Similarly, in the business world, there’s nothing that so focuses a manager’s mind as knowing that a product or service they’ve spent ages building and fine-tuning will be abandoned in a year or six months. Otherwise, he won’t innovate. He’ll delay. Wait and see. Because abandonment is not what we’re trained to do in the office.
We’re a nation of problem-solvers, fixing what doesn’t work instead of building something new. The reason is simple: Innovation is very hard work. You put in years before you see any quantifiable result. Meanwhile, you’re being compensated for this quarter’s performance. So you put more money and more effort into squeaking a little more juice out of the old product.
Peter Drucker, the management sage observed that the first goal of every company should be “organized abandonment.” Simply put, every two or three years, each company needs to look at every product, service, and policy and see if it still makes sense. Ask yourself: “If we didn’t do this already, would we launch this again? Would we go into it?” If the answer is no, it’s time to start cutting.
Ever since 9-11, every Thanksgiving seems to be more significant than many ones past. Before the Twin Towers attacks, many of us sat at our bountiful feasts and gave heartfelt though half-thought out thankfulness of what we had. No real deep thought into what or why we felt that we were thankful for something. Always our loved ones, but mostly because we love them. But no, so many years later, it still is different. Still, take a look at this nice video of the 2016 Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit:
After the 9-11 attacks, much of that changed, though sometimes it feels like each year has probably had a lesser degree of thoughtfulness, meaning…back to the hum-drum of what we’re actually thankful for. Unless we had family members fighting in the war, sick in a hospital, fighting a terminal disease, or some other recent significant event, we seemed to give it less and less thought.
But is that so? Here we are again. We just recovered from a fierce depression, the worst actually to hit the country since The Great Depression. So, do these events change what we’re truly are thankful for in our lives?
Three designers who are breaking away from the “normal” approach to design are Tom Gyr, Lil Yates, and Philip John Luscombe. Not content with following the crowd and just creating nice pieces, these three are proving that you can be crazier than Beyonce and Britney Spears with hair clippers and still create beautiful and intriguing products with a story behind them.
Product Designer Lil Yates looked towards OCD suffers when designing her latest collection made up of Checking Dice, Checking Stamp, and Symmetry Card. I’m not entirely sure her Checking Dice, designed to aid and reduce any stress suffered by OCD patients, met the needs of her brief.
Inspired by the cult-book The Dice Man, Lil’s dice have been created to show tasks the OCD sufferer must perform, such as check the oven, while the second and third dice determine how many times the task must be completed. Does this help or hinder an OCD sufferer though? Does it add yet more things to be performed every day or control what has to be done?
If the dice do fail the brief and in fact don’t help reduce stress, then they are, in effect, about as useful as an inflatable dartboard. I actually love these products as nice things, however, and believe that they show Lil has earned her.
My uncle passed away last week. I attended his funeral and had the privilege of listening to the eulogy delivered by his son-in-law. It got me thinking….what kind of legacy will I leave behind?
One of the catalysts for me starting volunteer work was this simple reason – leaving a legacy for my children. There’s an older, but still, a fantastic movie called My Life, where Michael Keaton plays a guy who has terminal cancer (1993).
His wife’s pregnant and he decides to videotape himself (make a documentary) so his unborn child can know his father. It’s really an amazing movie. It puts life into perspective and I highly suggest watching it.
At the very least it reminds us that life is short and we all have it pretty good, as long as we’re breathing. I plan on writing a lot about this topic and this is the first installment.Continue reading
In lieu of a post about Citizens Giving something possibly less interesting. Here is part of an interview with Kelly C, a Flint-based volunteer with Citizens Giving. So here’s the Friday Five meme, instead!
1. What would you do right now, if money were not an issue?
I would go on an overseas trip until July, which is when university will start, for me.
2. What would you do for the next three years, if money were not an issue?
Go on overseas trips whenever I could, buy/rent a very nice apartment in the city, employ a personal chef, volunteer the time I would spend working to good causes.
3. What is bringing you the most joy right now that requires little or no money?
Reading and helping other people succeed.
4. What types of things do you find enjoyable that require no money?
Aside from the aforementioned reading and volunteering, I love to play and laugh with my nieces and nephews, daydream, play with my cats, swim at the beach, create new things out of old things, to name but a few.
Community Volunteering is a great way for laid-off managers to support the residents and organizations within their communities. This service is frequently deemed necessary to support senior staff to improve the lives of less privileged individuals in their neighborhoods. In this sort of situations, this more extensive but still cost-effective version of “Outplacement Service” is highly recommended and appreciated.
In Michigan, there are several workshops available (usually covering just a few consecutive days) that provide more in-depth training and coaching for volunteers, such as hands-on support for residents on main fields such as how to prepare a good CV, the application process, networking, pathways onto the employment market, and how to write a good letter. Of course would a copy of ‘Your Career Control System’ need to be included in the package.
These Managerial Outplacement Workshops require a great level of attention, so the groups are generally limited to up to 8 participants and are offered at no cost to former managers and executives who want to dedicate their time to the well-being of their communities.
While the something-for-nothing business model has gone the way of Dionysian launch parties, two Web-based free sampling companies are trying to evolve into full-scale market research firms.
Both FreeSamples.com and StartSampling started their businesses by offering free product samples from their respective websites. But now, both realize that the real value of these offers is the information collected from the people who respond.
In fact, San Francisco-based FreeSamples.com admits it will likely change its name later this year to reflect the work it’s doing in partnership with United Business Media, a media research conglomerate. “The free sampling offer has become an actual hook to incentivize consumers to provide valuable insight,” says former FreeSamples CEO Jeff Malkin, who claims that two surveys sent to more than 200,000 of its sampling customers generated a 40 percent response rate.
That kind of customer data allows FreeSamples to target special offers to very specific consumers. “We’re using the offer to influence the behavior of consumers and result in increased sales,” Malkin says.
When automakers created the franchise dealer network in the 1910s, they believed they had invented a means of passing off enormous inventory costs to an army of salesmen. But as dealers became the sole point of contact with the auto-buying public, Detroit has often regretted the decision.
Today, simply getting a car to the customer adds more than a third to the sticker price. If manufacturers could just cut the dealers out of the picture, they could increase their margins significantly.
When auto shoppers started flocking to the Web to kick virtual tires years ago-8 out of every 10 car shoppers now browse online before making a purchase-carmakers believed they finally found a cost-effective way to make an end-run around the dealers. Nice try.
They ran head-first into a wall of state laws and other regulations that prohibit manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers-rules set in motion by Detroit itself decades ago.
A couple of years ago. high-profile disaster Boo.com exemplifies everything that went dead wrong for dot-coms and the showy London-based urban sportswear site had to fire its employees and liquidate its assets. In a year and a half, Boo’s two Swedish founders had blown through roughly $250 million in venture capital. The spending spree resulted in lots of high technology but no sales.
Boo spent more than $25 million on a pre-launch advertising campaign, then hit the Web six months late. It set up distribution centers in the States and Germany, sprinkled offices around the globe, launched the Website in seven languages, and prayed that its pan-linguistic brand would catch on. It didn’t.
By the summer that followed, New York-based fashion portal fashionmall.com and British technology company Bright Station ultimately came to the rescue. Boo.com never lived again.