Wednesday, September 15, 2004
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull
The rant today is about the big meeting and the various preparations for it. The client is a big client of ours, with mixed emotions about us. Sometimes they hate us like poison, and other times they just hate us period. Needless to say, there are about seven or eight sales types interjecting constantly into the meeting preparations all about the need to "tell a story" to the client (the personification of which just happened to formerly work for us, so he knows the "story" all too well). We're a big firm (you'd know the name if I mentioned it, but discretion being the better part of chicken-liveredness I'll refrain from doing so), and there's really no story to tell other than that yes, we've got a boatload of smart people working here, and we can do the project. The sales guys are in love with Powerpoints, and they're insisting on every different kind of slide with chevrons, arrows piercing planes, multi-dimensional problems represented as icons that look like complex hydrocarbon molecules, in short every managment consulting sales cliche that is imaginable being thrown into a fifteen page Powerpoint that says we're good for your company. Now, it so happens that I've done work for this particular client on one occasion, and they're not bad sorts at all to work with, but they really, and I mean really dislike our sales guys. The gig I did with this client was kind of sensitive due to the fact that the business unit engaged us to check up on the technology guys, and since we ordinarily sell to technology guys, the sales guys didn't want us saying anything that would screw up the gravy train. Needless to say the sales team was demanding daily reports and implying that we'd better say that things were copascetic or else. As it turned out, things were more than copascetic, and we actually had a fun time meeting with everybody and giving a comfort level, but a very senior person at this client (C-level, major, and I mean major, financial services institution) said in reference to one sales person who was very concerned about the whole affair, "Don't bring that
I understand that season 2 of Rocky and Bullwinkle is out on DVD, and it's got a couple of the biggies on it, Upsadasium and The Oogle Boid. Unfortunately the Kirwood Derby isn't on this one. Think about it, the Kirwood Derby arc wasn't all that funny, unless you actually really know who Durwood Kirby was and of his absurd reaction to the whole thing (the apocrypha says he threatened to sue Jay Ward over the sullying of his sterling reputation).
I'll leave the typography wars to everyone who's already jumped in in the blogosphere, however, this eBay auction has the last word on the subject :-)
To everyone, L'shana tova tikasevu, and may you be inscribed in the Book Of Life.