From Bays to Skyscrapers – Part 2
When the logic hangs up
Four options in the previous blog, dozen experts…yet we have a hung jury! So when options dry up, what must a blogger do? Flip the blog and retry luck at a different level..moving up from San Francisco bay..
To Manhattan Skyscraper…
Arguably, the most branded customer today on Cybage file is Google, courtesy their acquisition of DoubleClick many years back. Even in the pre-Google days, there was an extended period when DoubleClick enjoyed the status of our largest and most celebrated customer.
Around this time, Cybage decided to divert some of its reserves into infrastructure assets to reduce the burden of high operational leases. It took about two years to bring up our state-of-the-art campus to house 600 professionals. It was a moment of huge pride in Cybage history, and who better to cut the ribbon than the one sitting at the helm of our biggest customer! Our chief guest—Kevin Ryan —arrived from New York with full pomp and show to participate in our inaugural festivities. Two DoubleClick executives, one senior (Oleg) and one mid-tier (Navdeep), accompanied Kevin on this visit. The event turned out to be our biggest corporate extravaganza with a lot of singing and dancing. And, of course, the feature highlight of the evening was the inspirational speech by Kevin Ryan!
After the event, we had a campus tour of Cybage for our DoubleClick guests. An insignificant episode happened during our walk:I noticed soft exchanges of whispers between our guests, hushing up every time I was in the eavesdropping range. I was too excited to think much about the incident at that time. A mega corporate event finally came to a close.
Then, a few weeks later, something uncanny happened. DoubleClick took on board some business consultants and then went on a prowl to explore setting up it’s own captive unit in India with the objective of moving business out of Cybage! I was baffled; we had just added a new leaf to the relationship between our organizations! Whatever happened to the true spirit of partnership? Shouldn’t there be some decorum in business relationships to reciprocate the gesture of a gracious host? Why would Kevin do that? Fortunately, their due diligence only led to re-endorsement of Cybage as a good value-proposition partner, resulting in shelving of the ambitious captive plan. However, it took a few years for me to realize what had gone wrong.
It was Navdeep who, over a friendly chat, leaked out the snippets of the conversation that had transpired between Kevin and Oleg on that fateful day in the new Cybage campus. Apparently, awed by our cutting-edge infrastructure, Kevin stated to Oleg something to the following effect “… you see, all this luxurious infrastructure? It’s we who are paying for it”! And that triggered a decision by Kevin to explore the possibility of setting up a captive unit to cut off the “middle-man”!
Now what learning do we have here? Obviously, everyone understands that no mature customer would be happy to see a vendor not do ‘well’ as that would make his business relationship fraught with high risk. But we don’t realize that these same customers get even more distressed when their vendor does “too well”! So should you, as a vendor, become pretentious and structure a corporate lifestyle within the acceptable limits of customer-defined benchmarks? I don’t agree. For pretentions are dangerous, and just can’t be good for any true partnership in the long run. So what is the solution? It’s one of those illogical impasses in life: you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t!
When ‘logic’ fails to unlock the gridlock, only one thing can be done. One should turn to solutions of the ‘heart’. Most definitely, there is nothing wrong in pulling out low-cost gifts from a convertible’s trunk for your startup customer, or handing to your largest customer a cheap 6-inch scissor to cut a ribbon for your multi-million dollar sparkling infrastructure. But why have them stand only behind your car’s trunk or the other side of the ribbon? Isn’t it thanks to them that you are driving a convertible or inaugurating a building? So let them also experience a sense of achievement by sitting in the front seat of the convertible. Let them also proudly join you in giving a guided tour of your new infrastructure to other guests. Tell them not only by using flowery words in speeches, but also by “thankyou”actions coming straight from the heart —these accomplishments are not just your moments of pride, but their moments of pride as well! After all, which standard human specimen doesn’t feel warm and elevated when first made aware and then deservedly acknowledged for the contribution in upgrading the life-style of the other person?