High Output Management – Motivation & Performance

High Output Management – Motivation & Performance

Two inner forces can drive a person to use all of his/her capabilities. He/she can be:

  • A. Competence-driven, or;
  • B. Achievement-driven.

The former concerns itself with job or task mastery. A virtuoso […] who continues to practice day after day is obviously moved by something other than a need for esteem and recognition. He works to sharpen his own skill, trying to do a little bit better this time than the time before… He is relentless, driven by the self-actualization need, a need to get better that has no limit.

The achievement-driven path to self-actualization is not quite like this… Some people —not the majority—are moved by an abstract need to achieve in all that they do. These people work at the boundary of their capability... [they] test the limits of what they can do. [Achievers] simply must test themselves. By challenging themselves, these people are likely to miss a peg several times, but when they begin to ring the peg consistently, they gain satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

The point is that both competence and achievement-oriented people spontaneously try to test the outer limits of their abilities.

Andrew S. Grove, Former CEO, Intel Corp.

Grove, A. S. High Output Management. Los Angeles, USA: Vintage Books, 1997.

Twitter A Super Niche Search Engine – Real Time, Right Now

“People really want stuff real time and they (Twitter) have done a really good job about it.” – Google CEO, Larry Page, May 2009

Real-Time Search Engine

One unlikely super-niche player in the search engine industry is micro blogging web service Twitter. Twitter, a social media site built on SMS technology which allows users to post updates of up to 140 characters, has definitely found itself as a game changer in the world of search with its steady stream of updates. Twitter’s streams of conversation finds its sweet spot in search serving as an alternative media outlet often breaking news prior to traditional media, such as was the case with the Osama Bin Laden raid. Twitter often doubles as a vast pool of open information, where brands can identify customer sentiments, business can gain strategic insights, and people of common interests can connect by following one anotther. In 2008 Twitter realized the importance of search and seized the opportunity to acquire summize.com, which as a third-party service that allowed its users to access tweets via search. This marked the beginning of Twitter expanded offering and position as a real-time search engine.

Twitter poses a peripheral threat to Google and other search engines considering the continuous amount of information generated by its 170 million active users (estimated 500M total). The niche position Twitter leads in is real-time search. Twitter’s position is such a threat that in 2009 Google co-founder, and current CEO Larry Page stated:

“People really want stuff real time and they (Twitter) have done a really good job about it. We have done a relatively poor job of doing things that work on a per second basis. I have been telling our search team that they need to search on a per second basis. They laughed at me and said it’s ok it’s just a few minutes old. I said “no” it needs to be every second. Now I think they understand that. ”

As a result of this statement, in October 2009, both Bing and Google announced that they had secured deals with Twitter giving both search engines access to real-time public tweets within their search results. Eventually, the deal between Twitter and Google soured, and eventually was terminated not long after Google released its new social media site Google+. This prompted Twitter to release the statement:

“As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter… we’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone.”

So where does Twitter rank in search results? By 2010, Twitter upgraded their search architecture, and estimated they were pulling in approximately 1 Billion search queries per day. Given these numbers are true, this would make Twitter the 2nd most used search engine. And although Twitter does see a high number of searches, many of Twitter searches come from API’s of third party services. It’s these API’s built around Twitter’s open architecture that has made Twitter so popular. Serendipitously, its platform was able to grow exponentially along with the wave of web users’ adoption of mobile devices perhaps, better than any website or web-service in the world. And with the user demand for real-time search results, often times, the first place they look for real-time information is on Twitter.

Going Global – The Right Attack Strategy – Applying the Rule of Three, Twitter could increase its search engine position by opening up in foreign markets. This course of action could be promising for business; however, this may mean Twitter will have to adhere to foreign laws pertaining to free speech. For example, over the last few years Twitter has literally helped spark revolutions, such as Occupy Wall Street, Egypt, and Lybia. Entering into foreign nations comes with tradeoffs, some of which may turn off core users that love its free speech platform.

Differentiate – Another Rule of Three strategy Twitter could adopt is, Innovate and Differentiate. Twitter should consider launching its own dedicated search engine for real-time information complete with tweet analysis. Many companies are successfully launching their products and services solely based on Tweet results. Twitter could position itself not as a leader in Big Data analysis, but a leader in “Fast Data” analysis, capturing real-time information and insights alongside its search results.

Overall, Twitter may be a social media site, but it offers valuable information waiting to be uncovered underneath the sea of user generated content. Twitter has the power that no other search engine possesses, and that’s the ability to spark revolutions and inform the world on what’s happening directly from the horse’s mouth, as opposed to the other end (of traditional media), as a result, its position in the search engine industry should not be taken lightly by the current big three.

The Rule of Three – Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets

“On average, customers consider at most three choices before making a purchase.”

Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets

Strategies from Jagdish Sheth’s and Rajendra Sisodia’s book The Rule of Three – Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets.

  1. Strategies for #1 Companies (Strategies for Generalists):
    1. Be a “fast follower” in innovation
    2. Push for the adoption of industry-wide standards
    3. Develop world-class marketing and advertising through single or dual global brand positioning
    4. Use multiple distribution channels
    5. Emphasize how both low costs and product differentiation, and focus on volume over margin
    6. Grow the market
    7. Avoid dogmatic thinking.
  2. Strategies for #2 Companies (Strategies for Generalists):
    1. Innovate and differentiate
    2. Concentrate on resources for best opportunities
    3. Use guerrilla marketing
    4. Take calculated risks
    5. Promote vertical partnerships
    6. Seek out horizontal partnerships
  3. Eight Strategies for Specialists:
    1. Maintain exclusivity and product/market share
    2. Keep the specialty pure, but create subspecialties as needed
    3. Practice target marketing and avoid segment creep
    4. Offer sales expertise, great personal service, and superior experiences
    5. Shun fixed costs
    6. Create entry barriers
    7. Avoid the regional specialist’s path
    8. Control growth
  4. Strategies for Ditch Dwellers (From Ditch to Niche)
    1. Tailor unique solutions to vertical markets
    2. Simplify and reduce product lines (Think Apple, late 1990’s)
    3. Centralize organizational structure and pare down distribution channels
    4. Become a specialist in a geography where you have a strong brand equity and a position of strength
    5. Leverage brand name and distribution channels
  5. Rules of Engagement in Global Markets
    1. Shore up the domestic market first
    2. Have the right attack strategy
    3. Counterattack in the attacker’s home market
    4. Time the entry right
    5. Don’t go into foreign markets alone

Reaganomics Part II

President Ronald Reagan addresses the nation on May 28, 1985.

“Why not set out with your friends on the path of adventure and try to start up your own business? Follow in the footsteps of those two college students who launched one of America’s great computer firms from the garage behind their house. You, too, can help us unlock the doors to a golden future. You, too, can become leaders in this great new era of progress—the age of the entrepreneur.”

Reagonomics and Late 1980’s Economic Conditions

Reaganomics and Late 1980’s Economic Conditions

Reagan in the White House


On the evening of August 18, 1988, then Vice President George HW Bush had reached the apex of his presidential campaign. While addressing the issue of taxes, President Bush seized the moment to set himself apart from the opposing democratic candidate Michael Dukakis. With his cadence perfected and his words synchronized to accentuate the crowd’s reaction, Vice President Bush uttered six words that marked the legacy of his presidency: “read my lips, no new taxes.” Little did the then Vice President know, he was about to inherit the brunt of his predecessors policies, and that the rising tide of growth that the United States experienced in the late 1980’s was about to subside.

Economic growth during the 1980’s was a result of carefully orchestrated financial engineering under President Ronald Reagan, the economic philosophy known as trickle-down economics grew into popularity and spawned the term “Reaganomics.” Reaganomics emphasized a laissez-faire approach whereby business and wealthy were given tax breaks and it was expected that the financial benefits would eventually trickle-down to the rest of society. It was this philosophy that set the backdrop for the US economy in the early 1980’s. The US economy, riding on the back of an increasing annual Real GDP, averaged 4.4% since 1980. With consumer spending fueled by reductions in the Federal Tax code as a result of the 1981 Economic recovery act of 1981 federal income taxes were reduced by 25% over the following three years.

Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981

Reagan Posted

In what became known as the second round of Reagan tax cuts, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was introduced to:

  • Close loopholes in the tax code
  • Simplify the US tax code by consolidating tax brackets which included; lowering taxes on the highest income bracket from 50% to 28%, while increasing taxes on the lower income individuals from 11% to 15%
  • Increase taxes on businesses
  • Change accounting on depreciation of investment tax credits

With an emphasis on emphasis on federal monetary policy, deregulation, and expansion of free trade, many would argue that Reagan’s policies created a period of economic expansion that resulted in America’s greatest sustained wave of prosperity; however there were consequences that would spill over into the Bush era.

From 1980 to 1990, the United States witnessed a 65% increase in US housing prices . Although this appeared to be a positive result, the negative side effect was that inflation increased along with consumer goods and services, resulting in an average 4.5% CPI-U increase year over year from 1988 to January 1990 . In February 1988, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to lower its objectives for monetary growth as a result of sluggish consumer spending and uncertainties in a transition from a consumer-driven to an export driven expansion . High inflation also caused the Federal Reserve Bank to restrict the monetary supply by increasing the fed funds rate. In addition, the increase of capital also put additional pressure on the banking and credit system and contributed to slower economic growth. Ultimately, from February 1988 to May 1989 the FRB raised the target Fed Funds rate from 6.5% to 9.75%.

By the late 1980’s the reduction in monetary supply effected economic growth. Real GDP growth also slowed to 0.9% in the third quarter of 1989, leading the Fed to react to this slowdown by cutting interest rates in October of 1989. However, the US financial and economic system was already fragile at this point especially as the savings and loan crisis was still applying pressure to the credit markets.

Bernd Schmitt: 10 Rules for Successful Experiential Marketing

Strategy, Branding, Marketing

Strategy, Branding, Marketing

Columbia University’s Bernd Schmitt details five different types of experiences in experiential marketing —sense, feel, think, act, and relate — and states that they are becoming increasingly vital to consumers’ perceptions of brands. In addition Schmitt has set forth 10 rules for sucessful experiential marketing.

Schmitt’s 10 rules for successful experiential marketing:

  1. Experiences don’t just happen; they need to be planned. In that planning process, be creative; use surprise, intrigue, and, at times, provocation. Shake things up.
  2. Think about the customer experience first—and then about the functional features and benefits of your brand.
  3. Be obsessive about the details of the experience. Traditional satisfaction models are missing the sensory, gut-feel, brain blasting, all-body, all-feeling, all-mind “EJ” experience. (EJ =Exultate Jubilate.) Let the customer delight in exultant jubilation.
  4. Find the “duck” for your brand. More than five years ago, I stayed for the first time in the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong. In the bathroom on the rim of the bathtub they had placed a bright yellow rubber duck with a red mouth. I fell in love with the idea (and the duck)immediately. It’s the one thing that I always remember when I think about the hotel and it becomes the starting point of remembering the entire hotel experience. Every company needs to have a duck for its brand. That is, a little element that triggers, frames, summarizes, stylizes the experience.
  5. Think consumption situation, not product, e.g., “grooming in the bathroom” not “razor”; “casual meal” not “hot dog”; and “travel” not “transportation.” Move along the sociocultural dimension.
  6. Strive for “holistic experiences” that dazzle the senses, appeal to the heart, challenge the intellect, are relevant to people’s lifestyles, and provide relational, i.e., social identity, appeal.
  7. Profile and track experiential impact with the “Experiential Grid.” Profile different types of experiences (Sense, Feel, Think, Act, and Relate) across experience providers (logos, ads, packaging, advertising, Web sites, etc.).
  8. Use methodologies eclectically. Some methods may be quantitative (questionnaire analyses or logit); others qualitative (a day in the life of the customer). Some may be verbal (focus group); others visual (digital camera techniques). Some may be conducted in artificial lab settings; others in pubs or cafes. Anything goes! Be explorative and creative, and worry about reliability, validity, and methodological sophistication later.
  9. Consider how the experience changes when extending the brand—into new categories, onto the Web, around the globe. Ask yourself how the brand could be leveraged in a new category, in an electronic medium, in a different culture through experiential strategies.
  10. Add dynamism and “Dionysianism” to your company and brand. Most organization and brand owners are too timid, too slow, and too bureaucratic. The term “Dionysian” is associated with the ecstatic, the passionate, the creative. Let this spirit breathe in your organization, and watch how things change.

Corporate Incentive Management – A Philosophy

James F. Linclon

James F. Lincoln

James F. Lincoln’s philosophy on encouraging teamwork, competition, and fair incentives to drive corporate performance:

“There will always be greater growth of man under continued proper incentive. The profit that will result from such efficiency will be enormous… How,then, should the enormous extra profit resulting from incentive management be split?… If the worker does not get a proper share, he does not desire to develop himself or his skill… If the customer does not have part of the savings in lower prices, he will not buy the increased output… Management and ownership must get a part of the savings in larger savings and perhaps larger dividends… All those involved must be satisfied that they are properly recognized or they will not cooperate—and cooperation is essential to any and all successful application of incentives.”

James F. Lincoln, 1951 Incentive Management

San Francisco – In search of the best crab cakes and rolling to Burning Man

Burning Man Motorcycle San Francisco

Burning Man Motorcycle San Francisco

Strolling down Mission Street in San Francisco in my quest to find the world’s best crab cakes and hand no luck. Instead I found this over processed crab cake on Pier 39. One bright spot was some sort of crab balls with rice in them at a place called Beretta’s. On another note, saw this guy booting up on his freshly painted bike getting ready for Burning Man in the desert of Nevada next week. Get ya roll on man… Get ya roll on!