We’ve all been there – a well reasoned plan. It’s been carefully honed to come in with the right costs and timescales. There’s nothing there you can obviously argue with, but you know deep down that when you put it all together there’s no way the plan is realistic. Here’s the dilemma – with the plan you’ve got the project will probably go ahead, and ultimately overspend. If you re-plan with numbers that feel right it’ll get canned. Your instinct is shouting at you and mine has proved to be pretty reliable in these situations. So do you keep quiet, go with the flow and tell everyone how wonderful the emperor’s clothes are looking, or speak up….
….so now a tenuous link to Discovering Start-Ups 2012 last week. I was there in the role of VP Business Development for Blendology. With both the Chairman and CEO doing the pitch, I was a bit of a spare part most of the time, which gave a rare opportunity to enjoy the event. The judges were rating the pitches on an absolute scale, rather than one against the other. I ran my own private judging, based purely on instinct. To avoid bias I excluded Blendology from my list.
The pitches and pitchers were impressive, but for my judging system they fell neatly into a few categories:
- game-changing, but maybe too good to be true
- possibly sensible but not very exciting
- works for me
Clearly I’m not destined to become one of the great and the good appearing in judging panels for this sort of event, because only one of my top five appeared in the official winners’ list. That was Skin Analytics, which was addressing a real need with a believable solution.
Well done to the winners, and good wishes to all the competitors.
I wonder whether it will be my instincts or the judges who will be proved right. Well, let me wrap up with a confession on how wrong my instinct has been on the odd occasion. Many years ago Psion Software was a major client. I heard their tale of developing an operating system for mobile phones, and was very happy to continue to sell to the nascent Symbian organisation, but I openly admitted my scepticism on their world domination plan. On that one I do feel a bit like the record producer who didn’t rate the Beatles. Ironically, Symbian eventually purchased our business unit, and my team formed the core of Symbian’s Cambridge office.
Link to article telling us to trust our instincts:
…and on the other side, Martha Lane Fox says “Don’t trust your gut”: