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Learning From The Jobs – Part 2

Our November edition focused on five of Guy Kawasaki’s 10 nuggets for innovation. Guy was a marketer and evangelist for Apple in its early days in the 1980s. There he watched the brand’s meteoric rise. The innovation lessons that Guy learned from Steve Jobs are relevant and valuable in his current role as a venture capitalist, writer, speaker and marketer.

Here are the remaining five of Guy’s 10 nuggets for innovation:

1. Let 100 Flowers Blossom – You think you know everything about your company and your product. Then unintended people buy your product and use it in unexpected ways. Some executives will freak out over this change of course, but Guy’s advice is to take the money and figure out a new way to market the product. Your position in the market is determined by customers, not the C suite.

2. Polarize People — It’s not bad if people hate your product. The worst thing is when people don’t care about your product. People love and hate Uber cars on demand because it’s jumped to a new curve.

3. Churn, Baby, Churn — Innovators and business leaders have to churn through negativity, which comes from all sides and in all forms, to jump to that next curve. This is possibly the hardest step because you’re constantly fighting everyone around you. Then, after you churn through the naysayers and create an innovative product, you have to flip around and listen to those same people’s opinions to improve your product.

4. Niche Thyself — Imagine an XY axis. The horizontal axis is uniqueness and the vertical axis is value. You want to be in the top right corner, max unique and valuable. If you’re a marketer, your job is to convince people that you’re unique and valuable. Fandango, with its unique and valuable service of buying and printing movie tickets at home, is a company that’s in the right spot. Positioning your product as unique and valuable is the holy grail of marketing.

5. Perfect Your Pitch — in these ways:

  • Customize your intro by looking at LinkedIn to show that you know exactly what you’re talking about.
  • Follow the 10/20/30 rule of pitching: The optimal number of slides in a presentation is 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font (think of the older people in the room, not the 16-year-old venture capitalist)
  • Make your PowerPoint background black and the text white.

6. (BONUS) Don’t Let the Bozos Grind You Down — You wouldn’t take spiritual advice from Tom Cruise or parenting advice from Kim Kardashian. Don’t take business advice from the bozos disguised as experts.

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Scary Times Success Strategies

I read the following strategies from Strategic Coach founder Dan Sullivan right after 9/11 and I review them a few times a year. They offer great perspective going into 2016. Here are five strategies; I’ll cover the remaining five in January:

1. Forget about yourself. Focus on others. The best strategy is to go in the opposite direction of fear. Expand your connection with others. Focus on helping them transform their negative into positive. The more you contribute in this fashion, the less you will need to worry about your own situation. You will become a source of confidence for everyone else.

2. Forget about your commodity. Focus on your relationship. People become frightened about the viability of their “commodities,” the things they sell and the jobs they hold. A more strategic response is to disregard your own commodity and focus on deepening the power and possibility of all your relationships with family, friends, team members, suppliers, clients, customers, and prospects. Every time you strengthen a relationship, the viability of your commodity, without your focusing on it, will increase.

3. Forget about the sale. Focus on creating value. Most people don’t like being sold at the best of times. When times are scary, they turn off, hang up, and slam shut. But, what people want at all times is value creation. That means solutions that help them eliminate their dangers, capture their opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. When focused on providing these three solutions, the sales will naturally follow.

4. Forget about your losses. Focus on your opportunities. Things you had, things you took for granted, may have disappeared. Some people never get over this. They keep trying to replay their old games. The better strategy is to start an entirely new game using new ideas, new energies, new tools, and new resources. A big opportunity is suddenly available now for achieving far more than you ever did in the past.

5. Forget about your complaints. Focus on your gratitude. This is one of the times when everyone has to make a fundamental decision to complain or be grateful. When things turn negative, the consequences of this decision are much greater. Complaining only attracts negative thoughts and people. Gratitude creates the opportunity for the best thinking, actions and results to emerge. Focus on everything that you are grateful for, communicate this, and open yourself each day to the best possible consequences.

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The Age of the Customer – Part 2

A recent Forrester Research white paper recognizes that empowered customers are changing the fundamentals of the market. In response, most companies are executing strategies that place the customer at the center of the universe.

Forrester believes there are 10 critical success factors that will determine who wins and who fails in the age of the customer. Here are the second five; the first five were in the November Enterprise newsletter:

1. Loyalty programs focus on participation — Loyalty structures are eroding as customers continue to free themselves of contract obligations, dismiss switch costs, and disengage from loyalty programs. Disruptors are accelerating the pace of erosion by disintermediating traditional companies and dismantling existing contract structures.

2. Analytics becomes a key competitive weapon — Analytics improves an organization’s ability to understand, anticipate, and act on data to drive customer value, business efficiency, and growth. But data is diverse, dispersed across systems, and dynamic — and now includes more and more crowdsourced and social data.

3. Digital dabbling is a fatal strategy — Innovation spend is on the rise, digital skills are in hot demand, and a new breed of digitally savvy senior leaders is emerging. C-level executives at leading firms are making digital a core driver of business transformation, not simply decorating their business with digital experiences or tools.

4.Privacy is moving from niche to value prop — Conventional wisdom stated that about 5% of the population really cared about privacy and even less would change behavior based on privacy risk. Companies prioritized accordingly, putting in privacy policies as a matter of legal hygiene. Not anymore. Well-publicized security breaches, identify theft schemes, and socially devastating privacy incidents have changed the dynamic.

5. Operations becomes the nucleus of value — Leadership teams responding to a customer-led market are asking a simple yet profound question: How do we operate to win? It’s not simple to answer, as operational change — and associated people change — is seismic, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s also not elective. The market fundamentals are simply too different to force old structures into this new reality.

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