Until a few years ago, Evan Blake made about $300,000 a year selling corporate software with a formula straight out of Mad Men. Working for companies such a Cisco Systems and BMC Software, he’d use connections and charm to land a few meetings a year with buyers from big clients, then spend weeks working up a pitch for each, promising software so customized that both parties knew it probably couldn’t be built. “Six to 12 months after doing the deal, you’d go on the apology tour,” Bake says. There Are No Liquid Lunches In The Cloud, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 6, 2015.
It is always great getting more confirmation of what I’ve been telling folks for years. As a young officer in the Air Force, as young and naive as I must have been, it was obvious that all those contract discussions were very questionable as to what could be delivered and by when. Years later it would be common knowledge that such activities had been misleading and consistently ineffective at getting the software systems we needed. The only problem was that it took so much time, money, and unmet promises before the organization as a whole figured out the silliness they’d been participating in and put a stop to it.
If it just doesn’t look right but our organization continues to do it, doesn’t mean we are wrong and the organization, and all those other people are right. It might just mean that our ability to see the negative patterns is better than most and we’ll need to decide what we want to do about it, if anything.
I always liked it when someone mentioned how they no longer got sucked in by companies selling the latest questionable but popular products and services, and we could say that we skipped those particular trends and never wasted our time or money on them. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to not do what everyone else is doing, especially when more senior management keeps asking about it. Otherwise, we can expect to be doing our own apology tour.
Is your project doing what needs to be done based upon your company’s unique and well considered needs or are you just chasing the latest trend?