Mar 102005
 

Betcha didn’t know that small one-person consulting companies in Canada play a vital role in keeping the US strong, didja? Makes you wonder why I moved to a big US-based company, but I digress.

I found out just how vital these small companies are when an associate producer from a TV production company cold called a few months ago to see whether I’d be interested in taking part in their series called, yup, Keeping America Strong. When I pointed out that I was in Canada and a one-person consulting company, he responded that keeping Canada strong would help the US borders and that small companies also play a vital role. And that the series was hosted by William Shatner, supported by television news anchors and a Navy Admiral.

I must admit, I was intrigued, although I might have been more tempted had it been Leonard Nimoy hosting rather than William Shatner. Still, it was worth spending another few minutes on the phone, explaining what XML does and how it is used by various US government departments such as Homeland Security. XML obviously passed the test of being deemed worthy of the next step, which was to meet the field producer who would write up the proposal for each “entepreneurial company” (their words) that wanted to “move forward in these times” (their words). At about this stage I started wondering just how much this was going to cost, although I was enjoying the polished delivery of the benefits of being on TV with the “American icons” (their words). Eventually I got the answer. The major celebrities were donating their time and energy for this important endeavour, and the only costs were a contribution to the production costs of a mere $US 15,000. A tad pricey for a vanity kick, I thought. So I declined with thanks, got a nice follow-up email, and still have the fax with the details of what I missed out on. Maybe I’ll keep that for posterity; after all, paper doesn’t degrade the same way web sites do.

Then yesterday I found an Invitation for Interview for “Forbes Radio” on American Airlines in my inbox. Yup, another invitation to prove I’m one of these “innovative industry and business leaders, who through effective collaboration, progressive strategies, improved productivity, and increased agility, provide companies and individuals a competitive advantage and better quality of work and life”. This opportunity is to take part in a 3-minute interview to be played on American Airlines inflight program, which has a “captive audience of 3.4 million executive travelers per month”, and offered at the discounted rate of only $US 4,995! So make sure you remember your iPod next time you fly on American Airlines.

  57 Responses to “Keeping America Strong”

  1. I had a meeting with them at my office and by mistake they left behind their confidential brochure which is given to only those who appear on the program.

    Check it out! Below is a word for word quote from this brochure. It details the way the program works.

    Some of you might be interested. If what they’re saying is for real it looks pretty good.

    Step one: An initial welcome aboard telephone call and package for those who are invited to participate.

    Step two: Analyze company information and develop questions and answers for the television news interview to be conducted at our television studios by a top level news anchor and reporter. During this process we would also be creating the important introduction to your company. The anchor/reporter introductions, the interview, the award presentation, Mr. Shatner’s and the Admiral’s introductions set the stage for the interview. They are all structured by Heartbeat to create the credibility of the news broadcast.

    Step three: The creation of the personalized KEEPING AMERICA STRONG award that is introduced by the Admiral and presented by the news anchor on the show.

    Step four: Discussing the edit of the thirty minute television show–including the main company interview and all the other celebrity performances into three parts that would ultimately end up on business card CD-Rom and three different videos and content for website use.

    Step five: Assisting the company with transportation and hotel arrangements for the television shoot at the Santa Barbara studio. Complete make-up services will be available at the studio.

    Step six: An in depth script conference and rehearsal with the director and the news anchor/reporter on the day of interview at the studio.

    Step seven: Following the television interview, Heartbeat sends a cameraman to the company’s location or any other site or location to film B-Roll of the organization in action. This is then edited into the interview during post production.

    Step eight: Combining all the elements to create the complete thirty minute TV show. Following that, Heartbeat will edit condensed versions of the show for a wallet-sized business card CD-Rom, and three different videos.

    Step nine: The final stage is the airing of the thirty minute show on national cable television. We also deliver your personalized master copy of the thirty minute show. Most importantly you will receive a master of a wallet-sized business card CD as well as masters of the edited down videos to make copies for trade shows, direct mail, sales reps, websites etc. Included in the package will be sample VHS and CD copies.

    Step ten: Using the program to increase revenues. There are many ways to use the business CD-Rom, Videos, and Website to open doors and create new revenues. The purpose of Keeping America Strong is to help small, entrepreneurial companies. Heartbeat of America will always be there to counsel companies to maximize the use of the program.

  2. What is everyone so upset about? It’s a business just like any other business. You get what you pay for and if it doesn’t look like something you want, then don’t buy it. It’s not like they’re taking your money and giving you no product…which is what I think of when I think of a scam. It is what it is…and if it can benefit your company then it’s the best thing in the world…if it can’t or you don’t have the money then carry on…no big deal. It’s not going to be right for everyone. But for many companies it has accomplished a miracle at a price that is pretty darn affordable…especially given the names you get to use. I mean you can say what you want to I guess…but one thing you also don’t see anywhere on here is someone who actually did the program and was unsatisfied with the result…only people who didn’t for one reason or another. It’s not like William Shatner is really going to call you himself. No program works that way. Everyone is entitled to an opinion…but please keep things in perspective and be fair.

  3. I also met with them and they played a video in my office, well I had a hidden tape recorder going through the entire interview! I thought you all may be interested! See, I taped a copy of their recorded presentation because I’m and old fan of Doug Llewellyn and I thought you might be interested on how he introduced a guest which is on their tape and this is what he says.:

    AROUND THE WORLD THERE ARE CHILDREN AND ADULTS WHO CANNOT GET THE HEALTHCARE THEY NEED. THE TECHNOLOGY AND THE EXPERIENCED MEDICAL SURGEONS, DOCTORS AND NURSES ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR IT IS TOO COSTLY. SO THE QUESTION IS WHAT CAN BE DONE?

    IN 1997 AN ORGANIZATION CALLED THE WORLD SURGICAL FOUNDATION STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND EVER SINCE THEY HAVE BEEN TAKING CRITICAL HEALTHCARE WHERE IT HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN AVAILABLE.

    BEFORE WE FIND OUT MORE FROM THE FOUNDER OF THE ORGANIZATION THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT LET ME TAKE A MOMENT TO READ A FEW STATEMENTS FROM SOME NOTABLE OFFICIALS FROM OUR GOVERNMENT.

    Doug Llewellyn then goes on to read some positive statements from Governors. I must say I was impressed.

  4. After reading each comment, this is what I think. It seems like “Heartbeat of America” is not a scam and not a charity, but a business which is selling a marketing tool (“credibility” in the form of a video with Shatner, news anchors, etc.) at the going rate/reasonable price.

    Negatives:
    1) They seem to be offering their services to every possible business they can find and telling us that we’re special.
    2) There are some questionable sales tactics being used such as saying that the offer is for a limited time (going on 3 years, now?), perhaps over promising on how valuable a marketing tool this could be and some people reported a high-pressure presentation (which I myself did not experience at all when I met with them).
    3) There are some negative comments from people who claim to have worked for the company. (If it’s really that bad, why is Shatner associated with it and why aren’t we hearing from disgruntled customers/businesses?)

    As I look at what I can say are negatives, the list doesn’t actually seem that serious. I find it interesting that not one negative comment has been left by a business owner who purchased their production services and was disappointed. Also, “Heartbeat of America” is listed with the BBB without any negative whatsoever. It all comes down to: what are you getting for $15,000 and will you see a return on your investment?

    To have a video presentation of my products associated with Shatner and Llewelyn may be worth that to me. However, financially this is not the right time for me to put up $15,000 and since their price has remained stable for the past few years (!), I don’t think I need to be in any hurry. So, I’m planning on giving it 6 months and then re-evaluating.

    Everyone, thanks for your comments. They have helped me clarify my position on all this.

  5. My name is Ramsay Seikaly I have been with the organization referred to in this blog for some five years. I believe in internet blogs because they represent American democracy giving people the opportunity to express openly their ideas and beliefs. However, unfortunately there are a few out there who use it to vent their personal grudges to falsely poison the minds of others therein harming the good work of many good organizations throughout our country. Case in point: About a year ago, a disgruntled employee placed most of the complaints on this blog using false identities or no identities without anyone able to contact her and to respond to her fabricated statements. A famous politician once said, “You can run but you can’t hide”. Unfortunately, these people run and they do hide. Once again, history repeats itself. A recent posting on the blog signed by an ex-employee without identifying his or herself made false statements degrading the good people involved in this organization. An example is the audacity to state that we hire students to produce the show in order to save money when the reality is that the show is produced in a major, highly acclaimed Hollywood Studio where network news shows shoot segments with top-level camera, lighting and production professionals who have done the major shows for many, many years. They would be outraged by someone calling them “Students”. Another point: this poor soul thinks they can produce a thirty minute television show including three different 10 minute marketing videos with a famous network TV host with 15 years on a national program supported by Network News Anchors, an Admiral, in addition to all of that an A List Celebrity Icon known by everyone in America that adds the ultimate credibility to the program for, and get this, $7,000. If this person can do this for us, we hereby go on record to make this official offer: WE WILL PAY THIS PERSON A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO PRODUCE THE ABOVE FOR OUR COMPANY FOR THE AMOUNT THEY CLAIM TO BE OUR COST. LET THIS PERSON SURFACE AND RECEIVE THE INCOME OF A LIFETIME.
    Without dignifying, all of the rest of the absurd and twisted statements by responding to them and wasting a lot of needless time I will conclude with the following REAL FACTS.

    1. WE HAVE DONE APPROXIMATELY 800 SHOWS AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT THERE IS NOT ANY KNOWN COMPLAINT FROM ANY OF THE 800 CLIENTS FROM NATIONAL AND LOCAL BETTER BUSINESS BUREAUS. THIS IS PROBABLY A FIRST IN THE HISTORY OF BUSINESS.

    2. WE HAVE RECEIVED MANY LETTERS FROM DOZENS AND DOZENS OF CLIENTS AND SOME 800 TELEPHONE CALLS FROM THEM THANKING US FOR THE GOOD WE ARE DOING FOR THEIR BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY OF OUR COUNTRY AND ALSO FOR ASSOCIATING THEIR IMAGE WITH GIANT NAMES WORTH IN THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND MORE.

    These are the real facts and not the distorted, twisted verbiage of an unhappy soul looking to damage the reputation of a good organization, good staff and good businesses that have appeared on the show. We are an open book. My name again is Ramsay Seikaly. My personal e-mail is ramdonseik@hotmail.com. I am for real. If this last so-called ex-employee is for real, let this person identify himself or herself and e-mail so that these false and vicious statements can be discussed in the open.

  6. My name is Ramsay Seikaly I have been with the organization referred to in this blog for some five years. I believe in internet blogs because they represent American democracy giving people the opportunity to express openly their ideas and beliefs. However, unfortunately there are a few out there who use it to vent their personal grudges to falsely poison the minds of others therein harming the good work of many good organizations throughout our country. Case in point: About a year ago, a disgruntled employee placed most of the complaints on this blog using false identities or no identities without anyone able to contact her and to respond to her fabricated statements. A famous politician once said, “You can run but you can’t hide”. Unfortunately, these people run and they do hide. Once again, history repeats itself. A recent posting on the blog signed by an ex-employee without identifying his or herself made false statements degrading the good people involved in this organization. An example is the audacity to state that we hire students to produce the show in order to save money when the reality is that the show is produced in a major, highly acclaimed Hollywood Studio where network news shows shoot segments with top-level camera, lighting and production professionals who have done the major shows for many, many years. They would be outraged by someone calling them “Students”. Another point: this poor soul thinks they can produce a thirty minute television show including three different 10 minute marketing videos with a famous network TV host with 15 years on a national program supported by Network News Anchors, an Admiral, in addition to all of that an A List Celebrity Icon known by everyone in America that adds the ultimate credibility to the program for, and get this, $7,000. If this person can do this for us, we hereby go on record to make this official offer: WE WILL PAY THIS PERSON A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO PRODUCE THE ABOVE FOR OUR COMPANY FOR THE AMOUNT THEY CLAIM TO BE OUR COST. LET THIS PERSON SURFACE AND RECEIVE THE INCOME OF A LIFETIME.
    Without dignifying, all of the rest of the absurd and twisted statements by responding to them and wasting a lot of needless time I will conclude with the following REAL FACTS.

    1. WE HAVE DONE APPROXIMATELY 800 SHOWS AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT THERE IS NOT ANY KNOWN COMPLAINT FROM ANY OF THE 800 CLIENTS FROM NATIONAL AND LOCAL BETTER BUSINESS BUREAUS. THIS IS PROBABLY A FIRST IN THE HISTORY OF BUSINESS.

    2. WE HAVE RECEIVED MANY LETTERS FROM DOZENS AND DOZENS OF CLIENTS AND SOME 800 TELEPHONE CALLS FROM THEM THANKING US FOR THE GOOD WE ARE DOING FOR THEIR BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY OF OUR COUNTRY AND ALSO FOR ASSOCIATING THEIR IMAGE WITH GIANT NAMES WORTH IN THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND MORE.

    These are the real facts and not the distorted, twisted verbiage of an unhappy soul looking to damage the reputation of a good organization, good staff and good businesses that have appeared on the show. We are an open book. My name again is Ramsay Seikaly. My personal e-mail is ramdonseik@hotmail.com. I am for real. If this last so-called ex-employee is for real, let this person identify himself or herself and e-mail so that these false and vicious statements can be discussed in the open.

  7. I think there have now been enough comments on this program on this blog; since I find it unlikely that anybody is going to say anything new I am closing comments for this entry.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

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