An Open Letter To Matthew Johnson, Managing Editor Of Madison’s Who’s Who

Ken AshfordPersonal1 Comment

Dear      ,

I start off my open letter with "Dear      ," for one reason: because that’s how you addressed me in your latest email, in which you notified me that I was "recently appointed as a biographical candidate" to represent my "industry" in Madison’s ("Not-To-Be-Confused-With-Marquis’s") Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals, and to let me know that you want me for "inclusion into the 2007-2008 Honors Section of the registry".

I understand that you probably invite hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of people to be honored in the Who’s Who registry.  Apparently, all that is required to get in your registry is a first name, a last name, an email address, and an ego from the recipient.  So it must be hard for you to notify all of potential honorees.  Still, I think an esteemed publication such as yours could invest in a decent mail merge program so that your salutations come out as something other than "Dear [blank]".

That said, I must respectfully decline your kind invitation.  I honestly do not think I deserve it.  How could I possibly stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of, say, Graham Norris, a director of Sharif Group — a company which (as far as I can tell) ships stuff.  Mr. Norris "utilizes expert judgment and creativity in the analysis of complex issues involving data from multiple sources and variables."  I don’t know what that means, which clearly means that he is made of more whos-who-worthy material than me. 

Same too with Nicholas McLean, who encourages "a culture which upholds the highest standards of integrity, quality and transparency, he provides an attractive and rewarding work environment for his staff" andr Tony Karitzis, who encourages "a culture which upholds the highest possible due diligence, quality and transparency in all transactions, he has gained the confidence and respect of his colleagues and peers."  Seems that "encourging cultures" is big with you people, and since I don’t even know what that means, I probably don’t fit in with the rest of the club.

While I get invited a few times every year to join somebody’s Who’s Who registry, I realize (as you apparently do) that there are a lot of Who’s Who scams out there.  I have developed a simple method for ferreting out real Who’s Who offers from bogus ones, and it’s quite easy to apply.  I call it the Groucho Marx Method Of Who’s-Who Scam Detection (GMMWWSD) and it goes something like this: I wouldn’t register with any Who’s Who publication who would have me as a member

In short, you asking me to be honored only lends to your illegitimacy, according to my litmus test.  And the fact that you sent me a form email addressed to "Dear [blank space]," only makes me more suspicious.

I hope to copyright the GMMWWSD test, and give it wide publication.  Perhaps that way I can gain noteriety for my significant contributions to mankind, if only by making the general populace aware of the silliness of Who’s Who publications in general.  And maybe someday, I will then be honored with a Who’s Who listing.

In the meantime, thanks for including my name in your somewhat shoddy and no doubt voluminous mail merge program, and hitting the "Enter" button.

All the best,

Ken [Blank space]