A question of style

A reader reacted to my last blog post commenting on how it was a “Poor” analysis with “Quick conclusions” …ouch! My ego took a dent. Initially finding the structure of the reader’s comments rather confusing, I was wondering if I hadn’t stepped on somebody’s toes but on re-reading the comments, and although I still found them rather confusing, I sensed a different angle. In their way the reader was raising a flag about the state of the planet and how Western economies can’t eternally unload their excedent stocks and industrial waste onto underdeveloped countries (and yes I maintain the distinction between the BRICS countries, emerging countries and underdeveloped countries). The fact that these commendable comments came from an employee of one of the world’s largest mining companies, a company with a gigantic carbon footprint to match, didn’t escape me either and made the comments all the more debatable, but then perhaps there’s no correlation.

Apparently missing the point the reader went onto to state a couple of known facts before concluding even quicker than I apparently did, with a critic(!) but without offering any solutions, i.e. what to do with excedent stock if home markets can’t absorb them, how to reduce labour costs and make (French) industry more competitive, etc, etc. In retrospect that might have been because of a limitation in space made available by the host media to respond in but I did find that typical of the facility with which certain of today’s media allow people to comment with ease and apparent impunity (the Twit’ syndrome*) But whatever, this wasn’t about the reader per se but a personal case study for me to mull over.
(*yes, it’s intentional)

Naturally of a certain disposition I’ve long since learnt to curb certain instincts, some good teachers and some interesting experiences to thank for that, so while my last post was more about a situation as a whole, PSA being the case study example, the reader’s comments merited an objective response, if only to right a wrong, and some thought on a style of writing (Quote: Every writer I know has trouble writing. — Joseph Heller (Catch 22)).

It was important to respond and to correct the reader, as succinctly as possible* and within the available space, on 2 points. 1) Sales figures & 2) new markets** that done I read back over my last blog to see if the comment about it being a poor analysis and quick to conclude were founded and the answer is that there certainly is room to improve, but dear reader “Do better yourself!”. If communication is your pastime or job show it every day and in every way…and please, check the syntax for mistakes. As one teacher taught me. Write twice before publishing. First with the heart and then with the head!

* An exercise in itself for me, as certain of my entourage can confirm
**I could have gone on to say that PSA’s European sales, for the 01st semester 2012, dropped by ±12% while Volkswagen’s sales rose by ±7%,  mainly because Volkswagen’s Market offer is larger than PSA’s (ex: in the equivalent price range VW offers a Polo, a Skoda and an Audi A1 to Peugeot’s 207) but I had made my point.


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