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Jakscht Taking Witness Stand

It took over 2 years, but I’m thrilled by the verdict!

Michael Jakscht, age 49 was found guilty on four counts of manslaughter.  You may remember Mr. Jakscht from a previous blog post HERE.

It was March 2010 and he was the truck driver who drove his 12 ton trash truck through a pack of eight motorcycles carrying nine people at a stop light at the intersection of 27th Avenue and Carefree Highway near I-17 in Phoenix, AZ.  Yes, I said the motorcyclists were all stopped waiting on the traffic light when Jakscht ran over the group.

It was a horrific and gruesome crash scene.  Four people were killed, and five others were injured in the accident.  Methamphetamine was found in Jakscht’s system at the time of the crash. His lawyer, however, had argued that Jakscht wasn’t under the influence at the time of the accident, and that the incident was caused by a mechanical failure in the truck.

Accident Scene – March 2010

Jakscht’s first trial took place in 2011 and it ended with a hung jury deadlocked at 9 to 3 for acquittal.  Fortunately the Maricopa County attorney’s office (Attorney Bill Montgomery) chose to retry the case, and Jakscht was recently found guilty on four counts of manslaughter and on five counts of aggravated assault, one count of endangerment imminent death, and three counts of endangerment physical injury.

Nothing can bring back the four motorcyclist who were killed, but I hope the family’s of the deceased get some satisfaction in knowing that Mr. Jakscht is being held accountable for his actions.  Sentencing is set for November 16 at 8:30am.

UPDATE: December 5,1012 – Mr. Jakscht was sentenced November 16th to 26 years in prison by Judge Joseph Welty. Under Arizona’s Truth In Sentencing Law Jakscht will do about 230 months. His release date will be late in the year 2031 or early in 2032.

Photos courtesy of ABC Channel 15 and AZFamily.com

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Michael Jakscht

Two weeks ago a news flash zipped across my iMac screen about eight Phoenix-based motorcycle riders involved in an accident with a sanitation truck. Knowing that in about a month I planned to be riding in the same area of Arizona, the accident caught my attention.

If you’re unaware of the incident; on Thursday, March 25th a group of motorcyclists who were taking advantage of the nice weather, were literally run down by a Blue Sky Sanitation truck driven by Michael Jakscht, 46.  The truck ran into the group of motorcyclists on Carefree Highway who were stopped at a stoplight, killing four of them and injuring five others.  Photos from the scene are disturbing due to some motorcycles bursting into flames under the truck while others scattered flaming wreckage across the intersection.

Sure it’s true that motorcycles can’t be made as objectively safe (crush zones, front and side air bags, etc.) as cars—however, no motorist (in a car or on a motorcycle) expects to be run down while sitting idle at a stop light!  Blue Sky Sanitation is a very small, limited liability company headquartered in Fountain Hills, AZ which employs about four people.  At the time of the accident witnesses reported that there were no outwardly signs the truck driver being impaired.  In fact, one witnessed stated that the driver commented how he was distracted doing paperwork.  Within hours it was reported that Mr. Jakscht had a string of prior speeding and over-weight traffic violations.

Blue Sky Sanitation Truck

But, there is even more to the story.  On April 6th police arrested Mr. Jakscht on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the crash, and booked him on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of endangerment. According to police, the initial toxicology tests on blood drawn from Mr. Jakscht on the day of the crash show he had the illegal drug methamphetamine in his system.  He is currently being held in the 4th Avenue jail on a $1M bond and his initial hearing is set for April 13th.

Motorcyclists who died as a result of the crash were Daniel Butler, 35; Clyde Nachand, 67; Stephen Punch, 52; and Dale Downs-Totonchi, 47.  Phoenix Fire Capt. Ernie Lizarraga, 52, who was part of the riding group remains hospitalized suffering from injuries sustained in the crash.  In addition, Jason Anania, 48, is recovering at home from a shattered leg and bruised back.

When people get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they take on a responsibility to ensure their action does not put other people in danger.  So we have a “tweeked” truck driver who ignored his responsibility and innocent motorcyclists were in my view murdered.  The families of those victims can and will likely file a wrongful death lawsuit, but I’m sure Blue Sky Sanitation and Mr. Jakscht will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid accepting responsibility.  While it’s how our litigious society works I do hope these people are brought to justice.

The death of a family member in an accident like this has to be a horrible experience.  I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the families and hope for a full recovery of those injured.

Additional news reports HERE, and video coverage by ABC HERE.  I’ve previously written about “trucker bombs” HERE.

Photo’s courtesy of Associated Press/NPR and ABC.

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DonkeyKanye West is a ‘jackass’.  And not because of his 2007 video for “Stronger” which used a genuine Japanese motorcycle gang in the video.

Here’s the 411 — President Obama ‘off-the-record’ called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won.  You can listen to the audio HERE

Yes, Kanye did hand the microphone back to her, but like the 19 year old she is, she was overwhelmed and couldn’t speak.  Thus cementing her status as a singing teenage naif.   The ABC reporter, Terry Moran, who overheard the casual between-us-folks chatter — which is often a part of the technical set-up before an interview officially begins — tweeted yesterday that President Obama was “off the record” in an interview with CNBC which a few hundred thousand people @RT the Kanye ‘ass’ outing.

I have a new level of respect for Obama.  Calling out Kanye was the right thing to do.  Yet, the jackass quote was soon retracted!   ABC issued an apology to both CNBC and the White House (and removed the Tweet, but not before folks screen-grab images of it).  It’s difficult to know, but what if a Caucasian had stormed the stage and used such language to an African-American entertainer?  Yeah, I’m on thin ice with an inference to the “R” word, but it does create a moment of pause.  For those who think the entire event was scripted or “staged” then you’ll appreciate this site.

The losers in all of this is the American public.  Real stories can’t get traction.  Health care is too complex and we’ve got ADHD.  We’ve become a nation of public spectacles, gossip, and misinformation.  Sure frivolity has a place, but what we revere in popular culture has almost nothing of value.  Furthermore, who didn’t know the “K-man” had been acting like a jackass previously?  It’s like his jackassed-ness was his career.  Finally now he truly is a superstar!   Stay classy Kanye! 

You might think I’m over doing it here, but… People spend money dressing and living like rappers, going to the Palms in Vegas to splash in the pool while consuming overpriced liquor and flash hand signs.  In a “me” society, who can expect anybody to behave properly, with humility.  Twenty four hour news from one celebrity mishap to another not twenty four hours on explaining bills in Congress, or Supreme Court decisions.  We indeed need a readjustment.  But they need the ratings!

Kanye is, ratings.  For anybody who’s got a trinket to sell.  And we’re buying it! 

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Re-CycleIt’s economics.  You can’t recycle when it costs more to use the existing product than to use the raw material.  You can try, but the economics will likely run you out of business.

And speaking of recycle costs, the H-D marketing folks who are never bashful to re-hash an idea, decided to change the dates and re-roll the Sportster guarantee or “Ride Free” program.  First announced back in January my thoughts on the program were posted HERE.  Dealers reported the initial program provided an uptick in showroom traffic and many requested that H-D corporate create more similar programs which would help drive traffic to the dealer.  Rather than innovate It seems the H-D organization creates ideas via committee because that is not my concept of a “Bold Idea” … to push out program dates through August 31st and if you buy one of the qualifying 2009 Sportster models you’ll get what you paid for it when you trade-in or buy-up to a big-Twin on a Dyna, Softail, VRSC or Touring model is…

“Did that voice inside you say I’ve heard it all before…  it’s like déjà vu all over again.” – John Fogerty

I have a simple suggestion to help the marketing folks solve this classic “need some creative ideas” problem:

  1. Locate your PC and bring up a browser
  2. Navigate to the Google
  3. Select a word, any word at random
  4. Remember the word you selected at random?  Now enter/type the word in the blank field
  5. Click the “I’m feeling lucky” button

Like magic it will take you to a web site strongly associated with that word and amazing things might inspire.  I know it sounds like I’m taking a cheap shot at the savvy marketing dudes and I can certainly understand a business’s desire to avoid additional expenditures in these trying times.  But, is this truly THE best sales promotion idea out there?

Another ad-hoc suggestion is to ping the Facebook group or independent bloggers and have them share ideas or comments on the best way to spark people’s interest.  Sure it’s subjective opinion, but who knows what ideas it may inspire.  Let me know how it works.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.  Motorcycles recycled into chairs/table in Sass Fee Switzerland.

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pondeadvt2002_pg6One of the cool things about the internet is discovering a taste of world knowledge while sitting on the peripheral edge.  Often when doing research for blog posts it feels like a mini-journey to me.  For every step forward, I take two to the side or three back before compiling a broad range of information.

Part of my post-election withdrawal therapy has been background research on the only Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) member (Robert G. McClure) to be convicted of four murders in the State of Oregon.  McClure was found guilty of execution-style killings in the small Seventh-day Adventist community of Gaston, Oregon and sentenced to four consecutive life prison terms.  More about this in a future post, but one of the side paths this took me on was across the Pacific to the Australian Crime Commission.  They deemed ‘biker gangs’ a significant criminal threat to their nation.   As a result, the Australian Government is moving forward to ban the wearing of “colors” nationwide (similar to actions taken last month in CA. with the Mongols MC arrests) and they’re introducing laws to take legal action which allows them to confiscate ‘motorcycle club’ assets, including the club brand (“patches”), motorcycles and property.  It’s an interesting tactic for governments to seize trademarked name/brands and property, but I’ll save the far reaching laws with broad definitions and the suspension of habeas corpus rant for another day.

Humble Pie Concert

Humble Pie Concert

It was during my Australian surfing I ran across this little nugget buried in a video clip.  First off, and I’m dating myself here, the musical performance is one of the greats –  Humble Pie (Steve Marriott) – and the song is called “Big Train” or maybe its “Big Train Stops at Memphis.”  The beginning of the video has a member of the HAMC (“Mother”) who shouts to the audience… “One more song and they ain’t going home at all.” Somehow you believe him!

The Australian music festival at Ponde was famous in its own right, but certainly not on the same scale as the Altamont Speedway Festival which headlined the Rolling Stones.  This video was recorded off an Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) late night TV music show called “Rock Arena” back in 1983.  The show was cancelled in 1989.  Others in the video were keyboard player Goldy McJohn, a former member of Steppenwolf, the Bass player was Jim Leverton and the drummer (unseen) was Fallon Williams.  Another one of my “favs” is Led Zeppelin’s song “Whole Lotta Love” which is said to be a direct take off of Marriott’s version of the classic song “You Need Lovin’“. Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean…

mannum_australia1The Ponde Music Festival ran for 23 years (1979 to 2002) in Mannum, 50 miles from Adelaide Australia, and was hosted by the HAMC.  I find it curious that over the last year there has been a dramatic increase in arrests and negative publicity coming out of Australia on issues with, in Aussie words, “bikie” gangs.  I’m intrigued how “club” attitudes have migrated from supporting a public musical festival to turf wars, firebombs, shootings and combative LE exchanges?  Internet searches reveal little about the perceptions of the festival in the past which started out as a gathering for bike enthusiasts, but expanded over the years into a full-blown top talent multi-day music festival.

 

Video courtesy YouTube, Newspaper photo courtesy of Advertiser Newspapers Pty. Ltd.

All Rights Reserved © 2008 Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley-Davidson Survey

Harley-Davidson Survey

The first principle of creating a good survey is FOCUS.  By having specific objectives ahead of time you can expect to obtain usable information from a survey.  Those objectives drive the questions and every question will in fact tie back to the specific objective.

Disguised as a survey I was solicited by Harley-Davidson’s “research team” for feedback on the 105th Anniversary event.

Cool.  I figured they want to connect with their customers and engage in a dialogue to further connect the customer base with the motor company. 

Typical Survey Question

Typical Survey Question

And so you know…in full disclosure here…I don’t have a master’s degree in applied mathematics or a Ph.D. in statistics, but after six questions into the survey I realized -HEY- their jacking me around and vetting my responses (the customer) into potential sales leads.  It’s NOT really about encouraging feedback on the 105th event (well a little) or how to improve Harley motorcycles. 

Here are a few examples of the survey questions for you to make up your own determination:

  1. How likely is it that you will purchase a motorcycle for your own use in the next 12 months?
  2. How long from now do you plan to purchase a motorcycle?
  3. If you were purchasing a motorcycle today, which makes/brands would you seriously consider purchasing?
  4. And, which make/brand would you most likely purchase?  (Multi-choice: BMW, Honda, Yamaha etc.)
  5. Before taking this survey, were you aware that Harley-Davidson produces “anniversary edition” model motorcycles (e.g., 100th Anniversary, 105th Anniversary)?
  6. How interested are you in purchasing “anniversary edition” motorcycles (e.g., 100th Anniversary, 105th Anniversary)?
  7. How likely would you be to attend another Anniversary Celebration in the future?
  8. Which of these 105th Anniversary events/activities did you attend or participate in?
  9. Please rate each of these 105th Anniversary Celebration events or activities.
  10. How much do you agree that the 105th Anniversary … a). Has sped up my plans to buy a new H-D motorcycle? b). Has helped me decide which H-D I’ll buy next? c). Made me feel closer than ever to Harley-Davidson?
  11. What impact, if any, did attending the 105th Anniversary celebration have on your feelings about each of these co-sponsors? (Ford, Shell, etc.,)
  12. What was the best event and why that did you attend?
  13. What needs to be improved for next time?
  14. Which previous Harley-Davidson anniversary events did you attend? (Choose 90; 95th; 100th)
  15. How far did you travel from home to get to the 105th Anniversary in Milwaukee?
  16. Which best describes your accommodations/lodging while attending the 105th Anniversary?

I counted 7 of 16 questions probing on my purchase intent!  I would think in today’s somewhat depressed economic and highly competitive climate, it’s more important than ever to understand your customer and their needs.  Clearly this survey is about parsing 105th attendees into potential buyers. They are splitting us into “buy now” vs. “buy later” camps. And the buy later group means spend NO more time or $$ to acquire this customer. It’s all about the sales ABC’s…

Survey photo’s courtesy of HD Research web site.

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Harley YouTube Channel

Harley YouTube Channel

If you’ve been out of the country this month without any internet access you missed that Harley-Davidson has joined the Web 2.0 movement and is executing on a so-called social media strategy. By social media I’m lumping together blogs, RSS, social networking (Facebook), video (YouTube) and bookmarking.  All of this presents the marketer on Juneau Ave with a rich set of new tools to help generate new business.  And new business is what it’s all about as the company could post a sales decline percentage for July and August in the “mid-teens,” which would follow an 8.7 percent drop in the second quarter.

Harley-Davidson “virally” launched a Facebook page earlier in the month and the official channel on YouTube was launched today.  It’s loaded with content straight out of the motor company. All of this is part of an effort to satisfy the most passionate motorcycle enthusiast.  You see, consumers are no longer sitting around for commercials; they are looking for new experiences. Whether it’s the bad-boy-aura of the riding experience, or the 105th event and ride home blogs, or the active participation in the BB communities, Harley has recognized the need to follow these consumer trends. They’ve looked at the dynamics of their relationships with customers and the nature of their interaction and have concluded that they need to move with the shifting customer base and changing market conditions.

Harley Facebook Page

Harley Facebook Page

Harley’s new social media and branding is nothing but the continuation of selling a lifestyle, a personality and it is also about appealing to emotions of customers. Increasingly, it has become more and more about creating an experience around the product than the product itself!

I’m of the viewpoint that the current social media directions won’t achieve the results they hope for on the sales front.  You can’t approach new media with old thinking. Taking full advantage of social media requires understanding and adopting a specific social media strategy.  Instead they have implemented a “me-to” approach.  Meaning they have followed the others in corporate America and will tie a range of old-school services from their CRM tools and do database development and case management in order to get the database analysis to the telemarketing team.  I just don’t see how all of the new media will connect back to the dealer network to help drive sales.

But, if that’s the way Harley views social media, a set of tools to perform a set of incremental tactics to reach the set of objectives they have always tried to reach with their marketing campaigns, then not only are they really missing the opportunity, they will probably find themselves wondering what all this Web 2.0 fuss was about.

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