I want that job!

8 August 2011


The Financial Times has an occasional feature, “The Job,” in which they describe off-beat jobs. Usually I find these merely interesting, but in today’s Financial Times the description of Private Fixer made me aware that this is the perfect job for me. I could easily see myself doing this.

However, obtaining a position like this is entirely a matter of having connections to the kind of people who, 1) would need this kind of service, and 2) would trust you to carry out this kind of service for them. What you are really selling is your trustworthiness, and people who need the services of a private fixer are only going to trust people that they know, one way or another.

In other words, it isn’t going to help me much to hang out my shingle as a private fixer and wait for the phone to ring. The phone isn’t going to ring. But the private fixing firm mentioned in the Financial Times piece, Perfect Knowledge, has hung out its shingle, so to speak, on the internet.

Allow me a digression for a moment: one of the surest ways to spot an internet scam is to look for grammatical errors. For the most part, legitimate businesses seem to have competent proofreaders, while the scammers seem to be utterly clueless when it comes to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. Finding an error of this kind in an e-mail or a webpage is a good sign that you are not dealing with a legitimate business enterprise.

Now, I wrote above that what private fixers are selling is trust. It was, then, with some degree of surprise that when I visited the Perfect Knowledge webpage I found that it was riddled with linguistic errors. Since, for me, a linguistic error is a red flag for a scam, and since, as I have stated, private fixers are selling trust, I therefore experienced a certain degree of cognitive dissonance in trying to reconcile Perfect Knowledge’s linguistic deficiencies with its need to have the full faith and credit of its clients.

Here’s a gem from the Perfect Knowledge site under the tab “Private Fixer”:

“Our confidential services are based on complete trust and discretion ensuring the deepest privacy to our clients who wish there private affairs remain anonymous.”

Which should read:

“Our confidential services are based on complete trust and discretion ensuring the deepest privacy to our clients who wish their private affairs remain anonymous.”

The familiarity of the error of writing “there” for “their” (so easy because they are homonyms — I do this all the time myself when I am typing rapidly) does not excuse it, but in fact makes the error worse, because proofreaders should be on the lookout for just this sort of thing.

In first sentence of the root directory we find this:

“Perfect Knowledge is a private company that offers a bespoke service to VIP’s, senior executives and ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWI).”

Which should be:

“Perfect Knowledge is a private company that offers a bespoke service to VIPs, senior executives and ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWI).”

Because “VIPSs” is neither a contraction nor possessive.

Needless to say, the Perfect Knowledge website did not give a good initial impression of the company, but perhaps worst of all was the overall tone of the site, which comes across more like an Eliot Spitzer-level multiple-diamond escort service than a business enterprise that has the trust of “ultra high net worth individuals.” Did I read that right? Did they really write, “ultra high net worth individuals,” and did they really follow it by its acronym in parentheses, “UHNWI”? And do they really have all those cheesy pictures of the high life on each page, with yachts and gold bars and polo ponies and private jets?

I can’t resist citing one more glaring error, also showcased on their main page:

“Our team at Perfect Knowledge comprises of private fixers who will deliver the commitment and exclusivity you demand.”

So, “comprises of” — what’s that supposed to mean? One is reduced to mere speculation. They might mean, “is comprised of,” or they might mean, “Our team at Perfect Knowledge comprises private fixers…” but it’s difficult to say for certain.

Far from having the full faith and confidence of its clients, I’m surprised that Perfect Knowledge even has clients who take them seriously.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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One Response to “I want that job!”

  1. He probably doesn’t but is hoping to get an innocent.

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