Archive for the 'Technology Industry' Category

The rule of Five ( Or Six)

The rule of Five ( Or Six). While chatting with a young entrepreneur I remembered something my son told me. As a software guy he had made the comparison between how  software packages ( Adobe and  Microsoft for example) worked and how vertical businesses worked. Once he learned the  basic five (or six) rules of the Adobe environment, it became easier to learn individual Adobe products . The same was true for  Microsoft products like Office. Of course the rules for Adobe were not always reflected in the rules for Microsoft.

He took the same view with him as he built businesses in various separate verticals like gaming, music, on line services and food . Once he learned the basic industry rules for success, it became easier for him to pick a business, measure his success and head off potential issues.   Eg. In food he said , a bakery faces having to throw out 30-60% of its fresh stock at the end of every day.  So it makes sense to also have products with a longer shelf life, eg add a patisserie, or a chocolate based business with a bakery since chocolate has a much longer shelf life.

For entrepreneurs I always ask them what are the rules of the vertical that they are working in?  How do successful companies smooth out the normal ups and downs in their business cycle?

Eg Lululemon founders learned the retail business through successfully operating Westbeach.  By cannily creating/nurturing a distinct vertical , yogawear ( or athleisure) , they built up momentum ( and a loyal following).  By using and driving fashion trends they were able to build a commanding market position.

On the other hand for Recon Instruments  rules cut both ways.  They could not create a commanding position through failing to understand early enough how eyewear/goggles was mostly a fashion industry, which their manufacturing partners relied on for annual sales growth.  Faced with growing  returns of unsold product  Recon had to pivot its business model.  This eventually lead to the successful technology sale to Intel.  But this involved a lot of hard work.

So what are the rules of success for your vertical?

The Store. The store is always watching. James Patterson & Richard DeLallo

The Store. James Patterson & Richard DeLallo. 2017. ISBN 0316395455. What if “Amazon” was not just a retailer , but became so much more in our lives?  Well “The Store” is that and more in a not so distant future.  A family decides to go undercover in a store managed town to discover the full story.  If you have a slightly dystopian view of the future, seasoned with conspiracy theories then you will really love or fear this book. A nice easy read yet it is pretty close to what could be truth if we get really lazy!

Rethinking the Internet of Things. A scalable approach to connecting everything. Francis daCosta

Rethinking the Internet of Things. A scalable approach to connecting everything. Francis daCosta. 2013. ISBN 978043025740053999.  This book won the 2014 Jolt award. It is available as a free download from Springer.    A proposed architecture of the Internet of things based on the sheer numbers of the sensors that are and will be available being not suited to a traditional TCP/IPv6 architecture. The author sees a tiered collection approach. Sensors  ( some to many ) that “chirp” connect to collectors  ( usually one way) to propagator nodes (with IPv6)  to and then on to integrator/analyzer functions.  Its a fascinating read that makes some good arguments for this type of architecture.  Does this match with the growing push for the Iot to be a bottom up, open architecture that is not tied to any vendor cw proprietary  technologies remains to be seen.

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger.

English: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Fac...

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger. 2017.  The author is a Zuckerberg fanboy – but as he lays it out in this book,  there are good reasons for it.  This book has reaffirmed to me why I retain my original Facebook shares.  The author clearly shows as an insider who understands how technology business grows why Facebook should stay on a tear.  Clearly written as well.

Mapping Innovation. A playbook for navigating a disruptive age. Greg Satell ,

disruptive Innovation am Beispiel Wechseldaten...

Mapping Innovation. A playbook for navigating a disruptive age. Greg Satell. 2017.  ISBN 9781259862250.  A delight to read that covers much of the innovative initiatives in recent history.  The final gem is the Innovation Playbook outline.   The writer takes his years of experience in IBM and other enterprises and marries it with current   You can easily marry this material with Lean working, Rockefeller Habits and other “quick ” business plan proponents  ( i.e. Gazelles etc)  and find out where much of these ideas came from.   I recommend it private and public organizations who wish to be better at supporting Innovation.   Its the truth and nothing but the truth.  Buy this when it comes out.

One Perfect Pitch. How to sell your idea, your product, your business and yourself. Marie Perruchet.

Silicon Valley

One Perfect Pitch. How to sell your idea, your product, your business and yourself. Marie Perruchet. 2016. ISBN  9780071837590. The author was a french journalist who ended up in Silicon Valley helping entrepreneurs at 500 Startups make better pitches. She knew that the key to success was to create stories that did the job, quickly and clearly. ( Can you see why I like to read books by journalists?) After years of this  she created her company , OnePerfectPitch and wrote this book.  It is a one stop read for how to tell the story you need to tell to an audience that is likely attention deficit.  I found it immediately useful and it continued that utility all through the book.  Good compelling read that is easy to digest and use. If you speak to more than a  few people in your life, you need this book.

How to Bullet Proof Your LinkedIn Profile. 10 security issues to avoid. Patrick X. Gallagher

Nederlands: Linked In icon

How to Bullet Proof Your LinkedIn Profile. 10 security issues to avoid. Patrick X. Gallagher. 2017.  A short but excellent ebook on something I should have been considering.   If you follow his guides, you will have gone a long way toward bumping up your LinkedIn security.  His piece on how to tell that the profile asking to connect is fake is a real gem.  If you use LinkedIn this is  a must read.

Illuminate. Nancy Duarte & Patti Sanchez

Twelve (Patti Smith album)

Illuminate. Nancy Duarte & Patti Sanchez. 2016. ISBN 9781101980163.   The sub head says,  Ignite change through speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols.   This is a book for change agents, almost a blueprint for change.   Liberally sprinkled with recognizable examples the text is logically organized.  The impetus for the book was a serious reorg that Duarte had to undergo when her business really took off.  Likened to changing jet engines in mid air, Duarte carried it off.  This is a book that you need t read end to end.

Confessions of a Pricing Man. How price affects everything. Hermann Simon

World map showing countries by nominal GDP per...

Confessions of a Pricing Man. How price affects everything. Hermann Simon. 2015. ISBN 9783319203997.  I follow pricing literature quite closely.  Each book has its value, but many times it can drop rather quickly into the weeds of economic theory.  This author is not afraid of complexity, but her does know how to create value for the reader.   Pricing discipline for profit does drive everything and it is always wiser to maintain profit over volume.  The analyses he presents with the multiple real world examples ( and you will likely recognize most of them)  builds a very readable book in a genre that too often is not known for readability.   Again I am struck by the contrast between firms understanding  that they need to deliver value to a customer to stabilize/grow their profits, yet in North  America it is all about commission sales based on volume, not profits.   Every CEO, CFO and Sales manager should read this book.

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan.

Photo I took in Rochester, Minnesota 2005-12-3...

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice.  Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan. .2016. ISBN  9780062435637.   As ever any book from Christensen is a delight to read. This one fleshes out the concept of a Job to Be Done as the driving force behind successful innovation.  Many successful and  innovative companies start out with a clear focus on the users job to be done and they are wildly successful. Later as this focus gets muddied by all the reams of data coming from the marketplace, many companies lose their way.   Using experience gained from the numerous companies they  have worked with over the years, the authors clearly show how the successful companies like Amazon, Intuit, The Khan Academy ,  The Mayo Clinic and others continue to stay focused on their North Star.  I recommend this book to anyone in a position of leadership to read, ponder , reread and implement.