Behind-the-scenes advice for busy solo professionals courtesy of Michael Katz, Blue Penguin Development

received a follow-up email from Staples.


They wanted me to “share my experience and rate the quality of my recent purchase.” They even invited me to share a photo.

Well, let’s see. I bought 5,000 sheets of printer paper. I’m only through about 15 at this point, but so far, they appear to be uniformly white and more or less rectangular.

I get it. Staples sends this email to every customer.

And while printer paper is the ultimate office commodity – it’s like my gas station asking me to rate the quality of the fuel I just bought – it might not seem so ridiculous as a follow-up to a computer purchase or other big-ticket item.

But it does demonstrate that the big guys are severely disadvantaged relative to you and me when it comes to pretending they care. If it can’t be automated, they can’t do it.

All that to say that if you’re outsourcing all of your relationships – to social media, automation, virtual assistants, etc. – you’re giving up your biggest advantage relative to the lumbering giants.