Think Different about corporate architecture.

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Link to Mac Observer page with related description.

At a near crisis point in real estate valuations and retail space vacancies- at least in my trips around our RTP- and at a time where companies induce employees to work from home to save costs (this too has a cost, mainly team-building more than productivity loss), Apple again defies the wisdom of the time by planning an elegant, expensive and confidence inspiring approach to corporate building design. The construction of this building will improve the neighborhood where Jobs and Apple grew up; strengthen the community of employees by bringing them all together in one location; and set a standard of business architectural statement akin to what Apple did to reshape the notion of a retail store (where one learns by engagement more than where one shops for boxes).

As well described by Simon Sinek’s book on leadership, Jobs and Apple are absolutely clear on Why this new headquarters building is required and the purpose that it will fulfill. Gifts of free community wi-fi not required.

The Economist 2010 Award for Innovation: be like Steve

Monday, October 11th, 2010

economist innovation

Economist citation here. What can be the results of such innovation? Microsoft announces new mobile phone platform today and stock goes nearly nowhere, remaining around $24.62. Today, Apple stock rises $2.83 to $296.91 achieving new, all-time high. Imitation is indeed a high, and seemingly profitable, form of flattery.

Where is the mobile phone app race presently?
Daily Downloads in millions:
Apple – 20
Android – 5
Nokia – 2.3
RIM- 1.5

Mobile Device Operating Systems, market share in %
Symbian (Nokia) – 40
Blackberry (RIM) – 18
Android- 16
Apple – 15
Microsoft – 7
Others- 4

Apple has 15% market share and greater than 2x the number of apps sold as all of their competitors combined!

As other firms cut costs, buy back stock and hoard cash, Apple pursues its own path of innovation. Their stock is up nearly $60 since the iPad’s introduction in April of this year. Seems to me that the mantra of the enterprise should be “how might we be like Apple?”

‘With access to the same people, the same technologies and the same funding sources, why are they consistently so innovative?’ might be a question that every CEO would strive to answer in our economic doldrums.

Steve Jobs The Econ

Golden Circle of Inspiring Action: from TED 2009

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

“Goal is not to do business with people who need what you have but to do business with people who believe what you believe.” “I have a dream, not I have a plan.”

You tell ‘em, brother.

US Military Academy Leadership Breakfast Series

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Flattered to be invited as the inaugural speaker for the USMA’s RTP Chapter Leadership Breakfast Program. Next month’s discussion will be led by Duke’s Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, followed in autumn by General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General John Moellering, Chairman USAA. Sometimes it pays to be the first over the side.

Web 2.0 Tools & Techniques
– Web 1.0 was about Presence & Publication
– Web 2.0 is about Participation moving from millions of customers & dozens of markets to millions of markets comprising dozens of customers
– Knowledge is no longer power as Everybody knows. How can each of us and each of our organizations become facilitators of everyone knowing.
– the delivery device will be a mobile device / smart phone, especially for the evolving customer demographic

Financial recovery will follow-up sequence of: Restoring Liquidity (via debt); Re-capitalization; increased Merger & Acquisition activity; focus on Customer. Customer retention will be paramount and customers will have many, many options.

For project funding, product or service will have to fulfill one of several categories: 1) record time to cost-recovery or ROI, usually less than 9 months; 2) facilitates Transformation of the fundamental business model whether people, process or technologies; 3) enable the enterprise to be more Innovative. Innovation does not have to be large and radical, could be incremental and small so long as it provides competitive advantage.

Reviewed recent IBM Global Services study Toward Transparency and Sustainability (email me for copy: Recommend 18 May 09 New Yorker article which overviews financial crisis. Entitled: Death of Kings.

Photo is view from breakfast meeting. Not exactly the home office view.

Web 2.0 & summer: 1 day off, 2 ships, 3 thirds

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Memorial Day weekend, like July 4th, means more to me each year as my sons near enrollment in our adult world.

After 5 weeks of Web 2.0 presentations with clients from 3 continents, the nature of these discussions are in a third chapter: ‘We’ve tried a few related projects and want to pick up the pace (aka make investments) where it makes sense.’ Seventeen months ago, chapter 1, clients wanted to know ‘if this Web 2.0 is for real.’ During News Corp’s acquisition of Dow Jones in mid-07, creating a sibling for MySpace, chapter 2 centered on ‘how should we get started?’

As you might expect, enterprise executives are more interested in Web 2.0 as it might enable collaboration to capture the organization’s knowledge and to inspire innovation amongst employees, customers and partners than they are in the tools of Web 2.0 – blogs, podcasts etc, although low-end, low-cost video is compelling.  The thinking is something like, ‘If Wikipedia gets it done with 8 full-time employees, why can’t we do a little better with a lot larger staff?!’

As we talk about the next generation of Internet-savvy employees and customers, I emphasize that regardless which Web 2.0 tools or principles take hold, there will remain the need for two ships: leadership and scholarship.  My eighteen-year-old once suggested to me, “Don’t just yell at me, show me!” which I interpret to be a useful model for both Web 2.0 marketing and management.

My favorite leadership story in tribute to those we honor on Monday:  20+ years ago at a start-up software company, we interviewed a just-graduated engineer from NC State for a technical sales position. He offered capability and charm, but no measurable, related experience – a recipe for rejection. At lunch, one manager noted that the candidate had been fraternity president and asked what management lesson from that experience might be applied to developing our software business?

He replied in an even tone that in such an unorganized, chaotic environment where he had no real authority, he observed that “the mission of the top 1/3 was to keep the middle 1/3 from being like the bottom 1/3.”  Ten seconds of silence ensued; then our General Manager asked him how soon he could start.

Welcome to summer! There’s lots to look forward to.

Microsoft & Yahoo, Giants & New England, Obama & McCain

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras in my hometown of New Orleans.  On this day convention defers to imagination.  And plenty of conventional wisdom has stepped aside already this year: in sports, the seemingly unstoppable mastery of Roger Federer and that of the Patriots ended in startling fashion; in the presidential campaign, Obama seems to have surged into a dead-heat with Hillary; and John McCain, counted-out in October, is now the odds-on favorite for his party’s nomination.

So what is the wisdom of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo and how might we benefit from this gamble as they try to prevent Google from doing to them what they did to AOL (America on Line).

– AOL’s model was to capture the customer in the AOL-only experience.  No need to ever leave the world of AOL, whether you wanted to or not.  Monthly fee revenue model.

– Yahoo trumped this model by providing a portal where Yahoo aggregated content developed by others around the Internet.  ‘No need to leave, we’ll bring it to you.’  Banner ad & pop-up revenue model.

– Google trumped Yahoo by using their search engine to take visitors all over the Internet where Google would keep track of their searches and visits to deliver related advertising.  Advertisers, not visitors, pay Google.

Let’s imagine what this merger might imply for our organizations aside from the reminder of the recent, sour history of such mega-merger attempts: e.g. HP & Compaq, AOL & Time Warner, Chrysler & Daimler.

The Internet’s emerging technologies and uses are evolving rapidly to being about:

Innovation not Integration by connecting like-minded people regardless of location or employer.  This is a design point for our systems and services.

Information not Application by connecting those who need to know with the content that they require.

Mobility and Advertising on the mobile device.  Remember AOL and its garden wall approach?  This is what the iPhone is doing to the garden walls of the Telecom companies.  Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft spent $10b here in 2007.

As Tuesday’s Rex parade circles Canal Street, the costumed crowd will shout the conventional “throw me something, mister!” Let’s imagine what other opportunities are in store for them.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!  Christopher Perrien