Where Did All The Good Times Go?


Oh My! Could it be so? You really think the US Government would do such a thing to its own to cover up misappropriated funding? I’m being sarcastic of course. Let’s play this out.

What happens if anyone or any group is successful enough to bring this stuff at the right level of the public eye so that it gets proper attention? First, the US Government and US Judicial system wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot pole. Who would be brave enough to pursue justice? Remember, a lot of people suddenly and systematically disappeared under Bill Clinton’s regime after an earlier “conspiracy”.

Since the system and all its leaders are already too corrupt, who or which body of enforcement has enough power to actually bring any of the long list of corrupt politicians, high ranking military officials, and anyone else involved to justice? I seriously believe in this case, the tail has wagged the dog and nothing can be done to correct it unless the majority of the US population suddenly were in agreement that the Government IS corrupt, and went into a full fledged anti-government movement. The problem is, the liberal society is fat, dumb, and happy and doesn’t have the intellectual wherewithal to admit they’ve been jived and secondly, don’t have the guts to bite the very hands that have been feeding them for so long (i.e. welfare and government subsidy recipients). I guess that leaves us screwed!  Mad Max IV is coming soon!

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Wheel of Fortune

I recently read a post from another blogger in response to an article on Inc.com  implying there was no recession in the “New Economy”. Um, what New Economy? The last time I checked we were still stuck in the old one.

There may be new ideas, new solutions, emerging technologies, and there are certainly new challenges and problems to overcome. But when did the economy resurrect itself as “New and Improved”?

The jobs are out there if you’re willing to work for less money, less benefits, fewer perks, lower employer loyalty, and require no personal time off. Employers are strapped with higher taxes, higher operating costs, higher insurance costs, less frequent order fulfillment, more demanding customers, an uncooperative Government, more regulations,
higher employee turnover (see point #1), higher training costs, more uncertainty, and are struggling to maintain a positive bottom line.

The reason there seems to be a spike in new start-ups is because of attrition. New businesses are created by the same serial entrepreneurs who started and closed their previous venture and this in turn skews the numbers. The fact is that a percentage of new businesses created are in fact not NET NEW businesses. They are simply a replacement business that is the result of some loophole in the game of governmental intervention and control. Smart business owners know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away.

Politicians are spinning statistics like Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold. The only problem is, they are spinning fools gold.

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Other People’s Money

I open this blog with the following analogy. You wouldn’t continue dating someone who had no interest in marrying you but asked you to pay their bills would you?

I just visited a company’s website and was surprised by what I saw, or better yet, what I didn’t see.

Most software companies today are very proud of their offerings while at the same time take many precautions to protect their intellectual properties from infringement or fraud. On their websites you typically see sample screenshots, links for downloadable brochures, case studies, examples of reports generated by their system, or any other form of collateral to boast their wares and gain interest in their solutions. This particular site however had none of those things.

There were written descriptions of their product features, how their product benefits customers in their market, and a few short blurbs of upcoming events. But nothing that was visually attractive or that lead me to believe their product or company for that matter was evolving in any way.

What caught my attention was one “press release” that was a public letter written to inform their customers of a lawsuit it had filed against one of its own partners. It claims the partner had acted in unethical ways to undermine them in efforts to steal its customer base or in other words, their last remaining revenue streams…service contracts.

The alarming obervation was there was no mention of future product development. No mention of exciting things to come. No boasting of client testimonials. No job postings at all in their careers section. Only the mention of a couple of recent acquisitions, which from a software company is of no surprise. This mind you, is the current state of a company that was once a top two performer in its industry year over year.

My observations raised the question. If I were an investor or a company that had either already made an investment or was considering making an investment in their technology, why would I continue to consider them as a viable option? I see nothing that indicates a future return on this investment. I see a company that appears desperate to retain what services revenue they have left through long term service contracts but who is offering nothing to its customers in return.

I know where this company has been. My question is, where are they going and would I want to follow?

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‘In Your Face’ Honesty

Say what you will about rap music, hip-hop, or whatever you call it. Personally I’m not a big fan, but I respect that it has such a polarizing affect on the masses. You can love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it.

Rap music is so brutally honest and raw that people gravitate to it. It’s not politically correct, or even socially correct for that matter. It has vulgar, offensive, and even violent undertones but one thing it doesn’t do is hide from the truth. Rap artists evangelize their true feelings through their music, through their stories and the result is millions of loyal customers.

What would happen in the world of business if we all would take a more direct approach to solving problems and just cut to the chase rather than playing a chess game of words filled with misinterpretation and misdirection? How much more effective would we be if there was a predisposed assumption that politically correct BS would not be tolerated in business engagements? Wouldn’t it be cool if calling out the naysayers were common business practice versus having to hear who they are through the discontent whispers of those actually trying to accomplish things?

Playing mind games has become common practice not best practice and it’s getting us nowhere. I say it’s time to eliminate the filibustering in business and make things happen. Get proactive or be retroactive. Get in the program or turn to another program. Ignore the fear mongering in the media and create fear among those who compete with you. Stop the foolishness of fence sitting and make a decision will you? Forget the paralysis through analysis and go with your gut! You know who you want to do business with. So do it and stop handcuffing the economy with your laws of inertia.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Reflections of Gratitude

I met an interesting man today. His name is David. Actually, interesting is not the adjective to describe the man although he was, but rather it’s the timing and the place where we met that make the encounter interesting.

I was spending some time with my oldest daughter at the pool this morning trying to rejuvenate from a 26 hour business trip to Los Angeles from North Carolina when this older gentleman suddenly arose from the sparkling water and introduced himself. After a few short exchanges, I noticed a speech impediment. He briefly described how he had come out of a coma after 4 months following an auto accident, 3 brain surgeries, losing nearly 70 pounds, and awaking with the mental capacity of a 4 year old. He was seventeen at the time. I’m guessing he is in his 60’s now. He said the accident happened two weeks before he was to be enlisted as an Air Serviceman and possibly go off to Vietnam. He said things happen for a reason. He then asked me if I was a reader. After answering him, he told me he was an author. Ok, you have my interest. “What do you write?”, I asked. He said he wrote a book about his life and the challenges he faced once he realized what had happened to him.

My first thought was a reflection of Mitch Albom’s book, “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”. My second thought was how this man reminds me of a best friend I once had before he succumbed to diabetes at age 39. My friend had also been involved in an auto accident at age 16 and suffered the same post traumatic injuries as David. He too suffered brain injuries in the accident that made him partially paralyzed on one side of his body and caused him to be mentally slower than usual. He was still able to function both socially and in the workplace. We met in our mid 20’s and became great friends over the next 15 years before his death. There were many similarities between my friend and David. Reflections of Gratitude

David Seymon seemed to be a very happy man. I’m glad to have met him if for only a brief moment in time. So why were our paths crossing now, this morning, during a most challenging time for my own family? I don’t have the answer. Perhaps things do happen for a reason. All I know is I’m going to read his book.

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Push Pull Affect

I was sitting in a meeting with a prospective client last week and as we were asking final questions, one of the individuals with the prospect took the opportunity to inform us that they didn’t like pushy salespeople. He even went as far as to say one of the members on my sales team was very persistent and called them “all the time”.

I thought this was a very interesting comment considering that we had just sat with them for six straight hours gathering information about their operations, asking questions that would allow us to help them when the time is right, and basically making sure we took our time to collect a better understanding of their business. They also reiterated several times over the course of six hours that the initiative they are working on was going to take at least a year to finalize.

So unless I was completely deaf I believe I heard throughout the course of our time together that this was going to be a long and vigorous sales process. As such, we positioned ourselves as the consultative experts in the industry and prepared to hunker down for a long winter. We set the stage for many follow up conversations with all the decision stakeholders. We agreed to schedule in depth product presentations for their critical operations staff when appropriate. We basically did everything possible to position ourselves as their partner and advisor, except bombard them with trial closing techniques and petty sales tactics. Believe me, the time was far more productive for them that it was for us.

So I wonder why it was important for the prospect to share that sentiment with us, at that time. Did we not do a good enough job establishing ourselves as trustworthy resources for them?

I don’t understand why people in buying positions work so hard pulling as much information out of a salesperson as possible only to push back when the salesperson asks a logical question, “What’s the next step?”.

Well I wasn’t about to apologize to this guy on behalf of my fellow sales colleague. I mean if the roles were reversed and we were selling their services for them, do you think for a second they would want us to be passive in our efforts of generating revenue?

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Those Who Know Don’t Tell, Those Who Tell Don’t Know

That infamous Zen proverb was one of the most clever lines in the Spike Lee movie, “Do The Right Thing” released back in 1989. It’s a well written and gravitating story about survival during a sweltering summer in the streets of a Brooklyn neighborhood.ego

Da Mayor, played by Ossie Davis is one of those polarizing characters in the sense that he offers up some rather profound advice throughout the movie whenever anyone is looking for “the truth”. In one particular scene he is asked a question that if answered completely could be detrimental to one of his own. So what does he do? He offers up, “Those who know don’t tell, and those who tell don’t know”. What’s the point?

I’m always weary of salespeople who make overzealous claims and then never provide you with the evidence to substantiate them. For example, beware those who tell you they have taken clients from their competitors in large numbers. This is a perfect opportunity for you as a prospect to challenge their integrity. Why are they telling you this? Why is this important to you? Are they interested in solving your problems or do they have another agenda? It’s one thing to be educated about your competition. It’s another to be obsessed with them.

Salespeople who choose these type of tactics talk too much. There, I said it. And the more they talk, the less they are really listening to you about the things they could be helping you solve. This is a glaring warning signal that should alarm you of the type of people and organization you’re considering doing business with. If they can’t listen now, how will they listen once they have your money?

In closing, people switch providers all the time. We’ll convert our share of competitive accounts as well. But if that’s what I’m hanging my hat on in the hopes of doing business with you, I’m doing you a terrible injustice and should probably check my ego at the door.

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