My Sage Summit 2014 Sessions

Well, it is official. I will be doing some speaking at Sage Summit 2014 in July.

In addition to hosting a general session for all Sage Partners on Monday from 3:30 to 5:00, I will delivering some fun content during the show to all Partners and Customers.

  1. BUS-559 Increasing user adoption on Tuesday from 10:30 to noon. This session is based on my conversations last year with customers during Sage City. I was surprised at how many current customers struggled with user adoption. Topics will include: identifying and dealing with resistance and leading during times of change.
  2. MAX-558 Healing leadership on Tuesday from 1:30 to 2:30. I am thrilled to have the permission of my mentors Howard Hansen and Steve Geske to include this topic this year. We will cover emotional triangles and chronic versus transactional anxiety.
  3. IND-561 Economics in one game on Wednesday from 4 to 5. This is an expanded version of my Inspire Tour keynote presentation. It includes an additional round in the game, a deeper dive into some of the economic data and some fun videos that I did not have time to show during the keynote version on the road.
  4. IND-560 Top ten business myths on Thursday from 11-11:45. This session will be a rapid fire look at these myths and includes a 10 minute question and answer period.

I would ask my Sage Partner friends to promote some of these sessions to your customers and maybe even plan to attend with them. As always, I think they will promote healthy conversations.

If you have any thoughts on these sessions, please feel free to comment below or send me an email.

On Net Neutrality

Because of a recent court decision, net neutrality has been the topic of conversation on a few of the pages I follow.

My position is that the problem is in the defining of “net neutrality.” While words often have their meanings transformed over time (“liberal” as an example), the phrase “net neutrality” is one that I do not think has ever been pinned down with a very specific meaning.

Here are the two definitions that I see most often used:

  1. No company may impede access to content.
  2. The Internet should be free from all government regulation.

In pondering these two definitions, one can see that they are sometimes contradictory. If I believe in the first, it would be logical that I would need government to intervene if an entity does, in fact, impede access. If I believe in the second, it would be logical that an entity could impede access and that no regulation is needed to stop the practice.

As a libertarian (classical liberal) I think it is the second.

The important point is this – when someone asks, “Do you favor net neutrality?” the only correct reply is “What do you mean by net neutrality?”

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.

My Sessions at Sage Summit 2013

I have had a number of requests from Sage Partners about my sessions at the upcoming Sage Summit.

Here is a quick view of all of them.

Name Day Time Co-star
The Salesatative Consultant Sunday 1pm-3pm Rob Johnson
The Salesatative Consultant (repeat) Sunday 3:30pm-5:30pm Rob Johnson
A Complete Waste of Time – Redux Monday 2pm-3pm The Attendees
Creating Access Level Agreements Monday 3:15pm-4:15pm
Avoiding Iatrogenic Consulting Monday 4:30pm-5:30pm
Introduction to the Firm of the Future Tuesday 11:15am-12:30pm
Long Distance Customer Relationships Tuesday 2pm-3:15pm Judy Thornell

Wayne Schulz

Making Your Business Anti-Fragile Wednesday 8:30am-10am
Creating Strategy in a Small Business Wednesday 10:30am-12pm
Top Ten Business Myths Wednesday 2pm-3:15pm
Initiating a Project in a Small Business Thursday 3:15pm-4:15pm John Shaver
In Defense of Business Thursday 4:30pm-5:50pm

 

If you have any questions about the details please feel free to comment or email me.

On Bailouts, Hypocrisy, and Circular Errors

This morning I came across a piece in the Huffington Post about Ally Bank.

It seems that Ally according to the author did not join a settlement with federal regulators with regard to foreclosure abuse of its customers.

This is notable because Ally Bank was once known as GMAC, the GM stands for General Motors, yes, the same General Motors bailed out by the federal government in 2008/9.

In fact, Ally Bank is still 74 percent owned by the US Government.

The story goes on to say how Ally Bank is now negotiating with federal regulators over the foreclosure abuse situation.

Am I missing something, but doesn’t this mean the government is negotiating with themselves?

A Post On, Egads, Effort

images-5Regular readers of this space will know I am not a fan of the cult of efficiency that enraptures most businesses today. In my project management classes I stress that duration is the more important metric both the the professional and the customer.

That said, I would like to update the idea of comparative advantage as originally put forward by economist David Ricardo, but updated for the knowledge worker, especially the small firm. This idea seems to be about efficiency, but if one looks deeper, one will see that it is truly about effectiveness.

Adam Able is the owner/operator of a small IT consulting firm. Adam has been working in his industry for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge and domain expertise with the products with which he works. Because of this Adam, can slam out a new customized report in an average of two hours. He can also do an average migration of data in one hour.

Igor Egit is relatively new his profession; he has been at it a little over a year. Igor is not the brightest bulb in the drawer. On average it takes him three hours to deliver a new custom report, 50 percent more than Adam. While Igor does not suck at reports, he is a migration moron and it takes him four hours to develop a workable data migration, 400 percent longer than Adam.

This table shows the comparison.

  Igor Adam
Report 3 2
Migration 4 1
Total 7 3

 

If each does one report and one migration the total is 10 hours and the yield is two reports and two migrations.

Comparative advantage says that while Adam is better at both, and could theoretically do it himself in six hours, he is better off specializing in migrations and allowing Igor to do the reports, even though this runs counter to the idea of efficiency.

This table demonstrates the results of specialization.

Igor Adam
3 1
3 1
6 2

 

Notice again, that the yield is still two reports and two migrations, however, each received an hour of additional discretionary time. In addition, the total effort decreased to eight hours.

Now, some may argue that from an efficiency standpoint, it would be better to have Adam do both, since the total would be six hours not eight. What would that do to Adam’s leisure time? It would reduce it by four hours.

Looked at in this light, we can see that the question is: does it make sense for Adam to trade four hours of discretionary time in exchange for two reports from Igor. This is a value tradeoff that only Adam (and in a sense Igor) can make.

The trap is set, however, if we introduce the idea of a billable time rate to this example. Since it is unlikely that Adam’s rate would be three times that of Igor’s. Adam’s customers will either a) insist that they pay a reduced rate for Igor, or worse, b) insist that Adam himself do the work.

The traps is sprung! Adam, in the name of good service, will acquiesce to the customer. Likely, Igor will be out of a job; and Adam will miss more Little League games.

Well Done Hilton Vancouver!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may recall that I complained a few weeks ago when the Hilton Vancouver Airport did not have wireless Internet access available in my sleeping room.

In what was a key moment of truth, the Hilton turned the bad situation into a great customer experience.

Upon returning to my room after teaching all day, the following note was slipped under my door:

image

And, on my desk sat this:

image

Well done!

Educating Me

Many of you mistakenly think of me as a voracious reader. While I do read about two books a month, compared to my friend Ron Baker who reads two a week, I am a piker. In fact, my reading has fallen off even more since I got my new iPad, because a wealth of other content is now open to me.

MurrayRothbard-MEDCurrently, I am participating in a class on the United States Constitution at Hillsdale College; brushing up on probability and statistics at Khan Academy; working my way through Brian Cox’ iPad app Wonders of the Universe; and taking an Introduction to Economics class with the late Austrian economist Murray Rothbard on iTunes. 

Did I mention that with the exception of the iPad app which is $10, I have paid nothing for this content.

Think about that, I am getting a best in class education from some of the brightest minds in their fields (in the case of Rothbard he is my professor from beyond the grave!) for next to nothing.

This truly is an amazing time to be alive.