Disruption, Comfort Zones and Dying

Disruption, Comfort Zones and Dying

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Let’s talk about disruption. Newspapers and magazines always felt that when the Internet came around they could continue to survive on print editions. Wrong. Journalism lives, but the printed word on paper continues to decline as more and more periodicals move to an online-only approach. Trickle down? I wouldn’t be buying stock in press, ink and newsprint companies. Local movie rental companies felt that people would still want to go to the store, even when online streaming and movies by mail started out. In April, Washington D.C.’s last video store closed their doors. We’re always going to want to burn our pictures and music to CDs. The recordable media industry is going to grow. How many different MP3 players and cloud photo systems are available now? Nothing can beat going to the local book store to buy the latest hardcover. eBooks now make up 30% of all book sales. The number of independent book stores has halved in the last 20 years, and less than 10% of all books sold are done through the remaining ones.  Barnes & Noble is closing 20 stores a year. The US has the best manufacturing capabilities in the world so there’s no worry about a decline in job availability. Wrong. (Although we are starting to see the return of some jobs to the US due to the rising “cost of doing business” in other countries). Travel agents. Insurance agents. Bank tellers. Taxi drivers. Photo finishers. News stands. In the last 20 years there has been mass disruption of individual jobs and entire industries as people move towards wanting self-service...
It’s Time to STOP

It’s Time to STOP

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet This post is going to be short and simple. One of the most overused quotes on the Internet – maybe in general – is by Albert Einstein. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There’s a reason it’s overused. It’s because people still constantly do the same thing and expect different results. Here’s my response. “Duh.” There’s another quote. “Fail fast.” I’m not sure who said it first, so I’ll leave it unattributed. My response? “Bravo” And herein lies the problem. People are resistant to change and are usually afraid to pull the plug on something that’s failing. They’ll keep doing it and they’ll expect it to start working at some point. They’ll pump time and money into it without thinking about how that time and money could be better spent. That leads me to my next quote. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Now, I don’t fully believe in this one. For example, how do you quantify creativity? But it’s right – so right – on many levels. If you can’t quantify something, it’s near impossible to know whether it’s working. So let me create a new quote that, perhaps, brings all of this together. “If you don’t define success, you’ll never know if you have it. The same goes for failure.” When was the last time you took an “outside looking in” view of everything your company does? How about the ways that you do things? Sales, marketing, websites and social media. Customer service, product and service delivery and support. Human resources, management and...
Sustainable futures: Innovation vs. Cost-Cutting

Sustainable futures: Innovation vs. Cost-Cutting

Be Sociable, Share! TweetAlbert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Why is it that so many businesses today are strictly focused on cost cutting as opposed to internal innovation?  Please note that I say “strictly” – I do believe that fiscal conservatism is very important. I understand that cost cutting is needed in today’s economy but, as you cut costs, you’re also reducing your ability to market, sell, engage, deliver and improve results.  A population that does not produce any new members eventually dies. So it is with business. There are several numbers that drive profitability – revenues, cost of goods sold and SG&A (sales, general and administrative expenses) for example.  Much of the focus in today’s economy has been to reduce the expense of delivering a good or service – whether that’s in the manufacturing or delivery aspect, or in the back office support component. Yes, these cuts reduce what gets subtracted from your revenue, resulting in an increase in EBITDA and profitability, but they do not lead to sustainable growth.  At the end of any recession, cost cutting alone will cripple a company.  Innovators will be accelerating their growth and leaving cost cutters to catch up.  Reducing costs to the point at which you can still effectively engage with your customer, keep your employees happy and also innovate is more cost “right sizing” than cutting. You can keep reducing your costs – every year, every month, every week and every day.  You can keep doing the same thing over and over again, and...
Changing market? Change solutions.

Changing market? Change solutions.

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 IBM was the market leader in technology throughout the years with their market status really only declining in the 1990’s.  If IBM still only focused on selling mainframes, would they still be in existence today?  While IBM excelled at the concept of utility computing throughout the years – installing fully accessorized systems with lots of CPUs, memory, disk and other hardware but only activating what customers paid for – they failed to quickly adjust to the trend of distributed computing in the early 1990s.  This could have been the end of the company, but through strong leadership and strategy they have been able to “return to power” as a highly respected consultative organization. IDC announced today that year to year growth of cloud computing will be over 20% – growing from $21.5B to $72.9B by 2015.  What does this mean for traditional integration companies that focus on delivering data centers, infrastructure, security solutions, communications and other on-premise solutions?  That $50B of additional spending on cloud computing has to come from someplace. When the revenues are flowing into your organization it’s tough to think about investing in the “next big thing” – but this is when it’s most critical to invest into a strategic analysis of where the market is going.  By positioning yourself today for tomorrow’s business needs, you position yourself as a market leader as the market evolves. Eventually you become known for your focus on advanced and emerging technologies – especially if you understand how to assist...
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