The Greatest Business Decisions of All time – Verne Harnish

What made Apple’s board bring back Steve Jobs to the company?
Why did Samsung decide to send some of its top young executives to spend a year goofing off in different parts of the world and how did this change the fate of the company?
What made Henry Ford double the wages of his autoworkers, and how did that change the American economy for the next century?

This book is great. It is an easy read and adds great insights to some of the classic great business decisions that have been made. Personally, I found it inspiring and highly applicable, not always by directly implementing the ideas one for one, rather drawing on the thinking behind the great ideas and applying the learnings to my current experience.

Verne Harnish does a first class job of outlining some of the best decisions, some that I knew about eg Zappos and their focus on amazing customer service, and some new ones eg Samsung sending their top staff overseas for between 6 to 12 mths with the aim of learning the culture and an understanding that the returns would come later.

If there was one downside to The Greatest Business Decisions of All time , it would be that it ends, not that it should go on forever, rather it literally gets to Henry Ford and his doubling of his staff wages and then just ends. Harnish could benefit by drawing out some conclusions or maybe thats just his point. Maybe he wants the reader to be left challenges, encouraged and with some work to do to apply the learnings to his or her context.

If you want to know a little more –

Influencing Purchasing Decisions

I don’t know if we can afford it?

Our budget doesn’t quite stretch that far!

Wow, I really like it, but i just feel that maybe it is beyond us….

These are all sentences that I have uttered thousands of times, regarding many different purchasing decisions be they buying a mars bar in primary school, walking past an ice cream stand whilst backpacking in italy or planning family holidays. However, it is not simply the cost that caused me to respond like this. Rather, its the value that i’d perceived and even more, its the relative value of the opportunity cost that really drives my purchasing (or non-purchasing) decision process. I feel that i am probably not alone in approaching a purchase decision based on relative value.

So that got me thinking. If its not simply the hard costs that drive our purchasing decisions and rather the relative value of the opportunity cost, then how can I, as a marketer, better understand the relative value of the alternatives that our customers have, to help me refine and connect my products and services more effectively than my competition?

So whilst I keep pondering how to measure this quickly and easily, i’d love to hear your thoughts on how you approach it.

10 ways to make 2013 Awesome


Photo by Pranav Bhasin

Here are my thoughts on 10 ways to make 2013 awesome. I’d love to hear what you think.

1: Plan what you want to get done in 2013 or put another way, work out the problem(s) you are looking to solve.

2: Work out what the roadblocks are that could stop you getting done what you want to get done or solving the problem you want to solve.

3: Stick to the changes you wanted to make in your life; fitness, finance, relationships, personal or professional.

4: Start being who you want to be and remind yourself of it as often as required.

5: Read more – books, blogs, poetry, white papers, instruction manuals and old and new.

6: Listen first and for longer than you think you should before responding.

7: Don’t offer advice, share you experience and seek to understand the experiences that others are going through and what action they took.

8: Use your stuff don’t just collect it. Or if you are not using it, find someone who will.

9: Set you Big Three Goals – three goals for each qrt, half and for all of 2013

10: Feel the fear and do it anyway – the risk is always less than you think it is. For me, this means I should be doing more of the killing of spiders in our house!

Internet Trends 2012 – Kleiner Perkins Report

Three key takeaways

  • The days of the asset heavy lifestyle are over. Use things as you need them and the put them back into the system for others.
  • Loads of kids (48%) aged 6-12 want an iPad for Christmas this year. It seems parents have trained them well.
  • Android devices have had a fast start and the battle continues to be fought between iPhone and Android!

Barack Obama

Well done President Obama. Interested to see that the Australian obsession with American politics is alive and well. I wish that we all cared a little more about our leaders and that our leaders were inspiring.

let hope that the US leadership can get through the fiscal cliff debates and keep the cornerstone of the worlds economy ticking along (2% trend growth) at a minimum. I’d love to see politics working for the people and politicians rising above the temptation for short-term thinking and 10 second sound bites to really lead. That would be nice.

American Exceptionalism

On monday night I have an exam for my masters in international studies. The subject I am studying is American Exceptionalism. Below are a a few scattered thoughts post a day of study and reflection.So how is America exceptional? Here are some thoughts that I have pulled together during my study and in prep for the exam:1: America’s founding is exceptionalFrom the 1620s with the Mayflower Compact, the first social contract concept, something special was happening in how America was founded and the devices that were put in place to support it. These early ideas and documents, supported by Puritain thinking about starting the world over again and being the “City on a Hill” (Matt 5:24), were supported more formally by three key documents:a: The declaration of independence written in 1776, set in train a thinking of republic that would be answerable to “we the people”.b: The Constitution – This is the “we the people” document that sets out the limits on executive power and puts the focus on individuals to make of it what they will in the land of great opportunity.c: The Bill of Rights – reflecting what was already held to be truths, that were for once documented and available for all.Worth reflection is the Manifest destiny idea, developed by John O’Sullivan in 1845 that says it is America’s devine destiny to sweep across the continent and with the annexation of Texas (and all the way to California) this destiny certainly seemed to be supported by God!2: The belief in America’s role in the worldAmerica has a special view on its role in the world. For a while there, American’s showed little interest in world affairs, even Woodrow Wilson talked of staying independent of WW1 and when finally the did join, did so with “no selfish ends to serve”. Following Wilson, it is not until Truman that we start to see a sense of global engagement with the $400m rescue package to Greece / Turkey to stop the rise of left-leaning movements and in what has been called the first steps of the containment policy that would drive the Cold War.Today we think America has always had a view of itself as the World’s sheriff, but is that really the case or is it a response to their economic position (relative strength) post both WW1 and WW2? I suspect it is a post WW2 held belief, so it is therefore a relatively recently held view. Under Bush, however, it may be hard to reflect on how this is relatively new, he seemed to enjoy his time in the captains chair!So is America Exceptional?The answer has to be yes in certain areas and no in other areas. However, the areas where America is exceptional are truly significant.Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on Leadership

I am a student at University of Sydney, studying a Masters in International Studies. Recently we looked at leadership. Now there are many thoughts on leadership, here are five of my own.Leadership is not always formalThink Jesus, Ghandi or Mandela. If anything, their formal roles were consistently reduced, yet their leadership grew. Leading from a position is easy leadership, leading without the formality requires deeper reserves of leadership.Leadership requires some level of personal gravitasPeople like being led by a leader who has that special something. You may need to first identify, then polish that special something.Leadership can be developedAs an individual we can identify personal weak areas that need strengthening. Leadership could be one weak area for you, but don’t loose hope, leadership can be learnt (or enhanced) through development. Reflect on how Obama’s leadership has developed since he stepped (in a big way) into the public spotlight in 2006.Leadership can be collaborativeAs a leader, it is not always about having all the answers or making the right decision. Rather leadership is about being discerning with the information that you are given and making the best decision possible given the situation that confronts you. Collaboation can add leverage to your leadership abilities.Leaders need to lead and not simply be blown along by opinionGreat leaders sometimes need to encourage (challenge) their followers to think in a different way. However, challenging followers to think in a different way requires leaders often to take a long-term view on issues. Whilst most politicans are driven by the 3 year (short-term) election cycle, in gerneral the public want leaders who lead, not simply leaders who look to respond fastest to swings in public opinion.

WordPress admin is really good

WordPress 2.7 admin is really quite easy to use. WordPress has come a long way, thats for sure. With some many widgets and plugins available, the challenge is working out what should be used rather than just what could be used. So far I am loving adding and building and creating, i just wish i had a little more time to play and develop a little more content. That will happen!Oh, and I loved all the iPhone adverts on channel 10 tonight. Apps are a billion dollar business….well soon will be considering over 1 bn apps have been downloaded. Thats a serious new market that Apple have been able to create and capitalise on. Good value for customers as well. Maybe the new questions is not “will you have fries with that?” but rather “will you have apps with that?”

Ignite Sydney

Ignite Sydney is looking to go for round two. Here is the conecpt:What would you say if you had just 5 minutes to give your presentation? You get 20 slides, and each slide lasts 15 seconds.”So far people have talked about how to buy a ued car ( and other interesting and unique ideas.To register for a free ticket or to opt in to become a speaker, check out the site – Ignite SydneyI would like to see some new blood, or just the same people continuing to do a good job.