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A Focused Horse Wins – Congratulations Synthesis!

I heard a story about a man who bought himself a very expensive thoroughbred horse. In the version that I was told, the owner wanted to use it for breeding purposes. The motivation aside, it was clear that the cost was more than he should have spent on any one item, and so he became very concerned about its safety.

To protect the asset, and I assume for his own anxiety, the owner had a high security stable constructed. And it did give him some peace. At least for a while. Until his anxiety escalated and he became concerned that the stable was not enough. And so, he decided to hire a security guard to be there at night when the owner could not be. 

Word on the stable street, however, is that sometimes security guards get tired and fall asleep, which the owner knew would defeat the purpose. And which is why when interviewing the prospective employee, the owner mentioned this concern and asked each potential guard to explain what he did to prevent this from happening. One man provided him with an answer that he felt comfortable with:

“You don’t need to worry because I have a trick that keeps me awake throughout the night What I do is to think of some deep and perplexing questions and ponder them through the night. That keeps me engaged and unable to sleep.”

When asked for an example the security guard provided two. “Last night I contemplated where the wall goes when we drill into it? And, what happens to the hole of the bagel when we eat around it?”

Impressed at the unconventional technique (perhaps more than the standard of the questions), the man was hired for the job of guarding the racehorse through the night.

We know of course that this was really about the owner’s anxiety, which resulted in him being able to sleep peacefully for a night or two. But then as it happens (with this type of untreated ailment), he once again began to worry. Perhaps, he thought, the man had run out of questions and had fallen asleep.

Which is why, in the deep of the night, he got into his car and drove all the way out to the stable in to check up on his employee. When he got to the stable, he was relieved to find he was awake and deep in contemplation. “I am so relieved,” he said,” I was worried you had fallen asleep. Tell me, “He said, really because he needed to make conversation, “what question are you pondering tonight?”

The security guard scratched his chin, turned to him, and said, “I was wondering how it is possible, that with a high security stable and an awake guard, someone would still be able to steal the racehorse?”

Whereas it is highly unlikely that the story ever happened, it does serve to provide us with a few questions of our own. And ones that we should ponder. Especially those of us who live in the business technology world. Because we love “tech” and because we are drawn to innovation, we might be at risk for focusing on areas that might be interesting and forward-thinking, but not on areas that are needed by the business. And while we do that, we not only place our “racehorse” at risk, but we provide our competitors with the opportunity to move ahead of us. Time and focus have a significant cost, not only in terms of the traditional business expenses but also because of opportunity lost and because of incorrect focus and direction. 

This is where Synthesis Software Technologies strives to be different. Where we might love technology and where we might get very excited by innovation, our teams have been trained to ask questions that relate to the business even before engaging in the technology itself. 

The focus on asking the “right questions” is what has built trust with our customers, and which has resulted in Synthesis achieving several awards and recognitions in the past year. The My Broadband survey is one that we are particularly proud of as it recognized that Synthesis was the preferred software development company in South Africa for large business projects based on a survey of over 1,500 IT executives.

More recently, Synthesis also claimed the Intelligent Software Partner award at the recent Intelligent ICT Awards Africa. Another nod to their customer focussed approach. 

Technology companies have a responsibility to their customers. They owe it to them to not sell “tech for the sake of tech” and to assist them to ask the right questions and not focus on the irrelevant. Only by doing so we will see the potential of that thoroughbred stallion that is trained and waiting to get into the race.