The Power of Consistency

Last week, in preparation for a commercial launch, I asked the CEO of one of my companies the following questions:

  1. Do you and your team feel you know the 3-5 things you do that no other company can do?
  2. Do you feel your customers, prospects and industry analysts understand what these unique capabilities are and value them as “must have”?
  3. Do you believe your Corporate Sales/Investor Presentations, Corporate Demo and Corp Website feature your unique capabilities?
  4. Do you believe each and every person inside your company knows your unique capabilities and value propositions and can recite them verbatim?

These questions sound fairly simplistic but in order to answer affirmatively requires a company to have put in place strong internal communication processes.

 

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10 Commandments v 7 Deadly Sins

Just an observation on this “day of rest”.

Do you ever notice that every Sunday, many who follow a religious way of life are reminded of and attempt to live by the 10 Commandments but the other 6 days most seemed compelled to embrace the 7 Deadly Sins?

Speaking of sins, Wrath seems to be a super popular choice – at least on the SF Bay Area freeways.

 

Public Sector v Private Sector; will (can) the private sector continue to carry the load?

Well, this is going to be a different kind of post for me.

I wrote it because I believe the original core values that helped to create and shape the US, and a state like California, are under duress. Some may view it as a political rant due to the subject matter but I actually think it is a bipartisan issue as it affects everyone on either side of the political spectrum. So, here it goes.

This weekend, due to the last minute intervention of California Governor Jerry Brown forcing a 60 day cooling off period, the SF Bay Area was able to avoid another  BART strike by Service Employees International Union Local 1021 over financial and safety concerns.

When interviewed by the local media, union negotiators made statements alluding to the fact they are focused on “public safety concerns”. While those statements are clearly designed to engender public sympathy and support, when you get details of the discussion the motivation appears to be primarily financially oriented.

On July 27, 2013 the San Jose Mercury News published an article titled, “BART workers’ paychecks already outpace their peers” which asserts the following:

  • BART workers earn the most money on average in 2012 among the 25 largest government agencies in the Bay Area
  • Average gross pay for blue-collar BART union workers threatening shutdown was $76,551 in 2013
  • BARTs top-paid train operator grossed $155,308 and top paid janitor made $82,752  and BART’s top paid electrician made $149,957.
  • Overall, BART’s average employee – including executives – made nearly $30,000 more than employees at Los Angeles’ transit line
  • BART has highly favorable rules that allow workers to “pile up lots of overtime and cash out unused sick time
  • but…25% of BART employees made less than $62,680 median income in the SF-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan areas

The article claimed that BART union workers are demanding a 20.1% pay raise over the next 3 years. One BART worker who was interviewed stated he is “tired of people thinking they are just drones who only push buttons and that, “employees work hard, often on off-hours, holidays and weekends, for their money.”

Why AngelList Will NOT Become the Android of Venture Capital

I just finished reading a recent guest article on VentureBeat titled, “Why AngelList Will Become The Android of Venture Capital” written by Gaurav Jain. Unfortunately, while it may make good fodder for those entrepreneurs who have a love/hate relationship with the traditional venture capital community, I disagree that AngelList will replace more traditional venture capital any time soon, if ever.

Letter To IBM

Dear IBM:

Congratulations on your recent acquisition of Kenexa for $1.3B. The HCM application market has been steadily heating up and with SAP’s recent acquisition of SuccessFactors and Oracle’s purchase of Taleo, this looks like a good counter move.

Your announcement coupled with the recent news that Apple has become the most valuable company in the world prompted me to write this.

As I thought more about Apple and IBM and their respective positions in the current technology markets, I realized just how different the two companies are today from two decades ago.

Twenty years ago, when I worked for Apple as a young engineering director, IBM was “the” business information technology brand. Apple was nowhere – except in niche areas such as graphic design.

Under Steve Job’s leadership, beginning with his return to Apple in the mid-90’s, Apple emerged from near oblivion to become one of, if not ‘’the’, most powerful consumer – and business – technology brands.

Today, Apple’s products are used pervasively by people – at home and at work -  throughout the world. Apple has become the leading mobile platform developers target for consumer and business applications.

IBM, in the early 90’s, was faced with its own set of challenges stemming from poor financial controls, lack of innovation and other issues. Gerstner is appropriately credited with solving these and his successors – Palmisano and Rometty – have continued that success.

Now, IBM’s stock is at a near all time high, more than doubling over the past 3 years.  The Company invests in all the right buzz areas: Cloud Computing, Analytics, Mobile, etc. Wall Street is singing IBM’s praises.

Yet, in spite of all outward appearances, I respectfully submit that IBM may be headed toward another very rocky and challenging stretch of waters.