From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

Not guilty!

In blah, quote on December 12, 2007 at 7:02 pm

He’s arrogant, opinionated and seldom bothers with social niceties. He seems to take sadistic pleasure in aggravating his biggest threats and often the most important people in the room. When faced with a lose-lose proposition, he sabotages his side of the equation bad enough to cast suspicion on the integrity of his opposition. He’s been referred to as Muhammad Ali who survives more on reputation than skill in the latter half of his career. He’s been married five times, the last of which left him when she found him having sex with the caterer, three hours after the ceremony. He’s also the founding partner of one of the most successful firms on Fleet Street and has a self-proclaimed win-loss record of 6043-0. His most famous quote consists only of his full name. He is my hero.

The courtroom packed with people seated on wooden benches. The mood, suitably sombre as the two sides present their argument to the twelve individuals saddled with the task of deciding in favour of one of them. The prosecution rests after making an impassioned plea, trying to sew up every loophole. Counsel for the defence starts by raising the not-uncommon arguments about reasonal doubt, then proceeds to unbutton his trousers, unhook his suspenders and moons the jury albeit veiled in white boxers with a giant bullseye as he finishes his point about the concept of CYA (cover your ass).

In his own words..

“Waive reading Judge. And ask that these ridiculous charges be dismissed on the grounds of ridiculousness.’

”Alan, I have trouble with this sort of subject matter…It’s my father. Sometimes he wore dresses. He called it a kilt and sang all those Scottish songs, but we knew.”

“Last name: Crane…First name: Denny…Not guilty…over and out!”

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Anatomy of a kickoff

In blah, consulting, work on December 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Engagement kickoff meeting. We’ll call the key participants Entity A (hint: starts with a P…ends with an artner) and Entity B (hint: John Grisham). There are others involved, and by relative importance, they will be called non-entities.

Why not just refer to them with their names? Three reasons; Client confidentiality, lest the managers of the ‘Unethical use of information for material gain’ department of every competing organization to our client is trawling the internet and other dark places to find information that they can use, two; this is only a representation of a gazillion similar meetings occurring all over the world and three; it would make the story less fun to tell.

Entities A and B arrive (within 4-5 minutes of each other, about 10 minutes past scheduled time) with non-entities in tow. It is important here to note that the number of non-entities could vary depending on the scope of the engagement. First few minutes are spent on one or more of the following: traffic (how they started from home/office at daybreak), weather (in proportion to how much rain there has been), work (making sure that no actual details are mentioned). Smiles and nods all around from the non-entities. One of the non-entities (usually the newest) has twiddled with the focus and sundry knobs on the projector to maximize graphic impact. (it’s a mechanism to soothe his frayed nerves not unlike when FBI agents, when in a potentially volatile situation, finger their coat buttons except they’re doing it to gain ready access to the .45 in their hip holster).

The meeting
The assortment of boxes, arrows, pyramids et al start their procession on screen as entity A waxes eloquent. The typical exchange goes along the lines of:

Entity A: I have been involved with 117 similar engagements and I’ll be closely monitoring every stage of the project (I’ll insist that every deliverable is sent to me atleast 2 hours before it is due none of which I’ll see coz my blackberry can not open attachments). Our approach combines the collective wisdom of three generations (of fruit flies) with the essence of all the information there is in the world that will be superimposed with our patented frameworks (that table in the Economist on the page I used to mop up my spilt coffee this morning looked good).
Entity B: Being a very a result-oriented CEO, I’d like to see atleast five generations and that other generation born after specialized in-breeding in the north of the Andes (read about it that morning in a google news sidebar…others read too you smug bastard)
Entity A: Not a problem, Only yesterday, I lunched with the senior scientist who supervised that particular generation (glanced and nodded briefly in a buffet line at a symposium on dog allergies when I bumped into him causing the elbow of his jacket to dip into my paneer makhani).
…67 slides later…
Entity A:…in summary, it would be safe to say that implementing our solution will increase topline by 467% and deliver you to the land of milk, honey and playmates (potentially if all planets line up just right, if elvis comes back and if other less likelier things happen, you might get more than just carpal tunnel from signing our invoices)
Entity B: 467% in topline growth sounds about right but we would also reduce the need for capital expenditure completely while achieving a 97% decrease in operating costs and as a natural extension of that exercise, ensure that someone walks my dogs – twice a day.

Sharp intake of breath from the non-entities but the sound is drowned by that of furious scribbling

Pleasantries exchanged as the group files out of the room…Entity A turns to the biggest non-entity and says with a smile “Don’t worry, I’ll ensure there is no scope creep…you only have to walk his dog once a day..also, don’t bother copying me on the emails henceforth, just contact my secretary to schedule for the final presentation”

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