Ingenuity vs. Inefficiency: A Tale from Tianjin

by Michael Fertik  |

The 2010 Annual Meeting of New Champions, or “Summer Davos,” just wrapped up in Tianjin. An exceptional event. But perhaps the most interesting insight I gathered on the state of business in China today came from trying to get a local SIM card to make calls back to the U.S. I’ve changed names to protect the innocent, but otherwise this is what happened. I’ve never seen such intelligent, collaborative hustle leaning against such a jumble of byzantine rules.

I ask David, a front desk manager at my hotel, where I can get a SIM card. He tells me Sam from the concierge desk can go get one for me. I hand Sam a few hundred RMB, and he jets off.

A few minutes later, David calls me in my room and says that he forgot that you need to bring your passport to get a SIM card. So I go downstairs to meet Sam, and we walk the five blocks over to the China Mobile office together. It’s about 4:30 when we get there.

The office, about the size of a trailer, has travel posters on the walls and a long, unmanned glass case filled with manga characters that double as USB drives and cell phone accessories that have been gathering dust since Nokia was on top of the world. At the far end, two uniformed women with elaborate neckties wait for business. Sheila is sitting under a sign that says “Billing Area;” Rose beneath a sign that says “Cashier Area.”

Sam, by the way, is a Chinese version of Christopher Walken at 25 years old. He’s angular, with a light step, and he talks like Walken, both in English and in Chinese. That means his cadence is a pitter-patter of speeding up and slowing down, outbursts and outbeats. He exclaims “Yes!” when it doesn’t make sense, but he does it so effusively that you make the meaning work in your head because you don’t want the appeal of his presentation to fall flat.

Let me see if I can reconstruct what happened next. It was all in Chinese, so I can’t be sure of everything. But Sam explained a few key passages for me, and the visible events were universal enough, so I think I can be a pretty good reporter on what unfolded. Seguir leyendo “Ingenuity vs. Inefficiency: A Tale from Tianjin”

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Dish on Integrated Solutions for Reaching Customers across Online Landscape

by David Berkowitz

Mitch Spolan, VP of North American Field Sales & Advertising Agencies, Yahoo

There’s display, content and search. What if we leveraged all the screen space, told a story, and made an emotional connection? The idea’s not far from Tim Armstrong’s point that only 18% of online space is used for content. In this case, the content is mostly referring to advertising. He showed a compelling example with Chevy showing a major spike in brand recall and Yahoo! Buzz with an immersive takeover of Yahoo’s login screen.

Carolyn Everson, CVP, Global Ad Sales & Strategy, Microsoft

Their DNA is to be a partnership company. Then consumers started making their own IT decisions. With that revolution, Microsoft is reinventing how it approaches advertising and the marketplace. Microsoft is 3 different companies: a technology company, a marketer (spending $2 billion a year), and an advertising company. Its focus is now on innovating with marketers

Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, US Sales, Google

Google discussed the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) – a moment before consumers ever encounter a product on a shelf, something before what Procter & Gamble called the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) where consumers have that initial experience. Google can target consumers where they are and where they’ve been. The concept is integration at a concentrated, pre-planned effort. Read more about ZMOT on Google’s CPG blog. Seguir leyendo “Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Dish on Integrated Solutions for Reaching Customers across Online Landscape”

Book Review and Innovation Summary – “Predictable Success”

by Braden Kelley

Book Review and Innovation Summary - "Predictable Success"A few weeks ago I received “Predictable Success” by Les McKeown in the mail. “Predictable Success” is an approachable 194 pages, and is an easy, and pleasant read.

Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, and has 25 years of global business experience, including starting 42 companies in his own right, and as the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that launched hundreds of businesses worldwide.

“Predictable Success” is a book focused on helping people understand the natural evolution of businesses and why some succeed and some fail. The book hinges on a simple, illustrative framework that makes the case that business success is not something to be achieved, but instead something to be maintained. You don’t arrive at business success and stay successful, but instead continually fight to maintain the delicate balance between too much policy and process, and too little.

Les McKeown asserts that there are seven different descriptors that any successful business can take on at any one time. The key here is ’successful’ business.

  • Early Struggle
  • Fun
  • Whitewater
  • Predictable Success
  • Treadmill
  • The Big Rut
  • Death Rattle

Predictable Success Seguir leyendo “Book Review and Innovation Summary – “Predictable Success””

Stop Comparing Yourself with Steve Jobs | Dan Pallotta

Comparing yourself with Steve Jobs is not healthy. Never mind that it’s probably the pastime of every alpha male and female businessperson on the planet these days.

Drawing inspiration from Steve Jobs — or from anyone else you admire — studying them, and learning from them, now those are different matters. But all too often we conflate admiration and comparison. They’re two completely different things. One is smart, the other debilitating.

Comparison sounds like this: “Why aren’t I that creative?” “How come I don’t have the negotiating cajones he does?” “How come I can’t manage my people to that level of excellence?” “Why can’t I run two companies at once like he does?” “Why didn’t I have the guts to drop out of college and do what I really wanted to do?” “How come I haven’t had a comeback?” And it’s no surprise what comes next: “What a loser I am. I’ll never be like him. I’ll never be able to do anything that big. If I were sitting across the office from him he’d make mincemeat of me. I just don’t have what he has.”

The loop is repeated every hour or every time you read something about your icon, whichever comes first.

And this is healthy how?

Such comparisons spiral you into depression. They demotivate you, demoralize you, and generally suck every last bit of enthusiasm and aliveness out of you, so that you go into your next meeting or activity unable to contribute an ounce of energy to the room. How could you? You just annihilated your spirit.

Don’t touch hot stoves, don’t forget to call your mother on Mother’s Day, and don’t compare yourself with others. Wire this into your brain. Ruthlessly comparing yourself with others has become confused with some kind of tough-love work ethic. It isn’t the same thing. And it isn’t the least bit productive. It leaves you with nothing but personal unhappiness, and you can’t create very much of anything with that.

Because we confuse destructive comparisons with a strong work ethic, we make a habit of them, and mental habits get hardwired into our brains.

Break the cycle. Do an intervention on yourself. Begin the process of permanently rewiring your brain by consciously recognizing that this thing you thought was good, or responsible, is in fact the opposite.

There’s a saying, “You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought.” It’s true. And comparing yourself to others is the equivalent of smothering yourself in negative thought. The feelings of self-loathing that follow are ultimately self-centered and self-indulgent in the most negative possible way. Yes, it’s a form of self-pity.

And if all that isn’t enough, consider this: The last way you will ever get to play in a game remotely like the one your icons play in is by comparing yourself with them.

When I was in my 20s I moved to Los Angeles to try and get a record deal as a singer and songwriter. I compared myself with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell constantly. Using that approach, I never produced a remotely memorable song. And then I started observing pop/rock songwriter John Cougar. He was derided by the critics for being derivative of, but never nearly as insightful or affecting as, the greats. In a brilliant stroke of authenticity, he dropped the name I assume record producers had forced on him and began using his real name — John Mellencamp. As he embraced his own inadequacies, he began to write about things that were actually real and personal to him, instead of trying to channel Bob Seeger, and suddenly he was producing critically acclaimed music. He went on to found Farm Aid and in 2008 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Using Mellencamp as my model — which meant being true to me and not someone else — I began writing much better, much more authentic material, and even had a song recorded by Edgar Winter. Seguir leyendo “Stop Comparing Yourself with Steve Jobs”

Best Buy: Notebooks Aren’t Dead

Ben Parr | //

Is the notebook going the way of the dinosaur? Not a chance, says Best Buy.

Earlier today, a report made the rounds, depicting the decline of notebook sales since the launch of Apple’s wildly popular iPad tablet. According to the report, U.S. retail notebook unit growth rose by 70% in December 2009 while it actually shrank by 4% in August 2010.

The story gained further traction after Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn was cited in a report from The Wall Street Journal. In the story, he told the Journal that “internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs, especially netbooks, by as much as 50%.” Seguir leyendo “Best Buy: Notebooks Aren’t Dead”

Flash vs. HTML5: Adobe Weighs In

Christina Warren//

Flash HTML5 ImageMuch has been written about the next wave of web technologies, namely HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. A big part of this conversation has surrounded the impact that these new technologies will have on older technologies like Adobe’s Flash.

We’ve written a lot abut the HTML5 vs. Flash “war,” primarily in the context of Flash’s use in mobile and Flash as a video wrapper. I personally have taken the position that at least when it comes to mobile devices, Flash is at a disadvantage in terms of its abilities and capabilities when compared to newer technologies that can better harness hardware and software optimizations.

Adobe, understandably, has a different position. It believes that Flash and HTML5 can exist side-by-side and that each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. I had a chance to talk to Paul Gubbay, Adobe’s VP of design and web engineering, about HTML5, Flash, the emerging mobile landscape and how Adobe fits into this new world.

The world of technology moves really, really quickly. To give you an idea of just how fast things can move, when I started working on this piece last month, Apple was still anti-Flash as an IDE for iOS development and Adobe’s set of HTML5 authoring tools was limited to Dreamweaver.

In the last week and a half, Apple has updated its developer guidelines and Adobe has issued an HTML5 add-on pack for Illustrator CS5.

I point out these recent changes because it indicates just how fast this industry is moving and that speed, inevitably, can impact the choices that designers, developers and end-users end up making. Seguir leyendo “Flash vs. HTML5: Adobe Weighs In”

Marc Bresseel: “el medio ya no es el mensaje, ahora es lo que menos importa”


Navegar en un escenario de consumidores caóticos. Eso es lo que tienen que aprender las marcas según Marc Bresseel, vicepresidente global de agencias de Microsoft Advertising. Durante su ponencia en la Dmexco, Bresseel hizo hincapié en que son los consumidores los que están liderando la revolución tecnológica.

“Los jóvenes prácticamente ya no ven televisión, ahora consumen los contenidos on-demand“, asegura Bresseel, aportando cifras que hablan por sí mismas. “El 36% del tráfico en internet en EEUU consume periódicos online. Este consumo ya no se hace por ordenadores, el 14% de los estadounidenses no accede a internet desde un PC en sus casas, sino desde el móvil. Para el 70% de los jóvenes entre 16 y 25, el móvil es el medio más importante”. Seguir leyendo “Marc Bresseel: “el medio ya no es el mensaje, ahora es lo que menos importa””




Ty Montague and Richard Schatzberger explain the importance of brand storytelling as they launch their innovative house of brand solutions

The doors of brand studio Co: are open for business. Co-founders Ty Montague, Richard Schatzberger, Rosemarie Ryan and Neil Parker boast diverse talents and expertise across advertising (Montague is former CCO and co-president of JWT, North America, where he worked with Ryan, also co-president) and strategy (Parker has served as an innovator at IBM‘s corporate strategy group and global head of strategy at Wolff Olins while Schatzberger has worked in interaction design and product innovation at Mortorola and as director of creative technology at BBH.

Contagious caught up with Ty Montague and Richard Schatzberger to hear about their aims and plans. Seguir leyendo “CO: / ADVERTISING COLLECTIVE LAUNCHES”

NFL Buzz: Coors Leads Light Beer Category

Many of the top-selling beer brands have been losing sales volume, as recession-stricken consumers have cut back their alcohol consumption or sought out cheaper brews. But that hasn’t stopped leading brands form launching new ads this NFL season. In fact, Miller Lite, Coors Lite and Bud Light have all moved up in buzz score with men over 21, per market research firm YouGov.

The Brandweek BrandIndex Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral. This week’s report also measures consumer willingness to recommend a brand.

YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals.

The report spotlights:

•    Beer brands
•    Nissan
•    Quaker Oats

Beer Brands Eye NFL Fans
The 2010-2011 NFL season has kicked off with an onslaught of new beer advertising.

In several major cities, MillerCoors has been tinkering with its product longevity by offering a new $20 draft beer box that keeps the product fresh for about 30 days. Both Miller Lite and Coors Lite are served in 1.5-gallon Home Draft boxes.

Leading up to kick off time, Coors Lite has improved the most, jumping from 36.7 at the beginning of August, leapfrogging the other two brands, and ending up at its current score of 53. Bud Light spent most of August in the low to mid 30s but then took off just before Labor Day, hitting 45.9 in time for the first game. Miller Lite hit a peak around Labor Day at 51.1 and has since drifted down slightly.

Seguir leyendo “NFL Buzz: Coors Leads Light Beer Category”

Los siete hábitos de la gente eficiente

Cover of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effectiv...


En el libro que tituló “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, stephen Covey presenta un método para aumentar eficiencia a través de principios de conducta para un comportamiento ético que presenta como universal y atemporal.

Los 7 hábitos

• Ser proactivo
• Comenzar con un fin en mente
• Poner lo primero, primero
Los tres siguientes tienen que ver con la interdependencia
• Pensar en tèrminos de ganar/ganar
• Buscar primero comprender y luego ser comprendido
• Sinergizar
El último hábito se relaciona con el auto rejuvenecimiento;
• Afilar el cuchillo.

Como dice el título del libro, Covey describe los siete hábitos de la gente muy eficiente y da técnicas para adoptarlos. Dice que un individuo debe hacer un cambio de paradigma antes de incorporar esos hábitos a su vida personal. Un paradigma, según lo presenta aquí el autor, es la forma en que un individuo percibe algo. Si queremos introducir un cambio en nuestras vidas, dice, deberíamos enfocarnos primero en nuestras actitudes y conductas.

Los tres primeros hábitos hablan de autodominio. Llevan a un individuo de la dependencia de otros a la independencia. Los hábitos 4, 5 y 6 tratan de trabajo en equipo, cooperación y comunicación. Esos hábitos procuran llevar a una persona de la dependencia a la independencia a la interdependencia. Interdependencia significa simplemente dependencia mutua. El hábito 7 abarca todos los otros hábitos para ayudar al individuo a trabajar hacia la mejora continua. Seguir leyendo “Los siete hábitos de la gente eficiente”

Steve Radcliffe: ejercitar los músculos del liderazgo


Steve Radcliffe es un famoso coach de líderes en Gran Bretaña. El modelo de liderazgo que popularizó en dos tomos lleva por título “Future, Engage, Deliver”. Más abajo, sus ideas centrales condensadas de una entrevista.

En 2009 Radcliffe publicó dos libros: Leadership Pure and Simple (Financial Times Prentice Hall) y “How to Make a Bigger Difference by Leading at Work and at Home”. El primero salió a la venta en las principales librerías del reino. El segundo, en cambio, fue distribuido a organizaciones del sector público al precio de sólo £5.

Des Dearlove conversó con él sobre sus ideas en liderazgo. Seguir leyendo “Steve Radcliffe: ejercitar los músculos del liderazgo”

Destrucción creadora o cómo la Web salvará al planeta

¿Internet acabará con la civilización tal como se la conoce, o bien ofrece herramientas para mejorarla, o hace ambas cosas al mismo tiempo. Esta batalla retórica genera una serie de libros que aparece en vísperas de la segunda década del siglo XXI.

Por una parte, surgen apocalípticos como Nicholas Carr y Jaron Lanier, que advierten sobre el peligro de que todos se transformen en esclavos de la máquina, como los habitantes de Metrópolis (Fritz Lang, 1926). Por la otra, autores como Clay Shirky creen que, en la era de las redes, todo aquel que tenga una conexión a Internet contribuye al bienestar general.

Donald Tapscott y Anthony Willliams no dejan lugar a dudas. En 2006, su texto Wikinomics (“Wikinomía) predijo el mismo tipo de cooperación masiva por la Red que también caracteriza al sistema operativo abierto Linux. Particularmente, su capacidad de modificar el ámbito de los negocios.

“Si eso suena ambicioso –señala el Financial Times, apóstol del cambio-, su nuevo libro, MacroWikinomics, les permite extrapolar cuanto se le ocurra y desarrollar un análisis por demás complejo. Salud, educación, energías limpias, transportes, medios, gobiernos… nada imposible de encarar si bastantes personas compatibles entre sí se conectan y comparten ideas, proyectos, etc., en la Web.
Seguir leyendo “Destrucción creadora o cómo la Web salvará al planeta”

Busting Your Performance Bottlenecks at Work

Busting Your Performance Bottlenecks at Work

As a boss, I sometimes have to listen to a member of my team explain why something went horribly wrong. As as a business owner, I also have to ease the concerns of clients who have been burned by vendors in the past. And as a human being, I hate being on the hot seat myself. Worrying about things that could go wrong on a project can seize your brain. Just as Steven Covey counsels professionals to get task lists out of their heads and on paper, I’m finding my head has more room for creativity if I know that I’ve got a “Plan B” for any situation.

Project managers and engineers call this technique “eliminating single points of failure.” Simply put, if your routine or your process relies too heavily on one particular tool, technology, or person, something as simple as a rogue squirrel can ruin your week. (I’ll explain that in a bit.) Before you think I’m obsessed with failure, let me show you seven ways I’ve eliminated the single points of failure that become performance bottlenecks in my work routines, along with some strategies I coach my teams to use when we’re working together. Seguir leyendo “Busting Your Performance Bottlenecks at Work”

10 Insights: A First Look at The New Intelligent Enterprise Survey

By Michael S. Hopkins, Steve LaValle and Fred Balboni

How do you win with data? SMR surveyed global executives about turning the data deluge and analytics into competitive advantage. Here’s an early snapshot of how managers are answering the most important question organizations face.

Last May, at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium main-stage discussion on “Emerging Stronger from the Downturn,” one panelist listened with a growing private smile as his fellow speakers described example after example of how technology-driven information and analytics applications were transforming their companies. The stories were of data and analysis being used to understand customers, parse trends, distribute decision making, manage risk; they foretold of organizations being reinvented and management practice being rethought. They told of change, basically. A lot of it. Driven by ever-emerging technology and the new things it could do.

That was the point at which the panelist, a multinational industrial COO, turned to the audience and unofficially summarized, “So, the lesson: If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

He’s right. Change is here. Failure to adapt means irrelevance. Time and progress march on, but at a Moore’s law pace instead of a clock’s. Seguir leyendo “10 Insights: A First Look at The New Intelligent Enterprise Survey”

Making sense of crowdsourced data

Claudia Moore |

Is it true? Do I understand it? Is it data I can apply to perform better, right now?

Turns out crowdsourcing has a lot in common with information governance.

This week at a beautiful desert oasis in New Mexico, Chaordix participated on IBM’s Data Governance Council Forum to work on strengthening and modernizing the Maturity Model that sets out best practices for information governance that distinguish leading organizations. Among an elite of IT, governance and finance professionals for some of the world’s largest organizations in health, banking, utility sector and the US Army, I began feeling an outsider to the scope and scale of information management challenges that these organizations face.

But when asked what they wanted to talk about, it turned out their top 3 interests were the same as top concerns enterprises have about data that is…crowdsourced! Seguir leyendo “Making sense of crowdsourced data”