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John Dodds

I've always wondered if the advent of spreadsheets improved the outcome of financial analyses or merely allowed for the swifter calculation of innumerable scenarios designed to reverse engineer to a specific ROI figure?

But your basic point is so well made. The Spanish whispers of continual repetition leads to distortions and a lack of comprehension that can do real harm. Received wisdom is not always sagacious so starting from real information is always a better path to take.


John, spreadsheets, ahh, I have a love/hate relationship with'em:

- I started out with the very first version of Visicalc on an Apple II, copying a cashflow, balance, P&L analysis my bank had (they used a mainframe and bespoke software). When I gave them a stack of scenarios which gave same numbers as their expensive system I always got my loans: Superb for manipulation! Valuable.
- Then I started using it myself. If things looked bad I tweaked some margins and all looked groovy. Too bad the map did not match the terrain... Superb for self delusion! Costly.
- It is the most popular none-delivered part of any legacy monolithic enterprise system. Only way to get "my own" report. Superbly enabling two people to present entirely different graphs from same set of numbers at the Monday morning meetings! Entertaining.

Lee Bryant

Great post Sig - I love the quote at the end!

I sense your mission is a long and ambitious one ;-) I hope it succeeds.


Thanks Lee!

Long and ambitious mission, you bet...

The long part past I book as proof of perseverance and stubbornness, need that :D

Duncan Drennan

Hi Sig,

You've really hit the nail on the head of something that has been bothering me for a while. I really dislike handling documentation more than once, and 34 reports to represent one thing is just crazy - but it happens all the time. Then some poor person 5 years later has to decipher all those docs, fill in the gaps and figure out what really happened (and then write a report on all of that!)

I'm looking forward to seeing the evolution of business due to the concepts in thingamy.

Tom Smith

It's the difference between product and process... most people confuse the report with the writing of the report...and expect you to get excited by what they're presenting rather than the "why".

I used to work with someone, lovely guy, who would go away for a weekend and think about things very deeply and then share a mind map so huge I couldn't do anything with it... If the map had have been animated, so that I could have watched it "grow" then at least I might have been able to deal with the complexity...

I'm ashamed to say I've done alarmingly similar things myself too... often...


Tom, good ... ehh... map you painted there :D

Precisely, process is seen in arrears for today's systems (and ways) - as a string of reports (or a huge folder or a unwieldy mindmap). If you want to know "all" about a thing you have to trace back all the reports or dig down in folders.

Antonio Tombolini

Hi Sig! Would you be so kind to let your feed offering the complete text of your posts? It would be really useful for feed-reader-ing people like me, thank you!


Hi Antonio! Checked my settings, and it's set to feed full post - and doublechecking in my own reader (NewsFire) I do actually see full post!

Could it be on your reader side?

Ed Reif

Hay Saw You in 2000 Bloggers

Think American Idol meets Survivor with The Apprentice. Who gets voted off the island? Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Hired or fired? Do you Digg it? Use reality tv groundrules, and VOTE!

Hotel @nyware is paying the 2000 bloggers off in social currency. This is an open source call out there to vet out the 2000 to Hotel @nyware's new Z list of 150.
2000 Bloggers-Idol meets Survivor with Apprentice: Vote some off the island!

The @List Blogroll(It's like a Z list, only different)

Patty Seybold

So glad I found you and Thingamy! (Thru Pat Kerpan and a circuitous route)... You are implementing what I've been dreaming about forever!

Here are some thoughts I'd like to throw into the hopper for you... The challenge that I am trying to wrestle to the ground is how to ensure that the "Ground Truth" you are capturing and viewing is what actually matters--not just to the success of your business model but also to the success of your customers...

Have you implemented a way to express Customers' goals and conditions of satisfaction around specific events?

For example, we capture customers' desired outcomes, how they measure success at each critical point, what processes we need to have in place and what to measure to meet or beat customers' expectations and outcomes, and how to link these customer metrics and our operational metrics to ROI hypotheses.

I can visualize using Thingamy to model and monitor these customer scenario-based business models. Do you have anyone doing this?

We try to start with a set of operational Customer-specified measures that relate to customers' showstoppers and desired outcomes.. For example, "do no harm" kinds of things, for example, "if you change my credit card number because of fraud concerns, then pls. take care of transferring over all my auto-debits so I don't have to.."-- Customers express these as "Zero inconvenience" and they'll give you metrics like "migrate 95% of recurring payments within 30 days and migrate 100% within 45 days."

Or, around software upgrades and migrations--don't slow my system down, don't make me lose a day of my life, don't mess up my data -- again, they'll give you very specific parameters for what "goodness" means to them in their lives and jobs. I'd like to be able to populate a Thingamy model with these customer goals and pain points. Is there a way to do that?


Patricia, wow! So many questions, so little box to write in here... :D

I think I'll send you a mail and get down to a demo and talk trough some points, but here are some not-very-direct-response, more general issues:

Have not done any of what you paint above, but as a indication that "why not?" and even "why not better?" is that the conceptual basis for thingamy is my graphic view of a company/organisation. None of the hierarchy starting with CEO and bottoming out with the janitor including a big box named marketing. None of that.
I start with one point "customer with need" ending up with "customer happy" - in-between you have a "ball of yarn", one big messy single thread with some loops and branches of course, but still one long line consisting of many processes linked.

The end-points being "Strategy" and the ball of yarn being the "Business Model" :)

That would also give you an idea of where we start when talking about implementation - any where. Any simple banal process, as that one is linked to all others, build one, then build next etc.

Most of our very early pilot projects now are just that, a single little process, very often involving customers, but always pretty unstructured and problem or issue oriented. Most often just glued together with e-mails and phone these days.
Put it all together in a simple flow, with as much leeway and choice you want and you get two things: 1) No cracks and 2) Increase in company intellectual capital.

Here the customer comes in to play - as the more knowledge the firm has the quicker and better they can deliver the value they want to, and thus a happy customer.
And enhancing knowledge (apart from managing knowledge) requires flows to capture and use.

And did I mention - thingamy is a Business Model Builder, and a Business Model is "how to use resources to deliver the value and keep some of it myself". Who said that a customer is not a resource on line with CEOs and whatnots? Who decided that customers are outside the organisation and one communicates mostly one way through an appendix named marketing? I certainly did not! :)

Yep, time for a mail ;)

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