Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Relevance Not Rigor

In today’s marketplace, the smartest companies do not out-produce the competition, but outthink them

Trends offer early warnings and opportunities across all industries, Lets look at two tech trends for 2016

  1. Bots - These are Software Applications that run automated tasks. 2016 will bring a host of creative bots that will supercharge our productivity, keep us company, and help us track what others are doing. You will also have the opportunity to program them yourself from your mobile phone.
  • News Organizations can use bots to sort and tag articles in real time. We’ll see advanced
  • Stock Markets can manipulating social media and stocks simultaneously.
  • Intelligence Community can deploy bots for surveillance and digital diplomacy.
  • HR Managers can use bots to train employees and help automate meetings and status updates, saving time and increasing productivity.

     2.  Quantum Computing - Quantum computers can solve problems that are computationally too     difficult for a classical computer, which can only process information in 1s and 0s. In quantum physics, those 1 and 0 bytes can exist in two states (qubits) at once, allowing computations to be performed in parallel.
  • IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Google and D-Wave, are researching on how to advance and commercialize the technology
  • The National Security Agency is predicting that the current cryptography will be rendered obsolete once quantum computers goes public.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Fun New Year

See you at the Thinking Top

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Consequences of the Unknown

"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got." 
- Walter Cronkite

In a time where the half-life of any skill is about five years and leaders bear a responsibility of constant learning in order to secure the relevance of their organizations.

These organizations are fearful of being vulnerable to an unknown future, for instance the
militaries have long suffered from the consequences of the unknown. In World War II nearly every military cracked the communications of their enemy. However, each service continued to believe in the invulnerability of their own signals despite the fact they had broken those of their opponents. Consequently the battle was lost

Increasingly organizations requires searchlight intelligence; That is, the ability to connect the dots
between people and ideas giving them an informed perspective in order to anticipate accurately and succeed in the emerging future.

But how can business leaders stay relevant on a playing field that is constantly changing?
The best way to predict the future is to create it:
  • Technology that extends security, people want to be safe at home. For instance, Microsoft and SmartLabs have introduced a kit that allows people to remotely control motion sensors and surveillance cameras at home using the Internet Protocol. Basically, they can monitor their homes from anywhere. Google’s Nest and Apple’s HomeKit are also working on similar technologies
  • People are interested in data that give vitals about themselves with simple dashboard analytics to understand this data. We want to know how we compare to others—in terms of emotional intelligence, sleep patterns, Body Mass Index, etc. Self-quantification is one of the most avidly downloaded IoT applications while wristbands with embedded sensors and software, are among the Internet-enabled consumer products that have taken off the fastest.
  • Services that optimize our machines, connected devices can be optimized to save people time and money. There are new products that can automatically adjust air-conditioners, heaters, and other devices that use electricity, depending on when people are more likely to need them.  General Electric, Whirlpool and startups like Chai Energy—suggest that rising supply will lead to greater demand.
In business, the skill to success is still in the domain of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, of weighing decisions, of collaboration and in trust – qualities that are utterly different from the machine logic of networked sensors and processors we create.

See You at the Top

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Brilliance of Bad Economics

“when management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”
----------Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffet

While it's clear the status quo would not hold in a marketplace where more of what we do and experience is digitalized, there is little evidence out there on which kinds of technology
and business changes will bring success. We have to disrupt ourselves before the market does.

For instance, in a study on the digital maturity of French companies; six in ten French people shopped online while only one in 10 French companies sold
online that same year. This gap means that, for most organizations, the consumers digital maturity offers significant untapped potential.

A research by Interim Partners found that a third of senior insurance professionals felt that spending more on technology would have the greatest effect on
boosting their company’s profitability, while 21 per cent said that investing in new staff to develop new products should be top of the agenda. This compared
with just 6 per cent who thought that increasing margins by raising average premiums was the key to boosting revenues.

In some cases, companies’ competitive advantage have enabled them to survive multiple technology disruptions and industry shifts over time, making their founders some of richest
people in the world: think Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, and Larry Ellison.

Steve Kaplan’s found that 50% of venture capital investors described the management team as the most important factor at the business plan stage, this emphasis had dropped remarkably
by the IPO stage in favour of non-human assets — i.e., their competitive advantage —

The implications: first choose the right industry and company, then pick the right management. If the managers don’t perform, they can be replaced much more easily than the
basic business idea or industry.

See You at The Top

Get the Resale Rights to the Top Digital Products:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Entrepreneurial Power of Good Fortune

The Sun, the Soil, the Rabbit and the Farmer

Success follows a predictable course, it is not the brightest who succeed.
Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is rather, a gift. The successful are those who have been given opportunities and who have the strength and presence of mind to seize them.

Lets look at the "Ecology of Organism": the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the best acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling and no farmer cut it down before it matured.

To be successful we already know about been good at what we do;
But what do we know about the sunlight, the soil, the rabbit and the farmer all around us?

For the Beatles - it was in Hamburg, Germany; given stage access with a club band, seven days a week, 10 hours a night
For Bill Gate - given the gift of a computer, unlimited access to a time sharing terminal in 1968 at age 13
For Mozart - it was his fathers compositions, he started writing music at six.

According to Daniel Letvitin, it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field.

The Entrepreneur's above were all given that opportunity for free

That does not mean that they were not brilliant entrepreneur's in their own right, it just means they benefited from the power of good fortune earlier than their competition.

For Donald Trump...........

Donate and get a Free Book (Best Seller)

See You at The Top

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Discovery of the Shared Economy

“If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.”-----Enrico Fermi

Innovators and creators avoid best practices and rules, they enable companies to experiment, iterate, adapt and evolve at the required pace. They don’t filter their visions through the judgments of others.
Innovation for them, is a form of disobedience; they revel in the uncertainty and unpredictability of creating solutions.

Innovators can be terrifically disruptive, depending on the institutional, entrepreneurial, and social contexts in which they act.

In emerging markets, labor’s share of GDP is declining in 42 out of 59 countries,
including China, Mexico and India. Diminishing wages can only lead to greater inequality and global instability.These are areas with 90% of the world’s population, higher birth rates and more young people.

In developed markets the labor's contribution to the GDP is stagnant including the US, UK and Germany. Creativity and Innovation is of immediate necessity.

The smart way is to facilitate collaboration by leveraging assets, resources, and expertise outside immediate sphere of control. This collaboration can be transformative with disruptive power filtering through every sector of the economy.

This “shared economy” – featuring many instances of peer-to-peer coordination of the use of assets — to contribute excess capacity for greater socio-economic impact.

See You at the Top

Monday, July 20, 2015

Data Driven Innovation

Few ever live in the present, we are forever anticipating what has gone........Emmanuel Sodipo

Executives should take broader approach to finding the best markets for their business.

They need to combine available data and forecasts with a thorough qualitative analysis that looks at the live operation of their products and the operating environment of each market.

As the conventional products become increasingly smart and connected, relationships with customers are becoming ever more service-based and open ended.

Thus, digital leaders must effectively change the interaction model with customers from the infrequent and random encounters in the analog world to targeted digital business "moment exploitation"  For instance; A store customer meets a sales rep with no knowledge of prior purchases or the information collection process to an online customer who receives personal and updated offers or service that take online interactions, previous purchases and digital product usage into considerations

Companies today are on a journey of improved digitisation; this means advancing from simply overlaying digital functionality on existing offerings to learning the customer context via connected products and services and adapting them to meet customer needs.

As companies begins to transition from just collecting data on their products for future modification to "in context" data exchange. It is time to drive Innovation across different industry verticals.

Here are Great Examples:

Cars in the Cloud- Having access to data from cars on the road can begin to initiate repairs, software updates and self driving functionalities. check out Ford(Sync), GM(Onstar), Ford(OpenXC), Android(Auto), Apple(CarPlay) 

Digital Homes- Smart gadgets can begin to learn home dweller's living habits for optimum home convenience thermostat can adjust heating and air-conditioning, when it sense smoke in a room it can switch on the camera for insurance purposes and send a message to the fire service.
Check out Nest(Brillo), Apple(HomeKit) and Amazon(Echo)  

See You at the Top

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Case Study: Selling Philosophy

The Container Store tries to astonish customers by exceeding their expectations.

Below is the Container Store’s selling philosophy.

 Imagine a man lost in the desert. He’s been wandering for weeks. He stumbles across an oasis, where he’s offered a glass of water, because surely he must be thirsty. But if you stop to think about what he’s experienced and what his needs really are, you know that he needs more than just water. He needs food, a comfortable place to sleep, a phone to call his wife and family, maybe a pair of shoes and a hat to screen the sun’s rays.

When a customer comes to the store looking for shoe storage, for example, we equate her to a Man in a Desert,“ ” in desperate need of a complete solution (not just a drink of water). We start asking questions about what her needs are. How many shoes do you have? How many shoes do you have? If shoes are a big problem for you, how does the rest of the closet function? By anticipating her needs, we know that she needs an organization plan – a complete solution - for her entire closet.

Most retailers are pleased with helping her find a shoe rack – that glass of water - but not at The Container Store. They don’t just stop with the obvious they provide a complete solution.

The Man in the Desert selling philosophy has been key to achieving one of the main goals of having customers happy in their organized closet, pantry, home office, etc., because they are so delighted and thrilled with the complete solution provided to them.”

But no matter how cleverly you articulate your values, vision, and mission, the absolute number-one thing you must do is repeat, repeat and repeat the message until every employee can voice, deliver and own the company’s values, vision, and mission.

See You at the Top

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Strategic Persuasion

Together we can win.......................

When it comes persuasion and social media, today’s CEOs have made a remarkable transition over the past five years. A recent analysis by Weber Shandwick, found that 80% of the chief executive officers of the world’s 50 largest companies are engaged online and on social media. CEO sociability has doubled since they began tracking the social activities of chief executives in 2010, when only 36% of CEOs were social.

CEOs are considered “social” if he or she does at least one of the following: has a public and verifiable social network account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Weibo, or Mixi; engages on the company website through messages, pictures, or video; appears in a video on the company YouTube or YouKu channel; or authors an external blog.

It is also important to be strategic about how and where you apply your persuasion techniques. You may need to create powermaps, which identifies who the relevant decision maker was on an issue, who they listened to for advice, and how close you are to those advisers.

The goal is to create an “echo chamber” effect, in which – even if you couldn’t reach the target directly – you could ensure that they would hear about your proposition favourably and from a variety of sources.

Power-mapping is a highly targeted form of influence that can enable you to bypass objections on any subject.

Finally Creating original content is the single most effective way to develop a strategic persuasive reputation. In just an hour or two a week/month, you can begin to demonstrate how you think about the issues facing your field and sharing your unique point of view. Your content creation sparks a virtuous circle: because independent reporters are likely to reinforcing your expert reputation with third-party validation.

See You at the Top

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Artificial Intelligence in Business

I will go anywhere as long as it is forward. – David Livingston

The mining of digitized information has become more effective and powerful as more info is "tagged" and as analytics engines have gotten smarter and capable of learning, we can now analyze "unstructured" data, such as text and video, to pick up information on cusumer sentiment. For example, companies can now use analytics to decide which sales representatives should get which leads, what time of day to contact a customer, and whether they should e-mail them, text them, or call them.

Global Financial Services Leader at The Watson Group have 45 innovative companies /clients working mostly on three applications:

(1) digital virtual agent; that enables banks and insurance companies to engage their customers in a new, personalized way,

(2) wealth advisor; that enables financial planning and wealth management, either for self-service or in combination with a financial advisor

(3) risk and compliance management.

The Enhanced Virtual Assistant, or Eva, enables you do 200 transactions by just talking, including transferring money and paying bills.

What does it all mean for the future of Artificial Intelligence?

Adding more intelligence into business processes and applications

Friday, March 06, 2015

Facts behind Successful Business

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain

  • Data is a strategy – and we need to start thinking about it as one. It should adhere to the same competitive standards as other business strategies. Data monopolists’ like Google ability to block competitors from entering the market is not markedly different from that of the oil monopolist Standard Oil or the technollogist monopolist Intel.

  • Bezos periodically leaves one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, 'the most important person in the room.'" In his efforts to build such a customer-centric company, you might not be surprised to find that Bezos expects all employees to be able to interact with customers.

  • Your bio as a marketing tool for your business and for your career. If you speak, link to your booking page. If you offer an online course, link to that too. It would be a waste to have someone read your bio and not become a potential customer. Not more than two calls to action on your bio or it would be a hard sell. You also want to save the calls for the most important clicks.

  • Change the structure of the meeting from individuals reporting their own performance and successes to collaborative problem solving, where the leader or a member of the team brings a topic for group discussion. The importance of this exercise is that team members begin to see their peers as a rich source of advice — one that they might not have gone to before. This type of collaborative problem solving usually yields better decisions

  • What can a network do for you? It can keep you informed. Teach you new things. Make you more innovative. Give you a sounding board to flesh out your ideas. When it comes to stepping up to leadership, your network is a tool for identifying new strategic opportunities and attracting the best people to them. It protects you from being clueless about the political dynamics and offers you the best way to change your environment. Your network is also what puts you on the radar screen of people who control your next assignment. In a nutshell your network is your Net Worth.

      • Your exit strategy; while Coke stock price has only appreciated 2% annually since 1998, Buffett could care less. He continues to "hold" on to his 400 million shares of Coke for one reason...It generates $122 million dollars in dividend income for his firm each quarter. This was his "exit strategy" for this investment all along: Perpetual dividend income. His cost basis for those shares (bought between 1988 – 1994) is $1.29 billion dollars. which means he currently earns a 37.5% cash flow return on this investment, year after year.

      With these FACTs I hope to see YOU at the TOP

      Sunday, February 01, 2015

      Business Transformation

      My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week with an emphasis on cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies----Mark Zuckerberg

      The truth is that just being a member of an organization is a political act. And we must influence people at work all the time. In healthy organizations, we "get" power, or we are granted power, by virtue of our ability to inspire and provide vision.

      That brings us to "change" versus "transformation."

      Many executives don’t realize that the two are not the same;
      "Change management" means implementing finite initiatives, which may or may not cut across the organization. The focus is on executing a well-defined shift in the way things work.

      Transformation unlike change management focuses on a portfolio of initiatives, which are interdependent or intersecting. More importantly, the overall goal of transformation is not just to execute a defined change — but to reinvent the organization and discover a new or revised business model based on a vision for the future.

      Transformation is much more unpredictable, iterative, and experimental. It entails much higher risk. And even if successful change management leads to the execution of certain initiatives within the transformation portfolio, the overall transformation could still fail.

      Steve Jobs was successful with the transformation of Apple to be the most valuable company while Tim Cook has been a great custodian of change management (just look at the unprecedented figures last quarter of 2014 - 18billions dollars)

      That brings us to "C-level" versus "Executive"

      When looking to hire a new CEO, corporate boards of directors are increasingly bypassing C-level and appointing less seasoned leaders.
      Boards are seeking Executives who understand signals in today’s unpredictable environment. All too often, C-levels are overly focused on internal issues and opt to invest in familiar opportunities rather than taking bold risks.

      Executives who embrace disruptive technologies and digital media;

      Proven record of innovation

      Confident global citizens,

      Ability to operate in developed, emerging, and frontier markets and lead across diverse cultures

      An acute understanding of shifting demographics in their customer base

      Adaptive leadership traits, such as exceptional curiosity, open-mindedness, and the courage to act.
      The board also continues to ensure the success of the executive by establishing a clear transition process for the assuming CEO role. A fast-track CEO succession should be the product of a deliberate strategy and not of desperation.

      But quite frankly anyone who understands the dynamics of unfamiliar regulatory pressures, industry consolidation, complex emerging technologies, or changing consumer behavior deserves a shot at the title

      Boards should still look for chiefs with the traditional attributes of intelligence, integrity, and stamina—traits that have defined great executives for decades.

      Saturday, January 17, 2015

      The Grooming of a Business Leader

      "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." --------- Barack Obama

      "One is too small to achieve greatness, as the challenge escalates there is need for Team work--- John Maxwell.

      Leadership carries a lot of responsibily not just for me but also for my staff, our employees livelihoods are dependent my decisions and any bad strategy on my part can affect a lot of lives.
      In my company there are four key results areas as a leader:
      Planning, staffing, delegating and measuring

      Planning- Our company can grow in either of these three ways; increasing no of customers,
      increasing the value of each product or increasing the number of repeat business.
      By planning I grow the business each year by increasing the number of customers 20%, increasing our backend by 20% and adding 20% value to our existing products.

      With proper planning I organise my thinking, identify my weakness, save on time and focus my strenghts and budget on the three core objectives.
      Staffing- when recruiting I seek employees that suit the business style which makes management a lot easier. I often seek creative people, because creative people rarely need to be motivated; they have an inner drive that refuses to be stopped, they refuse to be complacent, they take risk which is what the business needs to be competent and successful.

      Delegating- Pareto principle states the 80-20 rule. 20 % of what I do account for 80% of the result I get. I delegate anything that I find boring or where my performance score is less than the
      best in any area of the business, often times what I find boring is a pleasure to others and over
      time become more proficient at performing those task.

      Measuring- I believe assumption is a sign of laziness, I measure everything, from marketing results,
      to staff performance, to customers satisfaction and even to the most profitable products.

      Quantifying these results is the only way I can optimize assets and improve performance.

      Excerpt from my forthcoming book " The Leaders Mask"

      See You at the Top