Monday, November 12, 2012


When we met with friends yesterday there was a 'new' friend to greet. And at some point he said to me: "No offense but you don't strike me as a leader." "None taken. I don't see myself as one either. But people tend to follow my lead."
I then called Nath to bring me a beer. She just shrugged her shoulders and carried on with her conversation. The new friend took that as a failure of leadership but I told him to just wait. Fifteen minutes later Nath came to us and asked where I wanted to go for dinner. I told her and we all went there. I nudged the new friend. "See."

I've always wondered about the why. I have memories of the captain of our soccer team telling everybody what we would do and then the teammates looking at me and only when I nodded we would actually do it. I have memories of walking in the middle of a group of twenty or so guys in Antwerp and when I slowed the whole group slowed. I have memories of a midnight dropping in my army days and everyone wanted to go left. I said right and without much discussion we went right. I have memories of declining a client and nobody argued. And they can argue the silliest things I tell you. I have memories of my entire family agreeing on a family bowling event before turning to the youngest member to ask what he thought about it. All I said was "nah" and the plan was skipped.

Why are my views/opinions/hunches so valued? I truly wonder about that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanks to the teacher

Back in the days, during Math class, I often got lower grades because I couldn't be bothered to explain how I got to the answer. It was the correct answer but the teacher wanted to see the road to it and not (only) the right result.
In the end it was costing me too many points so I reluctantly complied.

Why this flashback? Well earlier this week an employee of a client came to me with a question. He had asked two others but they weren't capable of helping him so he ended up at my desk. He wanted to calculate a selling price based on the purchase price, a preferred margin on sales and taking into account several other costs including a 15% commission over the selling price by the website, he was selling it through. I told him to give me an hour and then I would let him know if it was at all possible.

This is what I came up with: VP ex = ((IP+2,88)/0,9)/(1-(0,1685/0,9/0,9))

It worked but he and his superiors wanted to know how I came to this. That I couldn't explain. "It works. Don't worry about it, Just use it." I told them but they persisted and so yesterday I spend another two hours into making it something for them to understand.

And thanks to the teacher I made sure to write down every step on the way beginning from:
Margin = VP ex -/- IP -/- Csts to the end result: VP ex = ((IP + 2,88)/0,85) / (1 - (X % / 0,85)
where IP is the purchase price and X is the preferred margin.
In MS excel it will look like this: ((C4+SOM(E13:E18))/(1-C12))/(1-(C5/(1-C12))) so they will be able to play around with the variables.
I guess in the end I can say going to school was useful.