What if you built a spaceship and nobody came?

Things were different a few years ago.

As I write this, one of the big news stories involves Jeff Bezos’ plans to go on a spaceship built by his company Blue Origin. Not many people can afford to go on a spaceship, but Bezos certainly can.

Back in 2017, when you referred to a tech CEO going to a spaceship, you thought of Apple CEO Tim Cook staying on this planet and going to Apple Park, Apple’s new building in Cupertino. One of Steve Jobs’ last great accomplishments, Apple Park was a $5 billion corporate headquarters that provided Apple employees with an insanely great place to work.

Of course, not everybody went to an office to work in 2017. In fact, Silicon Valley had discussed this in 2013 when Yahoo’s then-CEO Marissa Mayer saw all of the Yahoo employees working from home and deemed it, um, essential that Yahoo employees work in the office whenever possible to help build Yahoo’s culture.

In February 2019, remote culture advocate Sarah Dixon looked back at the Yahoo episode. Among other things, Dixon stated:

…there’s no doubt that Mayer’s announcement did some damage to the acceptance of remote working. If you’ve tried to persuade a reluctant boss to let you work from home, they may have even used Yahoo! as the reason they don’t think it’s a great idea.

Ah, way back in 2019. I remember those days.

A little over a year later, attitudes toward remote working changed in ways that even Sarah Dixon couldn’t have imagined. In March, Dixon’s coworker Gabriela Molina was providing a step-by-step guide to working remotely during COVID-19.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a lot of us were forced to work from home, whether our companies liked it or not. Security systems were updated. Videoconferencing systems installed on our computers were used much more frequently. Additional collaboration tools were adopted.

But now, at least in the United States, COVID-19 is receding. More and more people are theoretically able to go work. Yet many people continue to work from home today, including employees of some major tech companies.

Apple, however, would like its employees back in the spaceship three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday). After all, Apple spent $5 billion on the thing; might as well get some use from it.

But some Apple employees aren’t so eager to return to the practices of old.

…we would like to take the opportunity to communicate a growing concern among our colleagues. That Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple. This is a decision none of us take lightly, and a decision many would prefer not to have to make.

The letter from the Apple employees uses many terms such as “flexibility,” “empowered,” “unconstrained,” and “tearing down cross-functional communication barriers.” The employees claim that remote work allowed them to do their best work ever…and they don’t want to go back.

It’s hard to predict how all of this will play out for Apple and other companies. On the one hand, many companies are taking advantage of distributed working models. Ever since August, my consultancy Bredemarket has conducted ALL of its business without setting foot inside any of my clients’ offices. Actually, my clients themselves aren’t setting foot in their own offices; for one of my clients, I frequently deal with two employees who live several states away from their employer’s office.

On the other hand, out of sight, out of mind. Unless your corporate culture has a habit of firing up Zoom or Facetime at any moment to talk to someone, interactions with remote workers are going to be more limited than they were if you were down the hall from each other.

My perspective on this is admittedly unusual. From 2017 to 2020, my corporate supervisor was on the other end of the country from me. Over the nearly three years that I reported to him, I probably saw him in person less than a dozen times. So I sort of had an experience with remote work before COVID sent all of us home in March 2020, and things worked out well.

But how are you going to get a company with hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, who paid more to build their corporate headquarters than many companies make in a year, to change its way of doing things and “think different”?

Pangiam acquires something else (in this case TrueFace)

People have been coming here to find this news (thanks Google Search Console) so I figured I’d better share it here.

Remember Pangiam, the company that I talked about back in March when it acquired the veriScan product from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority? Well, last week Pangiam acquired another company.

TYSONS CORNER, Va., June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pangiam, a technology-based security and travel services provider, announced today that it has acquired Trueface, a U.S.-based leader in computer vision focused on facial recognition, weapon detection and age verification technologies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed….

Trueface, founded in 2013 by Shaun Moore and Nezare Chafni, provides industry leading computer vision solutions to customers in a wide range of industries. The company’s facial recognition technology recently achieved a top three ranking among western vendors in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 1:N Face Recognition Vendor Test. 

(Just an aside here: companies can use NIST tests to extract all sorts of superlatives that can be applied to their products, once a bunch of qualifications are applied. Pay attention to the use of the phrase “among western vendors.” While there may be legitimate reasons to exclude non-western vendors from comparisons, make a mental note when such an exclusion is made.)

But what does this mean in terms of Pangiam’s existing product? The press release covers this also.

Trueface will add an additional capability to Pangiam’s existing technologies, creating a comprehensive and seamless solution to satisfy the needs of both federal and commercial enterprises.

And because Pangiam is not a publicly-traded company, it is not obliged to add a disclaimer to investors saying this integration might not happen bla bla bla. Publicly traded companies are obligated to do this so that investors are aware of the risks when a company speculates about its future plans. Pangiam is not publicly traded, and the owners are (presumably) well aware of the risks.

For example, a US government agency may prefer to do business with an eastern vendor. In fact, the US government does a lot of business with one eastern vendor (not Chinese or Russian).

But we’ll see what happens with any future veriTruefaceScan product.

(Bredemarket Premium) Publicly available information on a major biometric firm’s plans

During my years in competitive analysis (either as a formal role or on an informal basis), I conducted the vast majority of my analysis using publicly available information. This could be obtained from a government agency via a public information request, or from a paid service that shares information to paying subscribers.

By Hoodedwarbler12 (talk) – I (Hoodedwarbler12 (talk)) created this work entirely by myself., Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26933846

And in some cases the information is freely available to anyone who knows how to use it.

However, if you want to continue reading this post, the rest of the post is NOT free. This is the first “Bredemarket Premium” post, which requires a subscription to read. For more information about Bredemarket Premium, see my recent mailing to my mailing list.

Subscribe to get access

Subscribe to Bredemarket Premium to access this premium content.

  • Subscriptions just $5 per month.
  • Access Bredemarket’s expertise without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The EU Digital Green Certificate is live…in seven countries only (for now)

Remember the European Union’s Digital Green Certificate that I discussed about a month ago?

Well, it’s live…sort of.

Seven countries began using the European Union’s digital certificate on Tuesday (June 1), allowing for fully vaccinated people to travel.

The Digital Green Certificate began operating ahead of schedule this week in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland. The digital record stores whether a person has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus or has tested negative for the virus within 72 hours.

So what does “using” mean? According to the European Union, this is what those seven countries are now doing:

…seven Member States – Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland – have decided to connect to the gateway and started issuing first EU certificates…

The referenced “gateway” is the EU-wide mechanism that “provides for the verification of the security features contained in the QR codes of all certificates.” As I mentioned previously, EU Digital Green Certificates are not issued by the EU itself, but by entities within member countries such as hospitals and health authorities. Each issuing entity, however, is registered with the EU gateway, to make sure that fake certificates are not issued by “Joe’s Reely Gud ID Service” or whoever.

As the German “Digitales COVID-Zertifikat der EU” web page notes, four of the seven countries (Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Poland) are contiguous, so presumably land travel over these countries’ common borders has been eased by the Digital Green Certificates. I have not been able to confirm this, however; sometimes it takes a few days to work out the kinks.

And, as noted above, the seven countries may not necessarily be verifying ALL types of certificates. Remember that a complete certificate will be capable of registering any of three events. The seven countries may or may not be capable of recording all three of them…yet.

tick iconbeen vaccinated against COVID-19
tick iconreceived a negative test result or 
tick iconrecovered from COVID-19

Make sure your social media channels have current AND CONSISTENT content

A few months ago, I suggested that businesses should make sure that their social media channels have CURRENT content.

This does NOT count as current content.

But that’s only part of the battle.

It also helps if the social media channels of a business exhibit CONSISTENT content.

Because of my years of competitive analysis experience, I engage in some competitive analysis for one of my Bredemarket clients. This includes regular visits to competitor social media channels. I won’t mention the name of the competitor (after all, I don’t want to promote a company that competes with one of my clients), but one competitor is very good at social media channel consistency. The competitor uses four major social media outlets, and generally ensures that content on one outlet is also available on another outlet, in a format appropriate to that outlet.

Some companies…don’t do so well.

I’ve run across several companies with multiple social media outlets that fail to take advantage of them.

  • In one case, a company published a very good video on its YouTube channel, but failed to share a link to the YouTube video on any of its other outlets, missing a golden content sharing opportunity.
  • In another case, a company had created two Twitter accounts over the years, but never let the followers of the old Twitter account know about the new Twitter account. Sadly, the new Twitter account had FEWER followers than the old one, again missing a golden content sharing opportunity.
  • In a third case, a social media consultant created accounts on multiple social media outlets, but NEVER posted to one of the social media platforms. (And this is a social media consultant!) It would have been best to have NEVER created that dormant account at all, rather than creating an account with NO content.

I’m struggling with this myself at Bredemarket, since I have multiple accounts devoted to the Bredemarket business itself, and other accounts devoted to me in a professional or personal capacity. For example, I’m probably going to share this blog post after I publish it. Where should I share it? Why? How?

If only there were a service that could help me analyze my web/social media content…oh yeah, I offer one: Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup.

If you’d like me to perform an unbiased third-party social media checkup, contact me. (I can analyze your competitors also.)

Water is (literally) critical and needs to smarten up

Presidential Policy Directive 21 (2013), the successor to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (2003), defines 16 critical infrastructure sectors that need to be protected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other entities.

There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.

Some of the critical infrastructure sectors are obvious at first glance, including sectors such as transportation systems, nuclear reactors/materials/waste, and government facilities. But these aren’t the only ones. Take the Water and Wastewater Systems sector, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity. Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment. Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the Nation’s economy.

Look at the pain that we’ve suffered because of water issues in Flint, Michigan and other cities. Now imagine what would happen if the water in a larger region, such as the Colorado River valley, were to become undrinkable.

Oh yeah, climate change.

Data show extreme weather events are increasing. This is challenging utility providers who are managing critical infrastructure around the globe. The year 2020 was truly devastating for wildfires. From California to Australia, the world got a firsthand glimpse into how warmer, drier conditions are causing harsher droughts — resulting in longer fire seasons and greater water scarcity.

Most of us don’t make a habit of reading Water Online, but this site published a recent article on the part that technology plays in preserving the water/wastewater critical infrastructure system. These technologies are converting our water infrastructure into “smart” infrastructure, a key part of any smart city.

One of the technologies that is making our water infrastructure “smart” is referred to as “digital twins.”

No, not “Twins is the New Trend” twins.

Here’s what “digital twins” means from the critical infrastructure perspective.

Digital twin technology is providing promise in this regard. Digital twins are software representations of assets and processes that help understand, predict, and optimize performance to achieve improved business outcomes. Digital twins consist of three components — a data model, a set of analytics or algorithms, and knowledge — and are extremely valuable when it comes to predicting the impact of a storm for sewage and stormwater management.

Digital twins, like weather, are revised as more data is gathered and more information becomes available. Like any science, we don’t know everything on day 1, but if we continue to gather information and test hypotheses we will know more on day 2, and then even more on day 145.

The benefit of digital twins? Lower repair costs by better targeting of responses.

For more about smart water, see this article in Water World.

Biometric RFP writing experts, to a point

As part of my effort to establish Bredemarket as a biometric proposal writing expert (I eschew modesty), I researched some documents that weren’t about proposals, but about REQUESTS for Proposals (RFPs).

One way to write biometric RFPs

There are various ways to write RFPs, including RFPs for biometric procurement.

I don’t think I’m giving away any deep dark secrets when I state that biometric vendors want to influence the content of biometric RFPs. I know of one blatant example of this, when (many years ago) one U.S. state issued an RFP that explicitly said that the state wanted to buy a MOTOROLA automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). So it issued an RFP to Motorola and several other vendors asking for a Motorola AFIS.

Luckily for the state, Motorola chose to submit a bid. (The bid/no-bid decision was a no-brainer.)

As a Motorola employee (not in proposals, but in product management), I was pleased when that state, after evaluating the RFPs, selected Motorola to provide its AFIS. (Are you surprised?)

But the other bidders didn’t give up and cede the victory to Motorola. Via FOIA requests, Motorola was able to read the proposal of competitor Sagem Morpho, which I can paraphrase as follows:

Your state has requested a Motorola AFIS. Well, Sagem Morpho has provided systems that replaced Motorola AFIS in two states when these states became dissatisfied with their Motorola systems. Since Sagem Morpho AFIS is by definition better than Motorola AFIS, Sagem Morpho EXCEEDS your state’s requirement. So award us extra points for exceeding the requirement and give US your AFIS contract, NOT Motorola.

It didn’t work, but it was a good effort by Sagem Morpho.

Some of you know how this story ended. Motorola subsequently sold its Biometric Business Unit to…Sagem Morpho, I was transferred from product management to proposals in the new combined company, and two of my new coworkers were people who wrote that very proposal. I was therefore able to tell them personally that Sagem Morpho’s proposal was better than Motorola’s. The reaction of the two states who founded themselves back with “Motorolans” again was unrecorded.

(Actually, the new company MorphoTrak and its corporate parent that was eventually named Morpho were big enough that they could get around the concerns of dissatisfied customers. So I’m sure that, at least for a time, those two states were probably visited by ex-Sagem Morpho folks rather than ex-Motorola folks. And I know of at least two instances in which MorphoTrak either bid on or implemented systems outside of MorphoTrak’s geographic territory, just because the customers had relationships with MorphoTrak that they didn’t have with Morpho.)

Back to Motorola’s win of an RFP that requested a Motorola system. Usually, the RFP writing strategy of “write a proposal that favors one vendor over all the others” isn’t always the popular course. Some RFP writers prefer a better strategy, in which the overall needs of the customer are carefully considered.

A better way to write biometric RFPs

Enter the Law Enforcement Standards Office, a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2013, this entity released its “Writing Guidelines for Requests for Proposals for Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems” (NIST Special Publication 1155), a copy of which can be downloaded here. (For historical interest, an earlier draft version is online here. The draft is somewhat longer than the final version.)

I should mention that the committee that created the guidelines included some clear experts in the AFIS world. Let me just mention three of the names:

  • Peter T. Higgins, who was at the time a noted consultant for agencies writing AFIS RFPs and who had previously worked on the FBI’s IAFIS system;
  • Peter Komarinski, another noted consultant and a former key AFIS person for the State of New York; and
  • Mike Lesko, who was at the time employed by the State of Texas as one of their key AFIS people. He has since left the state and has a new job.

And the rest of the committee exhibited similar experience, so these people knew AFIS and knew what agencies needed when they procured an AFIS.

One of the key issues that concerned the committee was latent AFIS interoperability. I don’t want to spend the time to discuss the topic in detail here, but for now I’ll just say that when you have multiple vendors providing AFIS (there were three major vendors and several other vendors in 2013), there is often a challenge when latent (crime scene) prints are processed on one AFIS but searched on another. To sum up the story succinctly, there were methods to overcome these challenges, and the committee was clearly in favor of employing these methods.

Beyond this, the committee was concerned with two topics:

  • The process to procure an AFIS.
  • The process to upgrade an AFIS, which includes steps both before and after procurement.

Regarding procurement, the committee identified four specific phases:

  • Phase 1: Establish Leadership and Align Resources
  • Phase 2: Develop the RFP Requirements and the Document
  • Phase 3: Evaluate Proposals and Award a Contract
  • Phase 4: Manage Procurement Implementation

The meat of the guidelines, however, covered the upgrade itself.

First, the agency needs to explicitly state the reasons for the upgrade.

Once this is done, stakeholders who have a vested interest in the upgrade need to be identified and given assignments; consultants need to be selected if needed (did I mention that at least two committee members were consultants?); and plans to govern the upgrade process itself need to be created (did I mention that one of the consultants had federal government experience?).

Then the procuring agency is ready to…plan. Where is the agency going to get the money for a new AFIS? What should the new AFIS do? What do the latest AFIS do today that the agency’s (older) AFIS cannot do? Are these new features important?

Once the procuring agency has a high-level view of what it wants, and the money to do it, it’s time to solicit. (I’m talking about legal solicitation here.) This involves the creation of a draft of the Request for Proposal (RFP) that is eventually finalized and distributed to bidders. Perhaps a Request for Information (RFI) may be released before the RFP, to solicit additional information to flow into the RFP. This can be an involved process, as is shown by this one example of something to place in an RFP (I’ll return to this example later, and don’t forget that this example was released in 2013):

Form and fit requirements (type, make/model, or physical size/capacity), such as specifying an Intel® dual-core processor that runs on Windows 7® with a 500-gigabyte hard drive and a 20-inch monitor…

Once the vendors get the RFP, the procuring agency has to manage the bidding process, including questions from the bidders, perhaps a bidder’s conference, and then final submission of the proposals to the agency.

Then it’s time for evaluation. The committee includes this statement at the beginning of the evaluation section:

The evaluation of submissions must be fair and consistent.

I don’t think the members of this committee would have authored an RFP that stated “we want a Motorola AFIS.”

And the evaluation would similarly not favor one vendor over another, and would use a previously-defined Source Selection Plan in which each bidder is graded on specific criteria that were prepared well in advance.

Eventually a vendor is selected, and while the original RFP is still part of the package government the implementation, it is usually superseded by subsequent documents, including plans jointly agreed upon by the vendor and agency that may differ from the original RFP.

But is the “better way” truly better?

In general I am in agreement with the guidelines, but as a former employee of a biometric vendor, and as a present consultant to multiple biometric vendors, I have one piece of advice.

Concentrate on the WHAT rather than the HOW.

(By amazing coincidence, this is something that the engineers liked to tell ME when I was a product manager. Live and learn.)

A biometric RFP should state an agency’s biometric needs, but shouldn’t go into excruciating detail about how a potential vendor should meet those needs.

Take the example above. Would the world end if the hard drive only had 400 gigabytes, rather than 500? (Again, I’m thinking in 2013 terms; in 2021, it’s possible that the computer may not have a hard drive at all.) Every time that an RFP includes a low-level requirement that is not met by a vendor’s offering, the vendor has to take time to create a special offering just to meet the requirements of the RFP, an effort that increases the costs to the agency.

Sometimes these special requirements (I don’t call them custom requirements) are justified, but sometimes they are not.

By the way, my least favorite requirement that I ever encountered was the one that told the bidders and their R&D teams exactly how the fingerprint matching needed to be conducted. As long as the system meets the accuracy requirements agreed upon in whatever document dictates accuracy, who cares HOW the match is conducted?

As I’ve noted a couple of times, this document was written in 2013, and therefore is fingerprint-centric (although it notes that the principles also apply to other biometric systems), includes dated technological references (Windows 7 being an example), and does not account for the cloud systems that are offered and/or have been implemented by several biometric vendors. (Storage of biometric data in the cloud introduces a whole new set of requirements to ensure that the data is protected.) I don’t know whether there are any plans to update these guidelines, and some of the principals who authored the original guidelines have since retired, but an update would be beneficial.

Oh, and if anyone plans to write an RFP mandating a Motorola AFIS, don’t. Motorola left the AFIS business over a decade ago.

But Motorola can supply a real-time computer aided dispatch system.

The tone of voice to use when talking about forensic mistakes

Remember my post that discussed the tone of voice that a company chooses to use when talking about the benefits of the company and its offerings?

Or perhaps you saw the repurposed version of the post, a page section entitled “Don’t use that tone of voice with me!”

The tone of voice that a firm uses does not only extend to benefit statements, but to all communications from a company. Sometimes the tone of voice attracts potential clients. Sometimes it repels them.

For example, a book was published a couple of months ago. Check the tone of voice in these excerpts from the book advertisement.

“That’s not my fingerprint, your honor,” said the defendant, after FBI experts reported a “100-percent identification.” They were wrong. It is shocking how often they are. Autopsy of a Crime Lab is the first book to catalog the sources of error and the faulty science behind a range of well-known forensic evidence, from fingerprints and firearms to forensic algorithms. In this devastating forensic takedown, noted legal expert Brandon L. Garrett poses the questions that should be asked in courtrooms every day: Where are the studies that validate the basic premises of widely accepted techniques such as fingerprinting? How can experts testify with 100 percent certainty about a fingerprint, when there is no such thing as a 100 percent match? Where is the quality control in the laboratories and at the crime scenes? Should we so readily adopt powerful new technologies like facial recognition software and rapid DNA machines? And why have judges been so reluctant to consider the weaknesses of so many long-accepted methods?

Note that author Brandon Garrett is NOT making this stuff up. People in the identity industry are well aware of the Brandon Mayfield case and others that started a series of reforms beginning in 2009, including changes in courtroom testimony and increased testing of forensic techniques by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and others.

It’s obvious that I, with my biases resulting from over 25 years in the identity industry, am not going to enjoy phrases such as “devastating forensic takedown,” especially when I know that some sectors of the forensics profession have been working on correcting these mistakes for 12 years now, and have cooperated with the Innocence Project to rectify some of these mistakes.

So from my perspective, here are my two concerns about language that could be considered inflammatory:

  • Inflammatory language focusing on anecdotal incidents leads to improper conclusions. Yes, there are anecdotal instances in which fingerprint examiners made incorrect decisions. Yes, there are anecdotal instances in which police agencies did not use facial recognition computer results solely as investigative leads, resulting in false arrests. But anecdotal incidents are not in my view substantive enough to ban fingerprint recognition or facial recognition entirely, as some (not all) who read Garrett’s book are going to want to do (and have done, in certain jurisdictions).
  • Inflammatory language prompts inflammatory language from “the other side.” Some forensic practitioners and criminal justice stakeholders may not be pleased to learn that they’ve been targeted by a “devastating forensic takedown.” And sometimes the responses can get nasty: “enemies” of forensic techniques “love criminals.”

Of course, it may be near to impossible to have a reasoned discussion of forensic and police techniques these days. And I’ll confess that it’s hard to sell books by taking a nuanced tone in the book blurb. But if would be nice if we could all just get along.

P.S. Garrett was interviewed on TV in connection to the Derek Chauvin trial, and did not (IMHO) come off as a wild-eyed “defund the police” hack. His major point was that Chauvin’s actions were not made in a split second, but in a course of several minutes.

Case studies, revisited

A little over a month ago, I mentioned that Bredemarket was going to be getting some more case study work. And it has.

No, not that type of case! By Michael Kammerer (Rob Gyp) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37604962

(I’m gonna run my “case” study visual joke all the way into the lost baggage room.)

So how is my client USING these case studies that I am helping the client to create?

To win more business from law enforcement customers.

When my client’s law enforcement customers are pleased with the client’s offering, they’re willing to participate in case studies addressed to OTHER law enforcement customers.

Case studies are effective because they speak to the needs of the readers. The reader has a problem, and the case study tells how a similar entity solved that same problem. In this case, a law enforcement agency learns of a solution that has already worked for another law enforcement agency. “If it worked for my friends in the next county, it will work for me also.”

“Hey, mate, did you read the case study about that software package that Bruce’s agency uses?” By Love Makes A Way – https://www.flickr.com/photos/lovemakesaway/15802177909/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=101171928

The power of case studies doesn’t just work for law enforcement. It can work in any industry where the customers band together to help each other out. E-commerce developers. Security experts. Mobile car washing services.

If you’re a company that provides identity solutions (or technology solutions, or other solutions), and you have customers who will rave about your product to other customers, then you’re a candidate to create a case study. If you want help, contact me.

(Past illustrations) Introducing products from the European market into the U.S. market

(This past illustration describes something that I performed in my career, either for a Bredemarket client, for an employer, or as a volunteer. The entity for which I performed the work, or proposed to perform the work, is not listed for confidentiality reasons.)

PROBLEM

There was a strong desire to introduce two products, popular in the European market, into the U.S. market. However, the products could not be introduced as-is without adaptation.

klompen from the Netherlands. By Berkh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17202956

SOLUTION

For the first product, I participated as part of a team that not only identified the peculiarities of the U.S. market (which differed in significant ways from the European market), but also identified target customers (both core customers and growth customers) and estimated revenue for the first product. The initial revenue estimates were unrealistic and were revised.

Several months later, as we were preparing the introduce the product in the U.S. market, I created the sales playbook for the product. This included a product description, competitive products, and answers to frequently asked questions. This playbook was presented to account managers via a webinar upon completion.

For the second product, I again participated as part of a team that identified the peculiarities of the U.S. market. In this case, the U.S. market was VERY peculiar, and it was determined that it would be best to enter the market slowly, via strategic partners.

Some time later, we were asked again to enter the U.S. market. I provided the historical perspective from the earlier analysis, noting that the U.S. market was STILL very peculiar, and that no changes to the original strategy were warranted.

RESULTS

The first product has been successful in the U.S. market, has advanced through several generations, and continues to expand its functionality and its reach.

The second product has not yet been successful in the U.S., since the peculiar market conditions continue to exist.