When a workplace fallout caused a bit of a big problem – the AHL app blunder.

Every workplace has “characters. Be honest, everyone has met someone at one point or another in our careers that they want to forget. The kind where you just quite frankly thought, well they are a bit of an idiot! Those people you do all you can to avoid giving any of your personal details too. You panic, your stomach goes into a little knot, you see they have friended or followed you on social media. Those kinds of people.

Workplace disagreements are nothing new and companies large and small have to deal with them on a regular basis. The problem comes when an employee just doesn’t follow protocols in making their feelings know.

Find a Big Platform

One would presume when wanting to launch such unrequited fury, the bigger the platform the better? If you are contemplating this kind of action at all; your thought train would be something like “in for a penny, in for a pound?” Then logically you find the biggest platform you have and what will likely be your largest audience for maximum impact.

Queue the AHL App Blunder and Schedule Release

Wednesday, July 10, and there is a buzz about the 2019-20 schedule. Many fans begin to receive push notifications…

Stuart Zimmel. Since I have no way to contact you are you owe me nearly $6k I would ask you to contact me about payment. Also I’m filing a workplace report against you for threatening to punch me in the throat nemours times

AHL App notifications 10th July 2019
Sean Shapiro (Author of “100 Things Stars Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”) and many others received notifications from the app with many taking to social media to discuss.

Technology Can Be a Powerful Thing

Following the AHL app blunder, a quick twitter search showed over 2000 people are still actively talking about what the AHL call “unauthorized notifications”. A little deeper digging across platforms such as LinkedIn, tells you, Stuart Zimmel, is the Chief Operating Officer of a company called HockeyTech.

The AHL app notification response "unauthorized nofications"
The official response notification from the AHL app

It’s like a Playground Spat

A little more research and you will see that HockeyTech bought Buzzer Apps in 2018; Zimmel also previously worked for Buzzer Apps. Trawling back through archived LinkedIn pages will inform you that an “Ian Bowman” used to work for the company.

I think it’s fair to make an educated presumption that Zimmel and Bowman crossed paths whilst working at Buzzer Apps. You can probably also take a punt that Bowman will have worked on the AHL app or very similar and has a good knowledge of mobile-based communication platforms.

“But He said”

With a platform the size of the AHL app the notifications didn’t stop, another message;

“Stuart Zimmel please pay the outstanding monies owed”

AHL app notifications 10th July 2019

“Stuart Zimmel threatened to punch Ian Bowman in the throat”

AHL app notifications 10th July 2019

Anyone who clicked on one of the notifications was treated to an image of a computer screen. The screen showed what appeared to be messages from Zimmel to someone else. The text in the messages showed Zimmel to indeed threaten to punch someone in the throat.

The Impact on the AHL and Its App?

This can be argued with positives and negatives as with anything. The AHL was given a spotlight being highlighted across the world as many began covering the story.

Some may say the AHL was just very unlucky to have been chosen as the vessel for this very personal attack; but did they make it too easy?

I argue though, an organization with the size and profile of the AHL could do more. I take on board that the AHL do not personally vet all employees, contractors, and associates. However, it would appear one person was solely able to “hack” their app and send multiple push notifications; causing a purely reactive response.

My question is, why did the AHL not pick up sooner that this was happening? Surely a team must work together with any notification having to be checked or approved before going live? Would no one notice a notification had just gone live? Is there no fall back to disable notifications or parts of the systems and app in such a circumstance? Were employees too busy with the schedule release or other company projects?

Do I Still Use the App?

Personally yes I do still have the AHL app installed on my mobile device; no I do not have push notifications enabled. Yes, I do find myself wondering on frequent occasions how secure it really is; but then I also wonder the exact same about the many other applications I have installed.

I do try to always keep in mind that you never do know where your information may end up; or how you might be quoted in the future. I try to be polite but noncommittal to those I am perhaps not so keen on. Whilst always remembering, technology really is a powerful thing!

For more on the AHL visit;
All Beard No Teeth’s AHL section
The official AHL page

Or you could, of course, download the AHL app!

Feature Image Credit: Sean Shapiro