All Hail The Gruntmaster 6000!

It was more influential than you think!

The Gruntmaster 6000, first introduced in the The Name, and eventually realized by Infomercial is, more importantly, a great foundation to explain why the doctor started Sourcing Innovation and why it is still going SIX THOUSAND (6,000) published articles later (even though the GruntMaster 6000 ended up being an exercise machine with a graviton generator)! (And yes, this is the 6,000th published article on Sourcing Innovation.)

In The Name, it all starts with the team, including Dilbert, being challenged by the PHB (Pointy-Haired Boss) to come up with a new product (to replace the product that killed everyone who used it), starting with the name — which he believes is more important than whatever the product ends up being! A name that has to ultimately be approved by the CEO, who, of course, also believes that the name is the most important thing ever!

It’s an attempt to clarify, in a humorous fashion, both the absurdity of modern marketing for technology products and modern “suit” management who, when they are running a company they fundamentally don’t understand (still a big problem today, and we’ve had multiple recent examples of why accountants, bankers, and lawyers should NEVER run tech companies), over focus on details that just don’t matter.

And, more importantly, propagate the belief that all you have to do is select the “right” product, where the “right” product is obviously the one from the most successful company, because if a company is successful, the product must be good, right? And how do you identify the most successful company? The one that looks most successful, and, obviously has the most successfully sounding product name, right? Right?

WRONG! It’s the propagation of this problem into Procurement which is why Sourcing Innovation exists. The belief that you can pick a few successful companies, throw a problem over the wall, and get a good solution. And while you theoretically can, if you don’t pick the 3 best companies for you, the odds of you getting a good solution are not good. In fact, the odds of you getting a good solution are vanishingly close to zero! (That’s why at least two thirds of technology projects fail. Standish Group’s CHAOS 2020 report analyzed 50,000 global projects and reported 66% failure rate. And that’s one of the lowest reported failure rates the doctor has ever seen. Many of the reports he’s seen over the last two decades report 70% to 85% technology project failure.)

And you can’t pick good companies unless you know

  • what makes a good product
  • what makes a good company
  • … and, most importantly …
  • what you need the product to do
  • what you need the company to do

And that requires education. Continual, never-ending, education. Education that no one was giving you in the sea of (marketing) madness. That’s why Sourcing Innovation exists, and why it is still going SIX THOUSAND published articles later.

And, FYI, because the focus is on education, with the exception of a few hundred posts on products that no longer exist, the vast majority of what was written in the early days is as valid today as it was then. For example, the doctor, thinking ahead to the inevitable conclusion of outsourcing (and understanding EVERYTHING wrong with it*), has been preaching the desperate need to return to on-shoring, near-sourcing, and even home-shoring for the past fifteen (15) years! And every single one of the 101 Procurement Damnations still exists today! So feel free to jump back to the second post on Strategic Sourcing Innovation Defined published on 2006-June-10 and start reading forward. the doctor is sure you’ll learn something from almost every single post! And the best thing about going back to the beginning, you can read an hour a day every day for the next year and still not make it to 2024! (At roughly 5.8 MILLION words, and an average reading speed of 238 words per minute, the average reader will have over 406 hours of reading!)

* as he did study the history of trade as well as pre-recorded history, early history, archaeological, and anthropological methods [even though sometimes he thinks a better understanding of cryptozoology might help him understand modern business better] … and he’s even gave a presentation on the archaeology of spend analysis, as many of the best algorithms for spend analysis have their roots in the algorithms developed by mathematicians for archaeologists …