EDITOR'S NOTES - by Diane W. Collins

Techno"crats" Need Attitude Adjustment to Survive New Net
by Diane W. Collins

Techno"crat": An individual belonging to the otherwise highly inventive and progressive computer industry, who sees himself as part of a self-named aristocracy holding disdain for all commoners. Not to be confused with "techie," " nerd," or other enjoyable sorts. Characteristics include the inability to communicate outside the group or think outside the box.
Marketingweb Dictionary of Terms, Vol. 1, Entry 1

We've all worked with them. They're scattered throughout all levels of the industry. We've seen how they can slow the progress of projects to a crawl by shifting the focus from cooperation to non-communicative acronyms delivered with a healthy dose of self-importance. Arrogance is unbecoming any professional but when it starts affecting the bottom line the coach needs to call time out, bring the player to the sidelines and redirect his thinking.

Here's the point. The 1999 "New Net", as described by IDC Research, will be one in which "the masses" get connected. Internet demographics are changing and more "small business newbies" are going to be online than ever before.

Small Business Newbie: member of a group highly interested in integrating e-commerce into their overall marketing plan by developing an Internet presence. Currently represents $445 billion in annual sales to the IT market.
Marketingweb Dictionary of Terms,Vol. 1, Entry 2

When a small business owner calls his Internet Service Provider (ISP) to discuss his commercial web site he doesn't want to talk to a techno"crat" who delivers techno"ese" with attitude.

Techno"ese": the techno"crat" language largely spoken in acronyms and required to be delivered with disdain when spoken to those outside the group.
Marketingweb Dictionary of Terms, Vol. 1, Entry 3

Then there's the account executive working for a consulting firm. In an attempt to impress a prospective client the executive displays his membership in the Society of Techno"crats" confusing and insulting the intelligence of his client. Result: Executive doesn't get contract. Consultancy loses business.

What about the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who fails to communicate with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board of Directors? The CIO flaunts alphabet soup at board meetings instead of clearly communicated plans with realistic return on investment (ROI) projections. Result: The progress of that company's online presence is stinted, giving their competition time to get online first and capture the market. The CIO's company ends up playing catch-up-ball. Anything that unduly slows progress affects the bottom line.

One program that has impressed me with its attitude of communication and service toward small business is the Mitsubishi Electric/ MEB Powerline partnership in the United Kingdom announced November 2, 1998. The program they have instituted to move small business online and preserve competition in the Internet marketplace is admirable. MEB Powerline's business customers receive six months of Internet access free of charge or obligation. In addition, they get a 50% discount on Internet training offered by Mitsubishi Electric - Internet Services Division. Non-technical support staff walk users through the Internet connection process. (The support program has a "no techies policy.") They get it!

Small business and the so-called "masses" are the "New Net. " They won't put up with arrogance or professional jargon. The only one allowed the luxury of an attitude in business is the customer. In this case, small business is the customer and its disposition is "Don't waste my time!" The "New Net" is looking to Internet professionals for clearly communicated, straight-forward answers. If you won't supply those answers...it'll find someone who will. Now that most definitely affects the bottom line.

January 17, 1999
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