Thursday, June 29, 2006

9 Things -- A Corollary

Seth Godin offers up Nine Things Marketers Ought to Know About Salespeople (and two bonuses), and as a corollary I'd like to offer up 9 Things Salespeople and Marketing People Ought to Know About Operations people. I'm writing this from a nerd's perspective having to develop or produce a product, but perhaps it will ring true for folks in different disciplines in slightly different situations.

Consider me addressing this to Salespeople or Marketing people. Or SOMPs.
  1. Selling is hard, but delivering on your promises can also be hard. If I am stressed meeting your deadlines or requirements, cut me some slack. And keep the coffee and snacks coming.
  2. Speaking of promises, when you make a promise you aren't the only one keeping it! Most likely it's the people putting your project together having to keep it, so please don't hand promises out like candy. At least, not without talking to me first. I certainly promise, however, not to change processes, features, or rollout schedules if you promise to deliver solid specs and requirements up front... and then hold to them or keep your customer accountable to them.
  3. Every once in awhile we can help you change a customer's mind. Chances are I've done a project like yours a hundred times, and there's probably a handful of people like me on your project. If you give me insight into what your customer is thinking, there's a good chance I can help.
  4. I won't ask you to sell lousy stuff so long as you help me make great stuff. Again, give me insight into what the customers are thinking.
  5. I would like to be rewarded, too, especially when I'm helping you keep your our promises by being at the office well into the wee hours of the morning while you leave at 4:59pm so you can make your Curves appointment or pick up your kids from soccer practice.
  6. When you have no earthly idea on what works be up front and honest about it. I have a crap detector that goes off with the slightest provocation.
  7. I don't like it when you have to make cold calls, either. It reeks of desperation and tells me my job is in jeopardy. May I suggest that if we succeed together by involving me more in your customers and processes, you'll probably make less of those calls?
  8. Share what you learn in the field. If something we bid on goes to a competitor, I'm dying to know why. Did we price out of the ballpark? If so, maybe my estimates stunk (or your description of the project which my estimates were based on). Did the quality of the last project stink? Etc, etc.
  9. Trust me, I'd rather you be out of the office interacting with real people and making the sale rather than the customer taking order over the web. I like to work on new stuff and solve customer's problems. It's like working on puzzles for me. This leads me to my first bonus...
  10. Speaking of being out of the office -- market / sell the product / project, but please don't think you can also act as the project manager. In fact, I insist that after you sell a project and do the knowledge transfer to the PM, GO AWAY. Because you are close to the customer you will become an adversary to me and the other operations folks working on your project. You'll micromanage where the project goes and how it gets there -- which is fine for a PM, except you won't have PM skills and will change direction depending on what the customer ate the night before. And I'll hate you and put really nasty easter eggs in your product.

    That's not to say you don't have a right to know how the project is going and to change it's course, but do that with a PM (and operations managers if need be) on a periodic basis (preferable not every half-hour) and base it on the customer's needs. I'm trying to deliver your great product, so leave me be.

    The other reason I insist that you concentrate on sales is because I need something to work on when I'm done with the current project. Having you work in a cyclical manner where you sell something, then PM the project, then try to sell again probably isn't going to work. In fact, you may alienate your customer if you all of a sudden you stop schmoozing them and figuring out what their next move is right after getting a big sale out of them. They have short and long term goals and you should be doing your best to weasel that information out of them. You need to be their buddy.
  11. My second bonus -- I think I've harped on or alluded to this twice already but it's worth repeating. Get me involved during the selling process. You know the old children's game of sitting in a circle and whispering something in one kid's ear, then have them whisper the same thing to the kid on the other side, and repeat all the way around the circle until it comes back to you? Remember how the word repeated to you when it gets to the end doesn't even begin to resemble what you said to the first person? That's how your project is going to turn out when you put layers between me and what the customer has said.

    There are a variety of reasons for that -- they may have read about some trend in a magazine or heard some buzzword and wants their project to have that in it. You may not have heard of the trend or buzzword and therefore neglect to mention it to me when describing the project, but chances are I've heard of it!

Vista Screenshots

Lifehacker has some nice screenshots of Vista. Pretty, and pretty annoying.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Teleflip

Now here's something useful. If you ever wanted to send an SMS to a friend's phone from your e-mail but don't remember their carrier or what their carrier's domain name is for SMS, use Teleflip. It's as easy as (phonenumber)@teleflip.com.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Familiar?

Oh ye phormer Pharmedicans, is this ringing a bell?

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dynamic render egine... on a web page??

This is kinda nifty: http://gregtaff.com/rendar2.html

However, I'm not really sure how one would use it effectively on a website...

Kentucky Fat Chicken

KFC sued over unhealthy fat:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, in a suit filed against Yum Brands Inc. in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, said some KFC meals were "startlingly" high in artery-clogging trans fat from the partially hydrogenated oils used for frying.

CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said it was harder to avoid trans fat at KFC than at other fast-food restaurants.

Yes, it's harder to avoid trans fat at KFC than other fast food chains because, like, the magnets are stronger in the stores and pull my car into the drive-through without giving me a fighting chance to go to Taco Bell.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Seen On a Bumper Sticker Yesterday

"PAY YOUR TAXES! 12 million illegal immigrants are depending on you!"

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Question From Ignorance

And now, for something completely different.

Can anybody tell me why it's illegal to receive an income from providing sex or sexual favors to someone else for money, except in the case where there is a camera in front of you and the resulting footage is distributed/sold? I am definitely not an advocate of making a living via prostitution, but there seems to be a general disconnect in the law when it's OK to make money conducting sexual acts for "performance" vs. providing sexual acts as a service to a paying customer.

Discuss.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Last Reason For Sticking With MiniDisc...

...is gone. Behold, the MicroMemo Digital Recorder for the iPod, which can create hi-fidelity microphone or line-in recordings.

[ via Ubergizmo ]

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I'm So Hungry...

...I could just unhinge my jaw and eat a whole kangaroo.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rock and a Hard Place

I'm pretty sure I've had some for of tinnitus all my life. I can remember there being a ringing in my ears ever since I was a kid, and my father has said that he's always had a ringing in his ears, although that may be from the noise from the work environment he's been in.

After my bout with terminal stupidity last year I went through several rounds of physical therapy. After I graduated I was allowed to play sports again, mainly basketball, soccer and a little softball.

Prior to the break, more than a year and a half ago, I injured something muscular in the same arm playing tennis, causing some swelling and squishiness in the forearm muscles near the bone. Then I proceeded to break the radius a little less than a year later.

The arm still isn't right, but it's been getting slowly better over the past several months. The flexibility is very slowly coming back and the strength (what little there was) is mostly back. So, I tried getting on the tennis court again this past Memorial Day weekend. Overall, I felt like I could pretty much play up to the same level I did before (again, such that it was), but boy did the elbow not like it afterwards. Some of the flexibility went away, probably due to the swelling that popped up.

No sweat, I grabbed ice and started doping up. First with a couple of Motrin, and then the next day with a couple of Aleve. A friend had recommended it, I tried it the week before, and it seemed to work fairly well.

So what in the Sam Hill does this have to do with tinnitus?

A week ago I noticed a fluttering in my right inner ear... akin to hearing somebody beat on a bass drum from far away (with terrible time keeping), but actually feeling it in your ear. This time a year wreaks havoc on my allergies, so here I am thinking that my ear fluttering may be related to congestion problems.

After surfing google a bit I ran across this article on "ototoxic medications." It appears that folks hitting the "non-steroidal anti-inflammatory" sauce may incur a little bout of tinnitus or aggravate what they already have. Elsewheres I have read that these class of meds may also contribute to hypertension and weight gain due to water retention. I knew I had something to blame!

In any event, I'm going to lay off the sauce for a little while and try to stick to ice.