100% Jerk Free
October 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I just received a newsletter from a former client of mine. In it they tout how they “inspire, share, evolve, exceed, 100% Jerk Free”. This newsletter is also used to mention how a member of their organization has been promoted.
The funny thing is, after dealing with this person in question, the 100% Jerk Free didn’t really apply. The company in question sent feelers out to me mentioning how they were looking to possibly use one of my company’s solutions on a project an end client had presented to them. Sometimes these things go fast, other times, like this specific time, things proceed at a snail’s pace. So I was going back and forth with the company, and I went from one contact, to another, to another, to yet another. The contact was anything but constent, I’d write or call, and not hear anything for days, weeks, and certain stretches, months. But they kept saying it’s between your company, and a company pitching a Google Mash-up. I kept asking if the price was fine, and if they’d like us to develop a demo (which we did, and it took months to get feedback), but all they kept saying was that we were the front runners, and that the end client was happy.
Out of the blue we heard “the end client is deciding next moneth”, nothing came of it. Then “the end client is deciding in the next few weeks”, which finally seemed to be happening. Shortly thereafter I received an email asking “let’s have a conference call to make sure we’re pitching everything to the end client correctly”. As conference calls go, it wasn’t bad, had a few skeptics, but that’s the norm. All of a sudden we received word that “they’re deciding tomorrow”. How this unfolded is not uncommon in the IT business, but what I found to be a 100% Jerk move was how the project ended up, in the hands of the very company that had been stringing us along for over a year saying that they where pitching our solutions to their end client. What they failed to mention was how the competition was actually them, and they were basically using us, and leveraging our information in order to keep the project in house.
I did not come upon this information/conclusion until we were informed via email that we had been passed over for the project. So after deliberating what I was going to write back (I was furious, this project would have been huge for us), I basically asking what went wrong, and asking why after more than a year of being told that we were the front runners did we not end up with the project? We jumped through every fiery hoop that was presented, in flying colors might I add, why were we being told that the project was going to someone else? I also asked what the lesson learned was to know how to move forward with other projects? And this is when the person that the company has selected to promote for “standing behind our core values” reared her ugly head! She basically gloated about the fact that in the year the project had been discussed that she had assembled a team that could put together what the project required. She also went out of her way to basically say that she was introducing her new team that would be more than able to leave a mark on our sector. Something which never took place, not because of them anyway (we’ll get to that in a second).
This wasn’t the first time issues came up with this company; they had also reneged to pay part of the first project they ever purchased from us. This was partly my fault for being too trusting and not putting certain things in writing. In an effort to try and make up for things, they mentioned “oh don’t worry; we’ll bring you tons of more business”. This is usually the kiss of death, and a sign that the company is one and done. We built a bunch of demos for them over the years, but they never purchased anything additional. After the run-in mentioned above, it does make you wonder if they just used our ideas and resold them to their end clients.
Anyway, yeah, so that’s dealing with a company that is 100% Jerk Free!
With regards to what made a dent in the industry, one company and specific name comes to mind, Apple and Steve Jobs. Let me mention that I send my condolences to his family, I proudly own several of his devices (iPods, iPhones, AppleTVs, etc.), but I want to touch on another subject that was brushed under the rug regarding Mr. Jobs and his stance against Flash.
For the longest time we thought that Google and their maps would be what would affect us the most. It did have an effect on certain products, but we were still roping in plenty of business. That was until Jobs decided, he no longer wanted to work with Adobe, and support Flash. For years Adobe kept Apple afloat, anyone that only focuses on the last ten years of Apple is very nearsighted. Had it not been for graphic design programs like PhotoShop and Quark keeping Apple alive, the company would have faded away years ago. What saved them? It was Jobs, and his team who were smart enough to cash in on a business model that Napster had accidentally stumbled upon. The concept was, people don’t want to spend $20 on a CD to only get the single, or perhaps only listen to a few select songs off an album. They knew this was what people wanted to and took full advantage. The marriage between iTunes and the iPod pulled them back from the ledge. The music industry blames P2P sites like Napster for their demise, but look at iTunes, YouTube, Setlist.com, MySpace, Facebook, Spotify and the industry’s own greed as what tore the industry apart. This is a discussion for another day as we’re veering off course (in the meantime check out Kickstarter and Pledgemusic two of the sites that are spearheading the music industry of the future).
Getting back to Adobe and Apple, Jobs refused to allow the iPhone and ultimately the iPad to use Flash. This sent shockwaves throughout the web. What where companies supposed to do with the Flash content on their websites? How where client’s going to see this information on their smartphones and tablets? Ok wait, the next version of iOS will include Flash. No seriously, the neeeext version of iOS will include Flash, and on, and on, and on. So what option did most companies look to exercise? Switch to a nonFlash-based solution. His analogy was that Flash was bulky, and cumbersome, and old fashion, etc. and everyone ate it up. Not exactly true, but enough people where listening that people started to turn their backs on Flash. Not because of the way Flash work, but because Jobs was against it.
So for as many wonderful things that Jobs came up with, he essentially turned his back on the one company that helped keep Apple alive during all of those trying times. Adobe is also at fault here; they threw their hands in the air earlier this year and basically gave up a platform, and countless developers that had put food on the table by putting up with their bug riddled software.
No doubt that the man was a marketing genius, he did so many things that big business thought could never be done. He also brought us some cool devices (and a crap load of things that were just that, crap). He left us way too young, and has left the IT industry with a lot of questions regarding what will happen with Apple as a brand and company. What they will do with their highly inflated prices. Folks you have to bring the PC vs. Mac argument into the now, they’ve both been using the same architecture for the last 10 years so why does one cost three times more if a software update is only $30? And so on and so forth, guess we’ll have to all wait and see.