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"Say What?" Websites That Seem to Say ... Absolutely Nothing

What are we supposed to take away from these pages?


Mystery, Alaska

"Ahtna, Incorporated is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations established by Congress under terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Based in Glennallen, Alaska, Ahtna, Inc. is owned by more than 2,000 shareholders, the majority of whom are of Ahtna Athabascan descent. Many Ahtna shareholders still reside in the Ahtna region, the traditional homeland of the Ahtna people."

Okay, that's nice, but...what does Ahtna do? Day to day? What's its raison d'être?

"We seek out candidates who understand Ahtna’s commitments to increase shareholder assets and value while also providing outstanding service to our clients. As Ahtna team members, employees actively shape a company culture that supports innovation, dedication and high performance."

Again...I really don't get what you folks are about.

Now, I want to be clear I am not passing judgment over this or any of the other companies I site as examples here. I'm just pointing out that they use a lot of words to say ... I don't know what.

Perhaps their LinkedIn profile could shed some light?

"As an Alaska Native and shareholder-owned corporation, Ahtna, Inc. remains committed to its vision and mission statements, with a goal of preserving, strengthening, and enhancing a cultural identity that has existed for thousands of years. Ahtna’s efforts are aimed at providing a broad range of opportunities for shareholders, continued business growth and diversification, as well as effective management of all Ahtna resources."

Nope.

But they have a big building...

I can't figure out what some really huge companies do. Chief among these is Salesforce, one of my favorite whipping boys. Well, I do understand what they (purport) to do, but I can't glean any of it from the copy on their website:

"Discover trusted AI that helps you connect with your customers in a whole new way."

What's the "whole new way"? They don't say.

What is "trusted AI"? Ditto.

"See how Salesforce customers become customer companies.

Learn how companies of every description are connecting with customers in a whole new way."

Everything with these people is a "whole new way."

They give a definition of CRM, they give a definition of AI, they give a definition of "the cloud" ... but how is their particular secret sauce "a whole new way"?

Perhaps going to their "About" tab might help. Only, horrors, it's called "Our Story." You may remember what I said about Our Story in a previous post. Still holds.

"We’re Salesforce, the Customer Company.

You could say we've always been the customer company.

From the day we opened our doors, focus on our customers drove our every decision. It fueled our growth and powered our customers' success. We develop the technology, the partnerships, and the communities that help companies connect with customers. So that every company can become a customer company."

Wow, my head's about to explode.

Warren Buffett has said when he's looking to buy a company he will ask the owner how they make money and if that person can't answer in one or two simple, jargon-free sentences, he'll pass.

A business website is kind of like that. If you can't explain what you're doing simply and without twisted and tortured syntax, maybe you're not doing anything that's all that.

But what do I know? Salesforce has its own building, in San Francisco. I don't have my own building.

Go be grammatical

Automation Anywhere, a Silicon Valley "unicorn" startup that combines the cloud, automation and AI (what, no blockchain in there?), sez: "We see a future where automation liberates people from mundane tasks to solve more creative, higher order business challenges. Our technology empowers everyone to unleash their potential in the workplace—and in their life's work. In other words, to go be great."

Another page on their site says, "Learn how automation leaders are embracing Intelligent Automation and generative AI to increase productivity, drive innovation, and find new growth opportunities." Isn't everything doing this? SEO. Page structure. Online advertising. Flash (way back when). You name it. I'm not sure what this company does do, and maybe it's superb and everything it's built up to be, but I wish they could be a little clearer about it all. Better grammar would be nice, too.

Copy that...?

Workato: "Workato is your enterprise business automation platform for automating business processes, creating workflows, and connecting your business applications." Err, sure, whatever you say. Sounds impressive. I think...

Copy that...? No. 2

Midjourney: (after you get through their graphic-heavy and pointless opening page) "Midjourney is an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species. We are a small self-funded team focused on design, human infrastructure, and AI. We have 11 full-time staff and an incredible set of advisors."

Yeah, but what do you do? I can hear Warren laughing.

(By the way, their pointless animation makes your computer run dangerously hot after just a couple of minutes.)

And finally...No words

Here's one I will just put up there. I don't know what to make of it. This site has tons of text, but I can't make much sense of any of it, at least as a business proposition. Eleonora Escalante Strategy.

I do not want to knock this (or any other) business here. Maybe they are the best thing since sliced buttered sourdough. But I can't get anything out of their websites, their communication efforts, their whole presentation of themselves. Can you?

Here's the takeaway for good business writing (and just good business): People don't have a lot of time or endurance to discover what you do and how you can help. If I have to work to figure it out, I won't. I already have work to do. Your job is to take away some of my work.

Be clear and direct with your message. As Garry Littman, of The Language House, explains, don't do this: "Unemployment ... is on the rise, but no-one gets fired or sacked. The company is right-sizing , re-layering , down-sizing , re-engineering or having a workforce imbalance correction and you personally are decruited , let go , laid-off or offered career alternative enhancement or early retirement so you can "pursue other interests" and "spend more time with the family."

AMEN.

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