with his rapid-fire writing action, each of the following titles…

  • The Telco Churn Management Handbook, in 2005. One reviewer said: “This is a ground breaking book about telco churn management.” The name of that reviewer was Robert M. Mattison.
  • Telecom Churn Management: The Golden Opportunity, in 2001. Readers said: “I would expect this from a student paper thrown on the web, but not a published book and certainly not at the price I paid,” and “a fifth-grade level writing style (like the “Dummies” books) that took basic concepts that could be written in one sentence and stretched them across many pages… little attention to the math that factors into the churn calculations.” However, there were also some excellent reviews, mainly from Papa Rob’s relatives.
  • Winning Telco Customers Using Marketing Databases, in 1999. Papa Rob said the book “demonstrates how to develop a competitive marketing process and utilize strategies in database marketing to capture and keep the best and most profitable customers.”
  • Data Warehousing and Data Mining for Telecommunications, in 1997. Papa Rob said his book helps readers to “understand how to engineer and implement a warehouse/mining strategy that reduces costs, maximizes profits, and supports long-term corporate goals”. Other reviewers described it as “sales collateral on software” and said it had a “bizarre” definition of data mining.

Papa Rob says the world of telecoms is ever-changing. But his world is never-changing, apart from one thing: the suckers come, and the suckers go. So long as new people with no experience can find a job and type a lazy search into Google, Papa Rob will find professionals customers dupes to buy his training courses. But many of them buy once, never come back, and never mention GRAPA on their CV. And instead of training courses, there is a much cheaper way to learn everything Papa Rob knows about telecoms revenue engineering. You only need to obtain his old books, from somebody who no longer wants them.

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.