Let Me Get This Off My Chest…

I normally don’t talk too much about my work on this blog, but a recent set of events is spinnin’ around in my head so I need to write.

Past several weeks I’d been considering an offer to join forces with another business in the area (but outside of the Tacoma-proper area). Part of the offer was very reasonable, generous even: my clients would remain my clients. I’d be able to do the work for them, I’d be their point of contact, and if we parted ways, they’d come with me. Billing would go through the other company while I was with them. Like I wrote, pretty generous.

But not enough for me to decide. I needed to know more about the other company, the owner, the values of the company, etc…I follow a bit more of a philosophical approach where these things matter. So was invited to join the owner and the person I know (who recently joined him, and who I’d worked with elsewhere in the past) for an evening meeting. This is where things began to quickly unravel.

The owner didn’t show up for the meeting. He had something come up at a client’s, and was there. I understand in this industry that these things happen–it’s a part of life. But to not reschedule the meeting told me that he didn’t value my time. And to top if off, he asked that we come down to the client’s office where he was to meet. Also shows lack of valuing the client’s time. Granted, it was after-hours, and he was expecting to be there a while, but still…

So by the time we got there and pulled him away so we could talk, we had all of about 10 minutes before I had to leave. I asked about the company, why he formed it, values, etc. I got over-generalized, almost over-the-top answers with little grounding in either reality or without any defined goals and steps to get to this level he wanted. Because of the time constraints, I asked that he follow up my email so we could continue the conversation.

He did…a few days later. I followed up and had a relatively simple request: sell me on joining your team. The main part of the response floored me, and not in a good way: “As for your question, I say let the people and the products we offer sell you not me.” Are you kidding me?!

The people: retail shop with folks wearing jeans and Tshirts. Not impressive. Network tech that works for them part-time. And the service offering that I would have been helping them develop was simply managed services–but the same product behind it that I’ve been using for over 3 years now, and thousands of other IT providers have been using for years. Nothing new, nothing compelling either to potential clients or to me.

I replied accordingly, though much nicer than I just wrote. The response, several days later again, was abrupt and it was very clear that me declining the offer had hurt his feelings or his pride. But this is business: the clients I would bring with me look to me for the quality solutions, response time, and personal touch I bring. I am not going to simply throw that away…

What are your thoughts? I’m definitely interested in hearing.