Archive for March 11th, 2011

March 11, 2011

Soccer moms

A typical soccer mom, pic: http://www.emilyneveu.com

Soccer moms are a very American species.  The expression is a somewhat derogatory term for generally white middle-class, stay-at-home moms who spend an extraordinary amount of time chauffeuring their kids around – of course in an SUV or a minivan, not a VW Bug – to different sporting events (hence the term soccer) and other enriching after school activities.  Soccer moms generally are married and live in the suburbs.

Created in the 80s the term came into widespread use in the 90s.  It started out as a positive label used by an ambitious female politician for herself to get the message across that she is just like the other moms out there, one of them and therefore a good choice to vote for.

Over the years the term has taken on a negative connotation, one generally thinks of hurried women, planning every second of their children’s life, overburdening them with valuable activities (vs vegging out in front of the TV) and going crazy between volunteering at school, supervising piano practice, driving all over the town for baseball practice while providing healthy snacks.

What gets the soccer moms into the headlines is the belief (whether it is a fact I don’t know) that they are swing voters and able to make a significant difference in the next election.

March 11, 2011

Postmortem

Not the type of postmortem I mean, pic: picasaweb.com

If you watch a lot of crime shows like law & Order or CSI then you know what a postmortem or rather a postmortem examination is: an autopsy, an examination of the dead body to determine cause of death, or like I have learned to call it watching entirely too much CSI to determine COD.

There is another type of postmortem, though.  This one in business. In a positive or at least neutral incarnation the business postmortem is an discussion of an event after it occurred, e.g. after a meeting with a potential large customer the time gets together to discuss what went right and what went wrong.

The name postmortem, though, implies that generally more things went wrong than right and that one is not discussing a live deal but a dead one with the goal to understand what went wrong and to avoid it happen again.

Postmortems are generally painful for everybody involved, especially those who get assigned the balance of the blame for the failure.

It is a bit of a buzzword, in fact, it is one of those business buzzwords that I would not necessarily advise you to use liberally but it is good to know what your colleagues mean when they ask you attend a postmortem.  Unless you work in a crime lab no actual dead bodies will likely be involved.

Example: “Jane, are you coming?  Roger wants us all in the conference room right now for a postmortem of the client meeting earlier.”