Tesla: Lessons in Strategy and Governance


By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC

An awful lot has been written about Elon Musk and Tesla in recent months from the now-notorious Q2 earnings call to the just-ended “going private” fiasco. Even more remains to be written about the daunting production and business challenges confronting Tesla and its mercurial CEO, Elon Musk, as the company seeks a way of rebuilding trust with investors.

How Much is Too Much?

How much is too much

By Paul Wiefels, Managing Director, Chasm Group LLC

During the past 10 years, Marketing technology (“Martech”) applications have become numerous; so numerous that the “Martech 5000” now comprises 7000+ entrants. Dr. Philip Kotler of Northwestern University defines marketing as “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at profit.” Are marketers at risk of focusing so much on the mechanization of the process such that the actual art of the discipline – the craft – is lost along the way?


Land & Expand Meets Customer Success – Three Key Gaps to Fill



By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC


Despite considerable fanfare around the concept of customer success, in most tech companies CS is still in its infancy as a strategy and an organizing principle. During five years or so of field research and experience with Saas companies, I’ve identified at least three critical gaps which today inhibit the effectiveness of most companies to align with their customers’ target outcomes and thus maximize their growth.


The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Enterprise SaaS Companies


By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC

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?


By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC

“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.


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

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?


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.