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tabatha southey

There are so many mysteries on the website for Dimitri Soudas's new consulting business, Stampede Group, I'm forced to wonder whether communications was really the best field for him.

Mr. Soudas was director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but then, who hasn't been director of communications for Stephen Harper? It's a sobering statistic that, if present trends continue, three in every 10 Canadians will eventually serve as his director of communications. A further two in 10 will serve as chief of staff.

Mr. Soudas was Mr. Harper's director of communications for 554 days – or 73 years in PMO time.

He went on to become executive director of communications for the Canadian Olympic Committee, then the Conservative Party's executive director.

After that, it was all about Eve. Mr. Soudas parted company with the Conservatives after allegedly getting obsessively involved in securing his fiancée, Eve Adams, the nomination in the coveted riding of Oakville North-Burlington.

All of which leads us to his new venture's website,, It is the anti-Ask Jeeves of websites. It is close to being the Ask Wooster of websites; full of enthusiasm, lacking in substance, it goes on forever and raises more questions than it answers.

Questions like:

1. Why is the enter button on the splash page disguised as a small white horse head?

2. Who put that tiny horse in a sea of blue glass shards that is the rest of the splash page?

3. Why is there even a splash page on a new website? No one has splash pages any more. Did the web designer emerge from cryogenic suspension to create this site? Is that what all the shards are about – his broken pod? Was this website designed by 12-year-old Daniel Libeskind, with only blue pencils?

4. Who are these people seemingly running Stampede Group? When I click on the enter button (Oh, god, now the horse is made of glass, too; this doesn't feel safe), the "who we are" page is unhelpful. Where did everyone's last name go? Did they all sell their last names to pay the web designer? Did the horse eat their names? "Sabrina," "Crystal," "Greg," "Michelle" are you okay?

5. How does a company with seven "Team Leaders" only have 12 Twitter disciples? Leaders, your troops aren't loyal. But then you may want to set an example yourselves, leaders, because, of all the people listed on the site, only "Dimitri" is following the company on Twitter.

6. How does one verify that a company seemingly less than a year old, on a first-name (only) basis with the world, has a "history of raising investment capital for public and privately-owned companies"? Can "Tabatha" have a history of being a really great dancer this weekend?

7. Why does the 'Select Expertise' (quotes theirs) on the International Trade page consist entirely of stock photos of food? Why, when the motto on their splash page is "carpe diem," are half of these stock photos of salmon (living, on a plate, on ice, in eggs). Yes, I just made a carpe/fish joke. This is the oldest joke in the world. Cavemen painted this joke on their walls. They also had splash pages.

8. Why is there no accompanying text for these images? At least give us a recipe, or is Stampede Group, which promises to ensure "you prosper in your expansion endeavours," part of Canada's emerging stock-photo export consultancy industry?

9. Does the stock-photo staff, shown staring so intensely at those pie charts, eat those stock-photo pancakes? Do they steal each others' stock-photo yogurt and berries from the company's stock-photo fridge? Or is it a peaceable workplace? Is that why these people left the other places they were clearly stock-photo employed? Or did you kidnap them from Coretek Services or the Permian Basin chapter of the Gas Producers Association, "Dimitri"?

10. Why do only "Dimitri," the "managing partner" and "Constantine," the mysterious "president/founder," have bios? And Dimitri (the only Stampede Groupie with photos) has such a bio. Why, to read it, while it is never explicitly said, because almost nothing is ever explicitly said (this is the Tao Te Ching of consulting groups), one might think "Dimitri" had won the war in Afghanistan and London Olympics.

How is our government surviving without the talents of "Dimitri" who is "results-driven and focused personality. It is at the core of his brand"?

Someone needs to check in on those guys.