Thursday, September 24, 2009

Metaphors, valuable assets in conversations.

The company is in negotiations on selling one of my source code to one of our competitors. I was asked by the CEO to talk to the CFO regarding the risks and to come up with a price. The conversation was going nowhere. The CFO was totally lost regarding the source code. It was obvious that he did not understand the context of the conversation. Finally, I told him to think as the source code as a recipe. "Think of us as Coca-Cola (the company) and we have the recipe, the "secret formula", and now some other competitor like Pepsi wants to purchase it."

After that, we were both engaged on the conversations. The CFO was asking questions such as:
  • if we give them the recipe, they (competitors) can make as many cokes as they please.
  • how long did it take your team to create the recipe (in terms of hours, and most of all money).
All these questions contributed to a really good conversation. Afterwards, the CFO and I talked to the CEO and discussed our assessment.

In the book, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning, Andy Hunt explains methaphors and software as the following:
The idea is that any software system should be able to be guided by an appropriate metaphor

I couldn't agree more with him.

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