First, I have a word for all the readers who responded to my "Hang Up and Drive" column by arguing that its unfair to ban driving under the influence of phones while ignoring other distractions, such as smoking, eating, singing, radio tuning, applying makeup, shaving, etc.
Unfortunately, management says I cant use that word here. Oh well, on to some fresh topics.
> Calling All Case Studies! I really need your help finding good case studies for our "Solutions" section. The usual channel works like this: A PR agent pitches a product or a CEOs "vision" to me. I reply that I need a real project completed by the likes of a systems integrator, xSP or consultant. Often, I never hear from them again. Apparently, contract PR folks have no idea whos selling their clients products.
Big solutions providers are having trouble getting their big customers to participate in case studies. A media relations manager for a very large global solutions provider tells me she has "a stack of case studies that have been waiting for approval for six months." She says corporate communications managers and legal counselors are leery of saying anything—good or bad—about the vendors with whom they deal. Her observation confirms a trend I started to notice last summer.
I dont believe that such paranoia rules in the small-to-midsize business market where many of our readers earn their daily bread. I know most of you dont employ PR agents, so Im asking you to contact me directly with your favorite war stories.
Check out our Solutions editorial calendar at www.smartpartnermag.com/filters/editcal. I need at least six weeks of lead time from the publication date next to a given topic. The best case studies are often modest in scope. Its the lessons they teach about solving customers problems and building profitable partnerships that really matter.
If youve recently done a job that pertains to one of our future topics, e-mail a short description of it to me. If we decide to go with it, all I need is about 20 minutes on the phone with you and some time on the phone with your customer.
> Where Have All the Laid Off Gone? On another note, Im wondering if our smaller-biz readers are laying off employ-ees as fast as the big guys are. Have you been trimming "fat" acquired during the go-go 90s, or did you stay lean and mean while others over-expanded? Are you seeing résumés from MarchFirst, Scient, Razorfish, et al.? If so, are the applicants any good, or are they mostly the callow code wienies who cranked out so many appalling Web sites during the last decade?
If youre among the many recent casualties of the industrys wake-up call, what are you doing now? What did you learn from your last career episode? What kind of company do you want to work at next? Smart minds want to know.
> Are the DSL Wars Over? Ive rooted for the underdogs of online business since 1988, so it breaks my heart to admit that the incumbent telcos have effectively won the DSL wars. Covad classifies about one-third of its installed lines as "nonrevenue generating." NorthPoint has filed bankruptcy. Rhythms is in such sad shape that its impolite to talk about it. Is there any good news in DSL land?