Changes: Five Tips to Combat Founderitis

David Bowie sums it up in his smash hit Changes: "Just gonna have to be a different man." In her last blog, Paige very gently referenced a general resistance we founders have to change. I believe our many conversations have gone something along these lines:

  • Just for the record, I have only a minor case of founderitis (denial). Uncontrollable laughter.
  • Hey, why are we changing again (anger)!? Eyes rolling.
  • Can we at least keep our old cards and use them with people fond of the old Cezanne script (bargaining)? Pretty sure that's just you.
  • When will the cobbler's kids get soles on his shoes? (depression). A deep, exasperated sigh.
  • Ok, I've had dozens of positive emails from customers (acceptance). A smile and a knowing nod.


The Path to Awesome

Yesterday, in an extremely lively brainstorming session here in the office, some co-workers introduced me to Robbie Novak. Apparently I live under a rock, because even though I have heard of Geico, I had never heard of the Kid President. After they recovered from the shock of this revelation, and after they felt I was sufficiently shamed enough to stop hurling wicked insults, they sat me down for The Pep Talk.

Now, as far as pep talks go, this one was a pretty darn good one. And while there are so many good sound bites in here, the one that still makes me laugh out loud is, "not cool Robert Frost". In fact, I think I may make a poster out of that and hang it in my office. Because isn't it true? The road less traveled hurts. There are obstacles, and challenges, and you don't have anyone to look to to see how to traverse it. You are on your own. The fact is, walking that road takes courage.


At DistribuTECH 2013, Signs that Utilities are Connecting to Smart Grid Customers “For Real”

by Peter Manos
Principal Strategy Consultant

In a conference as big as DistribuTECH, it would be naïve to expect everyone to have the same experience, yet the common thread of utilities improving customers’ quality of life was woven through the fabric of the event. 

I was there presenting research and representing clients for McDonnell Group. We had 20 clients exhibiting or presenting as well, and while they represented a wide range of software and hardware solutions, all of them are focused on innovations that enable utilities to optimally provide their customers reliable, economical electric service.


Designing for Success

Bottom-line Improvements Based on Model-Driven Visualization and Design Tools

Peter Manos
Principal Strategy Consultant – McDonnell Group

What do you think will help improve the bottom-line performance of a typical utility more—software standardization or business process standardization?  

For many utility executives this is not a “chicken or the egg” question.  It’s a hard boiled problem.  Why?  It’s because decision-makers often have to choose between software centric vs. business process centric options.

And another classic choice may also still present itself, between a one-stop shopping software portfolio (e.g. for O&M work across distribution, transmission and substations, etc.) and different best-of-breed tools tailored for specific areas. 


Smart Grid Research Indicates That Utility Perceptions on “Prosumers” Evolved Rapidly 2010-2012

According to Wikipedia, the term “prosumer” was coined in 1980 by the futurist Alvin Toffler. The utility industry has begun using the term as it considers the evolving role of customers who will both consume energy and produce energy (or grid response services) to support system operations. The term is also used to strike a contrast between traditionally passive customers (i.e., ratepayers) and the more active customers involved in and interacting with the products they use.

A Kilowatt is a Kilowatt, but is a Negawatt a Kilowatt? Regardless, MATS rules, accelerating smart meter penetration, PV installation, micro-grid success, new DR rules, and a confluence of other market developments have all helped evolve utility perceptions on the future importance and potential of “prosumers.” Our research shows that this trend has accelerated significantly in the past two years.

In preparing an upcoming conference address I am delivering entitled “Energy Prosumers: Future Implications for Utility Customer Satisfaction & Distribution Operations,” I’ve been studying the sentiments of utility companies who have participated in our proprietary benchmarking research studies over the past 24 months. Most of these studies are never published, with the confidential results reserved for research sponsors and top-line feedback provided to the utility study participants themselves with limited distribution rights. I noticed in four different studies, conducted across a two-year period of time, some changes related to utility perceptions around demand side management (DSM) and distributed energy resources (DER).


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