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Kalypsonian of the Year

10 Sep

I get a lot of email. On rare occasions, I get an email that has a meaningful impact on my life.

Seven years ago a former colleague of mine sent me such an email. It was a short note referring his younger cousin as a potential candidate for our new and growing innovation consulting firm. She didn’t have much to offer in the way of relevant business experience, but my friend assured me that she had a strong character and was willing to work hard to make a difference. We needed help, and she didn’t make much money, so we took a chance and offered her a job.

We’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. Hiring Pamela Soin is not one of them. She joined the team as a smart, inexperienced young lady a couple of years out of college and quickly made herself indispensable. In the intervening years we have traveled the world together, serving clients in exciting cities like Seoul, Sydney, San Diego, Amsterdam and even Appleton, Wisconsin. We have shared a lot of laughs, a lot of love, and more than a few tears.

Watching her grow into an accomplished professional advisor with personal eminence and business stature has been one the great privileges of my career. Some moments in life create indelible memories. My repertoire of stories from a twenty-year career in consulting is pretty large. Pam is the principal actor in many of the best and funniest stories I have in my collection. She is one of the original Kalypso “characters with character”.

The Kalypsonian of the Year award is reserved each year for the team member that embodies the ideals of the Kalypso consultant; that leader behind the leader that demonstrates a healthy lack of respect for hierarchy and positional authority. Pamela Soin believes that innovation combined with action can change the world for the better. She is passionate about what she does and knows how to have fun at work – and after. Most importantly, she genuinely cares about the success of her colleagues and goes to extraordinary lengths to help them. Pam is a true professional and a personal role model for us all.

After seven years I am honored to call her a colleague, a friend, and our 2012 Kalypsonian of the Year.

KARMA

8 Sep

In late August of 2005 a small band of characters gathered in Austin, Texas to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the founding of their innovation consulting firm. Kalypso had just completed its first year and we were still alive. We were an ambitious bunch with dreams of changing the world and the consulting industry. In reality, we had no idea what we were doing. We weren’t making much money, but we were certainly having fun.

This weekend we are celebrating our eighth year of craziness at Kalypso’s KARMA 2012 in Washington, DC. We have moved from the capital of Texas to the capital of the United States. (Some would say that is a step down.) There are 130 people here from countries all over the world and the energy and enthusiasm is infectious. The Kalypso Difference is on display as our work hard, play hard mantra is put to the test. The two major political party conventions have nothing on this event. I’d vote for us.

What is KARMA? Well, karma is what you make it. For me, Kalypso’s KARMA is a celebration of our shared values, a recommitment to our mission of delivering on the promise of innovation, and an opportunity to spend some quality time with our colleagues and closest friends. I love every minute of it.

The story of Kalypso is the story of its people. The annual human histogram at KARMA highlights the dynamic growth of the firm and is a source of tremendous pride in the accomplishments and development of our team. We celebrate promotions, recognize success, and announce the recipient of the coveted “Kalypsonian of the Year” award. Who will it be this year?

KARMA is still what you make it. This year we are making it bigger and better than ever. We continue our quest to change the world and the industry is taking note. Let your voice be heard. Vote Kalypso!

Evolving with PLM

8 May

The enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM) software market is entering its third decade of life. The vision of the leading PLM solution providers has evolved dramatically since the early 90s, while the capabilities of the software platforms have continued to expand and improve. The early sales pitches and solutions were almost entirely centered on engineering workgroups and document management. Over the last ten years, the PLM software industry has gone through a consolidation phase and has seen significant R&D investment in PLM platforms. Today, companies have the opportunity to take advantage of mature, integrated enterprise solutions with modern user interfaces. The value proposition is now truly cross-functional and PLM has emerged as a respected enterprise software domain that is a source of competitive advantage for companies that harness its power.

These platforms support the end-to-end innovation cycle from the definition of requirements through after-sales service and support. The systems facilitate industry best practice process optimization and workflow configurations that can be implemented “out of the box.” Solutions have also improved bottom to top with more seamless integration to heterogeneous CAD environments up through innovation portfolio management and performance analytics that connect the engineer’s desktop to the executive suite. In essence, we have gone from a stripped-down utilitarian commuter vehicle to a high-powered Italian sports car.

In addition to the core functionality of managing bills of material and engineering change, today’s PLM solutions are easier to use and have developing capabilities that enable innovation by addressing:

  • Requirements management and traceability across hardware and software development
  • New product development stage-gate process, program, resource and portfolio management
  • Product and component cost management, often with supplier management functionality
  • Systems engineering and the integration of mechanical, electrical and software development
  • Manufacturing process design including simulation and validation linked to product engineering
  • Connection with internal and external supply chain and enterprise resource planning systems
  • Social collaboration and community tools for global information sharing and problem solving
  • Comprehensive product quality management including CAPA and statistical analysis tools
  • Environmental and regulatory compliance based on product content and sources of supply
  • Integration of product packaging, labeling and artwork with underlying product information
  • Management of technical publications and information for after-market service functions
  • Product and process performance dashboards and analysis tools for continuous improvement

In some cases, these new capabilities were built into the core Product Data Management (PDM) product and are available to existing customers with no additional licensing fees. However, all of this new functionality has made implementations more cross-functional, and therefore more complicated. This makes a comprehensive PLM strategy and plan for your enterprise more important than ever.

Find out how to take advantage of the power of PLM by reading the rest of this viewpoint on the Kalypso website by clicking here http://kalypso.com/viewpoints/resource/evolving-with-product-lifecycle-management/.

The Hokey Pokey

18 Apr

Van Gresham claims that he does not do the hokey-pokey during Virginia Tech football games. For a proud Hokie that invests considerable sums of time, energy and money into pre-game tailgating festivities, this is a little hard to believe. They play the hokey-pokey at Virginia Tech because you can dance without having to speak with an actual female. At an engineering school this is a big deal. All that talk of differential y and differential x doesn’t leave much room for actual sex. Given the odds stacked against him in this department, let’s just say that Van “got lucky.” I am sure that his wife, Chesley, will agree.

Born and schooled in Virginia and living in North Carolina, the boy knows how to cook a pig. I have enjoyed the product of this particular skill. He may have gotten a little above his raisin’ in the beverage department as he pairs his grilled pork tenderloin with fine California cabernets. Not what you would expect from a pedigreed hillbilly.

In addition to his culinary and rhythmic abilities, he has dedicated himself to raising money for brain cancer research as a participant in “Angels Among Us” which supports the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at (take a deep breath and look past the ACC rivalry) Duke University. Family is apparently more important than football.

I have enjoyed watching Van grow as a professional and develop into a trusted advisor to his clients at Kalypso. Not only do they count on him to get things done, they seem to like him quite a bit as well. His greatest strength is his character. It shows up day to day in his client service work. You can learn more about him here.

The Chipster

23 Mar

When the history of Kalypso is written, there will be a chapter devoted to Chip Perry. He bought his first crappy sports coat after watching “The Paper Chase” in 1973 and he hasn’t taken it off since. Seriously, you can ask his wife. Chip is the central character of so many of the most memorable moments of our Firm’s young life that it is difficult to limit the scope of my comments. Here a few of my favorites.

In September 2010 we held KARMA, our annual gathering, in New Orleans and a very good time was had by all. There were about 75 people in a hotel conference room during one of our general session meetings and the professorial Mr. Perry was comfortably leaning back in his chair against a wall reading the New York Times (Krugman, no doubt). Next to him was seated the ever-attentive and quite lovely Ms. Emily Adams. Apparently Chip’s seat was a little too comfortable because he fell asleep during a presentation (that I was giving), fell and grasped and groped on the nearest stable object on his way down. Poor Miss Emily. Gentleman that he is Chip simply pretended that nothing unusual had happened.

Chip loves his GPS device and it never fails – to get him lost. Twice in a single month he picked me up at the airport in Minneapolis for important client meetings and then relied on his GPS to drive us to the wrong building in the wrong part of town. We were very late both times. On another occasion several of us watched Chip drive to within 200 feet of the entrance to the parking lot at a Firm event, pull over, and call us to say that he was hopelessly lost. We didn’t have the heart to seize the opportunity to truly mess with him. But we were tempted.

Ask him about his old Volvo, his Las Vegas experience, his natural ability with firearms, or his English degree (“you do the math”). He may be a little scatterbrained and he may wear corduroy jackets with leather elbow patches, but he is also universally loved and admired. Read more about one of our favorite characters with character here. Chip makes the heart of Kalypso beat strong. In many ways he is the heart of Kalypso. He is our friend. I would go to war with him. I just wouldn’t let him drive.

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