I made a "pitch" to upper management about a new device that
I would be designing. In researching competitors' products,
our past sales, etc. I came up with what I thought was the
"right" set of capabilitites/features (keeping in mind that
every feature costs money).
When I pitched my design, I caught all sorts of objections from
folks like Sales/Marketing -- objecting to features that I had
*removed* from the design (that had been present in previous
Having researched *ALL* of our past sales (by meticulously
examining all of the old, archived purchase orders!), I was
able to tell *them* exactly how popular certain features were.
And, actually tell them the serial number(s) of the units
that were sold with those features.
Do this *once* and folks take notice. They're far less insistent
about how much they *NEED* a particular feature ("If Don has eliminated
it, then he's probably got some paperwork to show that it wasn't
very popular... AND, he knows how much it will cost to add those
features so this is an argument we're likely to lose!")
[Of course, if there is a genuine NEED, they could push for it and
TELL ME WHY MY CONCLUSIONS -- based on past sales -- ARE WRONG.
But, now *they* have to go on the record as having added a
requirement to the design -- and the costs that are associated with
that. Better make damn sure you can actually *sell* that feature
to a paying customer once you've done that! :> ]
Once upon a time I had a sales consultant try to tell me I was using the
wrong tool to accomplish a particular task, and I tried to keep telling
them that THEY were using the wrong tool. It was my job to know several
tools and how each tool did a different task. At one point he stood up
and told me if I didn't stop using that tool he'd go to the BIG boss and
have him MAKE me stop using it. LOL I looked at the assistant manager
who was in the room with me while this consultant ranted and right about
this time he gave me this look like "don't say it!" hahaha I smiled at
the consultant and told him to go ahead and try to get the BIG boss to
do that, got up and let the room while he was still ranting. Turns out
he tried with the big boss and the big boss told him to back off!
Sounds like a day in my life. I emailed one of our support people today
to ask which of the three proposals the client wanted to go with. The
reply was 'What were those three again?' Resend the email I sent two
weeks ago with suitably snarky comments.
Yes, it is.
Sometimes I see photos of the Alps or the NZ mountains where part of
LOTR was filmed and think it would be nice to visit. Than I ask myself
I took a contract in Ft. Wayne IN that was supposed to be three months
but lasted over a year. The work was interesting, there were a lot of
fun things to do in the area, but the lack of mountains made me very
My favorite is after our support people do a binary update and the
client loudly complains 'It doesn't do X anymore!'. Usually a source
code review points out it never did X. The next email is 'Well it should!'.
I'm dealing with one client right now who is adamant that our validation
algorithm is inadequate. I'm happily going to give him exactly what he
asked for. Then, in a few weeks, when the people who actually use the
software surround him with hot tar and sacks of feathers I'll tell him
who to turn the feature off. Maybe.
I "script" dog-n-pony's (do this; observe that...) so client has a record
of everything I showed him and how it all fit together. "Weren't you paying
Better yet, have the receptionist field his call and reply, "Bowman? Oh,
he doesn't work here anymore. Can someone ELSE help you??" and wait for
Clients aren't really "bad" -- they just don't seem to *think*. I always
feel like I know more about their project and market than *they* do!
I could understand this if they had lots of irons in the fire. But, often,
it's a small startup and this project is EVERYTHING (you'd think they
would know it in their sleep given their dependence on it!)
Last week several programmers and myself had to search out and package
up emails going back to 2010 to present to our lawyer. That was a pain
in the butt but I pity the poor legal assistant that gets the job of
preparing an presentable exhibit.
On 11/17/2015 10:25 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
We don't "respond" to incoming calls. SWMBO has a cell phone "for
emergency use only" (after many years, it finally occurred to me that
I should write its number down somewhere if she ever called me and
I needed to call her back!). Our home phone goes straight to voice
mail. So, if you want to get in touch with us, your best approach is
email or knocking on the front door!
Years ago, I adopted a policy of refusing to field phone calls from
clients. They would call when I was asleep, not home *or* busy
trying to work -- in each case, an "interruption". And, would typically
pose questions that needed careful consideration ("How much will
XXX cost? How long will YYY take?") -- yet expected "estimates"
in real time (then, would try to *hold* me to those shirtcuff estimates
of incompletely specified tasks).
Email allows me to schedule my replies as convenient for me -- instead
of having to rush to answer because Pavlov thinks I should! And, forces
folks to think about what they are asking. It also gets rid of
superfluous banter (E.g., now, if I ask about your kids, it's because I've
decided to spend the time to formulate those WRITTEN questions -- knowing
that a reply on your part would require a fair bit of effort, not just a
few off-the-cuff comments to a half-hearted inquiry!)
Watching people with cell phones is disturbing. The urgency with which
they react to the "ring" is almost as if the ringer was wired directly
to their testicles ("Oh! Make it STOP!!")
And, the folks making the calls seem incredibly impatient: "What took you so
long to answer?" "Where were you (and why didn't you have your phone WITH
you) when I tried to call earlier?"
Some folks are stupefied when they ask, in disbelief, "Don't you have a CELL
PHONE??" "Hell no! Why would we want *that*?!"
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