Quite possibly the most delicious way to prepare asparagus. Easy too.
Really, it’s how museums should be. The Storm King Art Center, situated on the mountain of the same name, is 500 acres of gorgeous former farm land, now creatively farmed with long grasses and devoted to the display of sculpture. We visited on a perfect Spring day and I can’t imagine a more beautiful place. It’s about an hour north of New York City and for me will lessen all other museum experiences. Wear comforable shoes and pack a picnic lunch.
- Organize and reward marketing efforts as you do billable time
- Different activities require different skills, so allocate them to people according to ability and preference
- Form small teams, each focused on one type of marketing
- Ask everyone to devote the same minimum time to it
- Include junior staff
Brett proposes the idea of worker-to-worker offshoring:
Just imagine: you get assigned to do two days of … competitive site audits for a pitch. Ugh. Why not sub-shore the work, W2W-style and take the day[s] off? It costs $15-20/hour…
I think PeterV has done this before, offshoring some personal programming work to a PHP programmer in India. I know it’d be nice to never have to do a content inventory again. Of course, we’d be training the offshore workers to do our jobs, but I think that’s inevitable. Move upstream.
(You know what I’d really like — and the socialist in me feels rather guilty about this — is a personal assistant. Boy, if I just had someone to take care of all the administrative crap in my life, I’d have time for, well, all the other crap (hopefully upstream crap). Could that possibly be offshored?)
OK, just one more blogger-blogging-about-blogging-tools post and then I’m done. We might view the MT price increase through the lens of the innovator’s dilemma. They moved upmarket, and the open source, free, and otherwise interesting competitors suddenly looked like compelling options to those of us on the leading edge of the blog tool curve.
What if SixApart had released MT as open source at the same time they started charging for it? It would basically follow the Red Hat model: get the raw (e.g. Linux) functionality for free but pay for easier installation, more features, and support. For companies, it’s a no brainer expense, and the rest of us happily run our software for free. It’s quite hard to convince our brains to accept the risk of giving away the software, but we’re starting to see enough examples to learn from experience.
Raspberry Jam Rule: the further you spread your marketing tactics, the thinner they get.
It’s always better to demonstrate than to assert.
In-person, individualized methods are always better than broadcasting.
- The first team
- Seminars (small-scale)
- Speeches at client-industry meetings
- Articles in client-oriented (trade) press
- Proprietary research
- The second string
- Community/civic activities
- Networking with potential referral sources
- Clutching at straws tactics
- Seminars (ballroom scale)
- Direct mail
- Cold calls
- Sponsorship of cultural/sports events
- Video brochures
So far How clients choose has been one of the most eye-opening chapters of the book. If were we to apply user-centered design principles to clients, we’d end up with this chapter.
From the consultant’s point of view, there are two main stages to getting clients: marketing (speaking to the entire market) and selling (speaking to one particular prospect). From the buyer’s point of view, these two stages are qualification (determining who has the technical skills to do the job) and selection (who do I like enough to do the job). The first is a technical evaluation, the second is much more personal. This is because of how the buyer feels during this process…
- Insecure about decision
- Intellectually threatened
- Risk losing control
- Impatient to fix problem
- Exposed about work secrets (both advantages and embarrassments)
- Concerned you won’t give me enough attention
As a result, the buyer looks for these qualities in a consultant…
- Preparation and initiative
- Discussion of their situation, not your impressive abilities
- Not discussing their problem until they trust you
- New, relevant, valuable information and education
- Low pressure sales
- Not claiming to know more about their industry than they do, you should post knowledge in the form of questions and then listen
- Sensitive to their position in the organization
- Stops to answer their questions, well
- Gives them options, not just the usual approach
- Doesn’t just lecture or present, but engages in conversation
About a third through the book, Maister starts to repeat himself a little, hammering home one of his overarching themes of service. He says you must be client-centered, particularly interesting advice when you’re running a user-centered design firm. This is a balance we’re familiar with, and as designers learn more about business it becomes less a conflict and more a synthesis of the two goals.
- Make clients feel special. Imagine the effect of a hand-written note.
- Explain the process; they should know what’s going to happen before it happens
- It’s not about schmoozing, but simply having a great attitude
- To do this on a firm-wide basis, it must be implemented as a system
- Tips and tools
- See the tables on pgs. 106-7, 9
A friend at Deloitte Consulting needs and IA for wireframe development for 1-2 weeks in NYC. The start date is next week (6/2) or as soon as possible. Send me an email (link in the nav) if you’re interested.
James Surowiecki’s Financial Page in the New Yorker has become a must read, a one-page column connecting topics such as macro-economic statistics, currency policy, and Argentina’s promptness policy in clear, concise, enlightening language. He’s coming out with his first book next week, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. Kirkus Reviews says,
Multitudes are generally smarter than their smartest members, declares New Yorker writer Surowiecki. With his theory of the inherent sagacity of large groups, Surowiecki seems to differ with Scottish journalist Charles Mackay’s 1841 classic, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which dealt with such stupidities as the South Sea Bubble, tulip-mania, odd styles of whiskers, and dueling. Our 21st-century author admits that there are impediments and constraints to the intelligence of large groups, usually problems of cognition, coordination, and cooperation. A group must have knowledge, Surowiecki states: not extensive knowledge, but rudimentary comprehension of basic fact with harmonized behavior by individual members. Finally, individuals must go beyond self-interest for the good of all. That’s how capital markets and Google’s algorithm work, and how science isolated the SARS virus.
Also see his article in Wired.
Chris Fahey and friends launch their firm’s v2.0 site. I’ll admit to disliking the previous version, and for all that lacked the new version more than makes up for it, in what is one of the purtiest-funktional designs for a design shop. They include their own original Venn diagram, and the nav bar is just plain fun.
I’ve hired a crack team of stylists, programmers, and librarians to re-organize my five+ years worth of blog posts from four different blogging systems. Work is in progress, but you can start basking in the sheer joy of:
- A proper RSS 2.0 feed that includes all posts
- Permalinks and trackbacks
- Categories now displayed in the navigation for easier exploring. The librarians are still cleaning those up and classifying older posts
- Posts that post-date the hand-coding era (August ’99) are all in the template system, yielding proper archives.
- Newer posts will actually validate.
Thanks for your patience while we strive to facilitate a pleasurable surfing experience.