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Frequently asked questions

What do you charge the advisors for the conversations, and what do they get for it?

Currently, 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.

Why would advisors pay for something that has an uncertain effect on revenue?

Because these 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 need.

Shouldn't 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.

Does 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.

Will you always have this pricing model?

Our strategic 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.

Isn't there a chance that clients will unfairly take advantage of the service?

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.

Is Yithro a competitor to the advisors?

No. Our 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.

 Why 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 "advisor."

What does "Yithro" mean?

Yithro (also 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.

Why 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.

How 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.

Can 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.

Isn't 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.

Can 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.

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