This job’s requirements were for Storage Architects. The targets were companies in the U.S. involved in storage management solutions. Use your imagination, but companies like Cisco and HP and IBM would be similar to targets general size and scope. There were originally about twenty targets but to make matters really difficult, this unrealistic and skeptical young customer wanted to “test” out only a couple. Ouch. That limits the possibilities right there. She told me there would only be “a few” (maybe one or two) of the people holding these titles at the companies. “Wrong”, I thought. But at this point it’s useless to argue with a customer like this. I was regretting getting involved at this point.
Lesson to be learned here:
Customers that are wary and suspicious and don’t believe what you tell them regarding time/production estimates should be avoided. They think they know all there is to know about the spec at this point. She actually told me, “I happen to know five hours is a reasonable amount of time to generate names out of a few companies.” I said nothing, but I seethed. Remarks like this usually set a job for failure at this early stage. I told her I may be able to penetrate one, possibly two companies in her timeframe. She chose three. Probably the three she thought would be the hardest. I put my emotions on the shelf.
She sent me a few “names in” to the companies she’d chosen like they’d be privileged entrance tickets. Two of the names were names publicly available at the company websites: Chief Technology Officer and one or two VPs. All too high. One looked interesting though: “Director of Engineering.”
“I can get under him,” I thought. “No problem.” It was the first call I made.
“That name is not listed in the directory,” the receptionist (Shirley) coolly stated.
“I should’ve guessed,” I thought. Hope springs eternal in my breast, though, so I pushed on.
“Darn! I have him listed as the Director of Engineering there. My information is wrong! Can you please tell me who the Director of Engineering is?”
Silence. For a moment my heart swung open and I thought, "Maybe this won’t be so hard."
“No, do you have another name? We only list by names.”
“Oh. No, Shirley, I don’t. Let me check my information and get back to you.” Bruised but not broken I limped back to my word document. I reread the company explanation: “...raid on the storage market.... contends with EMC and IBM... storage systems... range in size from PC-sized units to massive cabinets...company targets large enterprises...focus on banking and telecommunications sectors.”
Hmmm...“banking and telecommunications”. Two notoriously tight lipped industries. "Hmmm...well, let’s see," I think to myself as I peel off the gloves. To Google I go. Typing in “‘storage architect” and “company name” nothing presented itself that I could use. Here’s a trick: Within the quotes “company name” add the word "at" as in “at company name” or the word "with" as in “with company name” or the word "for" as in “for company name”. This will bring you results of people that may work at/with/for the company. Pretty simple-minded but effective. Adding the at/for/with surfaced one name – eureka! That’s all I need. Let’s hope he’s still there.
Oh, I forgot to mention: the customer wanted to limit results further by adding a geographic preference into the mixture. Of course she wanted the San Jose, CA area first and foremost and then one other east coast location “would be okay” since one of the companies she chose was headquartered there. Jeez, Louise...
I did get her to admit that “they’d take names from anywhere – they’d been casting a pretty wide net” so I wasn’t too concerned about the geographic limitation. But, to please the customer (I can be such a push-over - I’m pitiful at times) I was trying to concentrate in Northern California.
I did the other two companies, similar search techniques that yielded a couple names. I was able to verify that a few of the names I found were still there. It grew late – California closed. It would have to wait until morning for more calling/checking. It being about 11 p.m. my time (eastern standard), I went to bed. Fast asleep I fell.
Remember, I just said, “It would have to wait until morning for more calling/checking”. Well, that’s not exactly true. The internet is a 24/7 beast that never sleeps. Its’ information portals are always open. And, surprisingly, so are the information portals of some night watchmen.
Up I get at 7 a.m. This job is on my mind. I’ve worried it in my sleep – I know I have a hard-to-please customer on my hands – chances are there’s no satisfying someone like this, I’ve been in these pickles before and I know what follows. Okay, it’s 7 here in Cincinnati and 4 in the morning in San Jose. I call one of the company locations in San Jose. A dozen or so rings and a sleepy male voice answers.
“Hello, WeNeverSleepCompanyName - Jim speaking.”
Poor thing. I woke him off his cot in the corner and he stumbled to the ringing telephone that’s on the desk next to a sleeping monitor just aching to be brought to life that’s wired into the company intranet. The following is the actual conversation that followed:
Quickly, “Hello Jim this is Maureen Sharib I’m trying to reach ‘Storage Architect’ – can you please give me his extension or his direct dial?”
I hit him fast and I hit him hard. No mercy. I sound like I know what I’m talking about. I’m not too demanding, just a teeny tiny bit of command creeps into my voice’s inflections. Jim's used to command structures.
“Huh? Uhhhh...,” he mumbles, shaking sleep off, wondering if he’s having a bad dream or back at Camp Pendleton. “Uhhhh, yeah, just a minute, lady. Let me see if I can find it here.”
I’m breathlessly waiting – could I be this lucky? I hear fumbling. Coughing. Then...
“Yeah, here he is - what’d you say you needed?”
“His telephone number, please.”
“Okay, yeah, here it is: 408 xxx xxxx,” he recites sleepily.
“Oh, Jim thank you so much – I also need to reach “Another Storage Architect” – can you please give me his number too?” I purr. Jim’s becoming my champion and I let him hear my appreciation.
“Sure,” he says, a little more awake now, and peels out the other guy’s number – seems this guy is located in NY.
“Oh,” I let disappointment creep into my voice - Jim picks up that he's somehow disappointed me. "I thought he was there in San Jose, does it show if he has an Administrative Assistant?” I ask innocuously and quickly once more.
“No, it doesn’t show one,” he remonstrates, sounding rather contrite.
This one remark tells me he may have the capability to look at whole groups.
I move in. “Oh darn – just in case I can’t reach him, does it show anyone else in his group?” I casually inquire.
I guess he's growing tired of disappointing me - maybe he just wants to go back to sleep because next he says, sounding just a tad bit over-helpful, “It just shows his Manager - Ralph (Something). You want his number?”
Reluctantly, I accept it, “Okay, I’ll try Ralph if I can’t get 'Another Storage Architect' to answer.” It seems Ralph is located in NJ I realize as I hear the area code Jim pronounces the number with.
“To be sure I have the right department, what is Ralph’s title?” I again casually ask.
“Development Manager,” he extra-sensor-perceptually answers.
“Oh thank you, Jim – I DO appreciate your efforts!”
“You’re welcome,” echoes his thankfulness. I can hear interest begin to gather again as we proceed.
“While we’re at this, let’s go back to that first 'Storage Architect' – does HE have an Administrative Assistant?”
“No, he doesn’t have one either but his manager looks to be “Tony Sarcossi - it says Storage Management after his name - you need his number?”
“Yes I do, thank you!’ I exclaim.
He gives it to me. Now it really gets interesting – pay attention. All this circling has brought me to the kill-shot. And you thought we were going away with manager names! Ha! Fasten your seat belts. We’re going into the outer reaches; actually, we’re going into the company’s bowels.
“Does Tony Sarcossi/Storage Management have anyone else listed beneath him besides Storage Architect?”
“Yeah, it looks like he has..,” he hesitates. I hope to God he’s counting, “looks like seven,” he finishes. He is counting!
“Oh, okay, I kinda’ thought so - can you tell me who they are?” I inquire. Be still my beating heart!
Quickly he reads off the names, I’m typing furiously into my silent keyboard and I get the gist of most of them. I go back on a couple and ask for verification. He spells those. I then ask for their phone numbers. I do this by asking for one, then another, then another. After the second one he’s in step with me and is ready with the number when I peel back the name to him. Name - Phone Number – Name - Phone Number. It doesn’t take long. THEN (yes I do have more nerve than a burglar!) I ask for their titles. Once again, Name – Title - Name - Title – Jim and I change leads with each other in the dance. Soon it's over.
Believe it or not, next I asked poor Jim to go back to the east coast group and he gave me that manager’s group also. There were about a dozen and they were all over the U.S. and a few were even in Northern California! I thanked him profusely and said good-bye. I’m quite sure Jim stumbled back to his cot and fell fast asleep. In the morning he’d forgotten the exercise and thought maybe he’d dreamed the whole thing. Though he wondered why he was so tired...
This is the kind of thing we're going to be talking about tonight in the MagicMethod Midnight Moves Sourcing Chat. If you go to bed early, set your clocks to get up - if you're in the eastern standard daylight savings time zone - it's midnight. Central is 11PM - Mountain is 10PM. Pacific time zone is 9PM - be there!
Duration: 1 hour Click here for international time zones or to find out yours.…