• Subject: Re: Legacy code. Was:Dates
  • From: "Kahn, David" <KAHN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 11:55:00 +0600

Chris Rehm (Mr.AS400@ibm.net) wrote:

>Then why cloud the issue with this talk of training? Your objective is
>simply to get more money out of the client. You are not intending to give
>the client anything more for that money. So, why not just raise your
>rates? It will have exactly the same effect for yourself and your client
>without all the bull.

Where do you get this notion that I don't want to give the client more
for his money? That's the whole point of moving forward. That's what I
mean by providing a more valuable service. Valuable, not just expensive.
My rates are set at the level the market will bear (I hope). Raise them
without providing some added value and the clients will simply walk.
Fail to improve the product (me) and the rates will steadily decline,
certainly against inflation. The clients are not stupid, you know, and
neither am I.

>>I don't agree that my model implies this at all. It doesn't preclude
>>long term strategic positioning.
>Positioning for what? If you simply wish to find the area your customer
>will pay most for, I would think you would look to law or public
>relations. Sales is a good direction.

Are you serious? Positioning for the future of my business. It's not a
static industry. If I decided to retrain as a lawyer my house would be
repossessed before I left college. (Besides, my sister's a lawyer and I
bring in more than she does.) If I went into PR or sales, quite apart
from my extreme distaste for those occupations, I'd probably starve
inside 3 months because I'd be no good at them.

>>Chris, we're talking the same language.
>Dave, sometimes I think so, others I do not. It may seem a subtle
>difference, but it is very real to me.

I don't know, I get the feeling you're deliberately misinterpreting what
I said out of a sense of mischief. Maybe I'm wrong.

>IBM doesn't investigate what I am
>willing to pay the most for and then go into business making that (I use
>IBM here because it was the example from my previous post). Instead, they
>look at what their area of expertise is, and what my needs are. They
>propose solutions to those needs based on their technologies and see how
>much they can get me to pay for that.

Precisely. That's why I'm not going to move into the law, sales, rock
music, or cosmetic surgery thank you. OTOH IBM don't keep on selling you
the same thing. They have a humungous R&D budget. If they were still
trying to sell 360s there would be no IBM today.

>IBM looks to the future to see what they think I will need then, and they
>enhance their technologies to match so that they will have products to
>sell me then. Sometimes they botch up and are making a bigger mainframe
>when I wanted a more networkable AS/400.

Yeah, I'm looking to the future too. Sometimes I'll botch up too, and
not recoup the time and money invested in self development. That's the
way it goes. It doesn't prevent me from planning.

>If they simply looked to what I pay the most for, they'd all be lawyers
>and show up in three piece suits and... wait a minute!

No, they're not lawyers (although they employ quite a few). They know
where their area of expertise is and they concentrate on developing
that. They do not sit still. That's exactly the strategy that I'm

Dave Kahn - TCO, Tengiz, Kazakstan

e-mail:  kahn@tengizchevroil.com    (until September 30th)
         dkahn@cix.compulink.co.uk  (from  October 1st)
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