Noise Between Stations http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ en-us victorlombardi@yahoo.com Copyright 2005 2004-05-25T14:02:26-05:00 hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 The Clearing http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml Once in a while the Monopoly game of life tosses us Second Prize in a Beauty Contest card. Last... 318@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/

Once in a while the Monopoly game of life tosses us Second Prize in a Beauty Contest card. Last night, courtesy of the nice people at the New Yorker and Johnny Walker, I saw a preview of the film The Clearing with Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe and Helen Mirren. The plot was thriller, but the genre was drama, focusing more on the characters than the suspense, which was fine with me as the extensive dialog between Redford and Dafoe is music to the ears. The event included hor d'oeuvres and scotch (of course) and capped off with a Q&A session with director Pieter Jan Brugge and writer Justin Haythe, all in the theater of the Tribeca Grand hotel. It all felt very priviledged and very New York.]]> 2004-05-25T14:02:26-05:00 CMS Playground http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml I used to say CMS user interfaces were developing slowly because, like intranets, they were all behind the firewall. But... 317@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ opensourceCMS has many CMS packages installed for you to try out and learn from. An excellent resource.]]> 2004-05-25T10:02:24-05:00 Internet Appliance http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml On Matt's blog I found a place to raise my freak Internet appliance flag, 'If we look at what people... 316@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ raise my freak Internet appliance flag, 'If we look at what people actually use PCs for, there's a bell curve that includes email, web, digital photos, and a couple other things. Why not spend $299 for that? '. He points me to the Emailer plus: emailing and surfing for $60. At that price point, it's less about replacing the PC than complimenting the PC and replacing the landline phone.]]> 2004-05-24T17:17:53-05:00 Service and Work http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml More notes from Managing the Professional Service Firm... He points out that the work is only part of the consultant's... 315@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Managing the Professional Service Firm...

  • He points out that the work is only part of the consultant's service. We are also judged on our responsiveness, attitude, manner, etc. When the quality of the work product is difficult to measure (as with consulting advice), the service aspect is actually more important than the work product. A great lawyer may lose a case and still retain a client. Troublesome architects rarely get their buildings built.
  • If you question if you really need to work this hard on service, think about the vendors you use - accountants, doctors, etc. - don't you wish they provided this kind of service?

Lately, since reading this, I see every business I patronize through this lens. Some firms are able to deliver consistently lousy service simply because of supply and demand, or location, but not forever.]]> 2004-05-23T23:29:56-05:00 Practice Development Activities http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml More notes from Managing the Professional Service Firm... He identifies 3 vital categories of practice development (i.e. marketing) activities and... 314@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Managing the Professional Service Firm...

  • He identifies 3 vital categories of practice development (i.e. marketing) activities and what percentage of time to spend on each:
    • Broadcasting (writing papers) - 10%
    • Courting (forming a client relationship) - 25-40%
    • Superpleasing (Going beyond satisfaction to delight) - 10-15%
    • Nurturing (Spending extra, non-billable time to understand client needs) 30-35%
    • Listening (...to the market, to develop services) - 10-15%
  • Superpleasing has the highest ROI - via word-of-mouth - and Broadcasting the lowest ROI.
  • Identifies a few ways of listening:
    • User groups (review future development ideas with a group of clients)
    • Reverse seminars (have client come in to talk to us)
    • Attending client industry meetings (with the client)
    • Market research
    • Senior partner visits
    • Engagement team debriefings
    • Systematic client feedback (e.g. survey)
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2004-05-21T10:59:38-05:00
The cost of software http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml Interesting that a price policy in something as relatively low cost as blog software has spurred such good thinking about... 313@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ long-term view: 'In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero. All non-Free software is a dead end... Itís not about money; itís about freedom.'

And Mark Bernstein gives us the short-term view: 'The only thing I expect, if I'm paying $700 for a software package, is that it be worth $700. If I buy a $700 program, and it promptly saves me $750, I'm as happy as a clam.'

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2004-05-20T14:05:56-05:00
Irony http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml Irony was cited as a trait of my generation, but it seems even stronger in the upcoming generation, increasingly reality-show... 312@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ my generation, but it seems even stronger in the upcoming generation, increasingly reality-show self-aware. Is this a trend, growing irony over time?

Douglas Coupland, author of Gen X, later said, 'When you're younger, you think a little irony is all you need. You think it'll get you to the grave, but it won't. Loss always seeps through. You do need to deal with it.' Can the jolt of reality still counter irony when reality itself is mocked?]]> 2004-05-20T12:10:37-05:00 Profitability vs. Health http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml More notes from Managing the Professional Service Firm... Rather than focusing on chargability and realization reports, look at profits per... 311@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Managing the Professional Service Firm...

  • Rather than focusing on chargability and realization reports, look at profits per partner.
  • For each activity the firm strives to improve (e.g. delagate better, develop higher value services) examine how each contributes to both short-term profitability and long-term health.
  • These activities, in order of importance to health, are
    • Raise prices
    • Lower variable (delivery) costs
    • Fix underperformers
    • Increase volume
    • Lower overhead costs
  • He illustrates why delegation is so important and offers a systematic method for improving it.
]]>
2004-05-20T11:40:37-05:00
A Firm's Mix of Consultants and Projects http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml As mentioned last week, I'm reading David H. Maister's Managing the Professional Service Firm, and it's very very very good.... 310@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Managing the Professional Service Firm, and it's very very very good. I'll post some summaries here, though it's almost a sin to summarize it as his writing is already clear and concise.

Staff falls in 3 basic levels: Partner, Manager, and Consultant.

He identifies 3 main types of projects:

  • Brains (require extensive expertise, little can be reused)
  • Grey Hair (requires experience, some can be reused), and
  • Procedure (familiar problem, much is reused).

The right staffing mix is needed for the project mix, e.g. more Partners for Brains projects, more Consultants for Procedure projects. Over time, you need to factor in how consultants are to be promoted, what kind of projects you attract, and how that affects the mix. ]]> 2004-05-18T23:09:40-05:00 Fast Company design issue http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml The current issue of Fast Company is all about design. It's mostly them confirming that yes, design is important,... 309@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/

The current issue of Fast Company is all about design. It's mostly them confirming that yes, design is important, but also putting a nice human perspective on it by focusing on design leaders. I discovered Angela Shen-Hsieh's gorgeous data visualizations, she has a beautiful/fascinating ppt on the AIGA site. ]]> 2004-05-17T21:16:24-05:00 Blog software mayhem http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml My MT Alternatives post back on May 6 turns out to be prescient, with Movable Type upping their prices and... 308@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/

The issue is summarized nicely by Liz Lawley.]]> 2004-05-16T11:37:56-05:00 Play sound! http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml So I've got this big, expensive computing machine under my desk that's capable of generating some serious music, and yet... 307@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Audacity which helped me generate 30 seconds of such a note. iTunes converted it into a 400k AAC file, and now you can download 220Hz.m4a for your tuning pleasure (you'll probably need to right click/control click to save it).]]> 2004-05-15T12:58:37-05:00 Ungoogled http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml I'm trying to forumulate my rationale to myself of why I don't want a piece of the Google IPO. It... 306@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Yahoo's.

While I'm getting those thoughts straight, see their soul-sucking new blog, and their counter-philosophy new banner ads. Those Morgan Stanley folks really know how to whip a company into shape!]]> 2004-05-14T13:47:56-05:00 Recent NBS features http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml In case you're only reading the feed: Backslider slides through your recently visited web pages, the Wall St. Journal discovers... 305@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ Backslider slides through your recently visited web pages, the Wall St. Journal discovers IA, summaries of an MBA journal on design, and the classic Bell telephone meets the mobile.]]> 2004-05-14T10:02:14-05:00 Mailing list drama http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/mt/one/2004_05_01_weblog.shtml In case you're not following sigia-l at home, peterme states what the rest of us were thinking, and ziya runs... 304@http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/weblogs/ rest of us were thinking, and ziya runs and tells dad. Hey, if it doesn't yield much actual professional knowledge ya might as well enjoy the soap opera!]]> 2004-05-14T09:32:54-05:00