Contracts, discovery & ikigai


The business card for those looking to win government contracts with agencies or other prime contractors is the company “capabilities statement”. It introduces and communicates what you have to offer. Getting your capabilities statement on file with government agencies you wish to do business with is a standard marketing activity to do ad hoc anytime.

Discovery is listening to clients. It’s best to carefully read government contract documents (RFI, IFB, RFQ…) to find out what they are buying. If you can, talk to the people who wrote it. Getting accurate discovery background gives you a better idea of the problems being resolved. Discover what positive outcomes and results are wanted by the people who it is for. Then show how your service or products achieve it.

To listen to customer needs and desires is good advice for any sale. Some discovery actions are client metrics observation, networking, & data-collection. Another could be looking at what you and your company capabilities are.

Japanese word ikigai illustrated concept

The Japanese word “ikigai” means reason for being. It combines passion, mission, profession and vocation. Values brought to company actions bring value to your company. To combine capabilities with doing what you love, assisting others for exchange, uplifts you and others – ikigai.

There are other illustrations online. I made mine to include the derivation, Japanese characters, and transparent colored circles.

I think it is worthwhile to write down the perfect project for your group or company.  For instance: what does your company specialize in? What is the perfect type of customer? Specify project types that best fit your group.  What will challenge and grow capabilities? What does your company make the most money at? 

In a changing world, ikigaiis done through discovery. Looking inward (what you love & are good at) and outward (what the world needs & pays for).  It’s creating and maintaining balance.

Government business documents & sales process development services
Here’s a link to the capabilities statement for Verinotis, LLC.

Verinotis, llc – Mark V. Przybylski, MMBR
Phone: 541.450.9171   E-mail:


Verinotis, LLC provides Government business document development services.

I combine decades of experience with common sense plain language communications. Collaborative document creation services are our specialty. Our goal is continuous improvement of your government business documents and contracts process.

The earlier posts were imported from blogger posts made in 2014.

Facebook as social selling tool

Is it just me or have you noticed that Facebook has completely sold out and is more and more being used as a social network “selling tool”?

And that it is getting a little creepy? It used to be you only had to tolerate advertising when watching a show on TV. Now you must scroll through cleverly engineered advertisements to communicate with your friends or see their communications with you.

How ingenious to insert advertising in your social conversation. It’s like standing around at a party, having a great conversation with one’s friends and then some guy walks up and says: “I like Walmart! Save More. Live Better. ”

I saw a post a few months ago that a friend who I know “likes” Walmart. However, I do really know this person, they despise Walmart and would not be caught dead shopping there. That person obviously did not “like” Walmart.  In my personal opinion – to paraphrase rain man – Walmart Sucks. I ignored this at the time as I did not really see the significance of it. (Advertisement…scroll….scroll)

But this bit of “advertising” must have grabbed a random person I am friends with from the Facebook database – a popular person with lots of friends of their own – and then said that they liked Walmart in a post directed at me. Sort of like a celebrity endorsement but without having to pay anything to the “celebrity”.

From a programmer’s point of view, this does not seem so hard. First, pick out each user in the database that lives in or around a Walmart location. For each user select one of their friends, preferably a popular one with lots of friends themselves. Customize the Walmart Advertisement to put that friend as “liking” it. Post to that person’s news feed. Repeat a gazillion times…

Brilliant social marketing? This seems more like blatant false advertising to me and probably a few lawyers out there would agree if it ever gets to a court of law. But who would you “punish”? Facebook for making money from advertisers who employ this nifty technique or the advertiser for actually saying someone likes them when it is obvious they never liked them and even despise them?

How many people are simply unaware that they are being used and manipulated by some large
corporation with deep enough pockets to pay Facebook for these advertisements so they can make more money hawking their cheap goods produced in China? Perhaps Facebook really thinks that no one notices.  Or maybe no one cares.

Oddly enough, as I was writing this, I went over to Facebook. Lo and behold, here is a post from one of my friends on Facebook (I took out the names and photos):

Doesn’t this “social marketing” for fun and profit overstep ethical boundaries of what is acceptable? It is clearly intentionally deceptive and false. It is clear, to me anyway, that Facebook is intentionally using the information it has stored on the friends that I have communicated with in my life and then is using that social experiential data to make money for itself and its advertisers who use this social marketing tactic. I know, Facebook has user terms and conditions that I agree to by using it and is free so I shouldn’t complain when I am getting something free. In fact, the social benefits of improved communication among the vast amount of people who now use Facebook may well out-weigh the minor inconvenience of ignoring these idiotic ads.

However, people should at least know that enabling social communication with present and
past friends in their life turns out to not be entirely free.


This old T-shirt

This old T-shirt was acquired at a trade show many years ago. As my Dad would say, the price was right.
I still wear it sometimes it’s really soft. It has some paint on it and the lettering is a little faded.
Why it’s my favorite is one of those longer stories that old people like to tell. Sort of like the
stories about how I used to walk to school uphill for miles in the snow and rain when I was a kid. So, if you have the time, pull up a chair and listen.
The t-shirt just says “The VisiCalc Package” on it, and the company that made it – Software Arts.
Most people may not have ever heard of VisiCalc. The short answer is that it was the first spreadsheet. The pre-cursor to Excel. It ran on the Apple II, the first personal computer available.
There is a great article about how the spreadsheet transformed business and just how evolutionary
this little piece of software is: A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge
VisiCalc also made the personal computer more than a toy or a game machine. At the time, it became a
valid reason why someone needed a personal computer. Business guys started carting their own Apple IIs into their office to run VisiCalc at their desks.
I met one of these business guys back when I was working at one of the first software distribution
companies in the 80’s. He wanted me to acquire, set up, configure, and “soup up” one of the new IBM PCs for him. When IBM started making PCs, the personal computer was no longer just personal, it was
big business. The first IBM PC (how odd that a Chinese company – Lenovo – now makes them)
Setting up his computer was a fun little project on the side for me at the time and I also made about a
thousand dollars. I remember that the whole setup cost him about $5,000. The custom setup had extra memory (512k!, through an add-on that expanded the base memory), an extra large hard disk (5
MEGAbytes!, which at the time did not come standard with the computer but had to be bought and installed separately), PC-DOS , 5.25” floppy disks, and a nifty green screen monitor. The initial specs for the machine were: Intel 8088 processor that ran at the blazing speed of 4.77MHz, memory was 16k, and two 5.25” 160k floppy disk drives. Oh, and it came with a PC-DOS boot diskette put out by this company based out of Seattle named Microsoft.
He gave me his old copy of VisiCalc as he no longer needed it. I am pretty sure he was using SuperCalc, from Sorcim (micros spelled backward) on the new machine. Pack-rat that I am, I still have that old copy of VisiCalc. I also did some programming work in dBase for him, but that is another story.
As I type this on my laptop, which I bought for about $300, which is also connected “wirelessly” to my
Internet service so I can look up interesting articles and research as I write, it can be seen just how awesomely evolutionary this whole technological revolution is changing how we as humans can communicate and interact with each other both individually (email, skype, cell phones), socially (Facebook), as groups and businesses (websites) and exchange money (e-commerce) on a global basis easily.
There isn’t any barrier to one person simply making something cool and then making it available worldwide. Nor is there any barrier to communicating or interacting with anyone on this planet.
Any single person’s ideas can be written, spread, translated, and understood by anyone on the planet.
We can also describe where we are and share our experiences visually and with sound! How cool is that?
I doubt that the creators of VisiCalc set out to change the world. Seems to me like they were just solving
a problem and came up with a good idea of how to do something better using what they knew. One of the guys who created VisiCalc is still doing cool stuff. Here’s a link to what Dan Bricklin is up to Alpha
This old t-shirt is just an archaeological relic that reminds me and tells others how far we all have come, and where we have come from and points to how anyone can take what is in front of them right now, work with it, and make new and innovative things that can change the world.
This old t-shirt has significance beyond just being some fabric woven, printed on, and given away to promote an old piece of spreadsheet software that is no longer even available. It is a comfortable and soft reminder of where we have been and the limitless future we have in front of us.
It’s my favorite t-shirt.

Bootstrap Carousel with caption underneath the slides

While making a Bootstrap based page, I wanted to put some captions not in the carousel but in a div below it. So it was under the photo in its own space.

That is the correct spelling, by the way, for carousel – according to an ancient site Spellweb, which tracked the most common misspelling of the word as “carosel” at 56%.   You would think that if the common misspelling of the word is 56%, then most people are probably correct in spelling it “carosel” instead of carousel and time will eventually prove them right.

So, it turns out it is possible to do but a little extra work is involved.

The standard carousel html goes like this:

<div id="carousel-example-generic" class="carousel slide" data-ride="carousel">
  <!-- Indicators -->
  <ol class="carousel-indicators">
    <li data-target="#carousel-example-generic" data-slide-to="0" class="active"></li>
    <li data-target="#carousel-example-generic" data-slide-to="1"></li>
    <li data-target="#carousel-example-generic" data-slide-to="2"></li>

  <!-- Wrapper for slides -->
  <div class="carousel-inner">
    <div class="item active">
      <img src="..." alt="...">
      <div class="carousel-caption">

  <!-- Controls -->
  <a class="left carousel-control" href="#carousel-example-generic" data-slide="prev">
    <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-chevron-left"></span>
  <a class="right carousel-control" href="#carousel-example-generic" data-slide="next">
    <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-chevron-right"></span>

You have Indicators on top in an OL, one for each slide.
The slides are in a “carousel-inner” div below that, wrapped by the item div where each slide calls an image tag and a div for the caption, conveniently called carousel caption.

You build the carousel just like you normally would with the captions as above.
To put the captions underneath, Make a div below the carousel div. (which conveniently ends with </div> <!– /.carousel –> )

Like this:

    <div id="row_under_carousel">
        <div class="caption-below">

Then put a little javascript at the bottom of the page where all the other javascript libraries are called:

$(function() {
var caption = $(‘div.item:nth-child(1) .carousel-caption’);
$(‘#row_under_carousel span’).html(caption.html());
$(“.carousel”).on(‘’, function(evt) {
var caption = $(‘div.item:nth-child(‘ + ($(evt.relatedTarget).index()+1) + ‘) .carousel-caption’);
$(‘#row_under_carousel span’).html(caption.html());

This sets the normal div carousel-caption to not display in its normal position and the div with the id  row_under_carousel to display instead.  Very clever, in that it has to take into account that the item div changes with each new slide.

You can also now style this text using the div class caption-below.

.caption-below {
text-align: center;
.caption-below h1 {
font: bold large;
.caption-below p {
margin-left: 20%;
margin-right: 20%;
font: small;

The effect is really nice and the text slides right along with the images, I had the carousel CSS set for the full page across with the slide photos also going the full page across and it worked really well.

So not too hard, and I think that knowing about and making these type of minor adjustments can make for a much better looking page, that has more impact and looks just a little bit different..