“Pharaoh’s Magicians” and the Business Case Presentation

My last entry was about a character you run across in the business-case pitch setting: Dr. No.

“Pharaoh’s Magicians” are another beast in the menagerie.

Most of us know the story of the Exodus, where Moses led the Hebrew slaves to freedom in the Promised Land.  Great story.

But when Moses first pitched liberation to Pharaoh, he tried to impress Pharaoh with his technology.  He threw down his staff and his staff turned into a snake.

Pharaoh turned to his house magicians, and they said, “Oh, that’s nothing.  We can do that.  In fact we already have.”  And they threw down their staves, which also turned into snakes.

That’s the enemy: an in-house group who not only can do what you can, but have done it already or could do so in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

What Pharaoh in our business world wants to entrust a new project to an untested outsider when the in-house crew, whose warts, after all, one knows, says they can do the same thing?

That is the basic pitch of Pharaoh’s Magicians: better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Unfortunately, it might not be true.  The devil you know may well be worse than the devil you don’t, particularly if the situation calls for agility, nimbleness, or speed.  The in-house magic shop absorbs quite a bit of resources and has a long latency.  Just think of the application backlog in your IT organization.

The Bible tells us the proper response to Pharaoh’s Magicians: Moses’ snake ate the magicians’ snakes.

Best thing: a key benefit that the business organization needs which can only be delivered by your stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *