Patrick O Brian

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset. If someone creates a product or service that enhances the value of your product or service—makes it more valuable to the user and very likely results in additional sales for you—that is called a PR coup. Do not sue the guy. Glorify him. Better yet, send him a case of Dom Pérignon. A Personal Digression A number of years ago I got hooked on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels about the British Navy during the Napoleonic era. These were the stories of Captain Jack Aubrey, a “Master and Commander,” who was a daring fighter and hero

Bear Stearns strayed from its core business. Powered by greed, the firm got into creating indecipherably complex investment funds designed to cover the tracks of indecipherably complex consumer home loan contracts. Nobody understood this stuff. Not Bear Stearns’ managing directors, not the sales people hawking this fatuous crap. Not the greedy investors that saw obscene returns. Not the original mortgage lenders. And certainly not the dodos who got way in over their heads borrowing to buy homes by signing adjustable rate mortgage contracts that sucked them dry. But hey, if I was a renter and was offered a $220,000 loan to buy a

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