It only took a few days for plucky O-Fans and ASQ members to nominate me for the upcoming Crosby Medal, awarded to distinguished authors of a book on quality assurance. As I wrote then, there’s no chance I’m going to win — ASQ is trying to come up with a legal strategy to sue me for my reporting on them, after all, while their Senior Members and “Fellows” engage in doxing, swatting, impersonation, defamation and outright physical threats, apparently with the support of the Milwaukee HQ — but it’s fun to know that someone at ASQ is going to have to actually process Crosby Medal nomination forms with my name on them. I expect they’ve crafted a slimy form letter to send at this point, explaining why they can’t process my nomination because it didn’t include sending 10 physical copies of Surviving ISO 9001:2015 via email. (Yes, they asked you to attach a real-world physical object to an email, something even Mr. Spock hadn’t mastered yet.)

But there’s another reason no author of any ISO 9001 book can win, and it rhymes with “Dix Digma.” *

Way back in 2002, I uncovered a now-deleted ASQ official document that discussed the group’s 2001 “ASQ Fiscal Year Initiatives.” The document has since been taken offline and the entire ASQ website has been scrubbed of its existence, but a loyal Oxebridge reader found a remaining copy of a “State of the Society” page using the Wayback Machine, showing the marketing geniuses at ASQ had thought branding them the “Great 8+ 2” was clever. Apparently counting to “10” was too difficult in 2002.

Before we get to that one outlined in red, look at that last point: ASQ was more worried about its own “staff satisfaction” then member satisfaction. This was clearly a very, very internal campaign that some moron accidentally put on the public ASQ website, and then yanked later after I started giving speeches about it.

Anyway, yes, in 2001/2002 ASQ adopted an official financial goal to “leverage Six Sigma,” and they have continued that position to this day. It doesn’t matter that Six Sigma was seen as controversial, limited in application, and useless for the overwhelming bulk of ASQ’s members. It explains, in writing, why right up until the moment you are reading this, ASQ has shoved shovelful after shovelful of marketing on Six Sigma into your piehole. Some of you willingly lapped it up, some of you are sick of hearing it. But at least you know where it came from: it was a fiscal initiative. You were seen as customers — not members — and then subjected to a targeted marketing campaign that has lasted almost 20 years.

Now let’s go back to the Crosby Medal winners. What we see that of the last 10 awards given (for some reason, there were no awards granted for some intermittent years), six were on the subject of Six Sigma, and two others included portions of their books on Six Sigma (despite titles which might suggest otherwise.)

In fact, in the entire history of the Crosby Medal, only one book — The High Velocity Edge — had nothing whatsoever to do with Six Sigma.

It’s probably safe to say, then, that in the missing years where no Crosby Medal was awarded, this was simply due to no major book having been published on the subject of Six Sigma, and ASQ just ignored other publications related to quality. In 2009, for example, the excellent David Hoyle write his Sixth Edition of The ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook, which has been translated into multiple languages and is literally a best-seller around the world, but ASQ opted not to even issue an award that year. (Hoyle also remains absent from the published pages of any ASQ journals, too, which is odd.)

What this proves is that ASQ uses its “medal” programs to align with financial initiatives, not to actually provide any recognition among or by peers, not to recognize any particularly excellent writer.

So if you had any lingering doubts over the fact that you, the ASQ members, are the commodity at play here, let them be rested. Like Facebook uses the public as its product, so to are ASQ members to the ASQ leadership. You are a commodity to be sold pre-packaged, predetermined ideas, and then charged fees on top of that through your membership dues.

Oh, and then the leadership will just take any money your Section made over the course of the last few decades, and keep it for itself.

Oh, and now they’re sharing data with ASQ China, too, so that should give you the warm-and-fuzzies, too.

Anyway, until I write “Surviving Six Sigma: Why Some Deviations Are More Standard Than Yours Are, You Sicko,” I can expect never to actually win a Crosby Medal.

But I can say I was nominated!

(Update: this article was updated to add the Wayback Machine image of the 2002 ASQ page.)

(* Sounds like a porn star name.)

    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 25 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.