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Frank Domurad

It is that time of year when everyone is making up their summer reading lists. If I were to put two books on the lists of BP executives, it would be Charles Perrow's work on Normal accidents, and Diane Vaughan's The Challenger Launch Decision. Drilling a mile under the sea floor is a recipe for a normal accident, something for which BP was totally unprepared for as was evident with the spectacular failure of its blow-out preventer. And, as Bob makes plain, BP was apparently a Challenger disaster in the making. Whether BP will learn any more than NASA from disaster is an open question. Its culture seems to belie hope in this regard.

Brett Benson

The emphasis on statistics in the BP ad also strikes me as a tone-deaf attempt to persuade. The litany of stats, conveyed dispassionately, as you note, is a form of intellectual bullying that's bound to create emotional dissonance. I continue to be amazed by the depths of BP's emotional clumsiness and its efforts to "conquer" the problem. They insist on bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Jonathan Merrill

Why do we expect an apology?

Where was the multitude of banks responsible for the economic downturn's apology?

Where was Barney Frank and Chris Dodd's apology for their bad management of the Finance Subcomittee? Not to mention their bad advice?

Where was the apology from all these consumer advocacy groups demanding loans be granted to people who can't afford them? Subsequently pressuring our government?

Bob, you should blog about why its our nature to want an apology, but really means nothing and goes no where more often than not. Is a heartfelt apology like porn? You know it when you see it?


Of course BP's language is legalistic, with every public word chosen carefully. There will be lawsuits, and lawyers will scrutinise their every utterance over the last century for ammo. Would you really expect any public admission of culpability from them as the vultures are gathering?

CV Harquail

Everything about the BP response is wrong. Everything. I've been wondering what it would take to shift/knock/shove them out of the denial system they keep reinforcing-- it seems to require framebreaking of major proportions. Any ideas how that could be prompted?
In the meantime, you can watch BP's Inner Asshole (actually, someone's impersonation of same) on Twitter @BPGlobalPR. Just don't look at the Twitpic'd photos of dead pelicans.

Zack Grossbart

Good post on an important topic, but your points go 1, 2, 4. Where is point 3? (Zack, thanks, I fixed it, Bob)

Joe Marchese

The late Ron Zemke taught me a straightforward way to recover from occasional lapses. Thanx to Google, you can learn it too (see page 39):

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