CRM software runs my life

Month: September 2010

The Innovator’s Dilemma – Book Review

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M Christensen is one of the best business books I have ever read. It focuses on the practical aspects of innovation, with two key points (for me at least):

  1. You are most vulnerable when you are most profitable
  2. You need to create the start-up that undermines your most profitable products before someone else does
  3. New markets need simple, cheap products which hit a critical new requirement

This book is great inspiration for those seeking to become entrepreneurs, it shows practical examples of where start-ups have seized on opportunities and completely blind-sided the highly profitable incumbent. That’s the dream right? It also serves as a great warning to those in big business who feel chasing the margins instead of innovation is the path to success. It certainly puts forward a compelling argument, one that even NASA seems to think has merit.

Perhaps margins should be the guide for businesses, but they should work on a goal of an average margin across all their products instead. That way they can maintain a balance of high profitability mature businesses with low profitability emerging businesses. Of course this would need to be combined with some “profit margins must never decrease on a product” rule. Doing this without cannibalising your own offerings (by differentiating based on high end vs low end customers) however is a very fine line to tread.

The other practical reflection I had reading this book was on the Engineering vs Sales argument. Which side is better equipped to run a successful business? I am still yet to work anywhere that balances these two sides perfectly, it always seems to fall one way or the other. My thoughts after reading this book were that an emerging organisation needs to be run by the engineers (focus on product success, not profits or impossible projections) and mature businesses by sales people (focus on profits, finding upmarket customers).

What did you get out of this book?

Speech for Pa

Pa in his later years

Pa does not need me or anyone else to tell you all how inspirational he was. Inspiring and challenging people was what he did best, and what he spent his whole life doing. He had an amazing mind that would happily recount how to set up an artillery rig, run a poultry farm, make a profit on trucking ash or a list of other materials, how to grow tomatoes, how to manage people or even how to repair the rising damp in my house. If I didn’t follow his advice, or rather instructions, then I knew he would check as soon as he saw me next. He was so passionate and engaged with everything that he did, and that passion rubbed off on everyone around him whether they liked it or not.

There are a lot of people here today, myself included, who list him as one of a handful of people who challenged them to be a better person. He loved challenging people too. He always did it with a twinkle in his eye that let you know he was one step ahead.
Even now he is still challenging me today and will continue to do so. His mind never gave up either, he was incredibly sharp right till the very end. He didn’t die wondering whether he should have said or done something, he did and said everything he wanted to.
His body simply could not cope with a 100th minute loss by the Tigers and Labor being sworn back into office that very day. We love you and will miss you Pa, but we promise to keep doing better.

Google Grants Post – Getting Started on YouTube

Wondering why I have been so quiet lately? I volunteered my time to write a blog post for the Google Grants blog instead!

http://googlegrants.blogspot.com/2010/08/get-your-non-profit-started-with.html

I really hope that it helps more non-profits get onto YouTube. It really is a great platform that will deliver a level of transparency and engagement with your supporters, and in turn it offers you call to action overlays to convert those supporters into contributors.

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