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If you only treat your customers as kings, you might fool them!

Getting crowned is not always an honor. And those who are doing the honors don’t always take the ceremony seriously. Of course, it isn’t always quite as extreme as receiving a crown of thorns, but it isn’t necessary helpful either. For example, a publishing company once gave us an award. The only problem was that there were 33 award categories – and 32 other vendors were “winners” as well! Needless to say, we were able to contain our excitement. We also turned down the publisher’s marketing package, which we were able to buy at a special discount price.

The Innovation Prize from GI is a completely different story. We are still beaming from ear to ear weeks later!

But where was I? Oh yes…the customer being king and Business Intelligence. If you give customers a product that isn’t challenging for them, what good will it bring in the long run? Not to mention, sometimes what customers want isn’t challenging enough for them or isn’t necessary at all. That’s the truth, but only a fool (or in this case, a jester) would admit it because he is the only one in the ballroom who trusts the king and vice versa. That can be risky business. But when you tell the truth, you not only often hurt the person who is affected by it. You often hurt yourself, too.

  1. If you have one-up over your customers, you can show them the future. Heck, I think you can even make it two. After all, the future is long.
  2. Be skeptical of people who think what everyone else thinks. When someone discovered that the earth isn’t flat, the rest of the world still thought the exact opposite. Knowledge is rarely confirmed as a democratic process, in masses or on the cover page of the boulevard press.
  3. While some person might be enthusiastic, someone else will immediately say that’s dangerous. You never know how others will accept your ideas. Fortunately, it’s more fun to work with people who are a bit…uh…emotional.
  4. No customer can describe something that he or she has never seen before. As Columbus discovered America, the Indians didn’t recognize his ships. The medicine man went to the beach every day because he was amazed by the waves on the horizon. After a while, he also saw the ships and, over time, it became normal.
  5. Simplified product demonstrations are very successful. Bob, 52, CFO and a fanatical yachtsman with 3 kids, solves difficult performance management problems with Tara, 28, a product manager who is single, has a Ph. D. and comes from India because our demo company is multinational.

For us jesters, it was a great relief to spend a day in Berlin with a group of kings who are all on the same wavelength as we are. We all came home with the same realization: there is still a lot to do and even when you row against the current, you can still get pretty far ahead!