Thursday, May 27, 2010

The last 11%

I am riffing off of yet another Seth Godin posting, but the point I want to make is slightly different.

All the spectacular is located in the last 11%. (I use 11% over 10 since a 90 is usually still an A!)

Doing something fine - that's B work. B work is good work. So much of what we experience is so dismal, that B looks pretty good.

But to knock your customers out - you need to do A work. And A work is not just a percentage better, it is logarithmically better.

An A employee is logarithmically better than a B employee
An A product is logarithmically better than a B product

You want your business to be in a place where price is not a problem - you got to have an A product...and A people.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Handling or Managing

Next time you are speaking with someone about something that needs to get done - listen to you use "handling" as in "I'm handling that!" or "who's handling this?"

If you always describe what you do as handling you are too going to be constantly disappointed.

Entrepreneurs often bemoan the fact that none of their employees handle things like (they would have done so). Duh!

Handling, fixing and removing problems is of course something that has to be done on occasion, but if it is your management style, your organization will act fitfully and never take on its own responsibility for what happens.

Try to create and sustain processes and an environment where the employees can individually take on what happens as their own. That is managing.

Stop handling; start managing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Semester over!

Turned in final grades for the Retailing Management class I taught at OSU this semester. The students did fine; I picked up some nice ideas to help our retailing clients.

Reflecting on the class, there is a sense of completion from a class that you do not normally have in business - the class ends, you get a grade, you sell the textbook back. At work, even if you are on a specific project, it seems there is always more which happens even after the deadline. Often, the deadline shifts, and you track onto the new one.

Given the level of exhaustion that you feel at the end of a semester's worth of work, I wonder if 16 weeks is about as long as someone can keep sustained effort on a given project? When working on a software application with release time lines stretching over a year, it is hard to stay focused.

Any way, I have a couple posts lined up and ready to get back at it! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Whose Value, whose Company

While reading a blog post on what Microsoft can learn from the iPad, I was struck by the following point - "The way Wall Street works is fairly simple — albeit, not always reasonable or fair. What drives stock prices forward are new endeavors. Stock prices rise when investors predict fantastic growth ahead."

Microsoft has had a great rollout with Windows 7 and Wall Street says, "meh". Apple has an iPad and everyone is excited (even Wall Street).

Likewise in a startup, your valuation is not based on where you are now, but where you will be in the future. If prospective funders seem to hold your company in low value - it may be that they do not understand your market, or they may not understand your product, etc. It could just as well be that they very well understand, and that is why they have valued you as they did.