1 way to piss off companies

December 1, 2006

After reading Telemarketing system: 71 ways to piss off telemarketers I must say I agree with them: telemarketers are a pain in the ass.

But most of the times they’re just young students or people that don’t seem to find a better thing to do. Really, would you be a telemarketer unless you’d have to be one?

The real problem lies in the companies, the companies that pay telemarketers to call you and to try to sell them God knows what. In my opinion the best thing you should do is:

  • Best thing: Don’t buy any product/service from that company
  • 2nd best thing: Say loud and clear “I’d never buy a product from that company”

Now you’re doing your part.


Adeus Google Answers

December 1, 2006

As mentioned by Google and then by Seth Google Answers has stopped accepting any new questions and, by the end of the year, will stop accepting even new answers.

But why? They don’t tell.

Is it because it wasn’t profitable? It’s likely but… Google has lots of products that aren’t profitable. But probably this one wasn’t growing as intended.

If I had Google’s huge cashflow, user base and intelectual capital I’d do the following with Google Answers:

  1. Redesign it (it is so so…)
  2. Stop charging people to ask questions
  3. Implement a Googled ranking system for contributors answers (they have great PhDs, I’m sure they’ll have no problem with that)
  4. Give daily/weekly/monthly prizes to the best contributors
  5. Sell advertising space on the site.

If they gave out $5000 prizes daily, how many people do you think would visit the site?


Poor implementations

November 30, 2006

What is a great design worth if the implementation is poor? Next to nothing…

Poor implementation

This picture, from Seth’s Blog: Classic illustrates a common problem. I’m pretty sure no one draw that curved line in the blueprint. But it did come out that way.

So, next time you’re reading a great proposal, design or whatever, remember to really know who’s going to execute it and how it is going to be controlled.


Last day

November 30, 2006

I’m no mathematician (or statistician), but I’m pretty sure that more than 50% of the written part of the reply to a RFP is made on the last possible day, on more than 95% of the cases (well… at least in Portugal).

But fortunately I’d also bet that on at least 98% of the cases the final job is pretty good. 🙂


Real-World planning

November 30, 2006

Every project starts with some kind of planning. It can be very simple or it can become complex as hell.

But there will be a plan – no plan, no project.

There’s no reputable consulting firm that won’t present you with a macro plan before you buy a project, and it’s great they do it.

Now… keep this in mind:

Perfect approach: Know the client, know the situation, create a plan, execute it.

Real-world approach: Know a little about the client, know even less about the situation, create a crappy plan, execute it, update to a less crappier plan, execute it, and so on. This is how it works!


Consultants’ role

November 26, 2006

Don’t really know why, but when I changed my blog design I lost some of the info on this post. If you’re interested in any of this leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.

I’m a consultant. What do consultants do? They consult.

As a matter of fact, it’s quite difficult to explain what consultants do. We are able to help people (companies) solve their problems, using our specific expertise and knowledge. But does that mean that companies couldn’t do it without us? On most cases, it doesn’t – you could do it on your own.
Let’s suppose you run a successful business. Sales and profits are up, employee morale and productivity is great and you know that your workers are as occupied as they can be. Suddenly, as if coming from nowhere, something happens or is about to happen! What do you do?

  1. You create a task force within your company
  2. You hire a consulting team

What are the main advantages/disadvantages of each choice?

Internal team
Advantages Disadvantages
Consulting team
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Has extensive industry knowledge
  • Will use tried and tested methods that have already worked somewhere else (most of the cases…)
  • Are used to the issues relating projects, such as meeting deadlines, change management, and so on
  • It will cost money (a lot and it is real money, not opportunity cost)
  • Might not know your company well enough and they will surely steal some of your employees time
  • They’ll definitely try to upsell something else
  • Your employees might not like them and make their life (and the project’s goal) a lot harder

Summarizing

As you may have already discovered, if you choose an internal team for the project, be sure that they can handle it. To be honest, unless the problem is simple and similar to others already faced (or if you have a real internal consulting team, solely dedicated to projects) you’re almost doomed to failure. You’ll fail because the deadlines will not be met, common project errors will be made and you’ll realize, sooner or later, that people require other kind of expertise and knowledge, different from what they’re used to.

You’ll end up wasting your employees’ time (their productivity, your income), lowering morale and… well… calling up the consulting firm.

On the other hand, understand that not all consulting firms are created equal and that their main goal is exactly the same as yours – making money – and that sometimes that goal will conflict with your best interest.

This was just a brief view about the importance and need of consulting firms. Sometimes they’re really useful. Sometimes they’ll make you save or earn a lot or money. But sometimes things don’t go well.

In another post I will talk about on how to choose a good consulting firm and to be sure that you are buying a project that’ll work out for you.