Tuesday Three: 3 ways to improve your business

Give the people what they want

  1. Go through your Microsoft receipts line by line – and systematically reduce it to zero. Give this task to the palid looking guy who looks after your servers and databases.
  2. Abandon PCs – and get Apple Macs for everybody. People will start wanting to come to work again, and a whole lot of the computing pain will be gone.
  3. Go 24 – upgrade everyone to 24 inch monitors, with a few, such as graphic designers, coders but not CEOs and IT managers, to 30 inches. Watch productivity soar

Published by Lance Wiggs


16 replies on “Tuesday Three: 3 ways to improve your business”

  1. I take issue with some points Lance:

    Point 1: There are some decent Microsoft products out there. I don’t use them or recommend them except in specific circumstances, but they are there. MS SQL server for one. To be anti everything Microsoft is to believe that a company that employs tens of thousands of people cannot come up with one decent product.

    I would change it to: go through all your software receipts, and have the palid looking guy come up with two alternatives, score them on features & cost.

    Point 2: Rubbish. Sorry, but I really think it is. I have used a Windows XP machine for several years. Like it or not it is a decent, stable OS. I can do all the work I need to do, the total cost of ownership Vs a Mac is lower, and quite frankly, I don’t give a hoot what operating system I am using. All the major apps I want to run are os independent (or just about), and having used Macs from time to time, I can tell you productivity will not soar. There will be a lot of frustrated users, though this of course will dissipate over time.

    Point 3: Perhaps, but I wonder where it will all end. 14’s, 15’s, 17’s – there never seems to be enough screen. Maybe it is the apps rather than the screen real estate that needs to be looked at, though that of course is another topic. My only other point on this is that I would be careful you don’t end up with an office where people are hidden behind giant screens!

    I’m off to have a 2nd shower after all that M$ defending!


  2. Hear hear! I would add #4 Have laptop, will travel. Giving people the ability to make their work portable enables productivity at someone elses desk, in the boardroom, from home and from a clients premises. I would also suggest a #5 to work in the cloud for all the same reasons above and for the economics of it in most cases.


  3. re: PC vs Mac debate. This is written on a Mac but I use a PC at work I strongly suspect that the PC issues I face are due more to network or implementation issues rather than some intrinsic microsoft failure.

    The single biggest technical productivity aid I’ve had in the last couple of years was getting two screens. I think this could really improve productivity for anyone who routinely has several applications open in order to work – in some companies that might be everyone.


  4. Fun post, but my only point would be that if you need many jiggahertz for your high performance computing company, you’re better off building hackintoshes with legitimate os x licences rather than buying mac pros.


  5. Like Ronan above, I feel dirty when having to defend MS bashing, but that’s the most ridiculous advice I’ve ever heard. Just because you’re a fan of Apple products doesn’t mean that everyone wants to use a Mac. And MS have heaps of products which are perfect for small businesses: Small Business Server 2008 and Office 2007 would suit most small businesses with 5 to 20 staff.


  6. Well – I would agree with Ronan – that reducing MSFT products to Zero is perhaps a bit much, but I still defend the notion that pen source software is going to be cheaper in purchase and maintenance costs versus Microsoft. Why use SQL-server if MySQL will suffice?

    As I mention – let the internal folks figure it out.

    The Apple mac thing is aimed at productivity – sad to say Sturartm and Ronan, but people like using macs – so why not let people have fun at work?

    And sure Stuartm – if you derive more fun from PCs – then let people stay that way, but do avoid being locked into a proprietary operating system.


  7. “Why use SQL-server if MySQL will suffice?” Generally speaking, businesses use MS SQL because they are purchasing an application which requires it as the back-end. Sure, if you’re custom building an application for your business then looking at going with MySQL makes sense.

    “…but people like using macs” Not everyone likes using Macs, my wife was given a new iMac (which I was jealous of) for a new job and she hated it because all of her keyboard shortcuts had changed and it was taking her twice as long to do her work than before. So it’s definitely not a given that people are more productive on a Mac.

    “…but do avoid being locked into a proprietary operating system.” Are you implying that Macs use a non-proprietary operating system?


    1. Of course Macs are proprietary, and I also suffer from PC keystroke learning syndrome – I’m much faster on excel on the PC than the mac.

      However the latest version of office has made those keystrokes useless (they are meant to work, but are too slow) and you simply end up creating more beautiful output using things like Keynote.

      Meanwhile my spreadsheeting is increasingly on Google Docs as I find that sharing is more important than advanced functionality and speed. Let people choose


  8. And about your third point about upgrading coders’ displays to 30″, are you sure that this would increase productivity? I haven’t worked with a 30″ display before but I’m not sure I would want to either. I’d rather have two (or three) smaller monitors rather than one large one. I’d be interested in hearing from developers about this one, but reading the following post seems to indicate that a 30″ monitor may actually decrease productivity: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000928.html


  9. “Meanwhile my spreadsheeting is increasingly on Google Docs as I find that sharing is more important than advanced functionality and speed.” As much as I love Google Docs (I use it daily) it’s by no means a replacement for Excel. You’ll realise this as soon as you start using basic functionality like charts or simple functions such as subtotals.

    To put all my comments in context, I provide independent advice to lots of small businesses on their IT requirements, and although I may be a fan of one vendor’s products or services over another, I try to stay as pragmatic as possible. Your post just smacks of the romantic notion that Macs are better than PCs and that you’ll be more productive by using them.


  10. Well I’m delighted I got in first to give the hornet’s nest a good poke! :)

    I think everyone has valid points (I’m in a hippy mood), so maybe the real solution is to keep an open mind about these things, don’t remain locked in to what you have just because you have it right now.

    And offer your users choice where you can, assuming running both Macs and PC’s doesn’t drive the poor techie to distraction.

    On the more general point about open source that Lance raised: I would still caution people to not equate free with cost free. You need to think seriously about your support options when you go open source, and of course whether or not that particular open source project will still be going in 2-3 years…

    Wow, between Opensource V Microsoft, Macs V PC’s, large monitors V multiple, this thread could go on forever!


  11. OK, last comment from me on this matter… If it were me, I would offer the following 3 tips: (similar to what Ronan commented above.)

    1. Go through all your software receipts and see if you can reduce them by looking at cheaper or free alternatives. But don’t just look at purchase price, take into account the available support options and other related costs.
    2. Be accommodating to the type of computers people want to use. An experienced systems administrator should be able to get all the Windows, Mac, and Linux computers working together on the same network.
    3. Provide your staff with the right computer equipment for their job. Larger monitors, comfortable keyboards & mice, and ergonomic desks and chairs will all make staff want to work on their computers.


  12. In regards to no.3 – get two of them.

    This is standard at our workplace and has a massive effective on productivity.

    Going home to my single monitor at the end of the day feels disabling.


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