The best of last week.

TNW Weekly Debrief

December 9

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You're fired as a customer

As a customer, it’s only fair to demand the best customer service possible from a company. You expect to be treated justly and fair. And this happens… most of the time.

But there are instances in which customer service sucks. How can they treat you like this? Should you complain? Don’t they care about their reputation?

They absolutely do care about their reputation. But it’s important to understand that no company will ever have a 100 percent success rate with regards to customer relationships. There’s always a small percentage of people that will complain no matter what you do, or will just have bad luck with all aspects of your business.

As a company, you accept that. And focus on the 99 percent of people that you can satisfy.

Once upon a time, a customer complained daily about one of my companies – even cursing at my employees. No matter what they did, he moaned and demanded more. I eventually took over the conversation and very politely explained that I was firing him as a customer – we would never be able to satisfy his needs and decided to not invest in him anymore. I then directed him to our competitors and deleted his account.

At first, he was furious, then became silent, and then begged to be taken back. My employees were elated that they no longer had to deal with the angry customer and could now spend more time on helping people that enjoyed our service.

If you’re asking for something from a business, make sure you fit in the 99 percent of customers they enjoy talking to – don’t be in the small fraction that ruins their day. And if you own a company, offer the best service you can – but consider which customers you want to invest the majority of time in.

Boris Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
CEO and Managing Editor
Email  Twitter
Apps of the week

Trusted Contacts

Google is making it easier for your close friends and family to keep track of you with its new app for Android.


Figma’s new Components make editing multiple design instances incredibly easy


Dropbox is getting a neat update today: You can now download entire folders for offline use.

Red faces of the week

Facebook privacy mix-up leads to 1.2 million ‘attending’ teen girl’s birthday party

Ever wanted to throw a low-key party and accidentally invite millions?

A Mexican teenager, Rubi Ibarra Garcia, is turning 15. To celebrate the occasion her parents posted a (now removed) short video (YouTube mirror) on Facebook with the intention to invite friends and family to what they thought would be a moderate-sized gathering. Things don’t always go as planned.

After Rubi’s parents accidentally set the privacy settings to ‘Public,’ over 1.2 million people worldwide accepted the invite by clicking ‘Going.’ 

The text translates to “Buses are already starting to leave for Rubi’s 15th.”

In case you thought the family was freaking out about the thought of what could potentially amount to hundreds (or thousands) of actual party crashers, they aren’t. In an interview on Mexican TV, the girl’s father said [translated]: “Everyone is invited, everyone who wants to come.” Rubi’s mother added: “If you can come to sing, to honor us with your presence and your voice [you are] welcome.”

In case you’re interested in attending, the family plans to have three bands, a horse race with a cash prize, and even a handful of VIP tickets for the event. The family didn’t say what the VIP tickets entail, but we’re hoping it means extra guacamole.

The birthday girl isn’t as stoked about the thought of the invited, but not really invited, guests. “At first I thought it was very funny, but I think it’s out of control. I don’t know why people thought all of Mexico was invited.” Ah, Rubi, it’s not just Mexico — you invited the entire world.

And if you show up for Rubi’s party, don’t be a dick; bring a gift.

>1.2 million 'attending' girl's birthday after Facebook invite mix-up on The Telegraph

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Must-read from beyond TNW One more thing

Inside Oculus’ Quest to Design an Invisible VR Controller

By Wired

Mouse scroll wheel ‘inventor’ basically says we’re all using it wrong