do you charge the advisors for the conversations, and what do they
get for it?
advisors pay $50 per conversation. These are conversations
that the advisors offer to participate in, based on a reasonable
understanding of the topic and the basic facts about the client
manager. More importantly, they are conversations based on a client's
real needs, and are therefore highly qualified meetings.
would advisors pay for something that has an uncertain effect on
are highly effective marketing activities, both for
building mindshare among potential clients (and people who influence
them), and for learning about evolving market needs. The best way for
an advisor to prove his/her value is to demonstrate it in real field
conditions. We therefore think that these conversations are valuable in
their own right, whether or not they are related to a specific project
clients pay for the advice, rather than getting it free?
We did consider
the idea of charging both sides for the conversation,
but decided - for now at least - that client procurement processes are
likely to make it too complicated for typical managers to pay for these
conversations. Additionally, we wanted to make it as attractive and
simple as possible for clients to ask for Yithro's services.
this pricing model always apply?
No, in cases
where the client clearly is asking for services that take
more than a conversation, we will also solicit proposals and collect a
contingency fee for the introduction. This fee will vary by our level
of involvement but will be stated upfront to all parties.
you always have this pricing model?
goals are to a) price our services in ways that are far
more economical than the next best alternative(s), and b) align
everyone's financial incentives with the desired outcomes of our model,
namely more efficient markets for advisory services. The pricing model
will therefore evolve as our reach and services evolve but will always
be attractive for everyone. It is also essential for us to ensure
loyalty to our services, and we are likely to aggressively reward those
who were early adopters.
there a chance that clients will unfairly take advantage of the
Yes, but the
feedback model will reinforce a pattern of constructive
conversations and good behavior. To apply game theory, Yithro is meant
to facilitate multiple games rather than single games. Still, our
services operate on a presumption of good faith.
Yithro a competitor to the advisors?
strategic focus is limited to building a more efficient market
for advisory services. We may provide additional services to further
market efficiency, but we will scrupulously avoid conflicts of interest
or even the appearance of such conflicts.
do you call us "advisors" and not "consultants?"
To avoid any
ambiguity about the purpose of the conversations. Yithro
is a strong adherent to the principles of consultative selling, and to
the ideals of being helpful. The term "consultant" has taken on
meanings that go beyond advisory services, so we chose to use the word
does "Yithro" mean?
known as Yitro, Jethro, and ...) is a religious figure
revered in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and the Druze religion. In
scriptural accounts, he is a helper, providing decisive advice at a
crucial time. But for all his importance, he is an unassuming
personality, focused on solving the problem rather than promoting
himself. He is, of course, not the only such figure, but he seemed to
be one that appears as a unifying force to this day and had a name that
was easy to remember.
can clients be anonymous?
Critical to the
success of a conversation is that it is as candid as
possible. Most client organizations these days place an enormous
emphasis on confidentiality, enforcing a general policy that nothing of
the organization's inner workings be disclosed except through a formal
process. Although all advisors must agree to and sign strict
confidentiality agreements, many clients will see anonymity as their
best means to ensure confidentiality. After all, we can't disclose what
we don't know.
about Yithro's commitment to confidentiality?
Except to comply
with a legal court order that has jurisdiction over
our operations, Yithro will never disclose any information about
clients, advisors, or business issues to anyone without expressed
written authorization. If there is litigation, we will also cooperate
with counsel for clients and advisors to maintain the integrity of our
system of confidentiality.
advisors circumvent Yithro and maintain contact with clients?
Yes, but only
when the client and advisor mutually agree to do this and
notify us to that effect. We do not charge for continued contact, or
for whatever commercial arrangements might result from it.
this like a social network?
It depends on
how you define social network. The technology that
supports Yithro's conversations is very simple and does not employ any
of the functionality you would typically see in social networking
sites. Economically, Yithro is a market intermediary that seeks to
reduce transation costs. Most social networks seek to reduce transation
costs by acting as a disintermediator. But Yithro acts as a connector
among many people, forging one-to-one relationships that are of both
transient and durable value.
Yithro's services be fully automated?
We don't believe
so. The ability to help a client frame an issue,
soliticit interest from a large network of diverse individuals, and
make the right introductions is a high-touch, uniquely human
capability. It requires an integrative view of business and
organizational issues, the ability to efficiently interact with very
busy people, and the judgment to understand what might or might not
work. It's as much an art as a science.