A staffing business can evolve (or not) in one of two ways.  One is sales driven – you just keep on doing things that seem to be working.  Another is marketing driven – you execute based on an intelligent guess as to what the future will bring.

When my Dad started his staffing business in 1974, it was sales-driven.  We were living week by week.  If sales didn’t hit $1500 in a given week, we wouldn’t be eating much the next.  It was no time to be marketing driven.  It took a good year before he was able to pick his head up from the day-to-day.

Even today at my company, we have the sales-driven vs marketing-driven discussion a lot.  If we sell a big time-clock deal, it’s tempting to say ‘oh this is a great market to be in’, even if it comes with an opportunity cost that makes that not true.

It’s a fun to talk about sales vs marketing, short-term vs long-term, and I enjoy it whether it’s with the sales staff or developers.  Over the years as we’ve grown there has been a definite shift from sales-driven to marketing-driven.

Last night I took our support stars out to eat at Haiku, a cool new Twin City Japanese restaurant not far from our offices, and got to hear their take on it.  More marketing-driven-please was the message I heard.

Biology

I was thinking about this again this morning and got into a biological perspective on it with my doc wife.   This recent “End of Antibiotics” article on PBS got me thinking about it more, and it’s getting a lot of attention in the tech community.

Short version: the bacteria are winning, we’re doomed and stay away from hospitals.  Longer version: it’s complicated.  Take this comment for example by tokenadult:

Most people in the English-speaking world think erroneously about biological evolution and especially about the implications of evolution for human medicine. I am not alone in thinking that popular thinking about biology needs to be improved by rejecting the idea of organismal agency in evolution,[2] although it is remarkably hard to find this kind of careful thinking by a Google search amid the flood of webpages that specifically assert a purpose or intention to evolution by natural selection.

The battle then is between we humans who will relentlessly plan (marketing-driven) an attempt to develop better and smarter ways to deal with these pesky, sales-driven bacteria.

Let’s hope the marketing-driven humans win out.

Tags: Business