In the last two days, I made posts to honor a consultant who has helped many other consultants by being a mentor, resource and friend to us. In her honor, I want to describe how consultants help other consultants. I will continue to do that by talking about some ways she specifically helped me. Today’s example will be marketing and technology.
Jackie had run a business before starting her own and had an understanding of marketing. In her last business, Plum Suite Solutions, her tag line was “MS Access Development in Purple” http://www.jackiegrubb.com/
As it happens, her favorite color was purple. She wore purple to every meeting (actually, she wore purple whether she was at a meeting or anything else). Some might brush-off this focus on purple as eccentric, but it did help people remember who she was. At networking events, where most people tell what their company is, Jackie would start to say she was “Jackie Grubb of…” and would then raise her hands to the group she was in and she had all her groups trained to say in unison “Plum Suite Solutions!” in a loud voice and we’d all then laugh, because we knew we were well-trained. Once again, no-one forgot who she was. And, if they didn’t, they paid attention to her when she told what it was her company was all about. In a nutshell, she excelled in branding, getting people’s attention, and educating them on her company.
Gadgets and Technology
No-one was prouder of having every one of the latest and greatest techie gadgets than Jackie. Through Jackie, we all saw how the new things worked (and didn’t). Sometimes, she would have something before the rest of us had even read about it, and that’s quite a feat among the large technie community she belonged to.
It helped that she was in Boston, where there’s a lot of technology to be had. She would attend many of the talks on ideas, technology, what’s hot, how it affects us, and any other variety of topics. Every time I spoke to her, it seemed she had just been at some deep and important presentation about one topic or another. Not only was she able to boil it down to a short description and make it understandable to me, but she was always able to tie it into her own experience and what she’d seen over the years.
Sometimes, I’d attend one of these events with her, or we’d be part of a larger group of consulting cronies, then go out for dinner or coffee afterwards and discuss it in more depth. There was just nothing more powerful than those post-presentation sessions to discuss the details. Even when there were good Q&A (Question & Answer) sessions at the presentations, we still found more to discuss in the best of them.
This is one way in which we learn from each other. When we get together and discuss the topics at-hand, we learn more about the topic and the issues are more vivid to us. Too often, we hear people jump on some new technology or gadget without understanding it, and trying to push it into their lab, spending lots of money without any real benefit. This, by the way, is one reason why management thinks we just spend lots of money on silly things and won’t give us money when we have a good reason for needing it.