Since I boasted about this on Twitter, I have to follow through. I’m going to do “Developer Hegemony Week” on my blog, leading up to the book launch on May 2nd. (I suppose this makes Developer Hegemony Week a misnomer of sorts, since we’re talking about 9 days of posts.) I can think of no better way to kick this off than to talk about “the efficiencer.” For those of you not familiar, Developer Hegemony is the book I’ve written and am launching on Amazon soon. In it, I coin the term efficiencer.
First, though, some housekeeping. I need a bit of help from you, if you don’t mind helping. I’ve started a Thunderclap.IT campaign to help with the book launch. Thunderclap operates according to a simple, kickstarter-like premise. If I can get 100 people to sign up to tweet or share the book, then all of those shares go out on launch day. If I fall short, all becomes for naught as none of the shares go out.
Okay. Back to explaining why I’ve coined a word and why you should care. For the rest of this post, I took an excerpt from the book and modified it a bit. I’m now offering it here as a canonical definition for the blog. And in it, I explain why we need to go from shrugging when presented with wire-frames and specs to saying, “I understand the business problem you’re trying to solve — let’s talk revenue goals, and you can leave the specs to me.”
I’m Glad You Called — I’d Love Some Unsolicited Financial Advice!
My cell phone rang about mid-morning, and it presented me with the ultimate conundrum for an introverted entrepreneur/consultant: an unrecognized phone number from my area code. On the one hand, it could have been a prospective client or generally someone whose call it would make sense to take. On the other hand, I didn’t recognize the number, which usually signals some kind of solicitor or scam. I decided to answer because I thought I’d seen the number before. Either someone really wanted to talk to me or I’d have to tell them to put me on their do not call list to get them to leave me alone.
I instantly regretted my decision to answer. A criminally cheerful voice said, “Is this Erik Dietrich?!” You’d think he’d just gotten his personal hero on the phone.
I sighed, recognizing the forced, chipper tone of someone who lives by the motto “Always be closing.” “Yes,” I said guardedly.
He told me that one of my friends had referred him to me, saying that I was someone that would potentially be interested in his services. He was a financial planner, you see, who specialized in helping young couples achieve their dreams — couples like my wife and me, as my luck would have it. “When is a good time for us to get coffee?” he asked after blithely glossing over this dubious introduction. (My friend never had, in fact, briefed me that this guy would call.)
Do you see what he did there? It’s a classic sales technique wherein you don’t give the
mark prospect the option of saying no. This bit of slicked-back-hair salesmanship is a close cousin of the “loaded question” logical fallacy. “Have you stopped cheating on your taxes?” “Yes, I mean, no, I mean—hey!!” No matter how you answer the question, you implicitly concede a point made by the asker. In the case of our used-car salesman cum financial planner, answering his question politely leaves me no choice but to agree to meet him.
I sighed again. Briefly, I thought about setting a meeting at some Starbucks in the area and then never thinking about him again. But that seemed disproportionately cruel, so I broke script and told him that I wasn’t interested. After taking one more stab at me with a “When is a good time to follow up to see if you’ve changed your mind?” he’d exhausted his slimy script and hung up on me with no fanfare. Class act from start to finish. I should call him back, say I’ve reconsidered, and set up that phony meeting after all.