Random Thoughts Thursday

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Spring is coming to Seattle. The weather is getting nicer out here and with the late light starting, people seem to be in noticeably better moods. Unfortunately, March and April are typically wet months so we have some slogging still to get through.

Travelled all day Monday but don’t have any additional travel the rest of this week or next. It’s a good feeling knowing you are not going anywhere for 2 whole weeks and you get to see  your family every night. Right now, a roomful of sales people are nodding their heads in agreement.

My wife and I took both boys to an open house at our current son’s K-8 school last night. We really like the school, and I am especially fond of both of Henry’s teachers. They are great and really care. There is no better feeling as a parent than knowing your son has exceptional teachers. Our younger son will be attending next year and we wanted him to be able to get a feel for the school before attending. I think he liked it but it was hard to tell since he spent the whole night eating cookies. I try not to obsess over the escalating rat race when it comes to education, but it’s tough to avoid having to think ahead. As parents, you want the best for your kids but at the same time you have to be careful overthinking this stuff. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone has their path to walk when it comes to finding the right school for their children. Ours appears set until 8th grade for both boys and then I guess we will cross the next bridge when we get there.

I was asked the other day what characteristics I would look for in a good business partner. It’s a great question. There are so many attributes that are important, however if I could only choose one, I would choose honesty. It is the foundation of any successful business partnership. I am lucky to have been blessed with a partner who I trust implicitly and who is much smarter than I am.

I am reading Call of the Wild to my boys right now. If you have never read it to your kids, I would highly recommend it. It’s perfect for 8-9 years olds who love dogs and wolves. I had forgotten what an amazing author Jack London was and still is. Hard to believe the book was written in 1903. On a side note, my oldest son woke up up this morning asking if he could have a wolf for a pet. It was 6:15am. He was also curious what they ate. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that 8 year old boys named Henry were probably high up on the list.

We at FCR get asked quite a bit from other companies during their due diligence process what the best Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is to measure for their customer care department. Unfortunately there is no right answer. Average handle time, average talk time, first call closure rate, average speed of answer, agent utilization, each is important in its own way. Each can and should be a part of the process, as should overall service quality. Everything depends on the company and what the expectations are of the company’s end users. KPI’s will also change over time as a company matures and evolves.

I have been thinking about what industries excite me the most right now. Mobile commerce, health care technology, wearables, cloud based data sharing, and online education are up there. I’m sure I am missing a few.

I have been spending quite a bit of time in Silicon Valley as well as San Francisco lately. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. Starting in San Jose (which, by the way, is the third-largest city in California and the tenth-largest in the US), if you head north on the 101 through Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alo, Redwood City, San Mateo and eventually into downtown San Francisco, you really do gain an appreciation for the amount of industry and economic horsepower out here. I would bet that the financial engine driving the US no longer resides on the east coast (Boston, NYC) but now lives firmly in northern California.

Finally, if you are traveling to Seattle anytime soon and you are trying to nail down some good restaurants, here are my top 5 (in no particular order):

  1. The Walrus and the Carpenter
  2. Sitka and Spruce
  3. Staple and Fancy Mercantile
  4. Mamnoon
  5. Spinasse

Make you sure you call ahead for reservations. All are exceptional and tough to get into on short notice. Unfortunately, Walrus does not take reservations so show up early!

Matthew Achak

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