December 22, 2007

ISP subscribing to websites?

Today I was roaming around, checking out the bowl games and the Euro 2008 draw that I missed a while back. Then I see an ad to watch some UEFA Champion's League games online at I very rarely click on web ads (in fact I don't often see them), but this one got I had made a mental note to check the website out after I saw those fanhood commercials. Since I absolutely LOOOOOOVE the UEFA Champion's League, I checked it out.

Once I opened up the site, I see that I can watch all of the Champion's League games (Sweet!), plus the Euro 2008 draw (Bonus!). Needless to say, I am ready to "START WATCHING NOW!"

So, I enter my zip code, and here is what I get:

What the crap!?!?!?!? Since when do ISPs need to "carry" a website? And who the hell at ESPN thought up this idea? Could they really not branch out from the cable television world to figure out how to make this site profitable without subscriptions? Even then, why put it on the ISP and not the user?

This "website business model" is a horrible choice, because John Q. User may not ever be able to access this site, even if he wants to (or is willing to pay for it). And even if it is possible, it may require this user to make some significant changes (i.e. change ISPs). This is the similar situation that the NFL Network is in now trying to get all cable companies to carry their network. The only difference being, is that NFL Network has no other avenue to provide there television channel and they have to fight this subscription battle. I'm lost how this could be the best solution for this site.

Okay, frustration, disappointment, and venting is over with. I wonder if ESPN realized this is how their potential customers feel when they have to show this message because they chose a crappy business model for their site.

December 21, 2007

Magic 8-ball Manager

Every feel like your manager or project's decision maker uses his/her magic 8-ball to make all decisions? I have felt this way on my recent project. This humorous analogy helps me cope with the my project manager's obvious inability to do his job properly.

How would I run the project? "Better not tell you now" =P

Running a project, and need some help? Try this.

December 19, 2007

Corporate Culture

Being a consultant, I get a chance to be part of a company and work closely with its employees without actually being an employee. This gives me a chance to learn new and different ways people work together and accomplish tasks. I have only being out of college for a few years, and I don't have immense experience or hundreds of different projects to refer to back to, but I have noticed that a business culture plays an enormous role in the way in which that business's employees typically handle their work. (I think I just heard you say "duh")

I think culture can be a great thing (in business and especially in general), but it is incredibly frustrating when it blindly replaces how people would normally handle things. I really hate to preach, but here are a few negative tendencies derived from corporate culture that I have witnessed that I would suggest to avoid.

Appeal to Authority
Corporate Culture: Make sure all involved parties are involved and aware of any business decisions/solutions that will affect them.
Culture Blunder: Make sure all who were involved in similar business decisions/solutions are involved in making current business decisions/solutions.
  • Appeal to Authority can often make sense given that previous problems and the current problem are very similar. But when they are not...or the proper investigation is not done prior to talking with "the authority", it is just lazy and wasteful.

Meetings as Work
Corporate Culture: Schedule meeting to discuss and review important, high/impact issues and decisions.
Corporate Blunder: Schedule meetings for all issues and decisions.

Corporate Culture: Develop a standard process for common, critical tasks.
Corporate Blunder: The "wheels fall off" when a given process is not followed.
  • There are always everything. You should understand any particular "process" that is done and quickly adapt it to handle exceptions as they arise, and not cause major chaos when it is not quite the same. In fact, any process should be continually reviewed and modified to ensure that it is correct.

And I could probably go on with more examples (and maybe I will some day), but you get the point. All of these things can make sense and be great solutions for problems, but blunders like these will arise when people do not address each business issue as its own unique problem and blindly apply previous solutions without discretion. Please don't let this happen to you. Then certain people won't need to listen to me complain about it all the time.

What do you think? I would love your feedback or some of your top "blunders".