Three beers

July 28, 2010

An Irishman moves into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.

An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more. This happens yet again. The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. “I don’t mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?”

“‘Tis odd, isn’t it?” the man replies. “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.”

The bartender and the whole town were pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then one day the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening. He orders only two beers. The word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers. The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know – the two beers and all.

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent.”

How to use ROI calculators wisely
by Rick Cook

Many vendors, storage and otherwise, offer tools to calculate the return on investment (ROI) you can get from installing their products. Since projected ROI is critical in most major storage purchases, these calculators are extremely useful in making the storage decision. However, like any other tools, they need to be used wisely and preferably with some understanding of the tool itself.

Of course, not all ROI models come from vendors or resellers. There are a number of companies that develop ROI models for end users. Among others, CIOview Corp. offers ROIview, and Glomark Corp. has ROI calculators that can be applied to many parts of the IT business, including storage. However vendor or reseller-provided ROI tools are much more commonly used.

The more elaborate the tool, the more precise the answer may be. However, elaborate tools require more data from the user. A really accurate ROI tool is likely to require elaborate profile information on the user’s present storage system and that information can involve considerable work to collect.

In using an ROI tool it’s important to understand just what is being measured and why. Some tools are designed to focus on specific parts of the storage system, such as SAN switches. Others are oriented toward kinds of uses, such as transaction processing. Still others tend to compare products only in specific categories, such as storage arrays.

Finally there is the matter of the assumptions underlying the tools. An ROI calculator is fundamentally a model and like any other model, it is no better than the assumptions that go into it. Incorrect or inappropriate assumptions can render even the most elaborate ROI tool worthless.

Here again there is a divergence in approaches. Some vendors attempt to make their tools as assumption-free as possible. This can make the results more accurate, but it means a lot more work on the part of the customer and reseller to gather the information that replaces those assumptions. Further, since some of the information is often not available, this often has the effect of transferring the making of assumptions from the model to the model user.

If the results of an ROI tool are an important part of your acquisition decision, it is worthwhile to spend some time exploring the model and the underlying assumptions to make sure they are a reasonable fit for your business. Meta Group has a research paper aimed at vendors giving suggestions for what an ROI tool should include at It makes a handy list of things to look for in evaluating an ROI model.

One fairly simple sanity check is to compare the results from the ROI tools of the top two or three competing vendors. If the numbers are in the same ballpark it’s more likely they are correct. If a vendor’s numbers come out quite differently, it’s worth taking the time to explore the reasons for the difference. It may be a quirk in the model. Or it could be a major opportunity.

Finally, keep in mind that the results of an ROI calculation are not the same as a bid. There is a range of uncertaintity and a difference of, say, ten percent in results from competing vendors may not be significant.

Carry your business cards when shopping, vacationing, and running errands. Your next sale may be right around the corner — at the beauty salon, barber shop, the launderette, or while standing on line at a bank. Business won’t come looking for you, and that’s why carrying business cards is a must.

Purchase several card holders to place inside your favorite carryalls. These cases keep your cards clean and flat rather than dingy and stained.

Inspect your business cards. Do you provide details that a prospect must know about your firm? Is the contact information up to date? Are your Web site and Email addresses listed?

Avoid passing out cards with deletions and other changes made in pen. It’s not the type of impression to leave with clients and prospects. Business cards are inexpensive. When your information changes, order new cards.

Consider ordering two or three types of business cards with information that appeals to different clients. For example, one card may be for individuals, while another is given to corporate buyers. Another idea is to consider purchasing a fold-over card (also known as two-sided).

Camelia says ” I carry 3 cards. And I think carry cards because it makes it easy for the people you meet to remember you later. You never know who might be the person who could one day bring you an opportunity.”


What not to do on a business card.

-Do not cross out information and write in correct information. Get new business cards instead when information changes.
-Avoid fancy type faces that cannot be read.
-Choose the right size type face for all readers. If your customers are in their 40’s and above many of them will have to pull out reading glasses to read small print so make sure your name and phone number stand out.

Something to ponder
-Beware The Card Pusher- Some people are scared of rejection, think they are their business card or are simply socially retarded.
-Ditch The Card – When I say ditch the card, I mean ditch using a business card as your approach. Don’t even use what you do as an approach. Be a person, with genuine passions, hobbies, and interests and go out there and share yourself!

“People don’t want to do business with business cards, they want to do business with people.” ~Audio

Start Networking With Confidence

Step 1
Compose a brief introduction for yourself. You may need to compose several versions of this speech, each customized to particular situations. For example, if you are interested in finding a new position or starting a new business, you might write two versions of your speech–one for employment contacts and one for venture capitalists.

Step 2
Practice your introduction by standing before a mirror and paying close attention to your posture and stance. You should try to exude confidence by keeping your shoulders back and your eyes up.

Step 3
Find a friend or someone you feel comfortable rehearsing your short introduction in front of. This should be someone who is willing to listen and give constructive criticism to help you perfect your introduction or icebreaker.

Step 4
Find a networking opportunity that is low key and low pressure at which to unveil your introductory speech. This can be anything from a casual party to an alumni event for your college or university.

Step 5
Dress the part. Your appearance makes up a large part of the first impression for a new contact. When networking for your career or business, choose professional attire that is suitable to the occasion and avoid over- or under-dressing.

Step 6
Introduce yourself to at least one new person during your first networking event. By overcoming your fear or shyness, you will find the next introduction that much easier.

Step 7
Improve the likelihood that the contacts you make will be fruitful by following up. Send a brief email or make a couple of calls, especially if you promised or were promised information or job leads during your initial conversation.

Step 8
Keep getting out there. The best way to improve your networking skills is through real-world experience.