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Old 08-10-2010, 09:30 PM   #31
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Yes I'm a newbie! Mostly been following Astak, since it became a dedicated forum. It's a little hinky that our man Robert has "hung it up!" What a great cheerleader he was for his products. He takes a break for knee surgery, gets us drooling for his PLUS, then exits the arena.Mighty prompt, I must say. Maybe someone here should do a little digging on this one? Hope to hear that his heart is with us. I felt he was close to many here at Mobileread. I don't know how I feel about this company now...Thanks
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:16 PM   #32
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While I'm not blaming or accusing you of anything, Jennifer, I also find it "odd" that you were the one to make the announcement of Robert's unexpected "retirement" instead of Robert making the announcement. Add to that Robert asking me to PM him just a few days ago regarding issues I'm having with my Mentor then not receiving a reply from him when I did. Robert told us some time ago that an intern (you) was being trained yet your first post that I'm aware of wasn't until today when you made the announcement. Having worked in Corporate America all my adult life until a bit over a year ago when I decided I had a bellyfull of corporate B.S. and packed it in for keeps, I've seen all too many euphemisms for being fired (or forced to resign or retire) such as "seeking (or accepting) employment opportunities elsewhere," "deciding to retire early to spend more time with family," retiring for health reason (yeah, right, it was healthier than being fired?), etc. so please forgive me for being skeptical (I'm not accusing you of engineering a lie since, if the announcement is less than fully true, you probably were instructed to make the announcement as worded by Astak). I know when I was kindasorta forced to retire from the company I had been with for 32 years (the one previous to the one I quit last year; that was my decision) by offering an attractive package accompanied with threats to make my life a living hell if I didn't take it and they asked me how they should announce my sudden departure, I told them to tell the truth; I retired. End of subject. Do not embellish it or offer explanations.

Last edited by Lady Fitzgerald; 08-10-2010 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:12 AM   #33
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I do hope Robert did retire of his own accord and not fired. Otherwise, if he was and this is Astak's way of breaking the news, it speaks very lowly of the company and wouldn't bode well with me. Time will tell how this radical change affects us.

I hope Jennifer will continue just as well in Robert's shoes here. In that she'll be just as persistent, forthcoming, honest, and helpful. Best of luck to Astak and Jennifer in the future.

My sincerest hope that Rob you'll have the best retirement, that you'll get well soon, and that you'll come back to talk with us time to time. And that you'll get to eat plenty of your favorite foods, sweets, and ice cream.

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Old 08-11-2010, 12:25 AM   #34
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our champion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I always got the feeling that Robertb was more a champion of the end-users' cause than his employer's. I sincerely hope that wasn't the stance and constant needling with the PM that caused his 'retirement'. If that's the case, I know where else I can shop for ebooks!

I bought my PP purely based on his support here. In this fast evolving world of ereaders, I hope he lends his same enthusiasm and land at another ereader distributor.

Please announce it here, Robertb. I'll follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:40 AM   #35
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robert b has a blog, but it appears to be an ezreader promo site
http://robertbez.blogspot.com/
he also tried his hand at shilling with this mini review of the ezreader, lol
http://portable-ebook-reader.net/rev...er-review/231/


and btw, the intern looks cute
http://www.facebook.com/ezreadbookst...&ref=fbx_album
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:53 AM   #36
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Well... Hello Jenifer! Welcome aboard!
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:07 AM   #37
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In this fast evolving world of ereaders, I hope he lends his same enthusiasm and land at another ereader distributor.

Please announce it here, Robertb. I'll follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, if the bad taste in our mouths is true, then if there was a gag order, there was probably a "no compete" clause. For that very reason.

But it occurred to me that if Robert really did volunarily retire and Astak truly is trying to maintain the "Astak cares about our customers" that Robert brought to the forums (and which brought many of us to Astak), then Astak has stumbled right out of the blocks.

Why did we only learn about the PLUS being on sale RIGHT NOW TODAY only as an incidental response to a post?

A "Bad News/Good News" double posting would have done wonders to bolster Astak's claim of caring as much as Robert:

Bad News: "Beloved Astak representative mysteriously disappears from Mobileread Forums"

Good News: "EZ Reader PLUS now available for purchase at www.astak.com (although you have to REALLY work hard to find it)"

But we almost didn't even know about it, except as a response that sounded pretty much like "and this is another thing Robert got wrong."
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:15 AM   #38
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Not sure how it works in the US but in Australia we are required to give a period of notice, usually somewhere between 2-4 weeks. Never does one announce retirement and then are gone that afternoon (unless they have been shown the door).

I guess we can all speculate, but until Robert comes back and tells us, we're in limbo.
Hi all,

in Oz, there industries such as IT (Information Technology (computers)), where a resignation or termination sees the departing employee end their work immediately. A security guard or similar then escorts the person from the building with personal belongings. If there is a minimum notice period, then that is usually paid out.

In this light, Robert's departure may be explainable, but still there is something about this that makes me a little uncomfortable.

Cheers,
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:30 AM   #39
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I have to respect that a company has EVERY right to lay someone off, and then be a bit circumspect in discussing the reasons for that afterwords.

But that's hardly the same thing as pretending a firing is a retirement.

Jenifer... my advice is just come clean about him being let go, and that the reasons for it aren't for public disclosure. I thought Robert came off as a nice guy, but its not like he's someone I know personally--and I don't know much about his work other than the face he presents here on this board. If he was let go, I'd feel for him, but give the company the benefit of the doubt. Because you guys know stuff about his employment I can't even PRETEND to know.

Trust in people to have some common sense. We know when a story smells, but I'd like to think we're also all reasonable enough to understand the details are none of our business--and that our loyalty to the company should be more about the products than one man.

On a side note NOT related to Robert... the guy who's the primary support tech needs a LOT of prodding, Jenifer. I think virtually every person here who's had a cause to email the support email address has run into similar problems--days of silence before even an initial answer. At the very least, one thing we all know Robert did well was be that prod, since I think a good number of us wound up having to use him as a go-between to get a formal support response going.

Last edited by Spiffy; 08-11-2010 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:32 AM   #40
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What a pitty!! Robert is a very friendly person, he talks to us in a brotherly way, always cares about us, this is why he is so loved here. I can say he has made all his efforts to enhance the company's image.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:38 AM   #41
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What a pitty!! Robert is a very friendly person, he talks to us in a brotherly way, always cares about us, this is why he is so loved here. I can say he has made all his efforts to enhance the company's image.
I agree, but from a practical standpoint, I personally don't want one man to embody a company. It was convenient having Robert here in the role he had, and I hope Jenifer will be just as helpful. I certainly don't want this whole board to resent her because she gave the company line on a predecessor's departure. That's not fair--she's only doing her job. I think that needs to stay at the front of our discussion, and minds. Honestly, the disclosure of Robert's departure should have simply said he was no longer with the company, and that it was company policy not to discuss former employees. A few people still would have groused, but it wouldn't have lasted very long.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:54 AM   #42
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But we almost didn't even know about it, except as a response that sounded pretty much like "and this is another thing Robert got wrong."
I noticed that myself. The thing is Robert was a business development manager, not product/project manager, so when he didn't know something he went and found out. So either (a) Robert made stuff up or (b) he was fed incorrect information which he passed onto us.

What really doesn't sit well with me is his job as business development manager, which my impression of the job would require someone resigning or retiring a slowing down period, given business contacts etc he had made. I doubt a company dealing with Astak and Robert would be none too pleased to find him 'retired' and never heard from again, there would be a period of day(s) to hand over to someone else and ensure relationships are continued.

I don't expect Jennifer to be able to disclose the real events, she's not got the authority to do that, and heck, upper management probably told everyone he retired.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:15 AM   #43
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sorry if someone else pointed this out, i didnt have time to read all of the posts.

upon reading the initial post in this thread and the first few responses, i couldn't help but think of 1984 or something along those lines. Robert always talked on these forums like a regular guy, revealing his personality through his posts. He also seemed to speak his mind more than most companies would approve of (especially with his criticisms of Astak). Then, out of the blue, Jennifer appears to announce the "retirement" of Robert. Has anyone else noticed she seams to write like a corporate-filtered PR-sanctioned robot? haha

please don't take too much offence jennifer, but you gotta see the irony of it all. hopefully you'll realize what robert did; that PR is about public RELATIONS - sure we are customers, but it doesn't hurt to be our friend too
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:01 AM   #44
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I wish my best for Robert; he was a big value for the company in the forums. I also liked and appreciated his direct approach. He'll be missed here.

On the other hand, Jenifer, welcome to the forums. I think it's best to give her some time and see before making comments on her. We have to be patient on this.

Concerning the leave of Robert; I can only hope he got his full contractual rights when he retired/was fired. Unfortunately no one is irreplaceable in this business world and many of us face similar situations in our own business lifes. At the end, customers require support and someone will supply this from the company. I hope that the soft, friendly relation - bridge between the company and the customers that Robert has built is not hurt after this incident.

Regards.

p.s. Jenifer please stop making other comments on this issue and just concentrate on your new job, otherwise people will never stop speaking about this it.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:23 AM   #45
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First off, hello Jenifer. Welcome to Mobileread. As you can tell, we're a bunch that tends to form personal relationships, both positive and negative, with other posters. I'm sorry things got off to a bit of a rocky start. Hopefully they will be smoother in the future.

The same loyalty and friendship that leads people to react with concern when RobertB disappears can also be yours, with the same time and commitment RobertB showed. On the other hand, the relationships formed here are not just with companies, but with people, which means that RobertB cannot just be swapped out like a worn part. If RobertB has been forbidden to communicate with us anymore (or--unlikely though it seems--if he communicated with us only out of duty) there is now no way for him to "pass the baton" as it were, or reassure us that Astak has treated him fairly. We will have to live with that. It is a pity that it makes your entry into our group more difficult, but you will be starting from scratch.

I will say, speaking purely for myself, that I enjoyed RobertB's posts, undeterred by his posting style. But I enjoy many people's posts--don't feel you have to imitate him.

I look forward to hearing from you what is up with Astak, to the degree that you can tell us. I hope, as I'm sure we all do, that you will be as good a point of contact for support and technical issues as RobertB was. If you are keeping track of reactions on this forum for Astak, I will say that, given that RobertB reported his knee being much better than last week, and given that he didn't mention anything about thinking about retirement, it seems unlikely to me that he actually unilaterally decided to retire, and that my trust for Astak is somewhat reduced by this strange glitch. I do not lay this at your door, however, as I realize it might be as much as your job is worth to depart from the party line.

Thank you for your time.
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