Proposal Land

Proposal Land Hustle

hus•tle (verb)
1. force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction
2. obtain by forceful action or persuasion (informal North American)
to try to persuade someone, especially to buy something, often illegally

That definition is itself a bit of a hus•tle (noun; a fraud or swindle) because it combines entries from two online dictionaries: this one and this one.  The pressure is the general pejorative meaning that Seth had in mind today.

No one wants to be hustled.
To be pitched and pushed and, most of all,
pressured into buying something.

The fraud is more what I had in mind when I read his post. It brought back a memory of someone I did not strangle.

Can we lie about our experience?

The hapless team member was now blanching under The Look: the “Is-it-a-joke-or-do-I-need-to-slap-him-one?” one. He seemed to be in genuine-enquiry mode so I played it straight.

Lying is wrong.
And besides, they’ll find out.

I eschewed the slap. Hitting is wrong, too.

It’s wrong to hustle a customer. And besides, they’ll find out. Winning the contract and then failing to deliver on what you yourself told them to expect, dagnab it, is not smart business. Not honest business. Not a lasting business. And not a business you can feel good about at the end of the day, not to mention a career.

So save your hustle for the other kind.

hus•tle (noun) (mainly US)
energetic action: “The team showed a lot of determination and hustle.”

That kind is always welcome in Proposal Land.


What’s It All About, Alfie?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning
pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?

WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Disorder in the American Courts


Use small words: Do not utilize humongous designations.

Use regular words: Do not ply your arcane craft pursuant to the injunctions of your worser heavenly messangers.

Small words. Regular words. In both questions and answers. Try it.


Term: Showstopper

A condition (of the Work or the draft contract) that would convince a bidder to withdraw from a pursuit (for example, unacceptably high potential monetary or reputational liability, loss of intellectual property).

Also a condition of a bidder’s solution that would, by itself, render a bid unacceptable to a client.

A Man Walks into a Bar: Riff #11

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar.
They sit. They converse. They depart.

What??! Grammar again? Say it isn’t so.

OK: “It isn’t so.” Well, only half so.

This riff is only incidentally a gentle reminder that you can’t liaise a regulator, collaborate the client, communicate the boss. And it’s only in speech or emails that we accept “copy the team” for “send a copy to the team.” So cut it out.

This riff is primarily about the beauty of short sentences — Things like “They sit. They converse. They depart.” — because longer ones are harder to follow and it’s easy to makes grammatical mistakes or to lose the train in them or even miss words and have odd jumps and orphan phrases and clauses and when creating run-on sentences and boy it’s so hard for evaluators to understand exactly what you’re saying and give you marks. And that’s true even when the sentences are long but coherent.

So. Keep your subject and verb together. Ditch the flowery adjectives and adverbs. And buddy, keep it short.

Sit. Type. Shut up. Win.


Low-price Compliant

An evaluation methodology that first assesses technical compliance in one of two ways:

  • By comparing each proposal’s technical offering against mandatory technical criteria in a “meets/doesn’t meet” binary assessment
  • By comparing each proposal’s technical score against a specified minimum score that must be achieved (a hurdle or threshold score)

The second step is to award the contract to the compliant bid with the lowest price. The default in government contracting.

By contrast, see best value.