Hello, Koné Consulting

TRIZ is a half-hour scavenger hunt for things a system is doing that are actively keeping it from serving its purpose or intent. It’s one of the greatest liberating structures. In TRIZ, a group will:

  1. come up with processes or methods to consistently ensure an unwanted outcome (e.g. sales prospects are lost, all patients are infected, each software release has errors);
  2. think about things they are already doing that resemble the methods devised in the previous step; and
  3. figure out how to stop doing those things.

TRIZ is always funny, sometimes terrifying, and often directly useful. I rely on it for software products. Rather than making “usability improvements” or adding speculative features based on inadequate research, TRIZ helps me find aspects of a product that actively frustrate and defeat customers so I can yank those suckers out.

Controlled burn

I closed Different Chairs in order to make room for something else. Too many aspects of being a sole proprietor kept me from creating the experiences I wanted my clients to have.

In order to do better work, I had to find great people to work with, and, somehow, I fell in with the best. I’ve joined my friends, co-conspirators (and, now, colleagues) at Koné Consulting.

Forget chairs, let’s look at the whole damn table:


It’s a tiny, distributed group; we work remotely. But when we gather in person now and again, this is the inevitable configuration.

What does this mean?

For existing clients, this is all old news: I’ve been working to ensure continuity for those that want it.

For everybody else — well, it’s simple. It means that when you ask for help, or work with a product I make, or we sit down to figure out something tricky, you don’t just get me, even if it’s only the two of us at the table. You get Alicia’s commitment to quality and humanity, Sharon’s ability to create space for decision-making, Christina’s talent for taking care of any problem, Alicia H.’s focused execution, Devin’s rolled-up sleeves, André’s unlimited energy and relaxed discernment, and whatever scattershot nonsense it is I scrabble together. If that’s not Voltron, it’s at least the Sea Team.

And for me? Means I’m feeling lucky. These people make my work better in all the most difficult ways: by opening space for action and contemplation; by challenging me to keep that spring in my step; and (the hardest one) by actually helping me become a better person.

Please enjoy this photograph of a beautiful location at sunset.


Goodbye, Different Chairs

It’s been an interesting eight years.

I started Different Chairs after finishing grad school in the Potemkin village of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I didn’t know what I was doing; I made mistakes continuously. Wherever it was possible to do something wrong, I did, and maybe half of the time I managed to learn from it and improve my work.

Here’s one thing about running a small business: it’s never easy, although it’s sometimes good. Here’s the other thing: even a sole proprietor can only be as successful as the people whose support, collaboration, and friendship make it all possible. You know who you are. Yes, you. I don’t say it often enough, but I’ll say it now: thank you.

In the end, I solved problems. I made clients happy. I treasure every moment of it, even those I won’t miss. Today’s the last day of Different Chairs, and tomorrow is the first day of what’s next.