Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is Everyone Just Sitting Around?

A local company said that with their business levels so low, everyone was just sitting around. What I saw was under-utilized human capital. I suggested that to get business ticking again, they should put these people to use to connect to customers and discover un-met or under-served needs. Also, I suggested that they study their competitors and look to employ those best practices in their own business. I suggested that EVERYONE shop both the competition and themselves and experience first hand customer service and sales. By getting out of their own jobs, breaking through those silos and immersing themselves into the customer experience, they'll uncover better ways to do business, better offers and more sales. Plus now while business is slower, they'll have the time to put their changes into effect and perhaps even test a couple of improved approaches.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Have You Seen Your Twitter Report Card?

If you have a Twitter account, then you take a minute to check your grade. You might be surprised by what you find. TWITTER.grader.com uses a proprietary algorithm to score and rank Twitter accounts on six weighted factors, compliments of Hubspot. It's quick and fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jump curves (or am I late to the party again?)

Something that Guy Kawasaki has been espousing for a long time (since 2006 I think) is that innovating is harder than just staying a little bit ahead of competitors on the same curve. "If you're a daisy-wheel printer company, the goal is not to introduce Helvetica in another point size. The goal is to jump to laser printer."

That's easier in some businesses than others. Kawasaki noted how in the days before refrigeration, the ice industry consisted of ice harvesters in cold climates using horses, sleighs and saws to collect ice outdoors during winter months. Ten million pounds of ice were shipped in 1900 that way. Then came "Ice 2.0" -- factories that could freeze ice anywhere and an ice man who would deliver it to establishments and homes. Finally came "Ice 3.0": home refrigerators.

Of course, none of the ice harvesters got into the ice factory business, and none of the factories got into the refrigerator business. That's because "most organizations define themselves in terms of what they do," Guy notes, "instead of thinking - what benefit do we provide the customer?"

Guy suggests that true innovation comes when you jump curves, not when you duke it out for 10%. Good advice I think. Here's a nice cut of Guy's popular "Art of Innovation" presentation from Cisco Live 2009 that makes it possible to enjoy all of his key points in eight minutes.