Time to avoid gut instinct

One of the advantages that machines have over humans is that often they make entirely rational judgments, whereas humans still base their decisions on instinct.

While gut feeling and instinctive decision making have their place, sometimes the logic is primitive, being based on a set of circumstances that hasn’t been in existence for a few millennia. Sometimes, the loudest primate with the purplest bottom is not the best man for the job, despite what that inner voice tells us. The fact that we waste the talents of whole sections of society, because of the first impression given by their age, gender, ethnicity or their pronunciation of vowels, is well documented.

Sadly, the IT industry seems to have taken the commoditizing of humans even further. Einstein would never get a job these days because he would be judged someone that “you can’t put in front of clients”. Winston Churchill with his Cigar breath, brandy habit and mood swings, would probably have to go into reality TV to make an honest living. Poor old Ghandi wouldn’t get past reception.

There is a danger that only the blandest will survive in the information age.

This is a recurring thought whenever I see a new company attempting to set up a channel in the UK.

At Techspace last week, new entrants to the UK market were being showcased. These included the B2B ventures Big Data Partnership, Praim, Klappo and Parim. The event also featured some tips from StartUp Direct, which offers funding and mentoring to start ups.

On the consumer side, there were presentations by mobile payments innovators Spleat, property business sanitizer Plentific and social media reviews analyst Twizoo

The choices facing Praim exemplify the trauma facing all new vendors when they choose a channel. Praim makes thin client equipment for the cloud. They supply a tiny comms box that occupies less desktop space than a handbag, but somehow meets a variety of problems, from viruses to virtualization, management of apps to memory costs, at a stroke.

It saves companies £85 per seat, apparently, and provides the perfect virtual desktop management tool for anyone creating virtual desktop infrastructure for clients.

It could probably be fairly easy tale to tell, so most Citrix or VMware or Microsoft systems integrators and resellers could grasp it and convey the message fairly easily. Let’s hope the sales director, Alessio Broccardo, chooses his partners wisely.

You can’t help worrying for new market entrants though. Whether they are choosing distributors, or public relations companies, they seem to be drawn, like moths to a flame, to all the wrong types. For instinctive reasons that bear no logic. Small technology companies always seem to select partners from the biggest corporations, with the lowest chairs and the longest records for keeping you waiting in reception. They choose them because everyone still has that primal urge to choose the brutalist beast, because instinct tells them they will be the ones to help them survive.

In truth, analysis of data might suggest that they get much less for their money. The person that impresses you so much at the initial presentation will never be seen again. Your account will be handled by a 22 year old with no life experience. But they will look good and they’ll know how to use social media and that’s the way the herd is wandering at the moment.

As any tech journalist could tell you, the bigger the information technology firm is, the worse they are at conveying information. Similarly, as the reception area of a communications company expands, its ability to communicate shrinks. Although you do leave their reception area, having sat for hours on an uncomfortable chair, with a big purple bottom. And that, instinct tells us, is a good thing.

This was first published in July 2014

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