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Simon says

I hope I'm never tempted to sell you a five day course when three days will be plenty; that's not just looking for the moral high ground ... it's the practicality of keeping a couple of other days open for other things, and the knowledge that if you get a well timed rather than an elongated course, you'll be more likely to recommend us to your friends and colleagues. It's also selfish as it gives me the pleasure of presenting you with the right product, and enjoying my work a lot more that I would if you had been mis-booked. That's just one of many benefits you get from speaking with the tutor about course content and objectives as you book your course, rather than only every speaking to the sales rep.

Learning Tomcat on a courseLikewise, I'll very happily travel out and run a course for you on site if you've got a large group needing the same training at the same time. Or I'll lay on a private course for a smaller group, at our training centre / hotel. Or if it's just yourself (and perhaps one or two colleagues), then you'll get far better value by having a place on a shared (public) course - not only better valued for money, but also the opportunity to interact with other delegates who are studying the same subject, but with different views and objectives. As our public courses are residential, that interaction comes in its bucket loads outside the formal lessons, as well as within the lessons where our group size limit of 8 truly does lead to a vibrant class. Illustration - students at our training centre on a Tomcat Course.

There are, though, times that prospective customers will push me (and push me quite hard) to run a private course for them at their office, even if there are just a handful of them. With good reason, that's fair enough - perhaps there's a key worker in the team who has to be home every night for medical or childcare reasons, for example, or a requirement where the practical sessions will be much more tuned if the data used is the customer's, highly confidential records (yes, I will sign a non-disclosure agreement - an NDA - in such circumstances).

This wasn't what I had intended to write about this morning ... but it was brought to my mind by a couple of blog posts from Simon Cozens - who I met when he was working on the Parrot element of Perl 6 a few years ago, based at the University of Oxford. I'll admit that when they took him on, I thought "there goes my Perl business - they now employ the guy who wrote 'Beginning Perl'", but it turned out rather the other way; Simon put his head around the door during one of my courses, listened in a while, and we had a chat. And with Simon advocating Perl in the University, the use and training needs went up rather than down. But that's an aside ...

One of Simon's recent posts asks "Are charities located in expensive places?" He's drawn up a map, showing house prices near their bases, and how this house price is significantly above the market average. And he asks "why is this?" and "are these expensive locations necessary?". Ah - I have asked similar questions - ironically, also from an Oxford experience where I was pressed to give an onsite course (and did so) for a well known charity in the area; they could have saved themselves so much by coming to us - it was recommended to them to do so - but they insisted on "in house" for no good reason that I could ever fathom out. And I thought "expensive premises, expensive course scheme - I wonder if the little old ladies who collect the money for you door to door know what their hard work is funding".

Simon has also posted on Security through Obscurity as practiced, it seems from an FOI disclosure, in new NHS systems. Now - lets be sensible - a password system is itself securing data through obscurity, and no-one is suggesting that we remove all passwords from our systems - but it's certainly a concern that a medical system that has tentacles out to thousands of small offices around the country appears to be sufficiently vulnerable to penetration that the people who run it can't provide fundamental answers to reassure those of us who's highly personal data it holds that the data is indeed securely protected.

I wouldn't want to have some of the aspects in my life that Simon has in his - in particular the very strong religious one - but I'll certainly be looking up his blog rather more in the future and seeing what Simon Says.
(written 2010-06-05, updated 2010-06-09)

 
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G204 - Well House Consultants - Equipment and facilities
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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