Too Many Notes

VeraSage Founder, Ron Baker has often used Snow White and Seven Dwarfs to illustrate the problem of applying efficiency to knowledge work.

“A LEAN six sigma guru would have advised Walt Disney to make Snow White and the Three Dwarfs as it would have improved efficiency by over 50 percent,” he intones.

Recently I was reminded of a scene from the Academy Award winning film Amadeus where the Holy Roman Emperor Jozef Franz (or was it Franz Jozef) criticizes Mozart’s opera for having, “Too many notes.”

 

Unfortunately, the clip cuts off before Mozart’s brilliant response, “Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

Knowledge work cannot be LEAN six sigma-ed. Once again, effectiveness trumps efficiency!

Hey, I’ll Take It (a victory for on premises)

NewImage

In July, I wrote a post for this blog decrying the use of the phrase “on premise” to describe traditional software that is deployed at the customer’s location. I posited that this should rightly be referred to as “on premises” with the final s in tact.

Late yesterday, there is news of a victory of sorts. I received an email from my Sage colleague Tammy Mathews in which she informed me that the new Sage writing standards will include the correct usage for on premises!

I consider this one small step for a man. One giant leap for correct usage!

My Interview of Peter Wolf of Azamba

I am pleased to present the second (of what I hope will be many) interviews with professionals who are on Ed’s List. Once again, these are firms that offer only fixed price agreements, have eliminated timesheets for all professionals, and offer a service guarantee.

This interview is with Peter Wolf of Azamba Consulting whose purpose is to help customers gather and organize all of their business information and turn it into knowledge.

On the inanity of Elizabeth Warren’s now famous quote

Sorry my progressive friends, but Warren’s quote is nonsense. It ignores the most basic principle of a freer (not free) market – that wealth is generated on both sides of the vast overwhelming majority of transactions. Her quote implies a zero-sum thinking about the economy. It is false and I believe dangerous. It implies that everything you have done is at the expense of others. I hope none of you believe that.

Capitalism is, by definition about paying it forward. Farmers, factories, software companies, and consultants produce things (food, goods, services, and knowledge) that are of greater value to the purchaser than to the buyer. What is more, they create these things that are for the betterment of customers whom they do not even know today. In other words, they are being altruistic. Altruism being defined as “other centric.”

The roads, schools, and police to which Ms. Warren refers have been paid for, their makers have received just compensation. Where did the compensation come from – the people in the first place, but how did the government get this money? By claiming a share of the profits. In effect, Ms. Warren is claiming a double debt.

Ms. Warren while intending to  or not is also making a great limited government, public choice theory argument, namely for schools, roads, and police. If government (and it should be the local government) were ONLY using tax money for the building roads, the education of students, and the funding of police, the tax burden would be much less. Instead we bailout failing companies, start endless wars on ideas (drugs, poverty, and terrorism to name a few), and now are taking over the healthcare industry.

The US federal government is quickly becoming a large and in debt insurance company with guns.

Personally, I do not think corporations should be taxed at all. There is mounting evidence that high corporate taxes result in lower wages for workers. After all, businesses just view taxes an expense. If the budget line item for taxes is made higher, then another line on the budget has to get reduced. Often that other line is wages and salaries.

Now, I am no corporatist. I think the bailouts were a travesty of justice, but notice this was government action once again interfering with the market.

Both governments and corporations are made up of people, flawed human beings. To paraphrase Milton Freidman, is political greed somehow nobler that economic greed? At least with economic greed a) the corporations have no guns (save those than make them) therefore cannot force me to buy something (even if it “for my own good,” see the mandate provision of Obamacare) and b) if we don’t like what a company sells we can quickly vote with our wallets rather than once every two, four or six years.

Adieu Simply Partnership

On Saturday, September 24, my friend and and former Sage colleague of mine, Rob Johnson, delivered the closing luncheon keynote at the last Simply Partnership Conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

imageJennifer Warawa, the newly minted vice president of partner programs and channel sales for Sage Small Business Solutions, and her team, in conjunction with Kimberly Dorony and the fabulous Sage Events team, did their usually outstanding jobs in putting on a great event.

In addition to our keynote (slides below), Rob and I performed our version of Wear Sunscreen as a commencement address. Here is the text of the speech:

Rob: Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 2011:

Ed: If we could offer you only one tip for the future, backing up your data would be it. The long term benefits of backing up have been proved by technologists everywhere whereas the rest of our advice has no basis more reliable than our own meandering experiences… We will dispense this advice now.

Rob: Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve a network connectivity issue by using bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you in your office at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Ed: Do one thing every day that scares you.

Rob: Sing.

Ed: Don’t be reckless with your customer’s emotions, and don’t put up with customers who are reckless with yours.

Rob: Floss.

Ed: Don’t waste your time on being jealous of other Sage partners; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Rob: Always accept a mint if offered to you.

Ed: Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this; tell us how.

Rob: Stretch.

Ed: Keep your old customers thank you notes but, throw away your old manuals.

Rob: Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Ed: Enjoy your mind, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Rob: Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Ed: Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Rob: Read the directions, even if, like me, you don’t intend follow them.

Ed: Spend more time with your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Rob: Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Ed: Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few that you should hold on to, work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Rob: Travel.

Ed: Spend some time in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; spend some time in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Rob: Respect your elders.

Ed: Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Rob: Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a triple A customer, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Ed: Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Rob: But trust us on backing up.

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

Today Is Value-Pricing Sunday

OK, not exactly, but if there were such a designation, today would be the day.

This is the Gospel read in all Roman Catholic Churches throughout the world.

Matthew 20

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 "About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

"He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “’Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. "He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 "The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 "But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Most interpret this as demonstrating the generous nature of God (which it certainly is), but adding an assumption (which is clearly NOT in the text) offers a more economic exegesis.

Perhaps the owner of the vineyard believed there to be a frost coming that evening which would destroy the unharvested grapes. This would make the grapes gathered later in the day of much greater value to him. Value is subjective!

What I find fascinating is that it is one of the few economics lessons in the Christian Bible – only appearing in the Gospel of Matthew. It is clearly a refutation of Marx’ Labor Theory of Value written 18 centuries early. Lastly, it is certainly classically liberal in that the owner is free to do with his money as he sees fit.

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

The Diamond Planet

A recent cosmological discovery got me thinking once again about the what George Gilder and others term the materialist fallacy. From a Reuters report from last Thursday:

An exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard in an undated image courtesy of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. REUTERS/HandoutAstronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

Materialists, including many of my Libertarian friends who favor a return to the gold standard, will have to conclude:

  • This planet is more wealthy than we are. After all it is a diamond with the mass Jupiter.
  • We would be better off if this heavenly body were to break free of its orbit and be sent on a path to impact (or maybe just orbit) the Earth. Perhaps T. Boone Pickens and DeBeers can concoct a plan to (as they say in the Beltway) “effort” this.
  • The really good news is that there are likely more of these throughout the galaxy and universe for it is only recently that we as a species have been able to detect these orbs.

This is materialist wealth creation at its finest!

Side note and bonus material:

I am not sure why, but my brain was reminded of this classic Bugs and Daffy cartoon. Enjoy!

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

For the record, it is “on premises”

As the computer industry continues to evolve into more of a cloud centric model, I want to officially express my concern about the confusion between the words premise and premises.

It is my understanding that a premise (singular) is a set of one or more declarative sentences (or propositions) in a logical argument. Whereas a premises (also singular, while being the plural of premise) is the land and buildings together considered as a property.

The word, premises, in this latter context, is always used in the plural, but is singular in construction. For example, a single house or a single other piece of property is premises, not a premise, although the word, premises, is plural in form as in, “The server is located on the customer’s premises” and never “The server is located on the customer’s premise.”

This is a crazy construction in English where one word has two distinct meanings. I believe we should be referring to “on premises” solutions and not “on premise” solutions.

I have no problem with the shortened moniker of “on-prem,” but “on premise” is just plain wrong unless you are referring a premise of operation. For example, “We bought a hosted solution on the premise that it would be a lower total cost of ownership.”

It seems I am not alone as I found this reference written in 2009.

HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST