Lessons Learned about Hiring Sales People

Lessons Learned about Hiring Sales People

If you are hiring a sales person for a small company, the challenges are significant. Unlike larger companies where over- and under-performers balance out, small companies don't have this luxury. Getting the selection right is a huge factor in success. I've gone through this process multiple times in the last 15 years. All of the basic advice about personality matches, sales philosophy, previous experience are all good. But I've found that you have a much better chance of success if you focus on your vision for the sales process and defining where the sales person fits in this process. You can filter out the noise and find the best candidates once you've done this initial step. 

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Does Your Sales Process Fit Your Pivot Strategy?

Does Your Sales Process Fit Your Pivot Strategy?

Executing a pivot strategy often means taking a hard look at your sales and account management teams. I've learned a number of lessons having done this a few times. It starts with understanding your current sales process -- what works and what doesn't. Then you'll need to be realistic and honest about what your new process will look like. Who will you sell to? Who will close? How will you prospect? This post has some practical advice on how to envision your post-pivot sales process and hire the right people. 

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Why the Humanities Matter

Why the Humanities Matter

Our collective ability to think critically about the world around us sucks. What passes for critical thinking today is really about reinforcing already held beliefs. When it comes to politics in particular, we seek out like-minded cohorts. The effect is to make us more extreme and sure in our beliefs. The humanities must combat this by providing us with critical thinking skills that encourage what the late Edward Said called "questioning, upsetting, and reformulating so much of what is presented to us as commodified, packaged, uncontroversial...."

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Everyone says these are the best cookies

Everyone says these are the best cookies

I've been making these cookies for a while now, and everyone who tastes them says they're the best they've had. They are based on the America's Test Kitchen version of "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies." I've modified them a bit to fit my family's tastes. I thought I'd share them for the holidays. The trick is to make sure that the butter is like a loose pudding. It should be melted but not transparent. It should still be opaque. That's key to making the dough fluffy and the cookies chewy. I also add an extra egg yolk from the ATK version, which helps keep them moist longer out of the oven 

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Big Data, Privacy, and the Constitution

Big Data, Privacy, and the Constitution

Privacy and personal liberty are all undergoing significant change with the development of big data, predictive analytics and the proliferation of technologies that inherently create personal data that we don't own, control of even know about. In this post, I argue that the Constitution is as much an ethical guide post for how we handle these issues and not just a legal one. As an Enlightenment document, however, it has shortcomings. These shortcomings don't alleviate us -- particularly corporations -- from taking a leadership role in addressing them before they become legal matters. 

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Using Scorecards to Drive Strategic Conversations

Using Scorecards to Drive Strategic Conversations

I get frustrated by conversations that are supposed to focus on strategy but end up endlessly cycling through issues that don't matter. Part of the problem, I've found, is the lack of a framework for focusing the discussion. If a strategy exists and has been documented, then scorecards are a good way to make business conversations meaningful and keep them from spinning out of control. Scorecards are collections of metrics that align strategy, conversation and behavior. As long as the metrics are the right ones -- no easy task -- scorecards can guide conversations and make them more meaningful and efficient.

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Stop Being Technocrats – Toward a UX Ethics

Stop Being Technocrats – Toward a UX Ethics

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ethical and political dimensions of user experience design. While I’m no longer an in-the-trenches practitioner, it seems that this is an area of UX thinking that is too seriously underdeveloped. Given the role that technology plays in our lives, developing a stronger sense of the ethical and political implications of what we do is not only necessary, it’s unavoidable.

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