GEOGRAPHY IS TRUTH..OR, WHERE THE BEAR ARE
Just got off the phone with Dennis Wisnosky. His company, Wizdom Systems, is located in Naperville, Ill. Dennis is looking to tap into some of the technical labor resources of the northeast. While manufacturing is still the strength of what was once derisively referred to as "the rustbelt," many of the companies that offer software solution are clustered on either the East or West Coast. Before I get letters, that's not to say that there are no good software companies in the Midwest.
Dennis and I discussed the possibility of managing small groups in several select locations, the primary one being Chicago. It's remarkable how many different skill sets are needed to run a modern software company. And how matching the labor pool's skills to current projects on a day-to-day basis is an even more daunting task. It's a matter of geography, and people.
Dennis and I decided to get a new perspective on personal management problems using Midwest bear-hunting analogy. In each case, we send different types of technical specialists off to the Midwest on a bear hunt. How they react tells us much about the group's disposition and fitness for meeting the needs of the organization.
As an example , we found that to hut bears, computer scientists proceed as follows:
1. go to Baton Rouge,
2. work northward, transversing the country from sea to sea,
3. catch every animal seen,
4. 'COMPARE TO A BEAR.'
5. 'UPON MATCH, STOP SEARCH.'
Mature programmers place a bear in Chicago to insure that the search will terminate. Taking the analogy just a bit further:
Using the bear-hunt system, Dennis and I should be able to advise people on what their life's work should be, given their proclivities for big game projects. But it's important to keep geography in mind as well. Ask any venture capitalist: each geographic sector has its advantages and advantages.
Years ago, some of us analyzed the American market on the hardware side. The West Coast (including the 51st state, Japan), build little components - from resistors to computer chips. The East coast (which includes Texas) assembles the components into computers and controls. The Midwest uses the controls to build cars.
To conclude: who and where are key determinants of success. But after discussing all this with Dennis, what did he do? He decided to hunt elephants.
As appeared in Manufacturing Systems Magazine September 1995 Page 16
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