Negotiations – A few thoughts

I was talking with a friend the other day about negotiating a deal and I had a few pieces of advice:

  • Always go into the deal with the ability to walk away. Always.
  • Set an absolute minimum in advance of negotiations and use that as a private lens during the process
  • Put yourself is the shoes of the person on the other side of the negotiation and think about concessions or points that they are interested in and how those might stack up to your interests

Good luck!

Prototype vs jQuery

We’ve been debating switching our Ruby on Rails application over to jQuery from the Prototype JavaScript Framework that comes standard with Rails. Several different items prompted us to evaluate our strategy:

  • We already had to use jQuery for a special word processor widget we used so have both frameworks resulted in going from 150k of JavaScript to 300k, reducing the user experience due to download times and browser performance
  • There was a much better tree control with drag and drop available for jQuery
  • jQuery’s syntax is more Ruby-like
  • jQuery’s UI library is more mature now (it’s similar to Scriptaculous)

After lots of researching and testing we’ve decided to make the switch. So far so good…

Entrepreneurs’ Organization

I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) three months ago and I have nothing but great things to say about it. According to the EO website, EO is:

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global network of business owners, all of whom run companies that exceed US$1M in annual revenue. We engage leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow through executive education and other tools for business owners.

One of the most important aspects of the organization is what’s known as Forum. Forum is a group of 8 – 10 entrepreneurs that meet on a regular basis (usually monthly) and it acts as your own personal advisory board. This is an invaluable way to learn from other entrepreneurs and (hopefully) minimize potential mistakes and maximize opportunities. If you’re an entrepreneur, I recommend you look into EO.

How consolidated are your systems?

Do your CRM, CMS, ERP, etc systems “talk” to each other? If a customer calls up do you have one interface to see their entire history? Even with the profiliferation of affordable, high-quality systems like Salesforce.com, Pardot, and Parature, most companies don’t have a way to see the history of interactions with a client from one screen. Typically, companies also have custom spreadsheets or applications where related customer information is kept, in an even more siloed fashion.

One major benefit typically found in true SaaS systems (not fake ones) is that of an open web services API (typically SOAP or REST). An open API, and a system that isn’t in your own private network (who wants to keep ports open in their Firewall?), is a good recipe for integration. More companies should invest in consolidated systems as part of a larger strategy to divest of non-core IT functions (like CRM and CMS).