“Don’t be evil”. If the EU’s case is accurate, Google doesn’t seem to have stuck closely enough to the core principle it has publicly and internally espoused since 2000. In case you’ve been on vacation or asleep for the past week or so and have not heard the news, on June 27th Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s anti-trust commissioner, announced via press release a record €2.42 bn. ($2.8 bn.) fine against Google for abusing its market dominance in search by manipulating search results to favor its comparison shopping service over those of competitors such as Nextag, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, and Shopzilla, as well as smaller sites like Kelkoo and Foundem that appear to have suffered greatly from Google’s alleged abuse while Google’s shopping service has reportedly grown as much as 45-fold in market share in the past three years or so.
Earlier this month an article in the Financial Times by John Thornhill, the paper’s innovation editor, caught my attention. Thornhill was relaying an intriguing set of ideas expressed by the authors of a new book, What To Do When Machines Do Everything?
Before discussing the future impact of today’s unfolding industrial innovations such as driverless cars, robotic surgery, precision agriculture, or automated beer service (as in the photo above), the three authors – Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring – make their first key point, citing the example of an early 19th century innovation that enabled an entire industry that generates $620bn. in annual revenues today. What could this invention have been – The steam engine? The airplane? The sewing machine? Or maybe the telephone? Theoretically, you might expect not be too far off with any one of these answers, but in fact the invention in question was … the lawnmower.
I’m going to use Slack as a study of how a well-funded unicorn that has done extremely well with SMB customers can advance its chances of success with enterprise customers despite the heft wielded by large incumbents such as Microsoft and Google. What I hope to illustrate is the importance for executive teams to understand the different strategies and “muscles” required to Play for Power (i.e., achieve dominance in selected target markets) alongside what they have to do on a daily basis, which is to play for Performance (i.e., make their numbers). For lack of a suitable mental model and corresponding KPIs, boards, CEOs and management teams tend to conflate these two goals. Doing so can be extremely costly in terms of misplaced investments and failed growth initiatives.
For the past few years I’ve been researching the marketplace and advising clients how to organize their resources effectively to ensure client success and thus succeed in expanding adoption and engagement after first landing a new customer. Progress has been made by some, but in general companies still fall far short of what most enterprise customers consider to be minimum expectations, and thus far short in terms of the expand benefit that could accrue to vendors. Why should this be?
Why Internet Companies Need to Stop Abrogating Their Responsibilities
- For some time now, and especially since the November elections, Facebook has come under pressure to own up to its role as a news publisher.
- As with Google, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb, and many other consumer internet businesses, company executives such as Zuckerberg like to affirm that they are no more than “technology platforms”; presumably they feel that this somehow frees them of responsibility for any undesirable content that appears on their sites – or in the case of Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit and others, from an obligation to observe normal regulations, pay local and state taxes, treat workers as employees, etc.
- The frequent appearance of fake news items, much of it offensive in nature, as well as other adverse occurrences on different sites, is quickly forcing these companies to take measures to clean up their act. But will they go far enough?
By David Schneer
In his recent post Paul Wiefels of the Chasm Group blogged about the business lessons we can learn from the segmentation models utilized by the DNC and RNC in the recent presidential election. Paul’s blog correctly pointed out that the RNC concentrated on the segment they thought they could win: rural white men. To use an unpopular gun analogy, this is the “rifle” approach compared to the “shotgun” approach. And, unfortunately, many of our clients use the shotgun approach in their marketing efforts, thinking that the spray of their message will hit more ears and/or eyes, when it actually falls on deaf ears and blind eyes. Segmentation is a very powerful tool, if used correctly. Segmentation can often identify the “low-hanging fruit” (i.e., market segments ripe to hear and react to your message).
By Paul Wiefels
A few thoughts on what is to be learned from this past presidential election and how it might apply to our commercial endeavors. Political analysts of every persuasion have been in full-throat over these past weeks parsing the numbers. 62+ million people voted for Mr. Trump garnering 306 electoral votes. 64+ million opted for Mrs. Clinton tallying 232. Discouragingly, only 55% of registered voters actually voted. Perhaps this is understandable considering the one, perhaps only, metric that pollsters apparently got right. For many, the two names at the top of the 2016 ticket were so undesirable, so flawed, that they chose not to vote for president at all. They instead focused on down-ballot races. In 14 states, more people voted for the senate races than voted for the presidency (ref: Business Insider, Nov 14, 2016).
But, there is also another element to this election that intrigues me. Here’s why.
(San Bruno, CA Nov. 16, 2016) Technology market research specialist Merrill Research today announced an alliance with the Chasm Group, Silicon Valley’s leading management consultancy co-founded by and based on the works of Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm.
In crowded and noisy markets for technology products, many enterprises of all sizes maintain go-to-market efforts that are inadequately informed by direct customer insights. Our collective experience over the past 20+ years is that these efforts often fall short in addressing underlying issues in strategy and execution, according to Chasm Group managing director, Paul Wiefels.
- The concept of a strategic pivot was first popularized five years or so ago in Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup and subsequently by Steve Blank and other entrepreneurs and academics.
- Since then, it’s become another abused term for entrepreneurs, management teams, and VCs to use when announcing a dramatic change of strategy in their business or portfolio company.
- Instead of executing legitimate pivots based on solid ground, many companies get sucked into a pattern of flailing wildly – making deep divots in the fairway rather than hitting a successful shot, to borrow the golf analogy.(*)
- Getting this distinction right matters: it can be the difference between success and failure – whether a young startup digs a hole in the fairway or a more mature company whiffs at the ball when they try to increase customer adoption and revenues. I’ll review examples of successes and failures and provide rules of thumb to help you tell the difference.
Vital Lessons on Hyper-Growth from Splunk’s former CEO
At a recent session in San Francisco for a dozen CEOs of young tech companies in the investment portfolio of UK and New York based Octopus Ventures, Godfrey Sullivan, chairman and former CEO of Splunk, provided the group with some powerful insights about how he and his team managed to drive Splunk’s growth from $10m. in revenue in 2008, when he began in the company as CEO, to its current run-rate closing in on $1bn. eight years later. This period included a 2012 IPO that has turned Splunk into probably the single most successful big data public company with a valuation of $8bn. as of October 7. During the eight years the customer base grew from 750 to over 10,000 and today Splunk is an acknowledged leader in big data analytics, security, and internet of things (IoT) applications.