Monthly Archives: April 2011

Today’s youth don’t have the same values as I did

Jack, the CEO of one of my client companies, was complaining that people today don’t have the same values as he did. “Why, when I was a kid I had two paper routes. How many of today’s kids have the … Continue reading

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Productivity gains can come from small, simple changes

When Scientific Time Sharing Corporation was founded in 1969, it had a problem. It had nine locations and only six full-time employees. How could they communicate and coordinate when there were seldom more than two or three people in the … Continue reading

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The challenge of low turnover

Bill was bragging about his company’s low turnover. “The lion’s share of our employees have been with us for over ten years! We seldom have to hire anyone new for our plant. That continuity is one of our competitive advantages.” … Continue reading

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If you want to hunt buffalo then dress like a buffalo

I joined Scientific Time Sharing Corporation (STSC) in December 1969 as a programming elf. I was in the Army, stationed in Northern Virginia, with excess time on my hands. In grad school I had adapted a prototype Fortran implementation of … Continue reading

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Why is the status quo so hard to change?

“It can’t be done.” So said Director of Operations, Wally as we discussed how to increase capacity in anticipation of the projected surge in demand in the next year. “Employees will never accept a fourth shift. They won’t be willing … Continue reading

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The Gordian knot — how you frame a problem influences the solution

Back in the last millennium, when I was a contract programmer, my customer asked me how long it would take to write a custom program he outlined for me. As I was getting ready to estimate the number of man-months … Continue reading

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To tell you the truth

My Director of Technology was venting over lunch. “Why did you agree to purchase that company, John? Their backup product is a pile of crap and now we have to sell and support it. To tell you the truth, I … Continue reading

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How to determine how much your “value-added” is worth

One day my IBM sales rep Steve dropped by and asked why I continued to purchased hardware from him. “We don’t have the lowest prices. We don’t always have the newest features. Why do you continue to use IBM as … Continue reading

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Smokestacking in the 21st century

Business-to-business salesmen in the good old days used to arrive by train in a new community and climb up the highest hill in town. They would look out and identify where the smokestacks were. Each smokestack identified a manufacturing prospect … Continue reading

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