Monday Is Not A Date; It’s An Attitude

Date calendarDoing things that others don’t like to do is huge competitive advantage. Nicholas Bate gives a very good example of this in his blog with his post Jagged Thoughts for Jagged Times: 20. While his competitors are busy hating Mondays, he is targeting their key accounts.

What Does Your Elevator Pitch Ask For?

Ken RobinsonIt takes more than one minute to sell a project regardless of how good your elevator pitch is. The elevator pitch is an introduction and an introduction is successful when you get beyond the introduction. In other words, a successful elevator pitch gets you beyond the introduction to a second meeting.

“The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project.” — Seth GodinSeth’s Blog: No one ever bought anything on an elevator

This is a distinction worth remembering as you prepare / review your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch concludes with an ask for a second meeting and your pitch needs to make the listener want to talk to you again.

Who’s The Customer?

Seth GodinSeth Godin hits the nail on the head again:
“So the marketer brags about how tasty the food on the airplane is, or how reliable the cell phone service is or how magically transporting the aromatherapy of the soap is–and then someone else, someone under different pressures and constraints–has to deliver. And they rarely do.

They rarely do because the paying customer isn’t their customer. Their customer is the quality control department, the accounting department and the “don’t-rock-the-boat” department.” Seth’s Blog: If you think that’s what we want, why don’t you give it to us?
Look at the advice about how to get the best service, airline upgrades and other advantages. A lot of it is about understanding the obligations to internal customers. Make a person’s job easier and you get great service.

This Is More Than Just The Facts

Writing for the blog is getting easier. I now want the writing to get better.

I am used to business writing. I spend most of my day doing email, preparing slide shows and writing project documentation. I do this well.

Business correspondence is avoiding story telling and it is not conversational. It is stating facts, asking questions and confirming commitments. Short crisp sentences, often in the form of bullet points, is good writing. Ambiguity, long reads, words requiring a dictionary to understand are the enemies of corporate communication. It is all tell and if you want to show something, it needs to be a graphic in a presentation.

The blogs I like are fun to read. They tell stories and have humour. They are conversational and personal.

My almost daily posting is starting to pay off. It takes me less time to write a post.

I am now working on making the posts more enjoyable to read.

Well Said Seth

Seth GodinI really like the way Seth Godin packages his thoughts and I find myself frequently quoting him or blogging about his posts. Following are a few examples from recent posts on his blog:

  • Get better at buying – Seth cites Ruth Stevens’ report that the typical company with more than 1,000 employees involves 21 people, on average, for every sale over $25,000. It makes it easy to understand that purchasing is inefficient in most large companies.
  • Hungry or guarded – Two analogies to describe two customer attitudes and each attitude requires a different sales approach. The fan is compared to the hungry person at a buffet ready to taste anything.  The customer protecting themselves is compared to the guarded person that avoids eye contact with the homeless, ignores requests to sign a petition and doesn’t help the Boy Scout helping an elderly lady. With these analogies, I can recognize the two customer attitudes and figure out how to approach them.
  • Improving the trains – “While making the trains run on time is a good thing, making them run early is not.”

Finally, An Intelligent Analysis on Google vs Apple Tablets

The last couple of days has seen the Technology News declaring the iPad the winner in the just started Tablet wars. This is based on the fact that Motorola‘s Xoom is not selling as well as expected and the admission by Google that they took shortcuts to make the Honeycomb version of Android available for tablets (it’s not yet ready for phones). Winning one battle does not win the war.

Monday, Gartner published an analysis of the media tablet market along with its projections for market share. It claims that Apple’s iPad will continue to dominate until 2015 because the vendors are trying to compete with hardware features, repeating the errors made in the Smart Phone market.

Another reminder that it’s not about what it can do, it is about what you can do with it.

Blueberries and Apples

Seth GodinSeth Godin made a difference between finding a rotten apple and finding a rotten blueberry in his blog yesterday. Apples are eaten one at the time and that it is easy to pick out a new one; blueberries are eaten in bunches and a rotten one ruins the whole bunch being eaten. The point was that avoiding the rotten fruit is more important if you are in the blueberry business.

I like the way this analogy works. It helps to identify where to focus your quality efforts and to do so, you need to understand what your core business is and how your products are used.

The Power of Validation

There is the news, a Morgan Stanley analyst says electric cars will gain market share; there is the effect of this news, the shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) rose significantly; and there are the conclusions that I drew about the effects of this news.

I think that it is obvious that electric cars will gain market share.

I believe they are probably already gaining market share and Tesla will probably benefit from this shift in motorizations.

I am sure that most informed investors agree with these statements.

There are less informed investors that have come to the same conclusions and Tesla’s stock also benefits from the idealistic investors looking for green investments.

All these statements suggest that Tesla was, at the least, fairly valued, if not overvalued, before Morgan Stanley issued their analysis. Nevertheless, the stock rose 17% on the news.

As an auto manufacturer focused only on electric cars, the effects of a shift in market share will affect Tesla’s sales directly. However:

  • This does not mean they will have a successful business.
  • The traditional auto manufacturers have the expertise and resources to produce better selling and more successful electric cars.
  • There is, as in all things related to manufacturing, China with a government mandate for its auto industry to move to electric.
  • Warren Buffett‘s, a reference when it comes to investing, preferred to invest in a Chinese auto company and it is now at risk, and
  • Tesla has yet to make a profit.

My conclusion, regardless of Morgan Stanley’s target, is that if the stock was not overvalued before, it probably is now.

Business 101

Business is business, even on the Internet.

“The brief outage demonstrates a fundamental truth about the internet: if you don’t own the data you need to run your business, you’re dependent on the policies—and whims—of the parties that do.” — Internet business 101, The Economist, Babbage – Science and Technology Blog, March 24th, 2011

In business you are always dependent on the policies—and whims— of any supplier with an exclusive supply of the goods you need to run your business. An Apple reseller would need to shut its doors or find another product to sell if Apple decided to sell its products only through Apple Stores.

The Internet is reshaping the way we do business. It is inventing new business models. Nevertheless, it is still business and the fundamentals still apply.