I will finish this year averaging 26 sales activities (calls, emails, voice mails) per day, not including meetings, prep and internal items. This is despite missing several weeks and not deducting those days (or holidays) from that total (I am over 30 if those days are removed). That is one of my highest totals ever, yet have nothing to show for it. quite yet. The last five years have involved extensive sales calling to continously build a pipeline. Usually, I have a year of intense activity, then 1 or 2 years of less activity to manage existing pipeline and growth, then repeat. I am looking forward to getting back to that 🙂
We started Christmas week by attending the Nutcracker as a family. It was a surprise since we didn’t think we could afford it this year, but wife M bought discount seats in the upper back and cooked dinner at home (normally we go out to eat). It was a pleasant evening, all of us dressed up, and we took N, who is living with us t his year.
Christmas Eve Eve was spent at a party with friends. The friends are good and social people, so have good and interesting friends, and we enjoyed our time there. I met Leo, who is from the Phillipines, loves to motorcycle and is planning a trip to Oregon this summer. I also spent time talking to Steve and family, who we’ve known for a very long time and didn’t know we were both friends with the host. I also spent time speaking with John, who is from Puyallup, works as a consultant and whose family is heading to Bend for a week of skiing. There was amazing homemade eggnog, whose alchohol was distilled by the person who brought it, people singing carols and lots of chit chat. One of my favorite things about the hosts is they have many friends, and everyone always asks how we know the hosts.
Christmas Day was pleasant. We slept in, then had Wife M’s sister and mom over for dinner and a movie (Krampus). It was a nice evening with delicious food, and I was able to squeeze in a walk just prior to sunset, which may be my favorite time/moment of the year in Seattle, since it is peaceful and I love the way the light hits the surrounding hills.
Christmas Day, N was sick, so stayed home, but the rest of us headed up to MOm and Dads for Christmas brunch and dinner, with my sister and her family. We had a wonderful day of food, family and interaction. It was only the second time I’ve seen my nephew and niece J and P, who are now a month old. I spent much of the day holding, feeding and changing J or P, and it was great to spend some time taking care of them and helping my sister get a break 🙂 Babies are fun to take care of – they just need lots of love, and changing a diaper or walking them around and patting their back is a piece of cake (the hard part is the late night feedings, which I didnt ahve to do :).
There was a small threat of snow/rain all weeekend, but overall it was a chilly, dry, cloud weekend.
Today I think is a holiday, since Christmas was on Sunday, but I am heading into the office for a few hours to make a showing, since I am out ext week.
Normally, I take this week to rest and recuperate since most clients are OOF anyway and I am a firm believer that it is important to re-charge the batteries. But I am OOF next week due to timing, so am doing the best I can to be productive this week.
- Updated our slide deck and posted it online. Have been making some suggested changes, which I appreciate — it is nice to get feedback in an attempt to make the info better. My boss isn’t responding though – I never know if he is going to respond or not.
- I don’t want to put work aside next week, so made a list of clients I should/could email next week. There are 92 who I need to check in with, so am going through each one now to add my note to them, then will transfer that to a mail merge that I can copy and paste into emails next week, when people are returning from the holidays. I am also adding a few prospects who didn’t respond to previous emails so could email again.
- I am making some calls today. I reached a couple of people, including one who might have an immediate need.
I have been bussing to appointments today, and am noticing how especially awful traffic is as people drive for Christmas-related reasons. Despite all the fears in Seattle of global warming, so many of us hop in cars. We hop on planes, we drive places, we eat meat (which contributes a ton to global warming), we order things from Amazon that have to be shipped from far away. Human beings are not able to control themselves until the crisis is real and immediate – we fear global warming and say we need to control it, but don’t as a mass take steps as individuals to control it. And buy the time the Earth can no longer sustain humans it will be too late. In short, we are doomed to extinction in the years ahead. We will be like those early forms of life that helped create oxygen but died off because of oxygen – we are creating global warming and will die from it while blaming the republicans and Chinese for global warming while riding in our cars, planes and boats.
A man approached me today – his car broke down and did I know which bus to take to a nearby city? In fact, I Didn’t but thanks to the miracle of the mobile device and Google Maps, was able to tell him which three busses to take. He wanted to know if 6 bucks would cover the fare – it did, according to my device. he was relieved, and for a moment all was well. I was happy that a cell phone and 2 minutes of research could help him.
Time was, a person could teach or work in a factory or do just about anything and make an honest living. Most of that evaporated long ago, but in the past 20 years there was still hope – a person could be a programmer. But as more and more programming becomes increasingly complex yet more automated, I am thinking that in the long-term there will be a fewer programming jobs with just a few highly paid IT jobs, and everyone else will be working menial and low-paying jobs where it is hard to make a living. I feel like a century from now, we are all going to be serfs again, with a few business titans owning everything and the rest of us fighting for scraps and eating government subsidized fast food (i.e. poison). The problem with humans automating things is we don’t make life easier for the masses – we make it more pleasant for the elite while the rest of us have to scrape to find increasingly difficult to find jobs. I am not sure what my kids or my grandkids are going to do, let alone me in my golden years. I hope I am wrong…
Today is cold by Seatttle standards (about freezing), and it is cloudy, but the sun is shining like a golden orb through the clouds and some flakes of snow are falling from the sky although the ground is still dry. We don’t get many days like this in Seattle, especially during Christmas week, and it is pretty. Yesterday was flat out clear and cold, and tomorrow is supposed to have some light snow then light rain.
In my lifetime there have been very few white Christmases. In 1983 they forecasted heavy snow but it came in as heavy rain instead, in 1990 we already had a lot of snow (a foot or more) by Seattle standards and it dumped another 6 inches early Christmas morning (i.e. overnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas), 1996 it snowed a *lot* the day after Christmas, 1997 it snowed Christmas Eve morning but melted by afternoon, and 2008 we had some residual snow from the previous week’s fairly heavy snows.
In my lifetime, most heavy snow periods last 1 to 5 days maximum. For example, in 1980 it snowed a lot on Monday and Tuesday, was clear and cold Wednesday and Thursday, and rained on Friday. That is pretty typical for Seattle’s so-called snowstorms. If I remember correctly, the years where we’ve had snow stick around for more than a week was the 1985 pre-Thanksgiving storm(s) that lasted over 2.5 weeks, the 1990 pre-Christmas storm that lasted from December 18th until about New Year’s, and the 2008 storm(s) that started in Mid-December and lasted until just after Christmas. That is about it.
Most Seattle heavy snows aren’t really forecasted until last minute — they’ll say for a few dasys “this storm is going to miss us but we might get a little snow” then the day of or day before they’ll modify it to, “Oh wait, the storm is sliding farther north/sout than we thought and we’re going to have heavy snow.” The 1990 storm they copletely misforecast (“maybe an inch or two” became a foot with high winds and freezing temperatures). In 1996 they forecasted heavy snow north of us for several days until 12 hours before the next wave hit they changed the forecast to heavy snow with the high temperature before dawn – that was fun!
According to a CDW study reported in TechEd, 67% of IT Solutions for schools are in the cloud, including email, collaboration applications, Disaster Recovery and Business Apps. This has increased by 42% in 2 years and will continue to rise to almost 75% (from current 67%) over the next 3 years. The primary drivers are improving student performance and instructional time quality, and the largest concerns (budget, security/privacy) are becoming easier to overcome according to school IT folks.
Wife M hosted our annual Christmas party last night, a party I don’t necessarily look forward to but also understand her need to have so support. She had to do a lot of the prep on her own this year, since were were gone last weekend and I had to work this week and she is on break. It turned out well. We had maybe 40 people there despite the Seahawks game, and it was all people we enjoy. We had the food prepped by a local taco stand which was fun, and served Champagne mixed with a little tequila. Everyone seemed tired, perhaps from the election, and the party was done by 10:55. Our first party was six years ago, and it was special and memorable, and we expanded from that.
For several months I was breaking my butt, making sales calls, setting up meetings, finding a few opportunities, including a couple of real good opportunities. I was frustrated with our lack of detail in delivery and our delivery’s slow responses and missed meetings, but figured that was part of the learning curve of this org and I would be able to adapt as time went on. But in October our owner vented at me about our lack of sales, never mind that I’d warned him before even accepting the job that their solutions would take time to build, and that was before I realized some of the other challenges we faced. I was irritated that he blamed me, versus recognizing there had been challenges but we were making progress (and we were).
Since that time, my sales activities have dropped by 25%, not out of spite but because I am no longer killing myself (working from home at 6 AM, racing to the office, staying after the office closes, working through lunch). I am funny – I work as hard (if not harder) than anyone when I am appreciated, something that others have always recognized in me. But that is not unconditional, and I know from experience that I only respond well to criticism if I truly truly respect the person giving me constructive feedback, which is rare and is definitely not this company.
I think that is true of most people. I like to hire hard workers then encourage them to reinforce good behaviors versus criticizing. I’ve hired two people who turned out to not meet expectations, and both were strong referrals taht went against my gut, a mistake I’ll never make again.