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Kicking over an egg-cup full of water

Chomolungma, from base camp one, in the Kingdom of Tibet

How easy would it be to kick over an egg-cup full of water? Pretty easy. We all know lots of people who could do that.

In a business team you might have a range of tasks that need doing, that for people with the right skills, are also of similar simplicity. And customers who are paying you, because of how effortlessly you can do that.

But what if all those egg-cups full of water are sitting at the top of a tall mountain? You may still have five or six people that can kick them over. But you only have one person who can climb the mountain.

Customers, knowing that you have these five or six people, can’t understand why the egg cups aren’t getting kicked over. “What are those people doing?” they wonder.

You sold that customer this egg-cup kicking service. And perhaps you knew that some of those egg cups were on mountain tops. But you didn’t take into account how many. Or the height of the mountain. So you didn’t foresee that your one mountaineer was going to become a bottleneck.

Your customers, either directly or indirectly, put you under pressure to hire more mountaineers. But you can’t. They’re expensive. And expensive because they’re scarce. But, even if you can make the investment case, your egg-cup kicking service works well on the basis your business generally performs well around your ability to hire and retain the best egg-cup kickers there are. Which in general is a completely different skill to being and hiring a mountaineer, with little in terms of transferable skills or mutual interest.

In 2015, when I was running miggle as an agency, I had this same issue. Lots of egg cups needed kicking over (small bugs, styling changes, simple features, updates and upgrades); things that savvy clients knew were quick jobs, well within our capabilities. But, for a time, we had too many egg-cups on the mountains of deployment. And just one exhausted mountaineer.

Our solution was to aim to reduce the height of the mountain by investing in the service and technology that enabled us to take the bottlenecks out of deployment. It was a significant investment, but it quickly paid for itself.

I’ve been reminded of this, because now in 2020, sitting client-side, I’ve been dependant on an agency with too many egg-cups on mountains, too few mountaineers, unable to work out in the short term how they flatten the mountain.

During 2020, COVID-19 has probably seen many more businesses find similar challenges. The core tasks are still easy, but many of them are getting harder to get to.

So my question is, what is your mountain? And how do you flatten it?

Digital decisions are never a walk in the park, so please get in touch and let me help you find the right way through the technical landscape.



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Dad and Husband who loves the great outdoors. Product Manager, Digital Consultant and Business Owner.