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A Tale of Two Cows

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

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Oct 4, 2006 11:47:00 AM

Theme stolen shamelessly from The Recruiting Edge.

Enterprise Software for Dummies

You have two cows.
Everyone else in your industry has two cows.
In order to differentiate yourself you launch a campaign focused on "the cow experience" and say nothing about the milk.
When that doesn't work, you suggest dyeing one of the cows purple.

The customer asks what makes your cows different.
You tell them that your cows will produce an unlimited supply of milk and beef virtually on demand.
The customer buys the cows.
You leave early to make your 4pm tee-time.

Professional Services
Your customer had two cows.
The salesperson told them that the two cows could produce an unlimited quantity of milk and beef on demand.
The customer now has one cow, some beef, and a really bad temper.
You tell them that if they purchase additional cows, a larger barn, and pay for two consultants to shovel the crap for the next year, then they will get what the salesperson promised them.

The CEO wants to know how long it will take to make cows that can produce chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
You explain why that is both ridiculous and impossible.
Then you show him your new cow which can walk on its hind legs and do basic arithmetic.

Product Management
You show the board your new idea for a derivative product called "Ice Cream."
You explain that it can be sold directly to consumers at much higher margin than your cows.
The CFO doesn't understand how it will work because you actually make all your money selling professional services, not cows.
The CEO tells you to go back to the drawing board.

Sales Engineering
You create a demo cow which can produce ice cream. For fun, you dye it purple and teach it to dance the Lindy Hop.
You take great pains to explain to Sales and the CEO that it cannot be used in production.
One day you discover that the head of professional services has a voodoo doll that bears a striking resemblance to you.

Upper Management
You fly first class to Arizona for a meeting with industry analysts.
You show them a purple cow which dances and produces ice cream.
You tell them that when it ships in six months it will also make cheese and shovel its own @#$!.
You doubt anyone will ever look too closely at the dates on those stock options.

Industry Analyst/Consultant
Five years ago you said cows were going out because milk and beef were unhealthy.
Three years ago you said cows were a great business because of the Atkins diet.
This year you're predicting that the market is in for a soft landing.
You're happy because like a TV weatherman, people keep paying you even when the only thing you get right is what you can see out your window at this moment.

Venture Capitalist
You have never seen a cow or drank milk before, but all of a sudden everyone is talking about them.
You invest $10m in a company called Cowster which you proclaim to be the leading provider in the Milk 2.0 space.
You still haven't seen a cow.

Customer Helpdesk
A user calls and tells you they are having huge problems with their milk.
You ask them what color it is, and they tell you that it's white but "it keeps coming out all weird."
You ask them for more details on how they milk the cow.
After ten minutes of going in circles, you ask their name again and look up their customer file.
You realize that the only product they have ever bought from you is a chicken.