Consultant, Naysayer or Idiot (Part 1)

Having worked in this industry for over 32 years I look back and try to see where I have been and what I have gotten from it. In doing so, I compare myself to my peers and stop to think if my parents and grandparents would be proud or even just approve. You see, that has always been important, more important than wealth. To do what is right, what is fair. Applying this has gotten me where I am today but that is not near as far as others unencumbered by these burdens.

You see, I started as a retail sales rep in a small computer store. My manager believed in me, that I cared, that I would always do what was right. And that is how he trained me. He trained me that the first thing I should do is ask “what are you trying to do with this computer?” Then just shut up and listen.

It was an interesting time. I never stayed a sales rep very long, anywhere I worked. I ended up in Service or Management. You see, I didn’t sell much but I did satisfy customers. While my way of selling satisfied customers, it didn’t make money. I was even offered a position with an accounting firm. I had never heard of them and what they were starting sounded a little crazy, so I passed. I cannot help but wonder where I would be had a taken that job with that startup called “Arthur Anderson Consulting”.

So I decided to be a consultant. Let’s charge to help people use computers to satisfy their needs, or solve their problems. That will make money and in the mid-eighties, was pretty unheard of.

I had a pretty good thing going. I would find a small business with a problem that a computer and software might solve. Spend time with the client defining the problem. Find a software and hardware combination that would solve the problem and recommend it. I remember once finding a 69 dollar software program that solved a problem for a client that had already been told ‘Tens of Thousands’ for a solution. He was a pretty smart guy and implemented it himself along with a few phone calls to me.

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