Sunday, May 1, 2016

Maybe it's a different 80-20 Rule I'm thinking of here

The 80-20 rule, or Pareto Principle as it is known in some circles, can be summed up as 80 percent of the output comes from 20 percent of the input.  Another way to look at it is in terms of distribution: 80 percent of your results will fall within 20 of a parameter.

When I worked at the FBN Consulting Company, one of the things the mentors tried to instill was a get in front of the client and show them how much you are dedicated to working on their issues.  The idea was to be proactive but more so to show the client that they are getting value for the money we are charging them.  This manifested itself in a variety of ways but one that comes to mind was the constant push to communicate what you are doing for the customer as much as possible.

I'm not really explaining it right so an example.  Let's say Marty at ABC Widget Company calls at 8 am because he has a problem.  Clients rarely called to ask how your weekend was.  The mentor would assess if the problem was career advancing, interesting or just a routine issue.  If it was the later, it would be assigned to the Field Engineer (me).  My mentor would literally assign me the work order at 8:33 and then at 8:40 ask me if I've contacted the client yet.  Usually the answer was yes I called him.

"Did you call his office or his cell phone?" 

*  This was back when cell phones were common but not necessary the predominant form of contact they are today and certainly not smart phones (the pre iPhone Era).  AT best you had a feature phone.  Either way, the primary source of contact was usually their office number.

Whichever I used, he would tell me to call the other.  "And send him an email too."

This is one of those paradigms that follows the 80-20 rule.  It's gonna work as expected with 8 out of 10 people and its gonna apply to about 80% of the issues, problems and questions clients have. 

I might be projecting a little of myself here, but some people really only want progress reports when there is actual forward progress to report.  In other words, repeating what you told me an hour ago with no new news or telling me what you plan to do doesn't really tell me anything I don't already know and just wastes my time. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Facebook Thought

So I decided to thin out my Facebook and LinkedIn connections a little bit.  While I'm still having trouble pulling the trigger on a few people, I have already noticed that each time I unfriend even a small group of acquaintance-pseudo-friends, I suddenly see posts from people I haven't seen posts from in years.

It would seem that the goofy algorithms that Facebook uses to determine what you see are impacted by random things.  I know that many of my friends aren't seeing my posts and vice versa.  I've long suspect that it's even more diabolical than that.  I believe the algorithms cause Person A to see Person B posts, but Person B doesn't see Person A posts, causing them to eventually break about because Person A thinks B is a jerk for not interacting with them.

The LinkedIn thinning is because I have a lot of random recruiters who only connected because they believed they could place me somewhere and have really done nothing for me.  LinkedIn was probably a good resource once upon a time but like everything else, it has become saturated with too many people trying to use it for purposes it wasn't intended. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My New Atron Vision AVF240 Gaming Monitor Monitor

Ever since I bought my HP desktop and connected two monitors to it, I've had this issue where the monitor would crash if I loaded a YouTube video or other graphic intensive element that ate up CPU and didn't play nicely with the monitor drivers.

I tried troubleshooting it but the registry hack was unsuccessful and there were no driver updates available that would resolve it.

So naturally the only solution left was to buy a new monitor.  I waited until my financial situation improved and then bought a gaming monitor.

Atron Vision AVF240 24-Inch 144 Hz FHD Gaming Monitor with Built-in Speakers.

To be honest, it's okay.  It seems that you can only turn it on using the remote control which seems pointless.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Waiting to take off

This is me stuck on a plane that cannot depart because of weather in New York and New Jersey.   

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Law firm memories

The reason the Rules of the Road work isn't that they are a well thought out plan for driving.  They work because everyone, more or less, follows them.  Sure there are people who roll through stop lights and run stale red lights but for the most part everyone follows them.  If they didn't, there would be chaos.  imagine if everyone followed their own version of the Rules of the Road?  I'm not talking the absence of RotR, I'm talking everyone has a different copy (or maybe there are 20 different copies and you don't know which one someone is using until they reveal it).

That's how life at BigName Lawfirm 1.0 was when I was a paralegal.  Everything was very ad hoc, with few defined processes or procedures.  There was very little oversight, collaboration or desire for continuous improvement.

Sometimes a new person would start and realize just how different here was from whatever there they had come from.  Over the years I've worked at other places, some great, some that had their own special brand of dysfunction.  Even so, each place has been a step up from the BS at BigName Lawfirm 1.0.  Probably due to a combination of Corporate America has made some shifts over the years and also my skill and ability now afford me better paying jobs at better companies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Observations of customers and scheduling

I cut my teeth in the support department of the No-Name Software Company and dealt with a wide
variety of personalities on the other side of the phone.  Most of them can be filed into one of four buckets.

Nice-Smart:  Rare unicorn.  These people are truly a pleasure to work with no matter what the issue.

Nice-Dumb: These people are nice to work with too but often you have to carry the weight because they just don't understand what they are supposed to.  On the plus side, they are usually self-aware enough to know just how much they don't know.

These people  don't give an inch.

Dumb-Mean:  Are really angry that they don't understand what you do.

 Icarus Theorem of Scheduling: if you schedule two people to visit your home (plumber, cable installer, electrican, whatever) they will come at the opposite ends of their schedule window such that you are trapped at home for the maximum amount of time.

Correllary to Icarus Theorem of Scheduling: if the windows are different (morning and afternoon for instance) they will come at the beginning of the first and the end of the second.

This theorem scales up in such as way as the more scheduled appointments the more chaos will ensue.