The first release of a product or service doesn’t have to be great

If you ever think you have to be perfect with a product or service in its first release, I encourage you to watch the Match Game tv series on Amazon Video. The first episodes of Match Game 73 were horrible; Gene Rayburn wasn’t comfortable, the writing was extremely poor, and all the celebrities (except for Jack Klugman) seemed uncomfortable. Then flash forward to Match Game 75 (or 78) and you’ll see a much better show.

For another example, take a look at the original iPhone and compare it to what’s available now. It was revolutionary, but it was also a minimum viable product.

Customer service: JC Penney vs Dillards

Speaking as a guy, a nice thing about the local JC Penney is that nobody seems to want to help you. I went in there to look at suits, and nobody bothered me the whole time, which was nice. I’ll ask for help if I need it.

Conversely, I went to the local Dillards to look at suits, and right away someone was all over me trying to make suggestions. Personally I don’t like that. I don’t mind if someone introduces themselves, but then (IMHO) they should leave you alone. Personally I’m much more likely to buy something if you give me time to compare things and make up my own mind instead of trying to sell me on something. As I wrote in A Survival Guide for New Consultants, a good salesperson is really a buyer’s assistant, and sometimes that means giving the buyer space and time to think.

(I left the Dillards pretty quick when it became apparent they weren’t going to leave me alone.)

How to start a Play Framework application running as a service on Ubuntu 16.04

As a relatively brief note, this seems to be the correct way to start a Play Framework application as a service on an Ubuntu 16.04 system.

A shell script to start your Play application

First, you need to create a little Unix shell script that runs the startup command for your Play Framework application. I created a Play application for a website named, so I cd into the directory for that website:

How to sell a service alvin August 1, 2017 - 10:38am

“What is the color of the wind?”

A Zen koan

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Think about it: Who do you buy from?

“If you speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow you,
as a shadow clings to a form.”


I’ll start this Sales section of the book just as I started the Consulting section: In my opinion, the most important part of sales is trust. If you’re trying to sell me something, especially a service, the first question in my mind is, “Do I trust this person?”

Before reading any further, think about the people you’ve bought a service from before:

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Learn how to influence people

“When you listen to someone, 
you should give up all your preconceived ideas 
and subjective opinions; you should just listen to him, 
just observe what his way is.”

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

If you’ve read the previous chapters, you’re now well past the basics. You’re a trustworthy person, a problem solver, you don’t create any problems for your sponsor, and you know how to make the big decisions. Now we’ll dig into a few of the finer points of being a consultant.