Friday, December 9, 2011

This is only a re-post, but it is an essential thing to do. Secure family support before you start your business.

Prepare your family

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Where do you get your ideas?

Every artist gets asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” The honest artist answers, “I steal them.”

1.) Steal like an artist. 
2.) Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things. 
3.) Write the book you want to read. 
4.) Use your hands. 
5.) Side projects and hobbies are important. 
6.) The secret: do good work and put it where people can see it. 
7.) Geography is no longer our master. 
8.) Be nice. The world is a small town. 
9.) Be boring. It’s the only way to get work done. 
10.) Creativity is subtraction.

Better yet, read from the artist I stole this from:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Offshore Incubator. Literally offshore.

Does location matter?

This is crazy. I like it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Employee Engagement in the Post-Edsel era

Employee engagement goes beyond loyalty. It is simply the degree of satisfaction employees feel with the organization, or the measure of the relationship an organization has with its employees. Sort of. Anyway, now the field is entering the modern age.

The Edsel has been held up for over four decades as the worst marketing blunder of all time. It really was not. Seriously. The product research morphed into Ford's next cars, particularly the Mustang. From a marketing standpoint, the Edsel event occurred just as the world was transforming into a new era. Prior to that moment, customers were segmented by social class: the market provided a Cadillac for the upper class, and a Chevy for the less affluent (maybe a Buick in the middle?) Ford wanted to compete with GM in the higher range, so spent swimming pools full of cash to develop and market it. It seemed that the marketing flopped. What they learned from the incident is that people were no longer limiting themselves to purchasing based on salary level. They were categorizing themselves into lifestyle groupings.

This concept has progressed to the point that marketers now rely more on psychographics than on demographics.  We might now be ready to adopt that knowledge to the human capital development field.

David Richardson, when he was head of Tesco’s Employee Insight Unit divided employees up into several categories, such as: "Pleasure seekers," "Work/life balance," "Want it alls," "Work to lives." (Though he would probably not approve of putting the period/full stop at the end of that last sentence within the quotation marks.) Tesco was seeking to make employees happier, and realized that they didn't all have the same priorities (see Sarah Butcher, Financial Times; Jul 07, 2003). A person might be most concerned about promotion when joining, but after accumulating a family and a mortgage, the same person moved into the "work-to-live" group. Later, they might become either pleasure seekers or become most concerned about work/life balance.

I would be concerned if we automatically categorized people into such groups based on age, but the news is good. We may finally be pulling ourselves out of the slavish dependence on demographics for decision making. People, it turns out, are more complicated than we thought they were. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where is the Nauvoo Commuter?

Huge apology.

I am currently working on a PhD, and have been reading rooms full of books and writing reams of papers. Blogging my experience has taken a back seat.

But a lot of exciting long-term developments in my work to energize rural entrepreneurs need to be reported.

Which I will do as soon as I can.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out-of-the-box Experience

In 1995, I had been working on a product development team at American Express for over four years. The company had paid half of my tuition for an MBA at the world's top-rated international business program. I called the name of someone in HR asking what they wanted to do with me now that I had gained even more abilities. I was paid so little that I would soon be unable to make student loan payments.

I was told that my skills would be unwelcome because I had no ovaries and my skin color was too light.

So I quit, moved my family overseas, and had many marvelous experiences. Amex continued to promote groupthink by promoting people of various demographics who all shared the same education and background. Their diversity policy discouraged diversity. So the information age passed them by, and the company, while still iften profitable, is not innovative. Diversity SHOULD mean hiring from diverse experience, not diverse skin tones.

If you work for a firm that pushes diversity rather than merit, you might need to create your own diversity policy by exposing yourself to real diversity. Get out of your narrow market and go experience something new. Move overseas and teach English, if you must. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chasing the Rainbow: Startups and Incentives

I was thinking recently: would you rather own stock you bought in early Apple, or in early Netscape? Of course Apple is much more valuable. But Netscape was the get-rich-quick situation. It was the exciting play.

We have forgotten how long it takes to build long-term value. Our thinking has been skewed by stories from the late 1990s like Netscape. Even Google took longer to grow than you might think.

Be patient. And read this article: Chasing the Rainbow: Startups and Incentives: Depending on one's role, the allure of working for a startup is the product you are building, the people you're impacting, or selfishly, ...