Thursday, April 29, 2010

All the information that is fit to mine

All we need now is fMRI hookup to the smartphone and the retailer will know exactly what the customer is thinking.


Stephanie Clifford enlightens us;

Through smartphones that signal someone’s location, stores and brands like Starbucks, Tasti-D-Lite, Macy’s and Pepsi are getting live information about when and where people are shopping. Some companies are turning Foursquare into a virtual loyalty-card program, while others are creating their own location applications, offering customers discounts or other rewards for shopping.

“It gives us immediate feedback for what’s going on in the marketplace,” said Margery Schelling, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice. “That’s invaluable.”

A phone is a simple replacement for a wallet stuffed with loyalty cards, but the real appeal for stores is in the location information provided by Foursquare and other location-based applications. Retailers can track when customers actually enter their stores. Such data can be used to learn things about store traffic, such as when men visit versus women. And it’s easier to note when the most loyal customers visit.

“If you check into work, then you leave work, you check into a bank and then you check into a store, that’s a behavior that, in aggregate, we might use to transform the way we market to you in the offline world,” Mr. Bough said. “We might see dayparts that are more likely for you to check out of some place and go to the store.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Presence is projection.

John Baldini explains presence



Leadership presence therefore is more than a nice to have. More than an exterior sheen, presence is a reflection of deeply held values and a belief in one’s ability to do the job well enough so that people will want to follow.


Presence is projection not simply of power, but of sincerity, values and conviction. And as such it is something that leaders can use to leverage their influence in order to make themselves heard, understood and followed.

Chaos precedes creative breakthroughs

Mitch Ditkoff's post about unleashing the creative in everyone

Left-brained, logical people are rarely comfortable with ambiguity, chaos and the unknown. It seems messy. Disorganized. Downright unprofessional. Indeed, much of the Six Sigma work being done in corporations these days is to reduce variability and increase predictability.

Paradox alert!

If you want to get really creative, you will need to increase variability and help participants get more "out of control." Picasso said it best, "The act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." Tom Peters said it second best, "Innovation is a messy business."

Where is my cup of coffee

Betsy Berthin says it should be in your java rub chicken

Meanwhile, if you just can't get enough of it in your cup, you might consider using it to cook. For some time, coffee has been used as a flavoring for desserts, but it has excellent savory applications as well. See what it can do on the barbecue with our recipe for java-rub chicken.


Sit up straight


Harvey Black shares an insight into making people feel better, have them sit up straight.

Researchers asked college students to rate themselves on how good they would be as job candidates and employees. Those told to sit up straight with their chests out gave themselves higher ratings than those instructed to slouch while filling out the rating form. Once again, Mom was right.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When all seems lost in a negotiation

Christine Lagorio has some tips on handling a negotiation in limbo;


If a negotiation is going nowhere, and taking up too much of your time and energy, you may want to walk away from it. Before you do, entrepreneur Janine Popick recommends that you stop and think: What else can I or my company get out of this situation? Might someone else give the negotiations a try? Or perhaps you can use the bad situation as an opportunity to train someone at your company on how to deal with toxic clients

Not getting any worse

An AP story relates how the parked car is starting to move again.


The shift, which Jefferies restaurant analyst Jeff Farmer calls a "slow grind," began in late January and is gaining steam.

"They're not necessarily seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but there's a realization that things aren't going to get any worse than they are right now," Farmer said.


Small Business groups are petitioning the Fed not to raise interest rates, so things are definitely not getting worse

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Believe the dots will connect

Steve Jobs in his commencement address at Stanford explained that you cannot connect the dots going forward, only backward. Since everyone lives their life going forward all you can do is trust that the dots will connect.

Do you believe your dots will connect?

Differentiation Startegy

The business dictionary defines differentiation strategy as

Approach under which a firm aims to develop and market unique products for different customer segments. Usually employed where a firm has clear competitive advantages

What does that actually mean? Could it mean saying "yes" when everyone is saying "no", could it mean going "small" when everyone is going "large", could it mean "less" when everyone is going "more". Dr Youngme Moon postulates that maybe it is about "letting go."

Letting go of all the notions the years of accumulated. Many of the notions are deeply rooted, intertwined within the fabric of our being and not so easily given up. Differentiation requires letting go. That seems really scary when in reality differentiation is the safest course.

Ground rules for the spread of ideas.

Steve Tobak lays out the ground rules to help spread your ideas

Ground Rule 1. There are some things you simply can’t control. Luck, for instance. Sure, you can improve your odds of getting lucky, mostly by putting yourself out there, being open to opportunity, and taking risks.

Ground Rule 2. Timing really is everything. If you do everything else right, the most likely thing to trip you up will be timing. Nailing everything below will help, but not entirely. That’s just the way it works.



Let it go!

Buying brand awareness

Margaret Heffernan has some pointers if your business needs to get the word out more aggressively.



  1. Pay for results, not time. One company I know pays for column inches, another by the number of mentions in online and traditional media. This keeps everyone highly focused.
  2. Use a virtual agency. A newer model for PR and advertising is the virtual agency that coordinates a network of gifted freelancers. With no expensive real estate to cover and no deadbeats, they have to keep busy. They can assign specialists to your needs at a lower project cost or retainer.

Hang out in your business

"The days are long but the years are short" Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen's insight reminds me to every once in while appreciate the moment. Life is fun when you are engaged and aware.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Perception, perception, perception, perception, perception

Tyler highlights the madness that is perception.


Because you are in Paris, you assume that women are fashion-aware, which colors all your judgments about dress, hairstyle, and other factors of appearance. Because you suppose the most stylish of intentions behind whatever the actual outcome, you will find seductive and ennobling qualities behind almost everything and anyone.

Be observed without judgment.

Seth lays it bare for all the world to see,

people learn to ship, they learn to do work that matters and most of all, they learn to ignore the critics they can never possibly please. The ability to choose who judges your work--the people who will make it better, use it and reward you--is the key building block in becoming an artist in whatever you do.



Friday, April 23, 2010

The trick is to look confident.

Pretending to know what you are doing is almost the same as knowing.


Catherine Rampell's article explains the findings of a study

Chief executives look more competent than the general populace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are,

Have you heard, happy days are here again

Starbucks reported same store sales increase of 7%

  • Consolidated net revenues increased 9% to $2.5 billion
  • Comparable store sales increased 7%, driven by a 3% increase in traffic and a 4% increase in average ticket
    • U.S. comparable store sales increased 7%, driven by a 3% increase in traffic and a 5% increase in average ticket




Now if we can just correct the pesky underwater mortgage, real estate value declined 30% problem, this whole Great Recession thing will become a really bad memory.

Fast no is better than a long maybe

Anthony Tjan brings a little sanity to the yes, no , maybe dynamic.

"as always a fast no is better than a long maybe." I have since borrowed that sentence many times over. Too often people are not sure if they want a yes and instead create prolonged discussions because they are either: a) too embarrassed to say no, or b) just want option value.

  1. Be clear on the "ask". I have seen people pitch us with brilliant clarity of ideas, but a cloud of ambiguity on what they want from an investment partner in terms of both capabilities and dollars
  2. Set a firm deadline and sense of urgency. When meeting any prospective investor, customer, or buyer, set a clear deadline for a decision. In most cases you can get to a definitive yes or no just by being clear about a close date.
  3. Agree to and adhere to a post-pitch process. Outline next steps for the follow-up. What additional documents or meetings are required for a decision? When will these occur and will there be sufficient time given the deadline at hand? If nothing is required, agree to the next follow-up date and the form of the follow-up. Make the follow-up timing shorter than your gut tells you: if you think you should follow up in two weeks, say a week. A follow-up in two weeks often means that the person is revisiting the issue in 13 days (the day before follow-up) versus six days for a follow-up in a week.
  4. Affirm the silent no and provide an out. Become better at trying to confirm the silent no. Schedules change, people ask for more time, and other priorities take over. Know how to escalate to the no. Prolonged silence or indecision requires a forcing mechanism. Something along the lines of "I want to thank you again for your time considering this and realize that now may not be optimal timing. Can I assume a pass for now?" Human nature is more conditioned to a yes or maybe, rather than a no. Politely providing an out is usually appreciated by the other side, and it is a good way to elicit a definitive decision or gain clarity on the best next step.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

let boldness be thy friend

The Tribune reports that Friday 4-23-10 is "Talk like Shakespeare Day" in Chicago.

Mayor Richard Daley inaugurated the special day last year. This year, Daley encourages citizens in his official proclamation to "let boldness be thy friend and celebrate Shakespeare by vocal acclamation of his words."

leftovers are vintage cuisine

Rick Asa's article explores

what dietitian Jackie Newgent calls "vintage cuisine" waiting to be morphed into something delicious.


It's not just wasting the food, although Americans do a good job of that: anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of all the food the nation produces is wasted. But when we allow good food to make penicillin in the fridge, we also are wasting trillions of liters of water that went into its production, plus untold dollars in energy and transportation used to get it to our plates. Not to mention all the methane it produces once in a landfill. Let's leave that to the cows.

This isn't a guilt trip, though. Leftovers are tasty. In just two pages of her book, Newgent describes how to turn pizza into an omelet, cooked vegetables into hummus, steak into canap├ęs, cooked rice into a better burger, turkey into tacos and salad with dressing into "pesto."

Earth Day in your restaurant

There is much that a restaurant can do to help the sustainability of the Earth. Menu's can highlight simple plant based items. Processes can maximize the use of recycled products. Design can maximize energy reduction processes.

Creating a viable business with an Earth sustainability focus requires new methods because the old way is not working. Every day your competitors are looking for ways to accomplish that very task. Are you going to let them succeed without your own effort? Protein based menus will not disappear however they need to be integrated with offerings that reduce impact on the planet.

The future is taking shape as PRnewswire explains

Vegetarianism is the most sustainable way of eating and being. Vegetarian food has a lighter ecological footprint, reduced resource impacts, and lower carbon emissions than non-vegetarian equivalents. Our goal is to provide consumers with the quantifiable and measurable benefits of each delicious vegetarian alternative they choose at Otarian, and thus, empower them to make a positive impact on the environment one meal at a time," said Mrs. Oswal, a lifelong vegetarian and committed environmentalist.

"We are very pleased to have Otarian participate, alongside 70 organizations from around the world as a road tester of our new Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard," said Pankaj Bhaita, Director of GHG Protocol at WRI. "By participating as a road tester, Otarian will provide some interesting insight into the application of supply chain tools within the food sector, which may ultimately affect the food choices consumers make in the future."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuning to the visual signals of your customers

Jonah Lehrer shares a recent study about what we repeatedly do.

The results were straightforward: Navy SEALS are exceptionally good at detecting angry faces. While the soldiers were slower than control subjects at processing happy or scared expressions, the elite troops excelled at seeing those feelings associated with threats and risk. Furthermore, they showed a slightly more potent response in the insula, a brain area associated with the detection of bodily/interoceptive feelings, such as a racing pulse or clammy hands.

In business every day the entrepreneur actually becomes attuned to the faces in crowd. The entrepreneur becomes nuanced in recognizing problems with the enterprise. This all occurs at the subconscious level of course so your are not consciously aware that you are doing this but you are.

Volcanic disruptions.

A volcano erupted in a remote North Atlantic island and disrupted business throughout the world and especially Europe. With no warning a black swan appears and totally disrupts for a day, week or a month how you do business. Could you survive such an event?

Businesses need disaster plans in place to deal with the unforeseen. Yes, you are muddling through the Great Recession and you deal with disasters every day, however part of the responsibility of an entrepreneur is to be prepared for a volcanic eruption. Good Luck!

What is your name again?

Helen Coster shares tips to help remember a persons name,

Benjamin Levy, author of Remember Every Name Every Time, advocates the FACE method: "focus, ask, comment and employ." Focus: Lock in on the person's face. Ask: Inquire which version he prefers ("Is it Ted or Theodore?"). Comment: Say something about the name and cross-reference it in your head ("My college roommate's name was Ted.") Employ: Put the name to use--"Nice seeing you, Ted"--to drive it home.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ipad is so last week

Technology Review introduces us to the projected multitouch screen which is the next step.

This interactive projector transforms any flat surface into a multitouch screen. When a person's fingers touch the display, infrared sensors detect the motion and allow the same kinds of interactions that are possible on, say, an iPhone.

Raise the energy level in your enterprise.

Rule #1. Smile

Rule #2 Refer to Rule #1

There is only one way to raise the energy level in your business. Walk around, make eye contact and smile at EVERYONE you meet. Everyone be they customer, employee or vendor.

Hiring for growth

Mark Jaffe has a simple rule of thumb do identify future leaders


I was taught the Cardinal Rule of Search: “A” players hire “A” players - and “B” players hire “C” players. It made sense in theory. Until you watch it in action, though, the implications are murky at best.

Then I saw it happen once, twice, a dozen times. The hiring managers that my firm worked with would pass on the candidate who showed superstar potential and go with the predictable, boring choice. Low voltage, low risk, low return. Only a special breed of manager had the vision and the self-confidence to hire people potentially smarter and more talented than him or herself, and while those hires sometimes failed (like humans sometimes do), the dividends on the ones who succeeded were often spectacular.

Remember “Ozymandias” from high school, the poem by Shelley? If you’ve been in the corporate world more than 15 minutes, you know exactly how those “vast and trunkless legs of stone” block the road to progress. Enlightened, high-octane leaders capitalize on the innate talents and passions of individuals — including their own — rather than endlessly guarding “the lone and level sands.”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Showtime can happen anytime, are you ready?

Everyone gets opportunities to step up to the plate, however what often happens is that people are not ready for their moment in the sun. They spend the rest of their lives looking for another chance at bat that never comes. Businesses also suffer the same fate when Critical Mass visits and finds the enterprise lacking.

Emily Bennington describes what she terms "red light moments".

According to the SSA, if you take 100 men and women at the start of their working careers and follow them for 40 years to retirement age, here’s what you’ll find:

54 will be broke
36 will be dead
5 will continue to work because they can’t afford to retire
4 will be financially independent
1 will be wealthy

So a quick review of the numbers will tell you that only 5% of the population becomes economically successful – and a mere 1% become rock stars.

My guess is that “rock stars” (i.e. the best of the best) are those who don’t shy away from their red light moments. On the contrary, they embrace them. They do the hard work on the back end that makes everything we see on the front end look easy.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

on-boarding

When did hiring, training and assimilating new employee's become on-boarding. Did I miss the memo or something?

Cilantro, love it or hate it

Harold McGee explains our passion about cilantro

Dr. Gottfried turned out to be a former cilantrophobe who could speak from personal experience. He said that the great cilantro split probably reflects the primal importance of smell and taste to survival, and the brain’s constant updating of its database of experiences.

The senses of smell and taste evolved to evoke strong emotions, he explained, because they were critical to finding food and mates and avoiding poisons and predators. When we taste a food, the brain searches its memory to find a pattern from past experience that the flavor belongs to. Then it uses that pattern to create a perception of flavor, including an evaluation of its desirability.

If the flavor doesn’t fit a familiar food experience, and instead fits into a pattern that involves chemical cleaning agents and dirt, or crawly insects, then the brain highlights the mismatch and the potential threat to our safety. We react strongly and throw the offending ingredient on the floor where it belongs.

“When your brain detects a potential threat, it narrows your attention,” Dr. Gottfried told me in a telephone conversation. “You don’t need to know that a dangerous food has a hint of asparagus and sorrel to it. You just get it away from your mouth.”

But he explained that every new experience causes the brain to update and enlarge its set of patterns, and this can lead to a shift in how we perceive a food.

“I didn’t like cilantro to begin with,” he said. “But I love food, and I ate all kinds of things, and I kept encountering it. My brain must have developed new patterns for cilantro flavor from those experiences, which included pleasure from the other flavors and the sharing with friends and family. That’s how people in cilantro-eating countries experience it every day.”

Digital menu's

Long ago in a galaxy far far away one of the most vexing problems for restaurateurs was placing menu on paper. Everyone remembers the helpful people at the print shop, the continual rewrites, the spell checking, the formatting, the paper quality, the billions of trees that have been sacrificed and finally the absurd cost of the thing.

The world is changing quickly. First, elegant computer word processors made in house menu production realistic. Now the world is moving away from paper toward digital, be it ipad'sque displays or roll up nanotubes displays. Clearly the future involves a display at each table which will provide menu items, recommendations, wine pairings, advertise upcoming events and interact with the customer at a personal level. It will know that you like cranberry juice with water. The display will replace the server unless the server adds value. Because the multimedia interaction is ongoing, the perceived wait times will shrink further enhancing the dining experience. Heck it will even be possible to track your order as it is being processed.

The rim provides instant feedback

"I have set my life upon a cast and I will stand the hazard of the die" Richard III

Matt Schmoldt has an interesting post about the rim and letting go.

The rim lets me know how I am doing. I love having it’s instant feed back. The loud clang of the rim challenges me to become better, and the soft swish of the net rewards me.

But today, I realized that the rim’s instant feed back is unnecessary.

I realized that I already knew if the shot was off course even before it hits the rim. I know by how I feel during the shot. I know if it is too short, or sailing wide left, and I know if the shot is perfectly on track.

I realized that I was concentrating on the result and not on how I felt during the shot. I was fixed on making my next shot (the destination of the ball), but not on how I should feel during the shot (the journey).

When I let go of my fixation on making shots and instead focused on how I felt during the shots, an amazing thing happened. I made way more shots.


Western thought is focused on the final particle, the end game, the rim. Eastern thought is focused on the process, the flow, the shot. One begins with the process, how to hold the ball, how to elevate, how to release, and finally how to follow through. Once the basic's have been mastered, one shoots at the basket and the rim provides the instant feedback.

In business, one develops a concept, a menu, a delivery system and finally brings in all the units of production necessary to open the door. The marketplace (rim) provides instant feedback. As in shooting a basketball the only factors you control is the process (shot). You have no control over the outcome. A business can setup perfectly, elevate majestically, release flawlessly, follow through elegantly and still the rim can render a harsh and frustrating verdict. Let it go!

The feedback of the rim is one shot, not the game. The game is affected by the various shots. The outcome however is the non linear sum of different variables. One can make every shot one attempts, master the rim and still not succeed in the game. Let it go!

Would you like a little salt with that?

hat tip: Chart porn

Do not confuse contact with building brand loyalty.

"Do not speak unless you can improve the silence" Proverb

Entrepreneurs will interpret any contact as a sign that there social media strategy of engaging the customer is working. This leads to a false sense of security. Contact in of itself is not a successful strategy. Useful contact is. The contact must enrich the life of the customer to be relevant.

The next time you reach out and touch your customer, make sure it improves on the silence.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The potato faminie recovery.

Good news, retail sales are up. Bad news people are using the funds saved from defaulting on their mortgage to pay for stuff. Why should the bankers get all money?

What about the pizza box?

SciAm.com reports that,

Sporting goods maker Puma will launch eco-friendly packaging for its sneakers next year to reduce its carbon footprint, beating governments to the punch as it kisses old-fashion shoe boxes good-bye.

How long before the pizza box along with all other foodservice packaging is changed?

Reality Mapping

This is getting interesting, maybe it is time to turn off the cellphone. First Foursquare lets you connect with your friends and now Christopher Mims explains the next step;

Skyhook Wireless's pool of anonymized location data, gathered from cell phones that have used its services over the past 24 months, shows user behavior in every major city in North America, for every hour of every day of the week at a resolution of 100 meters. This is enabled by the 300 million check-ins received daily from every iPhone, iPad, Snow Leopard-powered laptop, as well as Dell devices and a growing number of Android-powered smart phones.

Several other companies are using similar technologies to map human activity across time and space--an activity first referred to as "reality mining." However, no other company has made available a comparable amount of data to independent developers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The return of the dormant consumer culture

Damien Hoffman shares his view on the demise of the consumer.

... in the United States of America, consuming things is a powerful part of our culture. Our drive to consume is so overwhelming, we even mistake existential freedom with the much smaller idea of freedom to buy and consume whatever we want whenever we want it.

...Here’s my prediction: the millisecond hiring picks up, paychecks will be traded for more songs on iTunes, sweeter cars, larger houses, fresher clothes, etc. It’s not that we don’t want to retire. It’s that we want it all. That’s what we’ve been told all along. We are Americans. We can have it all. And no matter how many people disprove the theory, there’s a new generation waiting to express their freedom to try.


Clearly the American consumer has taken several massive body blows, however I agree with Damien completely. Consumerism is in our blood, the pent up demand is staggering.

Restaurant registry

Are you not tired of pots, linens, ties and socks? When you pick out a gift make it one you can really sink your teeth into.

Check out the Foodie registry!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pollen pods and champions.

In 999,999 out of 1,000,000 occasions when a floating pollen pod deflects a rolling golf ball between you and the cup on a green in an international golf event, you're toast. This singular event would have taken on mythic proportions if it had affected the final result. However because the person striking the ball was the eventual champion, the event is but an amusing antidote.

The finger of instability did not create the avalanche of disaster that such events portend.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Business divergence as sport.

Watch any sporting event and you willed be stunned by the level of competition and the massive divergence in the reward system. A baseball game turns on a single pitch out of 250 pitches in a game. A college basketball championship hangs in the balance as the ball dances on the rim. A golf ball finds the cup as it traverses a green and a championed is crowned. The second place finisher though gallant and steadfast falls inches, seconds or hundredth of point short.

The divergence in the reward between first and everything else in sport is staggering. Yet in business we make the assumption that if what we do is almost as good as our competitor, we will succeed financially. If we make a great effort and we come up a little short, that is okay! No it is not. Winning demands every fiber of preparation, execution and follow through. Success in business requires skill, hustle, heart and yes by the way luck. The rewards for anything but first are pretty skimpy.

Confidence

That which does not destroy you, makes you stronger! Nietzsche

The Great Depression and the Great Recession have at their core identical causes. The demand is not present because the marketplace has no confidence in the continued existence of the economic order. The lack of confidence is a horrible self perpetuating disease who has wrought devastation on humankind for eons.

The only cure for lack of confidence is positive results. Then and only then will the feelings of euphoria return to help an economy or an individual move forward. The entire economic theory of having government pick up the slack in demand from the private sector is to minimize the death spiral created by the lack of confidence.

Sadly there is no magic mathematical equation to correctly determine the amount of stimulus needed to recharge an economic order drained of confidence. The ebb and flow of human misery however is unending and this economic cycle will turn decidedly positive. Until then remember, "when you are going through hell, keep on going, you might get out before the devil knows you're there"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The end of restaurant counter help.

Earlier I posit that servers because of their lack of serving are doing a great job justifying the elimination of their job category. Now let us tackle the counter help at most QSR. We are so close to having kiosks that will take the order the way we want it and deliver it to a pick up station. The basic concept is a specialized vending machine. Minimize the human contact as much as possible because humans are doing very little to justify their presence in the restaurant order process.

The end of restaurant servers?

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Great Recession is how it has impacted the mix of restaurants with servers and without. The evidence is pretty impressive that customers want high quality food that they have to essentially get themselves as opposed to having a server bring it to the table.

Does that say that customers prefer no service, of course not. The implication is that the servers are not providing any value to the dining experience and that is why customers do not want to pay for it. Servers are not entitled to 15-20% because they are there physically there, rather they need to add value. They have not and if they choose to continue the process they will succeed in obsoleting themselves.

The sum of previous actions.

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them. Orison Swett Marden

A simple action, inflection, comment or gesture escalates into a massive business problem and no one can explain why. All business are beset with seemly innocuous events that have organizational survival implications at times.

The why is analogous to road rage. The unexplained reaction to another driver's careless driving maneuver. It is not the action itself that creates the issue, rather it is the fingers of instability that the action finds itself upon. If the self organizing critically is right, road rages erupts into a deadly confrontation. If the critically is not present the event is forgotten quickly and goes unnoticed into the dust pin of history.

Likewise a dropping of plate during an evening rush could occur and be forgotten or it could escalate into a event closes the business. It is not the event, rather it is the sum of the previous events that have occurred in the lives of all the participants that is the finger of instability.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

1000 nays and one yea

Seth's post about the magic of yes.

Avoiding the thing that's easy to survive keeps you from encountering the very thing you're after.

And yet we market and work and connect and create as if just one failure might be the end of us.

It is hard, very hard to keep going after the 999th nay, however the path is laid out in front of you.
It is you who must walk it.

The great challenge of managers

‘”Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid.” Albert Einstein.


Einstein lays out the problem and the solution very nicely. Organizations typically ignored the message and seek to fill slots with individuals they believe are compatible with the task. In far too many instances the individual fails to accomplish the task because their talents are not being directed in the most fruitful manner. The challenge of a manager is to harness an individual’s talent into performance that benefits the organization.


Playing the turnaround game

Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work." Kanter's Law


The most difficult part of struggle is not seeing the big picture. Carol Trice explains how private equity firms have jumped on struggling chains in search of huge profits.

When brand-name restaurant chains are losing money, private-equity firms begin to salivate. The down economy has laid a feast for these acquisition players, which have bid recently on eateries from upscale to pizza take-and-bake chains. If the acquisition price is right and investors can improve performance at these eateries, investors could reap big profits reselling when the economy turns and restaurant sales improve.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who is in your vicinity?

Allison Perlik explains Foursquare,

•It lets you identify some of your best customers.

•It reminds people that you're around-and nearby.

•It spurs friendly competition

•It takes word-of-mouth marketing to a new level.

•It promotes what your customers think you do best.

•It reaches a broader market than you think.

A reduction of complexity

Clay Shirky offers a primer on the collapse of the old model.


Among the rules of thumb she offers for building in that environment is this: “If you want something to be 10 times cheaper, take out 90% of the materials.”


When a going concern tells you they can not do something, what they are really saying is

we don’t know how to do that.

...


A world where that is the kind of thing that just happens from time to time is a world where complexity is neither an absolute requirement nor an automatic advantage.

When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

The resilent nature of good design!

Are you feeling down there bunky? Well look no further than design. Good Design has rejuvenating properties. Good design can resurrect an old icon, create interest, drive traffic and most important of all, drive transactions.

When things aren't working, change them. Put on a new suit of clothes, paint the place in a different color and add new furniture. Design is indistinguishable from magic.