Who’s laboring on Labor Day?

Bredemarket has always restricted its business to the United States. (Lately I’ve focused more on California’s Inland Empire West, but that’s another story.) So everyone in my target market is celebrating Labor Day today.

Theoretically.

It’s important to note that most other countries celebrate the contributions of labor on May 1, but for several reasons the United States chose a different day. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO page that explained this no longer exists, but I quoted from that page in a tymshft post a decade ago:

Despite the popularity of May Day and the appeal of an international holiday, the American Federation of Labor pushed to secure Labor Day as America’s primary celebration of its workers. This was due to the more radical tone that May Day had taken. Especially after the 1886 Haymarket riot, where several police officers and union members were killed in Chicago, May Day had become a day to protest the arrests of anarchists, socialists, and unionists, as well as an opportunity to push for better working conditions. Samuel Gompers and the AFL saw that the presence of more extreme elements of the Labor Movement would be detrimental to perception of the festival. To solve this, the AFL worked to elevate Labor Day over May Day, and also made an effort to bring a more moderate attitude to the Labor Day festivities. The AFL, whose city labor councils sponsored many of the Labor Day celebrations, banned radical speakers, red flags, internationalist slogans, and anything else that could shed an unfavorable light upon Labor Day or organized labor.

From https://tymshft.com/2012/05/01/the-american-perspective-on-may-day-or-i-am-not-a-commie/

So for over a century, most Americans have chosen to celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

Well, some Americans.

I took a walk.

My employer for my day job is closed today (at least for its U.S. workers), so I kinda sorta took it a bit leisurely, waking up at…5:35 in the morning.

You see, this is the last week of my company’s wellness challenge, and because of the current heat wave in Southern California, I wanted to get my walking in while the temperatures were still in double digits (on the Fahrenheit scale; that’s something else that Americans do differently than the rest of the world).

I didn’t take any pictures of myself walking today, but here’s one that I took Saturday while I was walking inside (at the Ontario Mills indoor mall).

At Ontario Mills, Saturday, September 3, 2022. It was about 25 degrees cooler inside than it was outside.

Other people were working.

But while I took my early morning Labor Day walk, I ran across a lot of people…working.

  • There were the people at the Starbucks in downtown Ontario, busily supplying breakfast sandwiches and drinks to people.
  • There was the woman at a 7-Eleven in Ontario, letting me hydrate with a cold drink. (She may have been the owner, but owners deserve a day off too.)
  • Finally, I passed two men who have been working on and off on a residential wall, and today was apparently one of the “on” days. I hope they’re not working in the afternoon.

The truth is that, even in the midst of COVID, the entire workforce can’t shut down entirely. Some people have to work on days when many people don’t work. Remember that even in “blue law” states, preachers certainly work on Sundays.

Me too.

But still my morning walk was somewhat relaxing, because even though it was a weekday, I didn’t have to end the walk by 8:00 to start my day job. So while I got my steps in, I did so somewhat leisurely.

So what did I do after my walk was done?

Well, I did Bredemarket work.

  • I renewed my City of Ontario business license. (Online, of course, since city offices are closed for Labor Day.)
  • Right now I’m writing this post.
  • And after I write the post, there’s an email that I need to send.

So I guess I didn’t completely take the day off either.

But at least I’m not buliding a wall out of doors.

Oh, and I work on Saturday mornings also.

Of course, since I’m employed full-time, Bredemarket itself is a weekend job for me. My official office hours fall on Saturday mornings, for example.

While this is work, in a way it’s not work, because it’s a refreshing change from my normal work. (And since I enjoy my normal work, that isn’t so much work either. If you’re not working at something you enjoy, then you’re working.)

And if you don’t enjoy creating written content, let Bredemarket help you create it.

I can help you with white papers, case studies, blog posts, proposal responses, or other written content. (Well, unless the written content involves finger, face, driver’s license, or related identity services. There’s the day job, you know.)

If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.

Remote working obscures one fact about us

After spending three years in semi-remote work (I was in an office, but my boss was in a separate office across the country), followed by over two years of near-complete remote work, I’ve realized that there are critical differences between the remote work experience and the traditional in-office experience.

For example, I spent all day last Friday working in my shorts, and none of my coworkers was the wiser. This is something that I never would have done if I were in an office. (Decades ago, one of my former coworkers turned up in shorts on a casual Friday and received glares from one of the executive secretaries all day.)

In the remote workplace, we present our physical personas via the cameras on our computers and smartphones, and all of the context outside of the camera range is lost. This post highlights one of these pieces of context, highly critical in in-person interactions, but almost completely obscured in remote interactions. Is the loss of this piece of context important?

My observation at late 1990s Printrak

Before explicitly talking about this lost piece of context, let me go back 25 years to the days when I drove to work at 1250 Tustin Avenue in Anaheim every day.

In those days I worked in Proposals, and the Proposals Department was not too far from the executive offices. This is where Richard Giles, Dave McNeff, Dan Driscoll, and others at the VP level and above worked.

Passing by the executives in the halls, one thing was very apparent. Most of the executives were taller than me. I happen to be over 6 feet tall myself, so these other executives were very tall indeed.

This is not unique to Printrak. In 2004, when Printrak had been gobbled up by Motorola, a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology observed that for certain professions, there was a positive correlation between height and income.

…height was most predictive of earnings in jobs that require social interaction, which include sales, management, service and technical careers.

From https://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/standing

I should add a caveat that at Printak in the late 1990s, all of the executives except one were male. This skewed the height effect, since (as the study noted) the average height of women is shorter than the average height of men. (The study controlled for sex, as well as age, to compensate for these differences.)

But this doesn’t negate the fact that many executives are of above-average height…with some notable exceptions.

By Jacques-Louis David – zQEbF0AA9NhCXQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22174172

My observation at my 2022 home office

Which leads me to my observation about a key point of remote work.

I hope you’re sitting down as you read what I’m about to say.

Actually, that’s what I’m about to say. Most remote workers are seated.

For remote workers, the desk chair is the great equalizer. By Emiellaiendiay at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10532585

During my years that I exclusively worked at my sole proprietorship Bredemarket, and during the subsequent months that I’ve been in full-time employment, I have never met most of my clients or coworkers in person. Unlike my coworkers and clients that I met in the hall in Printak’s Anaheim office, I have no idea if I’m taller or shorter than most of them. I have met some people at local events such as those sponsored by 4th Sector Innovations, and I anticipate that I’ll meet some of my new company’s coworkers at some point, but as of now I don’t know if most of the people that I interact with would look up to me in person, or if I would look up to them.

Does the height obfuscation of remote workers matter?

Since my associates and I usually don’t gather around water coolers, I’m missing the contextual information derived from our relative heights.

But is this important?

Short people will answer this question with a resounding “no,” believing that the height of a person is immaterial to their effectiveness.

“Short people are just the same as you and I.” The philosopher R. Newman. Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3305960

Tall people who are honest will answer this question with a resounding “yes,” since height does have a psychological effect that is lost when everyone is sitting.

Perhaps the short people are right. As we conduct more and more remote work with people throughout the country and around the world, in-person interactions are naturally going to decrease and we’ll interact more via Zoom, Teams, and other videoconferencing methods.

So now, the only thing that will matter is the deepness of your voice.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pou4-hJql5E

Now I’m hungry.

Rancho Cucamonga, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Rancho Cucamonga, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented over 15,000 firms, over $3 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $2 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Rancho Cucamonga, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Two companies that can provide friction ridge/face marketing and writing services, now that Bredemarket won’t

I recently announced a change in business scope for my DBA Bredemarket. Specifically, Bredemarket will no longer accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using (a) friction ridges (including fingerprints and palm prints) and/or (b) faces.

This impacts some companies that previously did business with me, and can potentially impact other companies that want to do business with me. If you are one of these companies, I am no longer available.

Fingerprint evidence
From https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.500-290e3.pdf (a/k/a “leisure reading for biometric system professionals”).

Since Bredemarket will no longer help you with your friction ridge/face marketing and writing needs, who will? Who has the expertise to help you? I have two suggestions.

Tandem Technical Writing

Do you need someon who is not only an excellent communicator, but also knows the ins and outs of AFIS and ABIS systems? Turn to Tandem Technical Writing LLC.

I first met Laurel Jew back in 1995 when I started consulting with, and then working for, Printrak. In fact, I joined Printrak when Laurel went on maternity leave. (I was one of two people who joined Printrak at that time. As I’ve previously noted, Laurel needed two people to replace her.)

Laurel worked for Printrak and its predecessor De La Rue Printrak for several years in its proposals organization.

Today, her biometric and communication experience is available to you. Tandem Technical Writing provides its clients with “15 years of proposal writing and biometrics technology background with high win %.”

Why does this matter to you? Because Laurel not only understands your biometric business, but also understands how to communicate to your biometric clients. Not many people can do both, so Laurel is a rarity in this industry.

The Tandem Technical Writing website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Applied Forensic Services

Perhaps your needs are more technical. Maybe you need someone who is a certified forensics professional, and who has also implemented many biometric systems. If that is your need, then you will want to consider Applied Forensic Services LLC.

I met Mike French in 2009 when Safran acquired Motorola’s biometric business and merged it into its U.S. subsidiary Sagem Morpho, creating MorphoTrak (“Morpho” + “Printrak”). I worked with him at MorphoTrak and IDEMIA until 2020.

Unlike me, Mike is a true forensic professional. (See his LinkedIn profile.) Back in 1994, when I was still learning to spell AFIS, Mike joined the latent print unit at the King County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office, where he spent over a decade before joining Sagem Morpho. He is an IAI-certified Latent Print Examiner, an IEEE-certified Biometric Professional, and an active participant in IAI and other forensic activities. I’ve previously referenced his advice on why agencies should conduct their own AFIS benchmarks.

Why does this matter to you? Because Mike’s consultancy, Applied Forensic Services, can provide expert advice on biometric procurements and implementation, ensuring that you get the biometric system that addresses your needs.

Applied Forensic Services offers the following consulting services:

The Applied Forensic Services website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Yes, there are others

There are other companies that can help you with friction ridge and face marketing, writing, and consultation services.

I specifically mention these two because I have worked with their principals both as an employee during my Printrak-to-IDEMIA years, and as a sole proprietor during my Bredemarket years. Laurel and Mike are both knowledgeable, dedicated, and can add value to your firm or agency.

And, unlike some experienced friction ridge and face experts, Laurel and Mike are still working and have not retired. (“Where have you gone, Peter Higgins…”)

Bredemarket announcement: change in business scope

Effective immediately:

  1. Bredemarket does not accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using (a) friction ridges (including fingerprints and palm prints) and/or (b) faces.
  2. Bredemarket does not accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using secure documents, such as driver’s licenses or passports. 

Fontana, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Fontana, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented almost 14,000 firms, over $1 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $2 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Fontana, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

When you’re interested in everything, you’re interested in nothing

Some people know what they will do, and what they will not do.

Other people say they will do anything.

Don’t trust the second group of people.

Checking all the boxes in a Bredemarket contact submission form

As you may know, Bredemarket has an online contact page that allows people to request information from me. The form on this page includes several checkboxes (recently edited) that allow the submitter to specify if they are interested in one of Bredemarket’s standard packages.

Occasionally I’ll get a submission from someone who checked ALL of the check boxes. In 100% of those cases, it turns out that the person is NOT interested in ANY of Bredemarket’s standard packages, but in something else. (In the most recent example, someone wanted to write a guest post on the Bredemarket blog that had NOTHING to do with marketing or writing services. No thanks.)

Checking all the boxes in a proposal

It reminds me about the time, many years ago, when I wrote an RFP. This was years before I actually began responding to RFPs, by the way. The consultant that our company brought in suggested that we create a Request for Proposal for a particular service that our company wanted. The main part of the created RFP was a check list to see if the respondent provided a particular feature that we wanted. The responses that we received fell into two categories:

  • Some respondents checked every check box with no further comment. We concluded that they hadn’t actually read the RFP, so we ignored these proposals.
  • Other respondents checked most of the check boxes, but provided text for certain responses explaining that they had a different approach. Since these people read the RFP, we paid more attention to those responses.

Now I’ll grant that this filtering method doesn’t work for all proposals. Some RFPs truly demand mandatory compliance with every requirement. But in those cases, the RFPs usually require to say how they will perform each requirement. A simple “we do it” response is not sufficient.

Checking all the boxes in a business offering

The “check everything” rule also applies in one other instance: company offerings.

When a company states the products and services it will offer, the statement usually sets a boundary between what the company will do and what the company will not do.

Usually.

For example, this post from Reddit’s HireaWriter gives a clear picture of the writer’s strengths:

…I have a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting (writing for film, TV and radio), and I’m currently studying English Literature to further my skills. I’m about to be on summer holidays for a few months and I’m looking to collaborate on some writing projects.

I have freelance experience, writing YouTube scripts and some podcast work, I’m very capable of both fiction and non- fiction…

From https://www.reddit.com/r/HireaWriter/comments/u2ydhh/writer_looking_for_new_projects/

So if I need a YouTube script, I’ll consider this person. If I need an article for Foreign Affairs, maybe not.

But other company offerings are…less focused. You’ve probably seen the posts (I won’t link to them) from people who say that they write. When you ask what they write, they say that they write anything.

Now I guess that theoretically, I can write anything. (Heck, I wrote the Eastport Enquirer, which you can probably guess wasn’t high-minded business prose.) But I’m not going to make a living by writing 19th century fiction or French political positions. I’ll stick closer to content marketing and proposals if you don’t mind.

Oh, and I don’t offer editing packages any more.

Ontario, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Ontario, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented over 14,000 firms, over $4 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $4 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Ontario, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Nine types of risks to list in your proposal

When you are writing in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), you are often asked to address the risk of the program and/or of your solution.

Example of risk assessment: A NASA model showing areas at high risk from impact for the International Space Station. By National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):NASA Johnson Space CenterOrbital Debris Program Office – Orbital Debris Education Package, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2760870

And even if you’re NOT asked to address risk, it’s a good idea to do so. Claiming that your solution implementation has NO risk shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

But what types of risks do you find in a project?

In this case, the government IS here to help.

In a presentation to the APMP Chesapeake Chapter today, Dwayne Baptist of Lohfeld Consulting Group pointed the attendees to a particular portion of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that discusses risk.

FAR 39.102 addresses “Management of risk” for federal projects, and helpfully includes a list of nine types of risk:

 (b) Types of risk may include schedule risk, risk of technical obsolescence, cost risk, risk implicit in a particular contract type, technical feasibility, dependencies between a new project and other projects or systems, the number of simultaneous high risk projects to be monitored, funding availability, and program management risk.

From 39.102 Management of risk. | Acquisition.GOV

If it’s easier to read this way, here is a numbered list of the nine types of risk cataloged in FAR 39.102(b).

  1. schedule risk
  2. risk of technical obsolescence
  3. cost risk
  4. risk implicit in a particular contract type
  5. technical feasibility
  6. dependencies between a new project and other projects or systems
  7. the number of simultaneous high risk projects to be monitored
  8. funding availability
  9. program management risk

So if you’re uncertain of the types of risks that your project may encounter, you can use the list in FAR 39.102(b) as a starting point.

You can use this list even if you’re not responding to a federal procurement…or even if you’re not responding to any procurement at all and just want to identify the types of risks in your project.

Of course, identifying the risks is only the beginning. You have to mitigate the risks, and you have to communicate how you are mitigating the risks. Baptist addressed those topics also.

You should have been there.

But even if you weren’t there, Baptist has written an article entitled “How to Win with Risk” that you may find helpful.

(And if you attended the meeting, you will see that Baptist repurposed parts of his article in today’s presentation. Repurposing is good.)

How “Omni” is your Omnichannel?

One of Bredemarket’s clients is a consulting firm that advises other companies on the use of a particular enterprise content management system. Among other things, this consulting firm can help its client companies configure the outbound information the companies’ systems provide.

Which leads us to our word for today, omnichannel.

In marketing, “omnichannel” refers to “the process of driving customer engagement across all channels with seamless, targeted messaging.”

Across ALL marketing channels. That’s what omnichannel talks about.

Here’s what Erin O’Connor says:

Omnichannel marketing lets marketers create seamless, integrated customer experiences spanning both online and offline channels to connect with customers as they move through the buying cycle. Omnichannel marketing focuses on the life cycle of the customer. For example, when a customer is in the acquisition phase, the marketer will send a different type of message compared to a loyal customer

Omnichannel marketing is …a holistic approach in the sense that it’s looking at all of the potential touchpoints customers can use to communicate with brands, both online and offline.

From https://business.adobe.com/glossary/omnichannel-marketing.html

An omnichannel marketing strategy may encompass a number of marketing tools, including email, white paper downloads, videos, mobile SMS responses, automated call centers, and anything else that marketers use to communicate with clients.

One of the key benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy is, or should be, consistency. If your emails say that your product is supported on Windows 11, your data sheets had better not say that your product is only supported up to Windows 10. This is a definite problem; see my checklist item 2 in this post.

(Incidentally, I recently ran across a company that is still talking about NIST FRVT results from several years ago. Since the NIST FRVT tests are ongoing, any reference to old results is outdated because of all the new algorithms that have been submitted and that have better performance.)

So factual consistency is important. Omnichannel marketing also allows for visual consistency (well, not in the automated call center) in which all of the company’s content looks like it came from the same company.

Obviously there are a number of benefits from omnichannel marketing, including easier management and consistency of marketing messages. But all of this raises a question:

Is omnichannel marketing truly OMNIchannel? Or does omnichannel marketing leave some things out?

Before you point me to the definition of “omni” and say that omnichannel marketing by definition can’t exclude anything, read on.

When product marketers don’t market

If you’re a marketer, I hope you’re sitting down.

The world does not revolve around marketing.

(My college roommates who were physics majors made sure to remind me of this.)

Thus, anything that isn’t marketing is automatically excluded from omnichannel marketing. And there are a number of things that companies do that aren’t marketing per se.

I recently held a discussion with a product marketer which got me thinking. We were talking about the things product marketers do, which include content creation (case studies/testimonials, white papers, social media content, and the like) and other product-related tasks such as competitive analysis of other products.

But then the product marketer mentioned something else.

What about having the product marketer author product technical documentation, such as user guides?

(By the way, I’ve written technical documentation in the past; see the “Benefiting from my experience and expertise” section of the Bredemarket “Who I Am” page.)

Now technical documentation is (usually) not the place for overt marketing messaging, but at the same time technical documentation authorship benefits the product marketer and the company by immersing the product marketer into the details of the product, thus increasing the marketer’s product understanding.

I’ll grant you need a different writing style when writing technical documentation; after all, there are no earthshaking benefits from clicking on the “Save As” button.

By Later version were uploaded by Bruce89 at en.Wikipedia. – Transfered from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Dialog1.pngtransfered to Commons by User:IngerAlHaosului using CommonsHelper., GPL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8988455

But you need different writing styles for the different types of marketing output anyway. The mechanics of writing a tweet differ from the mechanics of filming a video. So a marketer who isn’t experienced in technical documentation can adjust to the new style.

However, finding marketers slash technical documentation writers in the wild is unusual. Every company that I’ve worked with since 1991 has built some type of wall between the marketing function and the technical documentation function. But oddly enough, one of my former employers (MorphoTrak) moved managers around between the different functions. One manager in particular headed up the technical documentation group, then headed up the proposals group (where I worked for her), then headed up a multi-functional marketing team (where I worked for her again), then specialized in product marketing.

And now the product marketer (not the one from MorphoTrak, but the one I had been talking to) got the hamster in my brain to start generating ideas.

If omnichannel marketing is limited, and your omnichannel efforts should include activities outside of marketing such as technical documentation, what else should be included in your omnichannel efforts?

Including proposal writing in omnichannel efforts

OK, the subtitle gave it away. (But I refused to write the subtitle “This marketer wrote a user guide. You won’t believe what he did next!”)

If anything, proposal writing is closer to marketing than technical documentation is to marketing. While proposal writing is often considered a sales function (though some would disagree), there are obvious overlaps between the benefits that you espouse in a proposal and the benefits that you espouse in a case study.

Including standard proposal text/template creation as part of your omnichannel efforts also helps to ensure consistency in your product messaging. Again, if your data sheet says one thing, and your user guide says the same thing, then your proposal had better say the same thing also. (Unless you’re proposing something that won’t be implemented for another one or two years, in which case the proposal will discuss things that won’t appear in the present data sheets and user guides, but in future versions.)

Now those of you who are familiar with what Bredemarket does can appreciate why I love this idea.

By Loudon dodd – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7404342

I’ve positioned Bredemarket as a two-headed (but not two-faced) marketing and writing service provider: for example, with separate descriptions of my status as a biometric content marketing expert and a biometric proposal writing expert. And that pretty much mirrors how I work. With one exception, most of my clients only use me for either my proposal services or my content marketing services.

What if companies entrusted Bredemarket with their total solution, both inside and outside of traditional marketing?

Of course there are complications in implementing this.

But when can you implement true omnichannel efforts?

Now most companies are ill-fitted to have one person, or even one department, handle all the omnichannel marketing (case studies, white papers, data sheets, tweets, LinkedIn posts, competitive intelligence, etc.) AND all the omnichannel non-marketing (technical documentation, proposals, and all the other stuff that my hamster brain didn’t realize yet).

So how do you get multiple departments to communicate the same messaging? It’s a difficult task, especially since most department members are so focused on their own work that they don’t have the bandwidth to worry about what another department is doing. (“I don’t care about the data sheet error. I just write the manuals.”)

There are several ways to achieve this: central ownership of the messaging for all departments, outside quality audits, and peer-to-peer interdepartmental review come to mind.

But you’re not going to solve the problem of inconsistent messaging between your departments unless you realize that the problem exists…and that “omnichannel marketing” won’t solve it.