Hi again,

As the U.S. trip continued, a couple of competing themes became evident:

Businesses want to cut out middlemen to reduce costs when both buying and selling. However, individuals are preferring to buy and sell through aggregators. It will be interesting to watch.

The explanation:

  • Businesses are trying to engage directly with consumers and suppliers (individuals, and other businesses) for buying and selling. There are lots of business cases about the value of eliminating the middleman and projects to ‘own’ direct relationships. Examples of this in our space are companies using Facebook and LinkedIn to find the right people rather than using the likes of us.
  • And individuals trying to sell to everyone who might buy. The one clear message was that buyers know direct sellers are usually only able to apply the lever of price – and that means it’s cheaper, and of course less lucrative for the seller.


  • As consumers, these same people (individuals, and businesses) are looking to aggregators so they don’t have to talk to lots of individuals and companies to get the best of what they want. In our space this means coming to us instead of wading through social media and mountains of CVs. In fact I repeatedly heard they won’t go direct as they get inundated with too many things coming to them from different angles. Some execs I spoke to have removed themselves from social media as they get so many direct contacts and contacts through friends. It’s overwhelming when you put a Facebook job vacancy up and then it’s brand damaging when you’re perceived to have not responded appropriately or recognized the genius of individual applicants.

Some examples to think about are:

  • Uber – if you haven’t yet, you should.
  • Bitcoin wallets – why manage your own Bitcoins when someone can do it for you
  • Alfred – why arrange and deal with your own cleaning, dry cleaning, dog walking etc. – one click and it’s all taken care of
  • There’s even a new apartment finder service – online, 3D if wanted. You put in your requirements and someone else does all the leg work – bliss in a busy city.

So the question I was left with was: which will win? Scattered buying and selling? Or aggregated?

My reflection is that either will work for commodity driven selling and buying. Anything of greater value (perceived or real) needs to be bought and sold with care and advice from experts.

But here’s the real question… (drum roll please……)

Is project management a commodity or a value sale/purchase? Procurement and HR people tend to say commodities and sponsors, but after they’ve been slammed for failure, all will agree no. The value is in success (and opportunity for benefits realisation) – not in a smaller price per day.

This reminds me of a local story, where for three years a company has been saving money daily on project managers to deliver a six month project…..think about it.

Ok, this was more rambling than I planned, but I hope you get the gist. If you want any clarification please just call.