I’ve been doing my tour of duty over the past month or so. I’ve had phone conversations, meetings, and various negotations with old friends and even some new contacts. For instance, I had an enjoyable meeting yesterday with Harry Feinberg, Andy Tang, and Mike Masters from the outsourcingtoday.com group. Feinberg is the publisher of a series of new titles in the BPO space (new to me anyway who has been AWOL for 5 years). He’s focused now on the F&A BPO market, but has made a nice niche for himself in the HRO market. It turns out Masters worked for years with Joe Levy who started CIO Magazine. We had a lot of stories to share about the people we knew in common, having had a lot of crossover experience with publishing friends and agency business. Sometimes people don’t remember (or don’t even know) I used to be a hotshot Madison Avenue rising star at O&M and LGF&E (a division of JWT). The publishers do, though. My accounts were IBM and AT&T.
I also caught up with Frank Casale who originally formed The Outsourcing Institute with Mike Corbitt (who now runs IAOP. Frank and I have tried to work together for years. I’ve always believed he’s a marketing genius. To even have had the foresight to reserve the outsourcing.com URL in the early 90s was way ahead of his time. Frank was also early to market with BPO. He was publishing on BPO and embracing BPO before any of the cognoscenti was giving any credence to its expanding market possibilities. Frank has some interesting things in the hopper for his business. Stay tuned.
Finally, I had a chat with John Halvey yesterday. Halvey, as you should know. was one of the founding members of the so-called cognoscenti. He’s at Milbank, a highly prestigious Wall Street law firm. He had left for a period, as I did, to pursue opportunities opening up on the Internet Economy frontier by going to work for his friends at Safeguard, but he came back and resumed his practice. He said he doesn’t do much in the way of promotion and speaking these days. I find a lot of my old sources and friends are in a completely different phase of their career these days (read: wildly successful).
Next week, I’ll be attending HRO World. Not sure what to expect. I’m coming at these BPO markets completely humble. I have a lot to learn. I’m like a cub reporter. I remember in college we learned about a management strategy popular in the 80s called “MBWA.” It stood for “Management by Walking Around.” The idea was that management should not be isolated to ivory towers, oak desks, and consultant’s reports– that a lot could be learned organizationally by just asking questions of your own employees. That’s the attitude I’m taking in this new era of post-ITO outsourcing. I’m just walking around, calling around, emailing around– asking questions.