New Addition to Ed’s List – SmartBridge Partners

I am honored to announce SmartBridge Partners as the newest addition to Ed’s List.

I received the following email from Jerry Norman:

We’ve had success with our KTA’s in the past 2 months. Actually, more than I’d expected.

We’ve been doing projects only with fixed-price agreements for a couple years. The odd support was sticking. With our KTA’s moving through, we have no reason to use T&M anymore.

So I feel comfortable saying we qualify for your list now.

Jerry Norman

Jerry and I have sparred on a number of occasions on many topics including trashing the timesheet, so it is particularly satisfying to have him and his business partner Chuck added to the list.

In addition, they were kind enough to share their thought on the transition they made in this podcast. I wish them great success in the future!

The Boss for a Day: Another reason to love my job

In July I had the honor and privilege to deliver 14 sessions at the  customer and partner conference held annually by my company, Sage. In addition to my speaking duties at Sage Summit 2013, I had the opportunity to participate in the third and most likely last performance by an band consisting of Sage business partners and employees. The band was aptly named The Usual Suspects, due to the fact that many of the same performers have returned each year.

UsualSuspectsThis years line up included our fearless band leader David Boothby on lead guitar and vocals, my long-time friend and colleague Apryl Hanson and Jennifer Parkinson as the lead female vocalist, Jeff Gregorec, Greg Tirico, Bill Parkinson and Sage EVP Joe Langner alternated on drums, Renato DeGasperis on rhythm guitar, Bob Reinking on bass, Ken Kennedy on keyboards, and Joe Carroll on bongos and other percussion. In addition, we were joined by a few professionals including a three piece horn section we dubbed The Bad-Ass Brass.

As a guest vocalist, I sang the lead vocal on two Bruce Springsteen songs, Born to Run and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out. Videos of these two follow:

The closest we came to trainwrecking was just after the sax solo, but we pulled it together. I felt a little bad about this until I saw a professional act actually do it. I give Fun. credit cause man, it is a tough song.

Lastly, here is our rendition of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out which was just too fun for words to perform.

Don’t worry, I am not quitting my day job!

Sage Thought Leadership Podcast for Partners

Note: For Sage Partners Only.

At Sage Summit 2013, we announced a new partner program – The Weekly Sage Partner Podcast.

This podcast will spotlight one Sage partner each week. I will conduct the interview with you and ask you to share how you have solved a particularly difficult customer problem as well as something that you are doing inside your organization to facilitate growth.

These podcasts will be posted on the Sage Thought Leadership page as well as on the iTunes feed for the podcast.

If you are interested in being interviewed, please email me.

Sage Customer Visit – Music in Motion

Earlier this week I had a chance to sit down with Amy Stewart, COO of Music in Motion.

Music in Motion offers over 5000 music, movement and dance education resources and music-related gifts for all ages – books & CDs, DVDs, software, games, posters, awards, classroom and ethnic instruments, incentives, gifts, teaching aids, and costume accessories for performances.

I love getting to know more about what Sage customers do and why they do it.

I Was Wrong About Joe Biden

Several years ago, I posted a snide comment about the fact that my wife and I donated more to charity than Vice President Joe Biden and his wife. While this has remained true for the last few years, upon further reflection I was wrong to be critical of the VP.

C_Joe_BidenThe reality is that he should not be donating anything to charity. In fact, any donations he makes are quite hypocritical. No, rather than donate, Mr. Biden should instead pay extra money in taxes. At a minimum, he should be making voluntary contributions to pay down the national debt. I have come to believe that the majority of people should do this as well.

You see, most people believe that government does a better job than charities at helping people. After all, if this were not the case they would not support expansive government programs that do just that.

My belief now is that anyone who believes that government should be the provider of “the general welfare” should not in any way support any charity through their donations of time, talent and treasure. They should not volunteer their time, instead, they should get a part time job and in addition to the tax money that gets taken out of their paycheck from this job, they should send the rest of their paycheck to the IRS.

alg-springsteen To broaden this idea, when the next natural disaster occurs, musicians, like Bruce Springsteen, should not have a concert to help the people directly, but instead, give the money to FEMA. Most of these folks think like Biden. Clearly they believe that  government is the fulfillment of society. Why they would donate a penny or a second to any charity is beyond me. To do so is to admit that private charities perform these function better than their beloved government.

Sorry, Joe. I admit, I was wrong. Please don’t give any more to these institutions.

My Interview with Sage Customer Ring City

Today, I had the honor of speaking with Tom Fun, the owner and operator of Ring City.

Ring City is a importer/exporter of fashion jewelry and has been producing the finest quality fashion jewelry since 1982.

Recently, the have begun to broaden their customer base by diversifying into a specialized retail market – charitable fund raising. These will be jewelry parties for soccer teams or PTAs in order to raise money. It is a win, win, win – for the customer, for the charity and for Ring City.

My thanks to Sage Partner Johnny Pabian of Pabian Partners for setting up this interview.

Doing the Impossible

This week I received the alumni news from my high school, Chaminade, an all-male Catholic institution on Long Island. Photos from this year’s graduation graced the cover dated July 2013. Normal stuff. Then this:

[Guy’s name] who graduated with a four-year cumulative average of 100 percent, is shown at left…

To explain the magnitude of this let me state that at Chaminade, averages are kept in tenths and even hundredths of a point and are displayed with pride in the entry foyer. In addition, in an average year, 99 percent of the graduating class goes on to college, and about 1 percent, every year, are appointed to service academies. In other words, this place is highly competitive and the kids are pretty dang smart.

I had to do the math. To get credit for a 100 percent average over four years, this dude had to average over 99.95 percent, otherwise, it would have been rounded down to 99.9. I made some assumptions with regard to the number of tests and quizzes per week and I estimate that he answered a total of 186,480 questions in his four years. Over that time period he only got fewer than 93 answers wrong.

Wait, it gets better.

If tradition at the school holds, each subject has a comprehensive exam at the end of the year which accounts for 50 percent of the grade for the year. By comprehensive, I mean comprehensive. The test includes questions about material taught from September through June. Again, making some assumptions about questions per test over the four years, I estimate about 7,000 questions. To achieve the necessary 99.95 percent, he would be allowed to get three or fewer of the 7,000 answers incorrect over the four year period.

Say what!

[Guy’s name] is off to Columbia in the Fall.

Disclaimer: In speaking with a classmate of mine he offered some additional thoughts: 

  1. Standards at the school may have changed in a few ways: a) Extra credit and makeup work were not an option when we attended. If this is no longer the case 100 percent is a bit more doable. b) Grading standards may be relaxed as well. Meaning, this 100 percent may be based on an over 99.5 percent average. 
  2. If anything my assumption with regard to the number of questions may be on the low side by a factor almost two, meaning the total number of question could be near 350,000. 

PS – This post would receive a grade of 90 or so, due to excessive use of the passive voice. Way too many usages of the very “to be.” Be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being.

Missed It By That Much

Thanks to Sheri Blaho from CS3 Technology for passing Three Ways Brush Factories Are Surviving In America from Planet Money on NPR on to me today. Audio here.

There is much with which to agree here.

However, the whole thing unravels for me with this sentence, “This allows Cheney to set prices based not on how much the bristle and block cost, but on how much time and effort went into it and how much it’s worth to the customer.”

So close!

It would have been perfect if they had said, “This allows Cheney to set prices based not on how much the bristle and block cost, and on how much time and effort went into it, but how much it’s worth to the customer.”

It never ceases to amaze me that we humans can make the same category mistake when the language involves labor as compared to materials.

There is no difference from a cost accounting perspective between the components and the labor and, therefore it effect on price, but for some reason, our brains just sometimes do not let us see that.