Snowlanta Sympathy Card

To anyone who has the unfortunate fate to be spending an unscheduled overnight in an Atlanta area Home Depot, school, or Piggly-Wiggly, this sympathy post is for you. If you are one of those unlucky souls, the entire SJN Sales team, many of whom have slept on some pretty hard airport and Metro-Rail floors from time to time, send their best wishes for a speedy thaw and a rapid return to more normal seasonal conditions.

For you who suffer in unplanned storm shelter, we offer only a brief reminder of what a genuinely good reason to take a personal day is: you’re in it. Call the office (if you have battery) and tell them you’re offline until the giant ice-rink clears. Do not attempt to muffle or down-play the sounds of the hundreds of people around you who are each calling their own offices, or trying to reach their kids’ school. Remind anyone, in less storm-stuck territory, how much confidence you have in their ability to handle anything that comes up, during Snowlanta, and then politely hang up.

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Happy New Year. Now get to work.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that you joined SJN Sales in taking a little reflective downtime during the last couple of weeks. Hoping too, that you didn’t spend much of your reflective time stuck in an airport, waiting for that weather delayed flight home.

CES. Yes, The Consumer Electronics extravaganza is the big, press pass saturated, meeting that kicks off the new year. Every channel, online and off is inundated with news of curved televisions and yet more devices for measuring your fitness levels. Yes a couple of SJN salespeople and project managers are making the annual CES crawl so that we can talk to the contacts that matter to SJN clients and review what’s new. If it stays cold, there may be thumb wrestling to deicde who gets the honor of going to Orlando.

But wait. January is full of other meetings with equal or superior opportunities for starting the year with fresh client sales:

NRF – The National Retail Federation is always a huge meeting for SJN sales teams, and a big winner, in past years for our clients. January 12 is coming right up so we’ll be hoping that the weather trend is warmer by the time we arrive.

IBM Connect. Now a monolith that folds in the faithful Lotusphere folks and many others will certainly require more than one SJN project manager to walk the talk to our contatcs, old and new.

Healthcare and science meetings re firing up as well. The list of those is worthy of a separate post.

Here are just a few of the meetings we’ve got on our travel schedule for January. Please comment or email if your particular meeting isn’t listed – we may already be going. Or, we can be persuaded to attend by a client or two prioritizing the contacts.

7-Jan-14 10-Jan-14 2014 International CES Las Vegas
7-Jan-14 10-Jan-14 IDCE2014 New Orleans
7-Jan-14 10-Jan-14 PMA@CES 2014 Las Vegas
12-Jan-14 14-Jan-14 Imaging USA 2014 Phoenix
12-Jan-14 14-Jan-14 NRF 103rd Annual Convention & EXPO New York
12-Jan-14 15-Jan-14 Affiliate Summit West 2014 Las Vegas
13-Jan-14 15-Jan-14 Biotech Showcase 2014 San Francisco
21-Jan-14 22-Jan-14 Health IT Summit 2014 Phoenix
21-Jan-14 24-Jan-14 InformEX USA 2014 Miami Beach
22-Jan-14 25-Jan-14 Create & Connect 2014 Las Vegas
26-Jan-14 30-Jan-14 IBM Connect 2014 Orlando
26-Jan-14 29-Jan-14 SolidWorks World 2014 San Diego
28-Jan-14 30-Jan-14 DistribuTECH 2014 San Antonio
29-Jan-14 30-Jan-14 DesignCon 2014 Santa Clara

Why do SJN Sales leaders attend so many meetings? Because one meeting where we get to meet and greet our contacts, accumulated over long careers, beats flying to Fargo for one important presentation, any time of year.

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DreamForce,DMA, and a host of other face-to-face meetings

I was reminded, rather pointedly (thanks Nikki Pappas) by various SJN sales team members (Shawn, Tracy, and Joan) that DreamForce is far from the only meeting going on.

This week and next are the two highest density meeting and convention weeks remaining in 2013. But the other meetings, while important and productive events, in industries ranging from medical specialty annual gatherings to medical informatics, to advanced imaging technologies, definitely do not have the likes of Blondie and Green Day to add to the business atmosphere. They also feature attendees far less likely to post selfies of themselves and their co-workers stuffing a convention hotel elevator.

SJN attended more trade shows, conventions, Round Tables, etc. in 2013 than in any other year in company history. Admittedly part of the reason for this is because air fares have made one-off meeting travel fiscally irresponsible. The other reason, true regardless of what fare wars are on, is that going to vertical industry and technology meetings lets SJN people hear the buzz from people walking show floors. Hear the promises and concerns for next year from speakers and the audiences that question them, and get a very good idea of the spending and innovation pulse of the industries we serve.

Some of us have been attending the same annual meetings for decades. SJN Sales technology solutions salespeople can often compare and contrast meeting energy and innovation flow from before the first InternetWorld (remember that one?), to last years’ RSA, and all the ups and downs of IT security, capital seekers, innovators, show floor gimmicks, and what is drawing a crowd to a speaker or booth this year, that fall in-between

Yes, we do go to conventions to make sales for SJN clients. But more sales are made the week after the show than at the meeting – Why? We are very careful not to interrupt people who have paid thousands of dollars to book a booth, or speak their piece, with more than a compliment, a question, and a quick aside that books an after convention meeting to talk about our client solution and how it will build business for the trade-show attendee, speaker, or booth crew.

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New week. New post. No politics

I’m posting more (I think we’re nearly through the incoming email) skills, insights, strategies, and life lessons that SJN Sales staff, our clients, friends, vendors, and colleagues have shared since the original series of stories ran in SFChronicle, and was picked up by several other fine publications. If you missed the stories, the links are here:

The essence was that the youngest successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are willing to proudly describe their preference to hire from amongst their own twenty-something generation, and their belief that real movers and shakers, creative, innovators, and “smart people” are young like them. Mark Zuckerberg really went all out and added severally factually false examples of how “chess masters are all young” (you were off by decades, Mark), and a stated belief that young people are better at building companies because they’re not distracted by families, and houses, and stuff.

Mark just bought four houses, so I hope his focus holds up. In any case, here is the list, to date. As before, feel free to send along your own additions. We’re equal opportunity employers here at SJN Sales, so feel free to send along your resume as well. We are hiring.

70. Energy drinks are soda pop with better branding.
71. Sleep is under-rated.
72. The middle seat is worth avoiding in direct proportion to the length of the flight.
73. There is no way to make firing someone or being fired pleasant. But for the love of Mike, don’t text, email or otherwise weasel out of the duty.
74. Blame is a bad way to manage.
75. No one wins all the time
76. Car insurance is a must. Everything else requires due diligence to find out if it will pay for any losses.
77. You can hire out anything for a reasonable fee if you already know how to do it yourself. This is true of IT projects, changing tires, installing stereos, and painting rooms. And most anything else you can name.
78. Offshoring your job is stupid and lazy. It will also come back and bite you in the …
79. “Nothing” is a good plan, for an hour or a day. We are all over-scheduled
80. If you’re not religious, pretend and no-one will begrudge your time off for related holidays and events.
81. Avoid people who ignore your limits on when and how you are available. They will take advantage in other ways later.
82. References and recommendations were always over-rated. Now they are generally a waste of time.
83. You are not more important than anyone else. Ever.
84. The proper way to refer to the president is by his/her full name and title, “President Obama,” your CEO Ed Smythington, etc. whether you like them or not. Never settle for last names only.
85. You can avoid most meaningless meetings by scheduling a task that is revenue related.
86. Your worst boss will still teach you something.
87. There is no such this as a job for life. Always stay in touch with the world outside your company.
88. Don’t shoot the messenger
89. If you don’t like the message, delete, change channels, walk away, or tune-out.
90. Don’t punish people for doing their jobs. Salespeople and even bill collectors may be back in your life when you need their help.
91. Don’t set mottos, missions, and goals that you can’t or won’t keep. Don’t be Evil is exactly as powerful as your willingness to turn down the evil opportunity.
92. Kids need little failures to avoid big failures. Don’t fix everything for them
93. If your parents made everything go smoothly for you, don’t assume that anyone else is on the planet to do the same.
94. Get some B’s.
95. Evaluate opinions others share by looking at how they behave between expressing their opinions
96. Girl Scouts who liked selling cookies, will sell better than anyone other new hire you can pick.
97. Burnt out is not an age group.
98. Some businesses fail after doing everything right
99. Dry heat is still heat.
100. Sooner or later it will be you who needs help.
101. Networking is not job hunting
102. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are not sales calls
103. Screaming is rarely the right choice.
104. You can change any behavior or habit in 30 days or less.
105. Paying your bills late is not a cash-flow strategy that is likely to get you great service or extras.
106. Weekly sales meetings are more expensive than they are worth
107. No matter what you know, how you say it will determine your next raise and promotion
108. Every new productivity tool, training, and acronym based system under the sun has something of value, but probably not much more than you learned at your first Xerox or P&G sales training.
109. If high school or college was the best part of your life, you’re not looking hard enough for life.
110. If your mother in law asks, you should probably say yes.
111. Self-employment is a great way to get balance in life. If you’ll let it.
112. Big companies are not automatically more stable than little companies.
113. Bringing your dog to work is not likely to be a good idea.
114. Family is more important than work. No exceptions
115. Health is a gift you will eventually appreciate. One way or another.
116. Everything is temporary. So is everybody.
117. Do overs are good.
118. Nothing posted, emailed, voice-mailed, or texted after 10:00 pm is likely to make the situation better.
119. You’re going to be 50 or 60 anyway if you’re lucky. Write it. Apply, snorkel, invent…
120. Your kids hear everything. Say what you want to hear them say.

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What we learned after age thirty, the third post.

The list now has a life of its’ own. People from as far away as Bangalore and Costa Rica have come forward with their additions to the list we posted of important things we learned about life after we turned thirty. In addition to the list, this week, we also want to add a special item for the Mark Zuckerman generation — check your facts. World chess masters are rarely young, Mark.

Some of this list came from the healthcare, non profit, EMR, and sustainability teams at SJN. And of course their customers and clients.

38. My mom was younger than I thought and knew more than I ever guessed
39. Everyone gets scared. Try not to be a jerk when you’re one of them.
40. Written thank you notes matter.
41. Bring Kleenex to weddings.
42. IT departments depend on more work for the IT department
43. Find out who really gets to decide. It’s probably not who you think.
44. Don’t ever call and demand to talk to someone’s boss unless you are 100% sure they are not the boss.
45. Nicknames are not to be assumed. Don’t call me Debbie and I won’t call you Dick.
46. Tip the hotel staff as if someone is watching how much, and deciding how much your idea is worth, accordingly.
47. Don’t smoke. Period. You’ll die and look like an unprofessional loser in the meantime.
48. There is nothing harder to sell than something that is FREE.
49. There is no such thing as something that, “sells itself.”
50. Grown-ups do not put smiley faces in email that isn’t going to immediate family.
51. You probably won’t remember what happened today. Next week.
52. Smart is not a substitute for kind.
53. You cannot talk and listen at the same time but it can be fun to try.
54. Math matters.
55. Say yes as often as you can to children and other feeling beings.
56. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” In fact, people like it and will help you.
57. It does get better.
58. Moving the trash is a bad idea. Expand concept as needed.
59. Sometimes walking away is the very best business decision
60. “Send me some information,” means “no thank you.”
61. The highest highs in life never happen at the office. And yes, I like my job.
62. When someone suffers a real loss, sickness etc. the appropriate response is, “I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help.”  No advice, vitamin suggestions, religious insights, or work-out ideas are helpful or appropriate
63. Don’t post your politics but do have some. It matters.
64. Healthcare organizations hate change. More than all the other organizations that hate change
65. Change is not easier if you call it transition
66. Your favorite movie stars, bands, writers, and mentors,, will die. If you’re lucky and live to see it happen.
67. Anything you can’t explain in less than three minutes is probably over-complicated or BS.
68. Public transportation is not beneath you.


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OracleWorld and another week of what we learned after we were done being young.

OracleWorld took on a Vegas tone, with a bit of Americas Cup fervor and disfavor pulsing through the partying crowd.  Serious work groups clustered around laptops and project docs =, ignoring the party atmosphere. So, in other words, about the same as most OracleWorld annuals, with the  exception of Larry Ellison slipping out, none to subtly to watch his baby, a boat, fight it’s way back to the top of the America’s cup. It’s amazing what you can buy. Sales teams discused sales strategies for miving more and better partner driven projects. More quickly. Newbies held forth on what they were iterating near an open tap bar.

It really is a do not miss meeting. SJN Sales sends multiple teams every year and never leave feeling quite like we covered every session and speech, and news announcement that are stacked three deep throughout the week.

As one of the Silicon Valley firms known to be operated by card carrying grown-ups, Oracle is Larry’s world writ large ,but with plenty of rules and systems so you can always look around and know who is in charge. This was even apparent at sessions where newbies and veterans discsued the finer merits of changes made to Peoplesoft and other Oracle product lines. Everyone had their say and then everyone deferred to the folks designated as the leader/facilitator/etc.

I couldn’t help but notice the higher than ev er before percentage of really young partner product managers and Oracle managers in attendance. The core of middle-aged, industry lifers that built Oracle has now, by acquisition become another Silicon Valley hipster hang-out.  The only difference is that for the most part the older voices of experience are still hanging around, meeting colleagues usually on seen via Skype.

I did ask a few senior statesmen at OW about recent media and public rumblings about younger-is-smarter, age discrimination rampant in valley hiring. A couple of nervous chuckles and one Oracle development team leader said, “ah, you’ve got it all wrong. We’re all in our twenties. This is what working for Larry leads to.” pointing to his own grey hair.

If you missed the follow-up piece on valey age discrimination, here it is: If you missed the story, you can find it here.

Have a good week. Pop me an email or twitter if you are at a better meeting than the one I’m reporting about.


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16 more great things learned by SJN clients and staff, after age 30

It’s taking a while to collate and organize all the answers we got to the questions raised by a recent story, on Silicon Valley’s proud young CEO’s, describing the wisdom of their own age discrimination in hiring.

If you missed the story, you can find it here.

24. Never invest more than you’ll have fun losing on a business that involves something no-one has ever done before
25. Donate generously to charities.
26. Donate to specific projects so you aren’t a chump.
27. Donate your time doing something that is one of your skills, not something that an under-employed person should be hired to do.
28. If you spend more on the t-shirts, lunch, event planning, and publicity, than the project for charity raises, it is not charity and is not worth your Saturday.
29. Eat lunch. You’ll find you regret less of what you say and do in the afternoon
30. Curse less. There are still people on the planet that are offended
31. Study up. Do your homework.
32. There are no short-cuts (Thanks Rafe)
33. If in 5000 years no-one has ever paired salmon with grape soda, there is probably a good reason
34. Dress for the job you want.
35. Say thank you to every service person. No one is invisible
36. Business travel is sometimes essential but almost never has to be done on no notice.
37. We used to all have digital sabbaticals. Now my car interferes with my weekly digital break. Think before electronically snacking.
38. Mom was younger than I thought and knew more than I ever guessed
39. Everyone gets scared. Try not to be a jerk when you’re one of them.
40. Written thank you notes matter.

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