It is summertime and I need a new lawnmower. Lucky for me a friend of mine named Bob is selling lawnmowers. Bob use to be a software developer who specialized in gathering requirements and became an advocate for Agile Software Development. I felt bad for Bob because he was recently laid off from Megatelecommunications Company With Way Way Too Many Employees, INC.
I went to the the lawnmower shop where my friend was working and met up “Bob.” After the obligatory greeting of “hey, how’s it going,” “how is so and so,” and “who is working here and there,” we got right down to business. Bob said, “How much horsepower do you want?” I thought, “What is horsepower and how does that relate to cutting grass.?” so I responded, “What are my choices?” Bob said, “2, 5, 6, and 7.” I stood and kind of stared at Bob and he said, “David, if you can’t tell me how much horsepower you need, then I can’t really help you.” I figured that more was better so I responded, “7.” Bob said, “Good choice!” I started feeling better.
“The next thing you need to tell me is how big you want the cut diameter.” I said, “cut diameter?” Bob rolled his eyes and said in a condescending manner, ” Yeah. the cut diameter.” Bob said, “Your choices are 20, 21, or 22 inches.” This time I choose a number in the middle and said, “21 inches.” He chuckled and said, “You can’t get a 7 horsepower with a 21 inch cut diameter.”
Bob asked, “How many speeds three, six or variable speed?” I asked, “What do you recommend, Bob.” Bob quipped back, “You have not done your homework have you?” He continued on and started lecturing me and said, “David this not hard. You need to go home and start doing your research. There are plenty of online resources. When you have figured out what you need come back and talk to me.” I felt a bit stupid and left the lawnmower shop.
I was driving home and noticed another lawnmower shop and thought I would pull in and do a bit of research. As I walked in a nice man greeted me with a big friendly, “Howdy! I’m John what brings you in today.” I said, “I am looking for a lawnmower and I need to do some research.”
John said, “Can I ask you some questions?”
He asked, “How big is your yard?” and I responded, “Oh about 3/4 of an acre.”
“Do you like to cut your grass?”
“I hate it.”
“Are you trying to get some exercise when you cut your grass?”
I looked at John in a sort of curious manner and he said, “The reason I am asking these questions is to figure out your needs. If you want to get some exercise while you cut your grass then you may need a push mower. If on the other hand you just want to get it over with as fast as possible you may need a riding mower.”
I nodded and said, “Oh, okay.”
John kept asking questions like, “Will your wife and kids use the mower or will it be just you.” After sometime and a bunch of questions John smiled and said, “Let me make some recommendations for you based upon your specific needs.” He walked me over to a mower and explained to me how it would benefit me. I thought this guy knows his stuff.
I was really excited and purchased the mower from John. Then I thought about Bob. I thought, “I never really liked that guy.”