Currently Reading

  • The E Myth RevisitedThe E Myth Revisited
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition IrrelevantBlue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant
  • The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the WorldThe Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
  • Networks, Video and Entrepreneurship

    Networks: Kevin Kelly wrote a book called New Rules for a New Economy in 1998. He has reprinted them as a series of blog posts and they are more relevant today than when they were first published.  A recent post talks about the mathematics of networks.  Don’t be scared.  The math is not difficult but the results are critical to our understanding of social networking.

    Video: If you ever get the chance to see Seth Godin in person, do so.  If you can’t find the opportunity or want to see what I mean, check out this video from 3 years ago.

    Entrepreneurship: Raman Chadha, from DePaul’s Coleman Center for Entrepreneurship writes a great article on venture funding.  I have long had the same kind of thoughts on entrepreneurship and whether angel or venture funding is right for even a small percentage of start-up ventures.

    Marketing, Technology & Talent

    Marketing: Seth Godin today talks about a pet peeve of mine.  I too, was that rational marketer, back in the day who couldn’t figure out why someone wouldn’t buy from me.  We had the best service, we were competitively priced, we had the most competent staff… Seth urges us to figure out a way to meet the irrational client where she is, rather than continue to foist our advantages at her which isn’t going to work.

    Technology: Finally, another pet peeve squashed.  Consensus within the cell phone marketplace.  The manufacturers and carriers have agreed on a single cell phone charger standard.

    Talent: I posted about talent and the need for repetition to create “talent” last week.  Kevin Kelly has reviewed a book called Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.  While there were a lot of interesting excerpts, the one that caught my eye talked about an art professor who graded some students on quantity and others on quality.  Guess which group created the highest quality pots?

    Philanthropy, Brand Execution, Security and Distributed Systems

    Philanthropy: Trendwatching.com writes about Generation G, the generation not of Greed (see Gordon Gekko of Wall Street fame), but of Giving.  In these troubled economic times, it is interesting to see that the generation coming of age now seems to be more interested in the G for giving.
    Just this week, a group I am affiliated with held a fundraising breakfast.  This year’s total amount pledged was 40% more than last year and the official I spoke with said that she is seeing this trend at many of the breakfasts she hosts.
    Lastly, my favorite Generation G story relates to Adam Carter. Adam is the son of a good friend of mine.  Adam spends about 7 months each year providing funds and manual labor on humanitarian missions in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia as a part of a group called 100 Friends.  The other 5 months of the year, Adam earns his traveling money as a beer vendor at Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field.  He maintains a blog with his current exploits (including a video about his visit to Senegal).

    Marketing: Brand Execution. I have a friend who likes to say “It’s all about me.” In her case, it usually is :). But when it comes to your business, it can’t be all about you.  It has to be about the business.  Jeff Leitner has brought this point together with a short riff on American Idol.

    I don’t know if you watch American Idol, but every now and then the judges ask the kids why they chose to sing a particular song.
    And the kids ALWAYS say it’s because the song means a lot to them.
    And, of course, that’s the wrong move.
    Sing a song that best shows off your vocals – whether you’ve got a big voice, small voice, high range, low range, big range, whether you can do runs or are particularly good or bad at expressing the lyrics.
    I see the same dynamic in business all the time.
    Business owners choose locations, hire people, design logos and launch products because they like those locations, people, logos and products. That’s fine that they have taste, but they should leave the taste at home. Choose locations, people, logos and products that will make you successful in your business.

    If you have thought through your business and made the vision tight, you can’t afford to bring in extraneous items just because you like them.  If your concept is a classic French bistro, you can’t hang Chicago Cubs paraphernalia from the walls, just because you are a die-hard Cubs fan. You can bleed Cubbie blue in the comfort of your home.  But unless you are opening a sports bar in Wrigleyville, the Cubs stuff needs to stay at home.   Utrillo prints, maybe. In a dark corner.

    Entrepreneurship: On Tuesday, I posted about the Open Source Challenge that Mark Cuban had started. Today, Seth Godin talked about it and helps provide future entrepreneurs with some ideas to get started.

    Security: Bruce Schneier pointed me to this article on Facebook security. Note than on that page, there is a link to a free Facebook security e-book to pass along to others.

    Big Picture: In a post earlier this week, I pointed to a discussion with Amory Lovins where he posited that electric generators will soon be microsized and distributed into a giant web. Kevin Kelly has also broached the same general topic in his article “The Surest Way to Smartness is through Massive Dumbness”.
    The future of business is distributed systems. Look at Google. Google could not serve its customers with mainframe systems; they use an extraordinary number of cheap, custom processors. Kevin Kelly’s article highlighted a most basic industry – cement delivery – and how distributed systems (computers, GPS, authority) created a competitive advantage for one company. How can you take advantage of this trend in your business?