Thursday, April 9, 2009

Treasure Valley Consultants' Network Blog Has Moved

The Treasure Valley Consultants' Network Blog has moved to a new address.  Please update your bookmarks and RSS feed readers to

The blog you are viewing now will remain intact for the foreseeable future and house Treasure Valley Consultants' Network legacy blog content - posts beginning in November 2006 through March 2009. 

The new Treasure Valley Consultants' Network blog is now integrated with our website.  Thank you for being a supporter of Treasure Valley Consultants' Network since be began in 2006.  If you have any questions about this change, please contact us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big Changes Ahead for the TVCNet Website

By the end of March, TVCNet will have an all new website and blog combined into a single resource.

The blog you are reading now will remain active, but there will be no new posts come April 1.  It will serve as a repository for legacy content that may be referred to from time to time.  The new website and blog will be developed to meet the needs of the business community while at the same time include member-exclusive features and benefits.

We've been eagerly awaiting this change and will announce the transition on this blog (as the last post) when it is complete.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What I Learned from Ignite Boise

What did I learn last night at Ignite Boise? We're going to be just fine.

Despite the bad economic news and decline in business prosperity all around us if we go local, recharge the batteries and gear-up for the eventual upturn in our economy, we'll come out stronger in the end.  In fact, this is an opportunity to change the way we do things.  The old ways of doing business will die and new industries will emerge.

I'm still somewhat on a high from last night's event.  It was exciting to be a part of an energizing gathering that put on display some the brightest and most talented people the Treasure Valley has to offer.  With TVCNet being a sponsor of the event, I even had the opportunity to speak for a couple minutes about TVCNet and give my thoughts on what Ignite Boise means to our community (my thanks to the organizers for the opportunity).

To recap, here were some of the topics that caught my attention and how I think they apply to consulting and the independent professional to today's business climate:

  • Business Lessons Learned from Star Wars - Are you going to be Darth Vader, ruthless and unforgiving, or are you going to be Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wise mentor? It's how you decide to interact with others and the path you choose in life that will determine your success.  I'd like to think most consultants act in the spirit of Obi-Wan, being a mentor and teacher to their clients.  Some unfortunately step into a situation like Darth Vader, powerful and knowledgeable in the Force, but using what they have for the wrong reasons.
  • Creativity and Play - As we grow older we tend to lose the love and passion we had for play and creativity as a child.  Play and creativity is what sparks imagination.  Imagination leads to innovation.  Give in to play and creativity in spite of looking like a fool. You'll be surprised that you can reward yourself for having the courage to give in to your inner child.  As consultants, we sometimes tend to be a little too serious.  Let's lighten up a bit.  It might do us some good.
  • Your Digital Legacy - Think about this: our grandparents and parent recorded their life through photos, letters and postcards.  What do we have today?  Digital photos, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on and on.  How will the next generation be able to look back upon our lives?  It's very eye-opening.  The amazing thing about the age in which we live in is that we have expanded the potential to record more aspects about our lives than ever before.  Imagine as consultants how we can record all we know about our area of expertise.  The potential is unlimited in this day and age.
  • The Explosion of the Internet Age - The Internet Age has transformed how we access and consume content.  Media falls into one of two camps; the incumbents which are newspapers, radio and television and the newcumbants which have taken the incumbents online via websites, social networking and video sites like YouTube.  What was learned is that if you change the user experience slightly it has the potential to change things tremendously.  As a consultant, are you leveraging media as an incumbent or a newcumbent?  Think about it, because it is evident with the collapse of newspapers and traditional media that the winds of change are tending to favor the newcumbents.
  • The Myths of Idaho - My thoughts on this presentation are not so much centered on Idaho, but that in general myths have consequences and if we make our decsions based on myth there are consequences.  As a consultant and independent professional, are you making your decisions based on myth?  Are you clients operating based on myth.  The solution is to stop, even for a moment, and seek to understand.  Get the facts and make sound decisions based on truth, not myth.
  • It's Not a Recession, It's a Revolution - This was one of the best presentations of the evening.  As I mentioned earlier, even though we are bombarded daily with bad economic news and we see businesses declining and failing around us, we are in the midst of change.  The old ways of doing business are going to be replaced with new ways to do business.  It's not about jobs, it's about companies.  The seeds of revolution will being with start-ups and small business.  As a consultant, what are you doing to support this?
The quality of presentations last night will, in my opinion, create a firestorm for the next Ignite Boise.  I can only imagine what kind of presentations we will have and I'm looking forward to attending and getting involved.  TVCNet will definitely step up once again and sponsor the next event.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Consulting In the Decline of Abundance

As Americans, over the course of the last two decades we have seen unprecedented growth and abundance in business and our standard of living.  We can point to many reasons for this growth and success, but today that very growth is on a decline.  It's clear our country's economy (and the global economy for that matter) is in turmoil, but despite this massive pull back is there is a silver lining?  Rather than looking outside our neighborhoods, cities and states for solutions, maybe all we need is right here within reach.

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Peggy Noonan a couple weeks ago where she reminisced about the age of abundance we lived in from the 80's, 90's and on through to about a year ago.  When living in an abundant world, all things "big" tend to get the most attention (and the money).  Her article culminated in a summary that described the state of our world today - pessimism.  There is a genuine lack of faith in our economy, our leaders, our culture and our institutions (those that are big - or once big).  The dynamic sense of abundance we so enjoyed has suffered a severe blow, but despite all this it is the spirit of abundance that lives on in the hearts and minds of entrepreneurs - like consultants, for example.  The implicit trust we once had in all things big may be gone, but the future, according to Ms. Noonan, is a shift toward going local.  On a local level, it's hard to be affected by pessimism when focus is placed on the dynamism of the people living and working where you too live and work.

The shift to a local approach in business is really an effort to simplify.  If you reflect upon your business and see a local approach potentially beneficial to you, now is a good time to examine your business and marketing plans once again.  If I may be so bold as to borrow from a local colleague, Tac Anderson at TechBoise, treat this evaluation as if you were abandoning a job search and starting a new business from the ground up.  This fresh perspective may yield surprising results and you accomplish it by taking a simplistic view, cutting out all the noise and obstacles thinking on a global level may bring.

This is not to say that working on a global scale is bad.  Some day soon you may be able to step back on the global stage with your business, but if you are feeling the effects of economic turmoil, perhaps coming back to the safehaven of your local community is a good way to reset and recharge so you are ready for the upswing once things pick up.  One thing is for certain. The economy will rebound. When it will rebound is hard to determine so businesses must do what they can to survive.  I think consultants are in the best position to thrive in this period of economic uncertainty.  While many businesses are letting staff go and even closing, those hanging on are surviving by leaning heavily on independent professionals to fill the gaps.  While they may not be able to hire full-time staff, business needs still exist and they must be addressed.  The key, as consultants, is that we must make ourselves visible and demonstrating our value.  Whether in times of abundance or decline, we can be successful.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recap of February TVCNet Meeting: What is Treasure Valley Consultants’ Network?

I’ve had a few days since the most recent meeting to reflect on what was discussed and some of the comments made by those in attendance, but first let me express my appreciation to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend our meeting at VengaWorks in Meridian. VengaWorks has been a wonderful host for our last two events and we look forward to working with them again.

To most of the members, a presentation on what our organization is and what we do is "old hat". A majority of our membership has been with us since we began in 2006, but to those who have only heard of TVCNet, and there were more new faces than members at the recent meeting, the information presented was new to them.

The most important takeaway from the meeting was where TVCNet fits in today's business climate. In an economic downturn, among all the layoffs and business closures, needs still exist and they must be fulfilled. While businesses are unable to grow their staff or hire long-term, the consultant fills and important role by offering specialized knowledge and expertise on a short-term or project basis.

Best of all, TVCNet is a local option for companies to find specialized talent from a single resource. I believe over the next couple years we'll see more companies shift toward tapping in to local resources and talent in an effort to minimize costs.

The "local" slant is something I'll be following in a future post. It will certainly emerge as a major theme in the months ahead as the consulting profession in the Treasure Valley continues to make its mark in the Boise business community.