We pick up where we left off yesterday in which Plato and Aristotle had a falling out – resulting in the dissolution of their long-standing student-mentor relationship. Today’s scene opens with a much more joyous atmosophere.
WE OPEN WITH OUR TWO PROTAGONISTS SITTING AT A TABLE WITH A GENERAL AIR OF HAPPINESS, BOTH LAUGHING.
PLATO [smiling]: My dear friend, I cannot believe I pushed you out ten months ago in my pig-headed belief that billing for time was the only way to operate.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: Tut, tut, Plato. Who can blame you? The business was doing well from a financial standpoint and it certainly was easy to keep doing it the same old way as everyone else.
PLATO [smiling (it's all smiles from here on out so you can stop reading these cues)]: Yes, yes! Easy certainly! But preferred, no! Most definitely, not preferred.
I hadn’t realized how unsatisfying and stultifying the time tracking system was for our fellow orators. To think! We had consistently attributed an individual’s value to our organization and to our dear clients merely by measuring the sands through the hourglass.
Looking back now, I see how both uninspired and uninspiring our old time and billing model was.
ARISTOTLE [smiling (I warned you - it's all smiles from here on out)]: Agreed, good friend, agreed. It was far from optimal.
PLATO [smiling]: And think of the clients! Think how happy they are now as well. No longer do we spend hours reviewing and – let’s face it – sometimes arguing over how longs things take.
Now we are focused on the common goals of each project. It’s all about the end results and not the ways and means of production.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: Exactly. After our heated exchange and we parted company, I had time to contemplate the situation and came upon a profound epiphany.
By focusing on the common objectives and goals of our customers, including the deliverables and target dates, we immediately moved from across the table from them to the same side of the table with them.
PLATO [smiling]: Brilliant! And to effectively deliver the promised results, it became incumbent upon us to truly understand what was important to them in reaching their goals. This deeper understanding allows us to provide better quality service.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: And all without timesheets!
PLATO [smiling]: All that wasted time spent tracking, analyzing and arguing over timesheets is now spent aligning our goals and discussing value. A much more enjoyable experience all around.
And because clients pay for the value received, I am encouraged to hire and surround myself with the best and brightest to deliver these results in an optimal fashion. No longer are we rewarded for the ignorance of junior staff who take longer to do things.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: Yes! Yes! Exactly! It was always temptation to put the lesser capable on a job because we would be able to fatten our purses on the un-informed customer. Not that *we* ever did that of course. But other, less scrupulous firms certainly gave in to the temptation.
PLATO [smiling]: And who can blame them? The hourly billing system is broken and rewards the less skilled and punishes the more skilled.
Now, we can chose to bring a junior person on for training and cultivation of talent. The customer is not penalized and does not bear the cost of this training because the price is set prior to work by the customer’s sense of value for the selected deliverables.
It is up to us to manage our costs in order to maintain a profitable existence that we use to provide additional services, keep up on our professional advancement and keep customers informed of beneficial news.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: It’s as if night has given way to day.
PLATO [smiling]: …
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: What is it, Plato?
PLATO [smiling]: I was just thinking Aristotle … contemplating how amazing life can be and the twists and turns that come when you brave change. Look, my friend: the student has become the teacher.
ARISTOTLE [smiling]: Let’s not argue over who is the student and who is the teacher. Let’s settle on … “partners”.
PLATO [smiling]: “Partners”. I like the sound of that, partner.
ENTER SOPHOCLES STAGE RIGHT – SHAKING HIS FIST DEFIANTLY IN THE AIR.
SOPHOCLES [angry]: What’s this I hear about you two fools getting rid of time sheets! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I realize I’m semi-retired but I have to speak my mind. That’s not how it’s done and clients won’t go for it and how will we know if our employees are working or goofing off if we don’t record their every movement and …
PLATO AND ARISTOTLE [Together, laughing]: Oh, Sophocles! Sit down and let’s discuss the future.
FADE TO BLACK.
When I have the time, I will translate the lost Scene in which Aristotle founds a travelling band of disciples called Verasagus Maximus with whom he emparts his wisdom upon a young Ronaldus Bakerus who in turn would go on and mentor Edwardius Klessian.
For now, I hope you enjoyed this moment in Ancient Firm of the Future History.