Archives For Business
For those who share my 2017 focus on Emerging Markets, Early Stage Ventures, and enhancing Business Development skills, I am posting the educational resources I’m consuming this year to keep sharpening the productivity axe. So far, I recommend them all as noted. With more time, I’ll append links to these but for now, I hope that you find them a helpful list.
For those who don’t share those interests… never mind.
“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” – Gandhi
Blockmatics “The Business of Blockchains” – An in-person Blockchain business course that is like drinking from the fire hoseContinue Reading...
The purpose of this post is to explain in simple terms why cryptocurrencies are not a currency, not an asset, not a store of value, and not an investment. With apologies to the guys from the film Swingers, cryptocurrencies are (so) money.
What is Money?
Money was invented to be a physical (and now digital) representation of productive energy. Whether it is the energy from sun, soil, water and toil used to grow an ear of corn, or the labor and resources expended in painting your house, the energy spent practicing and performing music, or getting your CPA so that you can attest to a client’s properly reported financial statements, it’s all derived from energy and it all has a dynamic value when measured in terms of money. Blockchain miners might agree with that run-on sentence. Is there a difference between currency and money? With regard to cryptocurrencies, that may be the crux of the problem.Continue Reading...
I feel that in 2016 we find ourselves on the precipice of so many major technology-driven transformations that it was impossible for someone like myself not to be overly self-indulgent in better understanding the many trends and their driving forces. If you appreciate the magnitude of what’s coming, you’ll understand I chose the term ‘precipice’ for good reason. Life in 10 to 20 years will be quite different than it is now. Though it may seem to some in 2025 0r 2035 that the evolution was gradual, the impact will probably be lumpy to many.
As has been the case with previous tech driven change, there will be positive and negative impacts, but I believe that the impacts will be felt more soundly by wide swaths of the population than in prior times. Imagine what life will be like the day after cancer is cured. Imagine how many drivers will lose their profession once self-driving vehicles become the norm. Imagine how good you will feel when a high performance pill is taken that has been personalized to your genetic makeup. Imagine the financial markets when the world turns to the bitcoin currency standard. Imagine the perfect prime rib steak being grown in a lab without the collateral damage of bovine methane that contributes to global warming. Imagine the townspeople arriving with their pitchforks as described by Nick Hanauer if economic disparity is left to grow unmanaged. Imagine being able to solve almost any problem perfectly by buying some cheap AI over the web. Then imagine the person who you used to pay to solve that problem wondering what they are going to do for income and how they will pay off the loans on their PHD.Continue Reading...
After the light bulb flashes an epiphany about a new product, service, or solution the next step for me is invariably a stream of consciousness document that captures ideas as they enter my consciousness.
These are normally led by the beauty of the business model and why it would work in today’s economy. There are various frameworks that I rely upon,Continue Reading...
Two years ago, on December 3, 2012 I published a post that posited the world’s true innovations are only possible due to inspiration. I recommended that folks who want to become (tech) innovators can actually generate inspiration by practicing and sharing the arts, communing with nature, and yes, taking hot showers. Below is the case of an artist, who had a grand vision of creating intricate music to follow up where some of history’s most notable musicians left off, and how his inspiration was “unblocked” by an experience with nature. The case is about the founder of Electric Light Orchestra, Mr. Jeff Lynne. It is a reminder to aspiring innovators that sometimes it is critical to remove your thoughts from your work, in order to do make the grand leaps resulting in your best work.
Quoting From Wikipedia:
In a BBC Radio interview, Lynne talked about writing “Mr. Blue Sky” after locking himself away in a Swiss chalet and attempting to write ELO’s follow-up to A New World Record:
“ It was dark and misty for 2 weeks, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote Mr. Blue Sky and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks.” ”
Branding: Dell Commercial Promotes IQ Development (Inspiration Quotient)
On December 3rd of last year, I published a post proposing that we all have an Inspiration Quotient (IQ to the nth power). Innovation maps do not normally mention inspiration because of its perceived ethereal nature – how do you “get inspiration” when you need it? The POV posited that we all possess the ability to develop our inspiration quotient by practicing the Arts and sharing our works. Why is this important? Breakthrough Innovation is not possible without Inspiration.
Dell’s very recent Young & Rubicam Group commercial seen in the linked YouTube video, very artfully encapsulates one passage from that post, excerpted below the video. Dell has long associated its brand with the term inspiration, and I find the “Meet Thomas: Creator of an Alternate Universe” commercial very appropriate for that purpose, engaging, and timely in a seasonal sense with Easter nearing. The imagery used is beyond what is normally seen in a commercial, and my guess is that the creators were equally inspired by JK Rowling’s personal experience, as I mentioned in my post, as well as her Harry Potter books. The fact that they spotlight a non-descript District Manager named Thomas, who could be anyone, furthers the proposal I make in my post that we all have inspiration within us, and practicing the Arts will help us access it.
EXCERPT from 12/3/2013 EdRodPOV Post :
Ringo’s latest tweet on August 29, 2012 stated,
“I never studied anything, really. I didn’t study the drums. I joined bands and made all the mistakes onstage.” – @RingoStarrMusic
… Take it from Ringo, you don’t need to be good at art, you just need to try, enjoy the trying and put it out there. Think of producing your art in terms of introducing the minimal viable product as described by Eric Ries and Steve Blank. Make it a priority to keep sending it out there, along with healthy eating, exercise, etc.
Some people will never break through the inspiration wall. Life has not dealt them either the capacity to sit still and think about nothing (as in meditation), or the freedom from life’s extreme stresses for a walk, even for a few minutes a day, as required to exercise the inspiration muscle. These are the people that should think most about practicing some form(s) of art and forcefully adapting it into their week because they should not completely ignore their humanity. (Any wonder why they call art ‘The Humanities’?) For instance, if you sit on the bus or subway everyday, bring a sketchpad or tablet and start drawing – it’s that easy. Relax, you don’t have to be good, you don’t have to be efficient, effective, or produce results. It’s in the doing that you allow the inspiration to take over. This is arguably more important to your jobs than those dozens of daily news emails that will be forgotten tomorrow. It will refresh your morning work re-entry by reducing stress and open the window to inspiration. If you can give away the sketches, make a friend and do so right there, when you reach the station every day. Frame them, sell them, or post them to a blog. You need the reward of sharing to motivate you to make a habit out of something that can be thought of by many as a time waster.
Soundcloud posts testimonials from its artists on its Soundcloud tour page. There you’ll see comments like “responses to my work have been so encouraging I honestly believe it has directly impacted my productivity.” Sharing produces a self-reinforcing link. You take showers, right? Sing in the shower every day, and sing it loud. Critics will come, and others will appreciate at least the effort, and that’s life. One day when you get off that train and get to your desk, you’ll capture a eureka moment that your colleagues will regard as genius. You can’t have genius without inspiration. Someone like JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was able to use her stress as a motivator. She used art as an escape from the stress of being a single Mom and allowed it to drive her into a deep part of her mind, harvesting a brilliant talent. She practiced her art on the train every day for years, and allowed the inspiration to flow. She’s worth a billion dollars now. How big is your company? What’s your net worth?
End of EXCERPT –
I encourage anyone who is thinking about innovation, to read the entire POV post to understand the links between practicing and sharing the Arts, developing Inspiration, and achieving Breakthrough Innovation.
Branding: Dodge Dart New Rules Campaign Mainstreams Strategic Shifts
Dodge’s “New Rules” marketing campaign manifests the shift from strategic planning committees and waterfall product development to the “Ready-Fire-Aim-Repeat” agile product development that was the topic of my last full post :
The Dodge Dart introduction is clearly aimed at a 20-something target market segment who are expecting empowerment to make product decisions on the fly, trade off a high tolerance for failure for iterative speed to market, and fit a budget of under $16 thousand. In addition to the New Rules for how to build a car, there is a follow-on New Rules commercial for how to buy a car where a gift registry is created and the buyer’s friends and family can donate parts of the car – essentially crowd funding the car. Given the complexity and risks of designing and manufacturing a new car, the fact that a major automobile manufacturer has mainstreamed these new approaches in its marketing is in itself a telling illustration of the pervasiveness of the high-level shift from planning to doing.
Regardless of the success of this product introduction, or to what extent these product development methods were actually implemented in the design and manufacture of the car (I have not researched it), it is also telling that established industry is in some way placing newer, nimble competition on notice that they are reacting to a growing threat of disruption being felt in many vertical markets. It would be interesting to learn to what extent the halo effect of this type of product branding might help Dodge recruit more like-minded employees this year. Here’s the first commercial:
If #CrowdFunding becomes the new #seed funding, then will #Angel funding become the new A Round?
- Advocates push SEC to propose crowd funding rules (banklesstimes.com)
- Socially-Conscious Crowd Funding Sites – Crowdrise Allows Users to Donate Funds For Those in Need (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Star Citizen tops $8 million in crowd-funding (massively.joystiq.com)
- Sequoia Makes It Official, Filing for “Scout Seed” Fund (pehub.com)
- Seed Funding Overload To Leave 1,000 ‘Orphaned’ Startups (forbes.com)
Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face – Mike Tyson
One of the tweets I received in January declared 2013 is “The Year of Doing”. I am just coming around to fully appreciating what that means. We are in the midst of a trend of epic proportions toward execution over deliberation. This shift is very evident in strategic planning, project development, and capital investment. As someone who has presided over many strategic planning processes, I am not sure I completely buy into this, but the trend is unmistakeable.
Traditionally, you could think of management as the planners, the doers, and the counters. The lines have blurred over time, but the planners’ specialty was targeting the hogs, while we all know the doers brought in the bacon. Until the recent past, in order for a venture capitalist or corporate leader to invest in an initiative, you had to build a pretty bulletproof, strategic business case. It was expected that you would have done significant expansive research, pushed all of that data through a number of trusted strategic frameworks, come up with a shortlist of alternatives, and used logic and communication skills to prove the optimal business case to achieve corporate goals. That understates a managed strategic planning effort that took months to create, enlisted diverse opinions, and required more months to diligence and gain approvals prior to any implementation.
Little to none of that strategic planning process appears to matter anymore. As the eminent thought leaders at the failed WebVan would attest*, regardless of your strategic planning proficiency, only hindsight is 20-20.Continue Reading...
The Computerworld article by Darlene Storm (link above) is worthwhile reading. The article profiles the Spring 2013 introduction of RFID bracelets for visitors to Disney’s theme parks, under their “MagicBand” branding. I have never visited Disney, but have read they also fingerprint visitors, so are not averse to using biometrics to identify their patrons. In a sense, using ID bracelets to track your activity, enable purchasing, provide hotel room access, shuttle you through lines, and build up valuable preference marketing databases is less intrusive than biometrics. There are a number of services tied into these identifying bracelets, including social friending, and of course the consumer’s information is stored in the back end, not the bracelet. So this SoLoMo experience qualifies for the 2013 Hotel California scenario I outlined in a post late last year. It is equally interesting to read the reader reactions in the comments on other blog posts on this topic. The most popular comments in terms of likes are skewed to privacy concerns and negative reactions to Disney’s marketing machine. Of course, one cannot ascribe any statistical validity to those who feel so strongly about issues as to comment on blog posts since those who see nothing wrong with it may not feel a need to post.
For full disclosure, I was instrumental in introducing a people tracking solution using a bracelet/watch like device for LoJack SafetyNet. However, this tracking is only done if a person with a pre-diagnosed risk of wandering due to something like Autism or Alzheimers is lost. It’s a great solution that has provided peace of mind to caregivers, helped rescue many people and helped optimize public safety resources. If you have a loved one in that situation, I highly recommend you visit their site.
I think Disney’s bracelets must use a combination of NFC for purchases and ticketing authentication, possibly pairing low energy bluetooth or other rfid with nearby sensors for tracking throughout the park. I assume Cinderella will have an earpiece telling her who you are and if its your birthday, etc., but am unsure if a human is needed on the other end to communicate that info or if it will be computer generated speech from a database. I am wondering how they minimize the lag time between identifying a visitor either approaching a character like Cinderella or shaking the character’s hand to informing her about the patron so it all seems natural and “magical”. Using a method like Google Glass combined with facial recognition would not work in this case because it would detract from the dramatic experience of seeing your favorite personalities in character. It’s one thing seeing Sergey Brin wearing Glass, but it would be another to see Cinderella wearing it – at least for now. I guess Pluto could have the glasses within the costume head, but security details might be a more appropriate use.
While this wireless identification bracelet system is being introduced in a controlled park environment, the obvious next question becomes, “To what extend will something like this be rolled out using your handset / watch / glasses / other wearable device to your local mall or Rodeo Drive / 5th Avenue type shopping area in the future?” What about using it in ballparks, football stadiums and concerts? These venues can follow Disney’s lead byContinue Reading...
Dear RIM Blackberry : You are not in the smartphone market any more than horse drawn carriage makers were in the carriage market. They were in the personal transportation market, and you are in the Personal Communications Market. (Nokia and Microsoft take note.) See another Canadian, Wayne Gretzky, for proper strategy on skating to where the puck is going to be.
3/20/13 Post Script: This is promising! Lazaridiz invests in Quantum Computing as the next big thing.