Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Now for something a little different

If you ever look at this blog, you'll notice that the overwhelming majority of posts merely link to my articles on other sites. Once in a rare while, though, I do post about writing or language. This is one of those rare posts, though with a twist. It's not so much my own how-to as a commentary on another.

I started to just write this up on a Google+ post, but it was getting rather long for that.

Now notice the sentence I just wrote before this one. It is true and relevant; however, that is not the only reason I put it in. The same goes for the sentence just before this one. Both the sentences featured two independent clauses put together. In one, they were joined by the coordination conjunction"but" after a comma. In the other, they were joined by the adverbial conjunction "however" with a comma that was placed after a semi-colon. Both "but" and "however" serve to join the two parts of the sentence in a way that signals the relationship of the first part to the second part.

And now on to what I'm referring to. it's Blogspot's "The Ultimate List of Words That Sell." Some points are fine and well known, like focusing on the reader/potential customer rather than the seller.  But some attempts to turn language around are really absurd. For example:
3) And This is a clever replacement for "but" when dealing with criticisms or objections. The word "but" signals to the prospect that you are about to utter a statement that runs counter to what they'd like to hear. "And" by its very nature is inclusive -- you seem to agree even when you're disagreeing. Consider these two examples from Sales Coach Seamus Brown:
"I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, but let me tell you why our system costs $100,000."
"I see that you only have a budget of $50,000, and let me tell you why our system costs $100,000."

Brown points out that the second sentence acknowledges the prospect's budget, while the first steamrolls over the problem and makes the buyer feel ignored. What a difference one word can make."
Simply linking two contradictory points with the coordinating conjunction "and" does not make the contradiction go away.  Using "and," the least specific of linkage words simply makes the sentence weaker. It actually indicates you're just paying lip service to the concerns of the buyer without working out a solution. 

. A much better way to approach the problem is to make an actual selling point here. "I understand that you have set a budget of $50,000 and so would think that our $100,000 system is beyond your reach. But that's not the case because of our flexible payment terms/guaranteed savings/whatever." 

Another strikingly stupid example offered in this article is this one:  
12) Because
Ellen Langer, a social psychologist and professor at Harvard University, conducted a study where she tested the impact of phrasing on people's willingness to let someone cut them in line. Here are the variations she used:
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?"
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?"
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?"
While only 70% agreed to let her cut in line when she used the first question, upwards of 90% let her skip when she used either the second and third phrasings. The takeaway? When asking people to do something, always include a reason. Don't just request that your prospect introduce you to another stakeholder or fill out a survey -- explain why you'd like them to take these actions.

I can get the rush reason a bit for those who have sympathetic coworkers around, but explaining you want to use the Xerox machine because you need to make copies is absolutely ridiculous. What else would you be using it for -- to make coffee? Really, if I were on that line, I'd be completely turned off by someone trying to cut ahead of me for that because we're all waiting to use the Xerox machine to make copies. 

Last and maybe least, in this case, is this:
13) Opportunity
Problems are bound to crop up in the sales process, but that doesn't mean you should acknowledge them as such. The word "problem" has a negative connotation, and can make the prospect feel as if the process is difficult and unpleasant. With this in mind, replace it with more positive words. Instead of saying "no problem," for example, say, "it's my pleasure." "I understand the problem" can become "I see an opportunity to make this run more smoothly.

Perhaps the writer doesn't normally get calls from recruiters. "Opportunity" is their word of choice for job possibilities. That's what most people would associate with it.  But this section isn't even about using the word "opportunity," despite the heading. Rather it is about avoiding saying teh word "problem," even "no problem." 

This is absurd. No one walks away from hearing "no problem" with a negative association unless they are sticklers for saying a more old-fashioned "Thank you."  Now if the question is about using the word in connection to actual problems, I say, you're better off calling a spade a spade and then offering a real solution because that's what business deals are really all about: finding solutions to problems. There is no progress made by ignoring problems, sweeping them under the rug, or referring them through some ridiculou euphemism in order to try to mitigate their impact. The best selling point for any business offer is to identify the real problem the potential customer is struggling with and to offer a solution that will fix it. Unfortunately, this article will not work as a solution to communication problems. 

Related post:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hybrid cloud alliance

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's unique partnership with NTT America is a classic example of a New IP partnership -- built on the strengths of each and to the advantage of both in that it delivers innovative products, market access, interoperability, security and more

Read more in 

HPE & NTT: A Strategic Alliance for Hybrid Cloud


Big Data at Bentley

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data -- so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.
Those eye-popping figures were tallied by IBM … in 2012. Three years’ proliferation of sensors, mobile devices and Internet-enabled products has only multiplied the data collected about us on a given day. The challenge now, say experts at Bentley and elsewhere, is extracting value from that tsunami of information.

“Whether companies are large or small, established or brand new, they are all collecting data. The difference is that the successful ones are already leveraging it,” says Christopher Lynch MBA ’91, who works with young companies as a partner at venture capital firm Accomplice.

Related posts that are quoted in the article: Predictive Analytics: Data and Retail Expertise and A Data-Driven Game-Changer for Football
- Read more in  Big Data from 30,000 Feet 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nested virtualization improves the odds for online gaming


In the past few years, 888 Holdings—one of the largest online gaming companies in the world and the largest one for legal online gambling in the United States—has grown rapidly and expanded into new product lines and markets. The Israel-based company delivers casino games, poker, bingo and sports betting to computers and mobile devices.

To meet the demands of more than 20 million subscribers in Europe and the U.S., 888 Holdings relies on cloud services. It also uses a nesting virtualization solution, which provides flexibility and rapid replication of environments.

CIO Eran Elbaz explains that his organization has to reconfigure and test its own applications, while also conforming to regulations in different jurisdictions.


Nested Virtualization Solution Saves Time & Money

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Using data for good

We hear a lot about businesses looking for ways to tap into data to make better decisions. For Bloomberg, financial data is not just about the numbers that make up corporate profits. It's also about the metrics of a company's sustainability in terms of its social and environmental impact. - See more at:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

3D printing for more efficient factories

"We make your factory run better" is the tagline for the maintenance services offered byATS.  
One of the ways it accomplishes that mission is by providing necessary parts, which it can now do faster, better, and cheaper with 3D printing. I spoke with Mike Waltrip, general manager of Industrial Parts Services at ATS, about the benefits 3D printing brings to his business in particular and manufacturing in general. 

Read more in 

Making Factories Run Better with 3D Printing

Related posts: 

3D Printing Reshapes Automotive Supply Chain

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Data Mining for Legislative Influence

If you want to learn about the process of getting a proposed bill passed, you can read the official explanation on a state senate site. It’s remarkably similar to the steps involved for federal legislation, according to the explanation offered to the protagonist of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

 What the explanations don’t reveal, however, are the entities behind the proposed legislation.
The actual authors of proposed legislation don’t sign their names, but they do leave signatures of a sort, the signals of individual style that can be found throughout their written work. All it takes is reading through thousands of proposed bills to find the textual clues that link bills to the same source. The only drawback is coming up with the time it takes for humans to read through it all. But this is one problem that technology can solve.


Data for Good: Tracking Legislative Influence