The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Enterprise SaaS Companies

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Yes, another of those “keys to success” articles. I’m even using the magic number 7, as so many how-to books and articles have done in the past in emulation of Stephen Covey, whose wildly successful Seven Habits books have influenced millions of readers including myself. I hope Covey wouldn’t have minded the implied tribute here, along with so many others over the years.


Superbowl 2018 Advertisements: “What Was That About?”

What was that about

By Paul Wiefels

Decades ago, FCC chairman Newton Minow described American commercial television as “…a vast wasteland.” He could have been talking about yesterday’s Superbowl. Not the game, mind you. It was superb from kickoff to the final second. No, this year it was the advertising, much of it an exercise in mendacity, mediocrity, and banality. Then there was Justin Timberlake, who the LA Times described as having nothing to say which he said over and over. It’s also an apt description for this year’s commercial efforts.

Can Japan Capture the Next Technology Wave?

   Michael Eckhardt — Managing Director, Chasm Institute


Japan has historically excelled at world class manufacturing.  It’s a hardly disputed fact that no other country matches this amazing capability.  Manufacturing lends itself to incremental improvement through quality principles like kaizen, decentralized shop floor decision-making, and keiretsu-based value chains … manufacturing traits embraced and optimized by Japan’s large companies. However, what worked exceptionally well from 1970-1989 in driving Japan’s economic miracle and prosperity faltered with the bursting of the “Nikkei Bubble” in 1990.  What happened?


Was the EU Right to Penalize Google?

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“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,, 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.


AI and Industrial Automation: Don’t Count the Incumbents Out!

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Industrial Automation


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.


Can Slack Fend off the Giants to Succeed in the Enterprise?

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10-minute read

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.


Land & Expand Strategy: Time to Get Serious about Customer Success!

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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?


Facebook – Technology Platform or News Publisher?

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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?


Segmentation and the Art of Target Marketing


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).


Segmentation and the Hard Lesson of Elections


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.