It’s All About the Attitude

How is it that computers know to self destruct at the worst possible moment? Just as we are leaving for the Atlanta show the main office computer implodes and will not allow any of the CS3 programs to open. Not good. The backup drives are locked up in our house and inaccessible. Then our travel laptop loses half of its screen the day we get to Atlanta, so I have to set up a new laptop in the hotel room mostly by feel – very frustrating.

And then there is the Geek Squad….

Our office manager tried an online service call (where they take over the computer remotely) and after a few hours they decided they cannot fix the glitch this way and it has to go in; they will coordinate with the repair tech and give him a report of what they tried. When she brings the CPU in, the new Geek announces he doesn’t care what they tried, will NOT coordinate with them and they will get to it when they get to it. This is still the same organization, mind you. At this point they hook up to me in Atlanta to discuss the fact that they are going to charge for a full repair up front – even though they haven’t touched it yet – and then if they cannot fix it they will refund some of the money. And they want to be paid before they start. Hmmm…

All of that is bad, but the worst was the attitude I was getting from this twerp. I have been around computers since we had to program them in Basic and Fortran IV, and were ecstatic to get a 20MB hard drive and an 8088 processor. (Remember watching a spreadsheet change one field at a time?…ah, the good old days.) I may not be an official Geek but I do know enough to ask the right questions, however all I am getting is sighs and silence as answers. It was made very clear that they were in charge now and didn’t have any interest in my silly questions. Next we had 5 days of unreturned messages and no info until finally they decide they cannot fix it and need to wipe the hard drive, always the default position when they can’t figure it out. We took the computer away from them and did it in house.

I am boring you with this for two reasons – because unhappy customers love to share (yes, I would blow up my computer rather than take it back to the Geek Squad), and it so nicely illustrates how important attitude is to your success in business, and in particular the current licensing world.

We talk a lot with our clients and are always amazed to hear about artists who resist making changes, or don’t send requested designs, or even are willing to walk away from a project because it is taking too long to get an answer. A great quote from the Atlanta show from a client (about another artist): “She is more interested in doing what she likes than what we need”. Ouch. Or the follow-up call I had a couple days ago about a possible giftware line – it was all about whether the artist was easy to work with, would she come to their offices and brainstorm, and does she understand the process of producing a line – they already know she can draw, now they want to be sure they can work together.

It’s just like your mother told you – you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it is a good one.

2 replies
  1. BJ Lantz
    BJ Lantz says:

    So true, so true!

    My mottos is: You like it, I love it. You want it blue? What shade of blue? Happy to change that for you, here’s where you can send the check 🙂

    I have always said, I am in this to make money, not to defend why I made something green and wouldn’t change it to blue for anything.

    In response to some files I sent in follow up to the Atlanta show, one client replied: “Thanks for being so easy to work with – it makes a difference.”

  2. Phyllis
    Phyllis says:

    Amen Jim. In these times, we artists need to go the extra mile to make sure we give the client what they want and and need. Its important that artists understand some of the manufacturing process as well and be willing to do more in working with product design.

    BJ also said it like it is.


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