I don’t love you, you don’t love me, and we aren’t a great big family

Even if you don’t you would have to have been living in a cave to not know Barney the purple dinosaur who delights kids with his lessons of cleaning your room, taking turns, and being politically correct.

At the end of every show Barney breaks into the Sinatra-esce ballad we all know “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”. Kids love it, but most parents have an involuntary stomach sickness when we hear it — it haunts me in my sleep.

You know why Barney Intl. LTD does it? It works. Parents line up like sheep to buy his merchandise, CDs, DVDs, and other propaganda.

Why do I bring up Barney’s strange mind control over our children? Because apparently it works on adults, too, and it makes me even sicker than our purple friend.

Exhibit A: WorkOtter had a departmental WorkOtter project management software client at a large tax preparation and financial advisor company in Kansas City. We had an opportunity to expand throughout IT and standardize on WorkOtter. Our software was performing admirably in a hosted environment for the better part of a year and our turnaround time on all issues was less than 24 hours. Everyone was happy.

All was going according to plan. Charge much less and get setup quicker than our competitors and then out deliver, out hustle, and out service expectations. The system begins to grow internally and one of two things happens.

Scenario 1 is that the system is perceived as a successful experiment and is rolled out to the division.

Scenario 2 is that the other department heads are terrified their peer will get all the credit and the system doesn’t have every whim they ever dreamed up for their own department. They insist on a full analysis of all vendors and spend $400,000 on a RFI/RFP.

The circus begins.

Unfortunately, scenario 2 came to fruition. After looking at a dozen competitors it came down to Planview and WorkOtter. We have some respect for Planview and personally know companies that will attest to their software (we can’t say the same about SAP, Computer Associates, and ChangePoint – and it is not from lack of asking).

Anyway, the sales people for Planview showed a lot of the functionality as “slideware” instead of production code. They must have sensed some discomfort in the room because as they were giving their closing comments they bleated out, “We love you”.

The people in the room were stunned. Did they just drop the “L-Bomb”? They said it two more times to make sure everyone heard it. They made other sickening promises as well:

  • “We will have you running in 3 months!”
  • “The slideware we showed you is really nearly complete”, and
  • “It won’t cost you more than WorkOtter!”
  • “We love you!!!”.

Well – I wouldn’t drop the “L-bomb” during my presentation.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t have to say much at all. I simply logged into their WorkOtter application and showed them the value they were getting from the system after only spending a half day of training and consulting EVER with them. Their own people stood up, one after another, and touted the simplicity and power of the system and how it changed their working lives.

What do you think happened? Did they stay with the proven mate or go with the flashy slideware from the one who “loved” them?

Yep, they ran off with our competitor.

The people that were using WorkOtter where allowed to keep using it until Planview came online in an estimated 3 months.

Eighteen months later we received the phone call that Planview was ready and they would no longer need WorkOtter. By this time the director we were working with had already left the company, the industry, and even the city to get away from it all. What a shame.

So let me just say “I don’t love you, you don’t love me, and we aren’t a great big family”. I won’t bring you donuts, send you fancy gifts, or set you up with event tickets every month. We won’t go on paid trips and I won’t take you to expensive golf courses like our competitors do to brush over the fact that they only care about the sale and that they charge way too much for a product they don’t use themselves.

We don’t put our sale in front of your interests and you will be treated ethically and professionally.

…and I may even loan you some Barney stuff just as long as you never give it back.

Virtually yours,
Nick Matteucci, MBA

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