April 15, 2019

"What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!)... But again, what the hell do I know?"


I'm giving this my "modesty" tag even though it's jocular modesty. I think the rhetorical use of modesty is interesting coming from Trump, whose antagonists love to present as relentlessly, narcissistically bragging. It's still bragging, of course, but the bragging is lighthearted (perhaps too lighthearted, considering that hundreds of people died in the Boeing 737 crashes).

83 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Donald is fighting for Boeing's success harder than Boeing is fighting. He just got a Trade ruling in their favor allowing him to tariff the EU Airbus and make Boeing great again. Now don't blow it by hiding your head in the sand, Boeing. Attack while the iron is hot.

Shouting Thomas said...

Critics of Trump often portray him as a “con man.”

I agree. The “con” is short for “confidence.”

Trump understands that the role of president is to instill confidence in us. He’s the right kind of con man, like The Music Man. (You do remember, don’t you, that the Music Man was right?”)

Here, Trump uses his bullhorn to urge Boeing to fix its problems and continuing producing. Be confident. Keep your workers employed!

You gotta love this guy.

Birkel said...

Quasi-humble brag.

mccullough said...

Maybe they also should change the Boeing name.

Ralph L said...

They can call it the SuperMAX, like the prisons.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

He speaks like non-politician.
Some people like that.
Then again, some people like to be wooed by the poll tested rhetoric of the left.

bwebster said...

This is exactly what McDonald-Douglas did with the DC-10 after several incidents culminating with the horrific crash in Chicago: they pulled the model off the market and replaced it with the renamed MD-11. So Trump is just echoing a prior strategy.

rehajm said...

No product has suffered like this one

Edsel. New Coke. Olestra potato chips. Windows Vista.

Leland said...

I think the problem with 737 MAX is that Boeing did provide additional features they branded as great, but turned out not to be so.

Also agree with bwebster re DC-10 to MD-11.

Birkel said...

bwebster,
The word 'just' is doing an awful lot of work for you.

Careful not to pull a muscle when you say "some people did something" and Trump is merely copying them.

Tregonsee said...

He is definitely right about Boeing having a significant problem. The original British Comet airliner was a great plane, except for the minor issue of multiple crashes. That turned out to be an error in the design of the windows. While expensive, the fix was easy and they continued to fly for decades in what we used to call Third World airlines. However, they never recovered their reputation, and the commercial aviation industry today is very different than it might have been.

Quaestor said...

The problem with the 737 MAX is likely to be software — some line of code somewhere that produces effects completely unanticipated by the system programmers and not revealed by test simulations. This was bound to happen because the demand for pilots has outstripped the supply of seasoned ex-military aviators for decades (one of the unanticipated consequence of the end of the Cold War) The pressure is on all commercial aircraft builders to make flying easier, to replace hard-earned experience with artificially intelligent "flight management systems", supposedly allowing less well-trained pilots to handle dangerous situations.

Headless Uber cars crashing into buildings and airliners flying themselves into the ground should warm us that AI, that thing that's always 10 years down the road, is more like 100 years down the road as far as passenger vehicles are concerned.

Quaestor said...

I would not be surprised to discover that the Japanese F-35 crash was due to a software glitch.

rhhardin said...

My airplane had no electronics at all except for the magnetos so had no surprises.

Hagar said...

As far as I can tell from "the news," there is nothing wrong with the airplane; just one or more bugs in the software controlling the autopilot systems.
If anything, a warning to those who also want our cars to be controlled by computers rather than us feebleminded "deplorables."

rhhardin said...

The 737 MAX engines produce lift ahead of the center of lift, more the higher the angle of attack, which makes the airplane dynamically unstable in pitch. Software has to fix that. Software with bad angle of attack inputs is not your friend in that situation.

Fen said...

The problem with the 737 MAX is likely to be software

Not my thoughts (read an expert in this field) but the problem is deeper than software. I don't remember the exact details, but in this case it all went off the rails because:

1) airlines wanted to conserve fuel, increase profit margin
2) they demanded less powerful (and less hungry) engines
3) to maintain optimal thrust the engines had to be mounted more forward on the airframe
4) resulting in a less aerodynamic aircraft
5) he and his software people were called in to jury rig compensation
6) one of the sensors was a fauly design, resulting in AI over-correcting and crashing.

Fen said...

Damnit. Rhhardin ninja'd me, and with a more concise explanation.

I'll be over here in the corner with my Stoli Rocks.

tim maguire said...

I vote for too lighthearted given the body count. And sure, he's right, but his insight isn't subtle enough to need saying. I'm quite sure Boeing already knows.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Related:Interesting

I've seen Cher's home by the sea. It's massive. Think of all the homeless OR illegal immigrants she could house.

tim maguire said...

rehajm said...
No product has suffered like this one

Edsel. New Coke. Olestra potato chips. Windows Vista.


Tylenol. AirTrans.

Chuck said...

Cue the discussions of what a disaster Trump Shuttle was as an airline.

traditionalguy said...

The push to self driving cars will eliminate the driving skills of the next generation. The satellites can be switched off. Then who will be able to drive the tanks and trucks into blitzkreig?

holdfast said...

Civilian airliners should not be inherently unstable, needing computer help to fly.

That works for military fighters, where the inherent instability actually contributes to greater maneuverability and agility. But the price is more crashes. But fighters have ejector seats.

narayanan said...

Question to ponder ...

Can AI have higher IQ than humankind average or even 80 percentile?

narayanan said...

Has anybody administered IQ tests to AI?

narayanan said...

Civilian airliners should not be inherently unstable, needing computer help to fly.

What is the role of FAA?

How would private market and insurance have handled this?

Ray said...

Bragging
The 10,000+ lies that people attribute to Trump are mostly bragging or "bullshitting."
There's a difference between lying and "bullshitting" A lie would be outright deception: "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor". "Bullshitting" is more self aggrandizing. It's a stretching of the truth, usually for self promotion. This is very common in the male subculture in the NY, New Jersey area. The urban black subculture also does a lot of "bullshitting." The cognitive psychologist, John Vernaeke explains this quite well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdiTaI4gdmA

*If you like Jordan Peterson, this whole series may interest you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54l8_ewcOlY

Dave Begley said...

Donald Trump: Chief Branding Officer and Giver of Unsolicited Business Advice to the World.

Any ideas for Bud? Ford? Nike?

gilbar said...

rhhardin said...
My airplane had no electronics at all except for the magnetos so had no surprises.


HA!
the Schweizer 2-32 that i trained in, had NO ELECTRONICS AT ALL!

Nonapod said...

IANAP, but even I know that a pilot should always be able to easily override the computer when it's behaving badly. It shouldn't be a complicated procedure to shut down the automatic pilot, and it shouldn't be able to reengange without say-so from the human pilot. Another problem is not enough redundancy with the angle of attack sensors. For such an important point of failure there should be 3 sensors, not one. That way if one malfuctions you still have 2 others that are inputing correct data.

Michael K said...

HoW many crashes did Trump Shuttle have, Chuck ?

Chuck said...


For just a quick (five pages' worth) flavor of Trump's out-and-out lying (not "bullshitting," not exaggerating, not mere puffery or salesmanship):

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/pants-fire/

Chuck said...

Michael K said...
HoW many crashes did Trump Shuttle have, Chuck ?


One big financial crash, taking down $100 million in bank loans and hundreds of jobs until what was the old Eastern Shuttle could be sold off to a competent operator.

Marcus said...

My American Airlines pilot buddy told me that it takes more than one crash for an airplane-building company to do something about it. The first is always attributed to pilot error and as he said, "hard to interview a dead pilot". Also the "black box" doesn't "explain" enough about the cause of the error in these cases.

He also remarked that there is a vast difference in Boeing and Airbus putting out a new model or just updating an existing one. The former requires millions of dollars in training; the latter doesn't.

THEOLDMAN

Known Unknown said...

New Coke was a massive success because it resulted in the creation of Coca Cola Classic, which outsold Old Coke upon its introduction.

Hagar said...

I am running Windows 7 and is still receiving "urgent" updates.

What Fen says above probably is also so, but do recognize that the manufacturers and the airlines are all under heavy pressure from the government agencies and "public opinion" to optimize fuel economy to save us all from "anthropocentric global warming."

Marcus said...

One of the Lib replies on DJT's tweet this morning attempted to make fun of all of Trump's non-successful branded endeavors. That's what successful people do (Trump): they keep trying and trying until they get it right. Failures are a necessary part of trying.

As I recall, Trump ran for president more than once. Four times, I believe. He'll run one more time, Twitter fools, I suppose, and I'm wagering successfully.

THEOLDMAN

Michael K said...

So, Chuck admits that his comparison of the Trump Shuttle to Boeing was bullshit. Thanks, Chuck.

I can see that Chuck's experience with entrepreneurs is limited to zero.

Hagar said...

Notice all the BP ads promoting "alternative" energy sources? Hardly what you would expect from an oil company, no?
But the EPA "forgives" $2 billion in fines for the Deepwater Horizon debacle for each billion spent on such ads. That's money, even for BP.

And BTW, BP, which stands, or stood, for British Petroleum (formerly Anglo-Persian Oil Co.), is now majority U.S. owned. Just a precaution in case Congress should get a notion to go after "foreign" oil companies.

bagoh20 said...

I bet a number of comedians have already performed some jokes about the crashes, and probably thousands of everyday people have too. Those jokes were probably actually about the human tragedy of it, not the business angle Trump was addressing, so I call civility bullshit on this criticism.

Big Mike said...

Failures are a necessary part of trying.

This.

Ken B said...

Stupid tweet,as you suggest, because for a president the negligent company's image shouldn’t be a concern, the victims should be. He is right but so obviously right it’s pointless. Of course they will do something like that. Even AOC could see it.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

For the new name, how about Boeing 737 MAGA

Darkisland said...

Awwww Chuck. Bless your heart, we can always count on you.

How many airlines have gone out of business? Off the top of my head, some major US carriers would include

Eastern
Braniff
Pan Am
Republic
National
Dozens more

Most took a bunch of investor money with them.

That's just US. Just national carriers and just off the top of my head in fairly recent years.

Warren Buffet famously joked that if he had a time machine he would go back to 1902 and shoot the Wright brothers. His point being that, overall, after all this time, airlines as an overall industry have never been profitable.

Re Trump Air, you do recall that, while it had some financial difficulties, it survived and survives to this day. It is now American Airlines Shuttle. Got any names of people who lost money on Trump Shuttle?

Prior to being Trump Shuttle it had been the Eastern Shuttle.

John Henry

Fen said...

Branding.

The moniker "Low Energy Jeb" was a death blow to Bush's campaign.

Fen said...

So, Chuck admits that his comparison of the Trump Shuttle to Boeing was bullshit.

Full boat, Queens over Tens.

Just yesterday Chuck compared Trump's "shameful remarks" to Omar's comment that on 9-11 some people did something.

(leans over to rake in the pot)...

Darkisland said...

"It ain't bragging if you can do it" - Dizzy Dean

Donald Trump has started over 100 businesses. Something like 70-80% have been profitable.


The rule of thumb for venture capitalists is that of 20 investments, 15 will lose money, 2-3 will more or less break even and the remaining 2-3 will make a big enough profit to cover the rest.

75% of all new consumer products fail

75% of all new drugs are unsuccessful, most never make it through trials.

90% of all new restaurants fail in 5 years.

And so on.

In other words, DJT's investment record (70% success) is pretty much the reverse of the norm (70% failure)

Ya think he might know something about business and branding?

John Henry

Fen said...

Chuck: For just a quick (five pages' worth) flavor of Trump's out-and-out lying

More like Politifact "checkers" feeding you with a shovel

Example:
You claimed you flew to Dallas on April 10th.
False. The pilot flew the plane, not you.

Darkisland said...

BTW: New Coke was still being made into the early 00s.

Biggest market was Chicago.

They didn't make a lot, but they did still make it.

There was never any plan to phase out what is now "Coke Classic"

I have 1st hand, contemporaneous knowledge of the non-phase out in the 80s and the continued production of New Coke in the 00s.

As someone else pointed out, it was a huge success though not for the reasons most people think.

John Henry

Fen said...

Claim: You said you attended a luncheon in Dallas.
False. The restaurant is located outside the county line in Las Colinas.

Fen said...

Claim: There was never any plan to phase out what is now "Coke Classic"
False. Richie Montague, a 12 year-old in Montana drew up a plan in his treehouse

Darkisland said...

Hagar,

My daughter worked for BP starting in 98. At that time there was a big campaign along the theme of "BP means Beyond Petroleum"

BP had one of the largest solar panel manufacturing facilities in the world in Williamsburg VA. I spent a week there in the 90's.

This is nothing new

John Henry

Fen said...

Claim: a number of comedians have already performed some jokes about the crashes, and probably thousands of everyday people have too.

False. Tens of thousands have.

Fen said...

Claim: My daughter worked for BP starting in 98.
False. She began working in 1998, not 98

Chuck said...

The Crash of Trump Air.

rehajm said...

There was never any plan to phase out what is now "Coke Classic"

I was an undergrad about the same time as the introduction of Coke Classic and some version of 'They meant to do that' was always the go to from the kids what wanted to seem wicked smart.

narciso said...

speaking of the Athens in the Caribbean, it seems rosellos administration needs a mueller or three, with the housing secretary among others,

Chuck said...

So Fen instead of addressing any of Trump's known lies, you are making up nonexistent claims, and showing us that they are not lies. Got it.

Known Unknown said...

Making lists of lies about billionaires and politicians seems like a massive waste of time.

I don't give a shit about what people say. I've learned that lesson.

Hey Skipper said...

@bwebster: This is exactly what McDonald-Douglas did with the DC-10 after several incidents culminating with the horrific crash in Chicago: they pulled the model off the market and replaced it with the renamed MD-11. So Trump is just echoing a prior strategy.

Wrong.

Not only is the MD-11 a very different airplane than the DC-10, Douglas had merged with McDonnell between the two.

@quaestor: The problem with the 737 MAX is likely to be software — some line of code somewhere that produces effects completely unanticipated by the system programmers and not revealed by test simulations. This was bound to happen because the demand for pilots has outstripped the supply of seasoned ex-military aviators for decades (one of the unanticipated consequence of the end of the Cold War) The pressure is on all commercial aircraft builders to make flying easier, to replace hard-earned experience with artificially intelligent "flight management systems", supposedly allowing less well-trained pilots to handle dangerous situations.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System was added to counteract the nose up pitching moment induced by the larger engine nacelles at high angles of attack. MCAS is armed only when the flaps and slats are retracted, and the autopilot is off.

That sort of situation is very rare — most likely encountered during a incorrectly flown missed approach. So the designers are faced with two competing alternatives: reliability, or complexity.

Using one AOA probe is the simplest approach, therefore the most reliable.

If that AOA probe fails, then the aircraft will experience an uncommanded pitch trim input. The response is simple, and should be practically instinctive: remove power to the primary pitch trim system. Takes all of two seconds, because the two very prominent switches are right on the throttle quadrant.

So Boeing (IMHO) didn't add MCAS to the already huge pile of aircraft flight manuals because a) the crew has no control over MCAS, and b) an improper MCAS input is no different than any other uncommanded pitch trim, and would be dealt with exactly the same way, using the same non-normal checklist.

The real question needing asking is this: how did two crews crash two completely flyable airplanes?

Hey Skipper said...

These crashes are fundamentally no different than AF447, which, despite suffering complete airspeed sensing failure, was a completely flyable plane.

Not only did the Lion Air crew fail to find, never mind perform, the proper checklist, despite having 10 minutes to do so, they also failed airmanship 101: if there is a trim problem, slow down. The amount of force the horizontal stabilizer exerts is directly proportional to the square of the airspeed. The Lion Air crew flew at 250 kts, the FMS default speed below 10,000 feet. Had they gone 210 knots (roughly min-manuevering speed with a clean wing) there would have been far less force on the controls.

Had they slowed further — which would have been the smart move — and extended the slats, the problem would have gone away, despite their inability to diagnose it.

For the Ethiopian crew, ignorance could not possibly have been an excuse. Additionally, they somehow failed to select a vertical mode at 1,000 feet above field elevation, because the autothrottle system stayed in THR (Thrust — locks power to takeoff setting, to prevent inadvertent thrust reductions at low altitude). THR doesn't know from airspeed. Going to a vertical mode puts the thrust target to climb, and goes for target airspeed — 250 knots.

The Ethiopian plane was going over 400 knots when the pilots lost it. That is a complete piloting failure.

Here is my guess as to how two crews crashed two completely flyable aircraft.

1. Uncommanded pitch trim, because reasons, has been an extremely rare event. Consequently, it is easy for training to overlook it.

2. MCAS, by adding a single AOA to the primary pitch trim system, significantly increased the likelihood of uncommanded pitch trim.

3. But because the non-normal checklist is independent of MCAS, and has been in the Quick Reaction Handbook forever, no one saw any need to do anything else. After all, it is a simple problem to diagnose and deal with.

4. Being an airline pilot is evolving from being a profession to an occupation. When Airbus first produced the A320, the flight manuals referred to the pilot as the "flight manager." Thankfully, their test pilots nixed that.

5. As a consequence, there are people on the flight deck for whom being a pilot is just a job, as opposed to essentially a core of one's identity. Those are the military pilots and deeply motivated civilians to whom quaestor refers, and who tend to obsess over every detail, kind of like surgeons do.

In the US, both groups have to go through extensive winnowing before making it to a major airline.

In much of the rest of the world, airlines have ab initio (essentially hired off the street) pilots. The right seater in the Ethiopian crash had something like 200 hours total time.

By the way, the AF447 final report noted that the first officer, the guy who flew the airplane into a deep stall, was an ab initio pilot. And that ab initio pilots are very over-represented in mishaps and serious incidents.

Yancey Ward said...

"Edsel. New Coke. Olestra potato chips. Windows Vista."

Jeb! Hillary!

chuckR said...

After 3 people I grew up with, and was close to, died in the EgyptAir 990 crash, I vowed never to fly third world airlines.
Looks like Boeing screwed up, but it was compounded by poor airline company and flight crew practices.
Now recent speculation is that the 737MAXs may not be able to safely fly to/from high altitude airports and in extreme heat conditions. Yeesh.

chuckR said...

Olestra potato chips. Fried up in our secret blend of West Texas and Brent light sweet crudes. Non-fattening!

Alex said...

None-facetiously, this type of humble-brag is the type of personality trait that endears him with Rust Belt white voters. If there is anything those guys hate the most is fake modesty.

Birkel said...

Politico fan Chuck, fopdoodle extraordinaire, reminds us of all the quasi-lies pretended at by the quasi-press.

Quasi-thanks, smear merchant.

Drago said...

Its healthy that LLR Chuck has given up any hope that his faux conservative online pose will convince anyone of anything and thus has seamlessly transitioned to his true self.

Again, if he had done this long ago not a single poster here would have had any difficulty with him. Just the normal policy disputes between actual conservatives and lefties like himself.

Everyone wins.

narciso said...

Ishtar heavens gate, mortal engines

Fen said...

Fen's Fact Check

Chuck: So Fen instead of addressing any of Trump's known lies, you are making up nonexistent claims, and showing us that they are not lies. Got it.

Claim: instead of addressing any of Trump's known lies
False: I addressed them with parody

Claim: you are making up nonexistent claims
False. I parodied your source material

Claim: showing us that they are not lies
False. I showed your claim that these were not mere "exaggerations" to be a lie

Claim: Got it
False: You obviously do not get it.

I judge Chuck guilty of FOUR Pinocchios and sentence him to a lifetime quest to determine whether Trump actually used the Titleist Pro V1, or the Titleist Pro V1x as alleged by sources close to his caddie, two groundskeepers and a gopher named Bill.

And Chuck must abide, as I have "fact check" in my header, making me sole arbiter of Truth.

Thank you, and be sure to tip your waitresses.

Michael K said...

Being an airline pilot is evolving from being a profession to an occupation.

I read an article a few years ago about how airlines got rid of the old style captains that used to say "If my ass gets there, the PAX will get there."

The Earnest K Gann pilots. The long article about AF 447 is really educational.

I once flew to Vienna on Jordanian Airlines. Interesting experience. They had half a dozen sky marshals.

PM said...

Trump's suggestion is what any good marketing agency would recommend.

Jim at said...

Edsel. New Coke. Olestra potato chips. Windows Vista.

I don't recall those products falling out of the sky and killing hundreds of people.

Hey Skipper said...

Jim, they didn't just fall out of the sky.

Big Mike said...

I found this interesting video about the 737MAX and its suspect MCAS software. I recommend it.

Hey Skipper said...

That Vox video is a vapid waste of time.

rehajm said...

I don't recall those products falling out of the sky and killing hundreds of people.

The President’s comment related to branding- no product has suffered like this one. If were going to be literal about it - the planes didn’t suffer, the people flying in them did.

Big Mike said...

Uncommanded pitch trim, because reasons, has been an extremely rare event. Consequently, it is easy for training to overlook it.

I’m going to take some issue with this. In 2008 Qantas flight 72 had something similar happen. In that case it was an Airbus A330 and the software appears to have misinterpreted the altitude data (37,000 ft) as angle of attack (AOA) data (50 degrees). Thinking (let me put that in scare quotes: “thinking”) that the A330 was on the edge of a stall the control software but the plan into an commanded dive that seriously injured several passengers. The pilots were able to recover the plane, but minutes later the software did it again. The pilots recovered again and made s successful emergency landing.

So the problem is not unprecedented. Whether the problem was with the sensor data or the MCAS software, the pilots need to be able to turn off the computer and fly the plane without computer “assistance.”

Big Mike said...

@Skipper, what did you find objectionable the video? Just curious.

Hey Skipper said...

Mike:

Several things:

1. It spends half its time making a circumstantial case that Boeing took shortcuts with safety in order to keep up with Airbus.

2. Nothing in the video substantiates that.

3. Then when they get to the point of the thing, at about 3:11, they don't get MCAS right.

4. They mention US crews had reported the airplane trying to dive on them, yet take not one second to determine why they didn't crash. Nor did they look at NASA ASAP reports, which the crews would have certainly filed, to see what the details were.

5. They didn't once mention what the crew's response should have been.

6. Not a word about why the Ethiopian crew was going 400 knots.

It is a perfect example of the Gell-Mann amnesia effect.

Hey Skipper said...

@Big Mike: So [uncommanded pitch trim] is not unprecedented . Whether the problem was with the sensor data or the MCAS software, the pilots need to be able to turn off the computer and fly the plane without computer “assistance.”

You are absolutely right — which is reason enough for pilots to be immediately aware of how to deal with the problem, regardless of its source.

It has been a long time since I was on the A320, so I don't remember how fly-by-wire airplanes deal with a similar situation. But the 737 is not FBW — turning off power to the primary pitch trim motor completely isolates all non-pilot inputs from the horizontal stabilizer.

madAsHell said...

There was never any plan to phase out what is now "Coke Classic"

I recently tried Vanilla-Orange Coke.

Remember when you thought it was a good idea to mix competing soda's into a single cup at the pizza parlor?.....it's far worse than that.

I also see that it is being marketed to African-Americans. It's a subtle form of racism.

Kirk Parker said...

Re "Beyond Petroleum": the second solar panel I bought (in 1983) was made, or at least marketed and sold by, Atlantic-Richfield.