Sarah Staar IM Newsletter – Time for a United rant

United AirlinesThe United Airlines saga is just a total mess from start-to-finish, and it’s really difficult to know where to start in unpicking the sorry saga.

I have flown United (from New York to New Orleans) and yes they really do pack them in, they have to be the most Easy-Jet like US carrier there is.

So when you have a market, the bulk of which just wants the cheapest price to get from A to B, rather than the “luxury” of being treated like real people……. This is what you get……..

The other part of this is that it is clear the airlines PR and advertising paints a picture of the business that bears absolutely no relationship to reality.

Maybe the senior management buy into the rose-tinted image of their company – have they ever actually experienced what it is like to be bumped off one of their own flights?

Indeed the question might be asked as to why they need to advertise at all in the glowing corporate way they have – just advertise you have the lowest price on these routes and have done with it.

So there is a massive disconnect between the image United wants to put across and the reality on the ground.

And this is really important, because the last thing you want to do in business is raise expectations that you know your systems can’t deliver.

The thing that is puzzling to us Europeans is why it has taken so long for this massive disconnect to appear, and for people to do something about it.

And now let’s talk about the the customer-oriented skills of the staff.

And the staff training.

And the internal operating systems of the airline that created this incident.

That’s it – enough said !

And finally – lets talk about the PR response by the CEO Carlos Munoz.

Dave knows Carlos Munoz, because Dave worked at PepsiCO when Carlos was just a finance guy, a bean counter.

The truth is that Carlos has never had a customer facing job in his life !

And that, for me, is a major drawback in the man, and much of corporate America.

Carlos doesn’t understand brands and brand value, he only understands money and the short-term.

We, Sarah Staar Business School, will not be flying United, ever.

Let’s say there is a miss-match between our values and those of United Airlines.


Electric car meetups

ChargingPointSignIt is very rare that you can talk about there being a “community”.

But amongst electric car owners there really is a community.

Everywhere I go to recharge I finish up having a chat with other electric car owners, and lots of the time it has relatively little to do with the tech or the vehicle.


There are a lot more chargers around where I live than I first thought, and it turned out that my nearby Waitrose / supermarket has a few – not fast chargers but enough to give it a quick zap while shopping.

Yesterday I thought I would give it a try.

I arrived at the supermarket, plugged my car in, and went inside to do my weekly shop.

After about 45 minutes I came out to the car park to see that there were two other electric cars parked next to mine.  There was a very confused looking lady trying to work out how to plug her brand-new Nissan Leaf into the charger.

I asked her if she’d like a hand, she told me that she had just bought her new car two days ago and this was the first time she’d ever tried to charge it away from home.

It was quite funny because after about two minutes I was joined by an elderly gentleman who was the owner of the other car, another Nissan Leaf owner.

We all ended up having a chat for about half an hour, kind of comparing notes on cars and giving each other tips and strategies!

Quite bizarre really, I don’t ever remember standing around chatting in a car park to complete strangers before… It shows when you have something in common it can be a great way to break the ice.

Hmm, Maybe I could organise the electric car meet up….

An electric car newsletter ….

This could be quite an interesting niche to get into….


All the best,


Sarah Staar



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Sarah Staar IM Newsletter – Cold Wet and Windy

No no……. that’s not me that’s windy !!

I am spending Christmas in a house up in Northumbria, near to relatives of my sister’s husband. The house is in a National Park where everything is strictly controlled to keep modern civilisation from spoiling the historic beauty of the land.


Not far from here is Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd Century AD to mark what was effectively the northern limit of the Roman Empire. (1800 years ago and it’s still standing – they don’t build them like that anymore !)

So this morning we went for a family walk amongst the hills, moorland, and forests of the area. The temperature here is about + 4C / 40F. The wind is about 20 miles per hour.

And then it started raining……. Fortunately, some among us decided to turn back early and got the fire going, so when the rest of the party arrived back soaking wet the house was reasonably warm.

I can see why the Romans invented hypocausts and underfloor central heating. Nevertheless I can understand why the Romans didn’t hang around here for long……

Getting away from Modern Technology

I am quite comfortable with modern technology, but I use it rather than have it use me, if you see what I mean.

Certainly what is going on in Facebook is something I stay clear of, and I don’t need to chase attention or “likes”.

And email…… well I use it for business but again I don’t feel the need to be in 24 hour contact with it either to run my business or keep in contact with stuff.

I mean, like, what is really important ?? And do I have to respond right now ?? And sometimes I think that mobile phones, the internet, gmail, and Facebook are more curses than blessings because they are just so intrusive and create that “knee jerk” response.

Dave is of a similar view and is trying to keep the technology in France unobtrusive. Now the house we are staying at has no internet access at all.

It sits in a fold in the ground and consequently there is no mobile phone signal. There is no wi-fi. There are no outdoor lights (apparently because in a National Park light pollution is a big No No)

Then I spotted that the owners house has 2 way satellite broadband, identical to the system we have in France. I chatted to one of the owners and asked if they had thought about offering broadband and wi-fi as an upsell.

From their reaction you would have thought I was proposing building a nuclear reactor next door !!


Angela and Kathy on my support team have created and launched their first product called “AdSense HQ” (round of applause for them please !!)

Adsense is where you put Google adverts on your site and you get paid by Google. It works well where you have a niche of customers and you build sites to match.

It’s more of what I call a hobby income, but it does have the virtue of being “fire and forget ” You do the work once to build and market the site and continue to get paid week after week for years to come.

I have a few sites I built way back before I got into internet marketing properly and they still generate me a bit of money each month.

So if you are looking for something to do this Christmas then check this out Adsense HQ


WHOIS This is a tool to look up domain name information such as who owns a website and IP address.

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All the best,


Sarah Staar


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