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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We have too many problem definers, we need solution builders

Quote attributed to Bill Van Dyke.

Once upon a time, I was watching an internet industry thought leader. He had a real skill describing a problem, and then giving it a memorable name. He didn’t seem to care if they were real problems. I hadn’t seen them in the wild. He was building his world.

The next guy up was running a global web operation for a large corporation. He didn’t have any classy names or theoretical problems. He kept saying, “when we ran into this problem, we did this.” And he was logical, believable, and smart as hell.

A questioner was confused that his solutions certainly worked on big operations, but she also thought they would work for her small company. He allowed as how he thought it was the quality of the solution, not the size of the problem that allowed it to scale.

Score One.

Then he was talking about best practices. For the first time, I realized that the trick is having best practices that make so much sense, your people are lining up to implement them.

Score Two.

Most of the best practices I have seen called for an immediate performance decrease and loss of viability. Calling them “Best Practices” was supposed to make them different.

“We have unlimited problem definers, we need solution builders” I think there is something to that.

What can you add to help this along?

Talk Your Business!


  1. I'll just add a kudo for your clarity. And many more kudos for the speaker you referenced and the value of simple, down home, very understandable common sense, expressed with brevity. A model for us all.

  2. Thank you, ma'am!

    For those of you who remember Martha Spice, she is now Martha Johnson and her website is

  3. Rob Fitzgibbon over on Social Media and Web 2.0 reminded me of an animated video on selling social media consulting posted by Suw Charman.

  4. Amen. From my first job, many years ago, to now I have always been told do not present problems if you don't have a solution. In sales, it is the salesperson's job to find the problem to be able to present the solution.

  5. Good point, Randy!

    I notice some people get prickly if there is any time lag between finding the problem, defining the problem, and developing the solution. That often requires substantial brainsweat!