Recently, we at Magnus had what appeared, at first, to be a promising new business opportunity. This new opportunity was planned as a joint venture among 3 companies, including Magnus. Another company is a company that has been a long time vendor of ours, with the other company being known only to our vendor and not us. It was a unique situation, in that each company is highly respected in its area of expertise and further, each company’s expertise is vastly different from the others. Several phone conferences took place among the principals from each company, then David and I drove to the city where the other 2 companies are located to meet everyone in person. We had a productive day and a half of meetings, including a successful demonstration of the product we were developing together. I spent many hours, days, and weeks both before and after this meeting developing the new product and I received considerable assistance from David and Magnus staff members along the way. Much to my surprise and delight, a long time client of Magnus contacted David to say he needed us to provide the product that was being developed and he needed us to provide it right away. I had anticipated additional testing and refinement prior to offering our new product to clients, however, we eagerly began to “ramp up” our work in anticipation of the quickly approaching deadline set by our client. Upon subjecting our new product to a rehearsal prior to it being used for a paying client, it became abundantly obvious that 1 of the 2 companies (the 1 with which we had never worked) was grossly unprepared for the world premier of our new venture. It also became obvious that Magnus’ vendor had greatly over estimated the skill level of the other company, as well as under estimating the overall difficulty of getting the product ready to sell to Magnus’ client. A quick decision was made to replace the under performing company with a company we knew could do the job correctly, and most important, in exactly the way I instructed them to do. All of us at Magnus are used to doing an excellent job for our clients; merely being “good enough” is not in our business model. We performed our jobs at the highest level possible, as always, resulting in a wonderful experience for our client, even though we were let down by those with whom we had planned to work. We have always done our jobs, even when other people don’t do theirs, and we will continue to do our jobs and do them well.
As we write this, the fallout from this experience has continued. There are some hurt feelings amongst all, especially those with whom we planned to partner. But, the underlying objective we have at Magnus is to get the job done, and get it done well. (I’d add that anything Melissa and I undertake is done in that fashion, work or otherwise.) This particular product, or service, has many moving parts that have to be well synchronized and carefully orchestrated. We have spent countless hours in recent months developing protocols and materials to use with this service. As a result, we were excited, after having conducted some internal practice sessions, to “go live” with a “real” case and client. We were tremendously disappointed to have the massive failure during the dress rehearsal. Thankfully, we had a rehearsal to be sure about things. It didn’t take long to realize that, as well as we had prepared, others had not. Whether it was beyond their abilities, or it had not received adequate attention prior to that fateful day, I don’t know. It might be both. But, given Melissa’s and my personalities, while we were still involved in the dress rehearsal, we were already looking for a Plan B. The show had to go on, and ultimately it did. No one would ever be the wiser if they hadn’t been part of the test. Getting the job done is the objectiv,e always. As a photographer, the events I photographed had to be captured when they happened. Rarely could an event be staged for the photos, so whether it was a wedding, Mickey Mouse visiting the kids at the children’s hospital, or a golf tournament, every effort had to be made to get it right the first time. So, it is for Magnus with the new product/service, but truly, for every job, every time.