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November 14, 2012


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Tim Dobson

Hey Hugh,

Sounds fun, I'd have liked to have dropped past but I'm rushing tomorrow's scheduled so I can go and spend a whole weekend hiking in Scotland this weekend.

However, I do have a question, if you'll accept it in an electronic format.

Surely the biggest problem is that most people don't know they have a problem like the ones you mentioned.

I mean, I'm a sysadmin (amongst other things!) if you ask me how long it will take me to fix a problem, I won't know[1] - until I've actually located what was broken and fixed it.

Surely most people's problems won't be that they have a problem, but that they don't know that they have a problem. Fixing the problem will be relatively straightforward, noticing and locating the problem, relatively difficult.

Is there anyway to help people notice if they're having problems, and helping them identify the problem?


Tim / @tdobson

[1] http://blog.tdobson.net/2012/02/problem-how-long-will-it-take-to-fix-it/

Hugh Garry

Hi Tim,
I'm not sure I totally agree that most people don't know they have a problem. And if they don't know they have a problem, then they won't pop in and I won't be able to help - so not a lot I can do there. The survey pointed to the fact that 56% of charities struggle with digital because they don't have someone to train them. An easily recognised problem with a very simple solution. Also, lots of small businesses struggle to tell their own story because they are too close to what they do - all they need is a fresh set of ears who knows too little to get bogged down by the little details making it easier to recognise the larger strands. If I can be those ears and provide those strands then job done I guess.

Having said all that great people are able to find the problems people didn't know they had - which Steve Jobs was a master at. I don't recall a single person saying 'My problem is I need a device somewhere between my iPhone and my MacBook' before the launch of the iPad. Steve Jobs sold the people that problem along with the answer. So you are kinda right too.

In answer to your question I'd say measure. Measure everything. From performance to productivity to staff happiness to personal happiness. Measure the small things and keep a close eye on them for changes. Have an awareness of the relationship between the different elements of what you do and how small things can effect much bigger things. Sometimes you can make tiny adjustments to prevent bigger problems.

Hugh Garry

Tim. Just clicked your link. Should have read it before I replied. Nice post.


Tim, good idea, but it doesnt solve the problem of the British reserve in approaching strangers and that's before you solve the problem they want solved. Free coffee may help.

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