its in the dicing

Slicing I got a call this morning from an insight manager who was looking for some desk research. 10 minutes of conversation gave several avenues for exploration. Neither of which required desk research. Exit one happy non customer. I don't routinely turn work away but I don't mind having a conversation which save marketers and researchers from making time consuming costly mistakes. Even if it costs me money. Because using the wrong methods gets them nowhere, and is no fun to work on. Though I will acknowledge the profitability of a lot of dull work. I don't get much of that kind – because its either interesting to start with or I find a way to make it interesting.

The frustration here is that the valuable part of what I am offering I have to give away. I get paid to cook but before we can agree on the meal I am cooking I have to dice the ingredients – to see what we have and what can  be done with it. Its called analyis and its the hardest thing to charge for because it takes hardly any time and depends on asking focussed questions to illuminate the real problem.

I used to have a similar problem at college where I would write an essay and get most of the marks in the ground clearing exercise at the start. Which I wasn't very interested in. But which showed my thinking to an examiner far more effectively than my imagination development of the ideas did. 

Clear thinking may be the crown jewels but there is no point in taking on strategic projects unless you are building on a foundation of clear thinking. And I would rather give it away and have happy prospects who just saved some money than have unhappy clients becuase I muddled on because I couldn't charge for clear thinking up front.

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