Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BlackBerry 10 Sentiment

BlackBerry 10 launched today

There has been lots written about it so not for me to share anything new.  Lots of apps, lightning fast surfing etc.  The device looks like a winner - but will it be?

I think the next 90 days will tell.   I often see products that sell lots in the first few week - this is normal early adopter.  Then the sales either grow exponentially or fizzle.  Largely depending on how well the market accepts the product.

I think RIM is either a $4 stock or a $100 stock and much of it depends on how BB10 does.

One of the companies Canrock Ventures has invested in in General Sentiment - a company that reads all of the internet - blogs, tweets, news, web pages every day and determines if people are saying good or bad things about a product or company.

They are doing a Daily BB10 Report so active investors can see what the public is really saying.

It will be interesting.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Turning the Pyramid Upside Down

I have been in Toronto/Guelph/Waterloo where there is snow and a touch of cold weather.  There is also some cool in Long Island finally.  I love it and think it is healthy.  Kills the germs and the bugs - or at least that is what I think.


I read a leadership book by Marilyn D. Jacobson. Turning the Pyramid Upside Down.

It is a book about leadership.  The gist of it is - the most important person is at what is normally the bottom of the org chart.

It talks about leaders inspiring people:

“How would you like to be lead?” The most overwhelming responses were more autonomy, empowerment, support, access to viable resources, opportunities to collaborate on projects, and the ability to fully use their skills.

When organizations are flatter and synchronicity is achieved, pyramids and hierarchies will be history."

The gist of this is - old fashioned command an control no longer work. 

 I have seen this in action.   As a (partially) reformed micromanager, I have learned how inspiring it is for people to have autonomy.  As I ran a larger company, I had to constantly tell myself - coach on culture but let others make decisions.  Especially where they were competent to do so.

I developed a relationship with Mitchell Martin - President of SYNNEX Canada over time, where I trusted him to do a great job and tried to stay out of his way.  And it worked.   One of my mentors once said "what is the point in having good people if you do not let them do your job".

The upside down pyramid is particularly important in customer facing organizations.

It is a good read for any leader.


 I was interviewed by Nadar Mahmoudi from Coldad for his blog.


And of course the one and only Josh.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Marketing Testing

Yes, I mean marketing testing- not market testing.  How do you know the best way to spend marketing money?

In my opinion - the easiest way is just spend it and see what works.  The beauty of  the online world is this can be done for hundreds or even tens of dollars.  Buy a few Adsense ads on Google.  Buy different words or phrases.  Use different offers, colors and pictures to see which one gets the best return.  Try the same thing on Facebook and Linkedin. 

Track everything to figure out which ones work and which ones work the best.

Then just spend money on the ads that work.    Spend if the sales/gross margin generated is more than the cost of the ad.

Clearly this approach does not work if you are selling big ticket items or things that people do not place the order right away for.  And sometimes there needs to be some assumptions.  For example, if you are signing up a subscriber who pays $10 per month and the cost to get a customer is $50 is this a good decision?  It all depends on whether the customers stick with you for more than 5 months.

If you happen to hit a success formula, your business can scale very quickly.  Keep tracking though since success can be fleeting.  Things change all the time so keep testing and tracking.

And of course, I am a big advocate of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) (Canrock invested in a Long Island SEO company).  I read once that people click 7 times more frequently on natural search results than they do on ads.  So once you know which words or phrases work to buy.  SEO can magnify the result and can get the same traffic but often for less cost.

Tech Crunch published an article by Robert J. Moore on the lack of statistical significance in many AB market tests.   They also pointed out that over testing can cause analysis paralysis. (I agree heartily with the latter point)

At first Moore seems to be saying "do not AB test" but he is not.  He is just saying "do not let it slow you down". 

Success in business is often tied to velocity.  Sense of urgency wins.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Years Purpose

I love New Years.  Good time to rethink goals.  Set new one.  And decide what a few success habits I can add to my routine.

Often good habits slip and need to be reinforced.  I know I have slipped out to my blogging habit.   Partly I blog for you - the reader.  But partly I blog for me.  I know I am more likely to be productive and use my time well if I am "reporting" on life.  I think this is one reason I do so many book reviews.  Knowing I am going to "report", I take the time to read a book.  It becomes a positive loop.

One habit that is easy is the habit of being thankful.  And I know I lead a charmed life.  I have lots to be thankful for.  I can write one of two things daily.  It reinforces positivity.

When I spend time on goals, I take time to think of purpose.  Purpose precedes goals.

I read a book - the Story of Purpose - the Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company and a Lasting Legacy by Joey Reiman.

The book makes a point that successful companies stand for something greater.  They have purpose.  The goal can sometimes be internal - like Nike - Just Do It.  Healthy shoes for healthy people.  Get active.  But the goals can also be linked but indirect - EG P and G invests millions  in vaccinating people in developing countries. 

I was taken aback that Coca-Cola was one of the companies cited with having purpose.  Of course I was thinking there was not much virtue in selling sugar water.

Much of the purpose and value of great companies was to value the team and foster team spirit.  The great purpose was summed up - put humanity back in business.

And the book pointed out the relationship between good purpose and company success.

It had a cute section on "places to think" which included in the shower, in the car with the radio off, the park etc.  Ironic but we do need to be reminded to take time to think.

Anyways - though provoking and interesting book.