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It is better
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John Sumser

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Bill Kutik
October 16, 2002) - When we think of Bill Kutik, we think about Dean Martin. Bubbly and witty, Kutik specializes in emceeing panel discussions. Even though he is always dressed in 60's chic university clothes (a loose fitting blazer, wool pants and loafers), somehow he wears the costume in the same 'devil may care' way that Dean pulled off the tuxedo. Finally, if you close your eyes when he's talking, you get the same deep voice that made Dean such a hit.

Kutik began his involvement in the industry long before the rest of us. While toiling as the editor for Esther Dyson's newsletters, Kutik began an investigation of the HR software space that has lasted to this day. He knows everybody who had a role in the pre-web pioneering days of HR Information Systems. He writes a monthly column for one of the paper journals that few of us actually see. He organizes the Annual HR Technology show. He's a networker with a strong arm.

A highly trained journalist, Bill blends his consulting, reporting and promoting services into a uniquely New York approach to the business. (We once threw him out of a meeting for acting like a reporter during a business strategy session, a fact that he never took very lightly.) In fact, Bill may well be the consummate New Yorker. We remember fondly a moment during which he wandered us around town to get the best view of the Chrysler Building. He knows the cafes and restaurants of Manhattan in much the same way that he knows the ins and outs of the HR Industry.

Of al of the cliques in the industry, Bill's is the most interesting. He has a network of graybeards who were the young Know-it-alls of the first generation of players. Many, like Row Henson from Peoplesoft, still exert significant influence over their organizations and the markets that they serve. While other conferences offer better sales opportunities, Bill's annual get-together is the only can't miss date on the schedule. Exposure to Bill gets you exposure to his circle and that provides a backdrop for a larger market play. Many of the high-momentum firms in recent memory got some form of market acceleration from their relationship with Mr. Kutik.

It's harder to characterize Bill's contribution than it is with more normal publishing types. He's one of the background voices that drives some of the industry's grapevines. His influence is far more potent than his output. Given the fact that our industry operates as a network, this is a critical and much needed contribution. If you are entering the game, he should be one of the first stops you make. If you are planning to stay a while, you will be having a relationship, one way or the other, with him.

-John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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