Category Archives: business

Scot Galloway’s 2019 Predictions

Scott Galloway is a professor of marketing at  NYU Perhaps more than that, he is a media personality. Each year, Scott offers a set of predictions about business and tech that reflect a deep appreciation and sometimes understanding of meta trends.

What about 2019? Here is Scott — go for it!


Would You Dare Go Solo?

Over my adult working years, I have very rarely worked with solo entrepreneurs. Those few folks were very lucky people. They were so good at what they offered, that lots of clients came to them. All they had to do was schedule stuff and send out invoices.

Again — this is no the norm.

The norm is that we connect to institutions to make money. We either get a job, or we try to start up a company that will scale. So we are either bossed around or boss others around. This is  understandable given where we are in history. Over the last century, the motto was “bigger is better”. By definition, going solo is smaller – not recommended.

But times are changing. These days,, bigger is not necessarily better for lots of reasons. First, there is more value added potential learning. And individuals can learn faster on their own or in small groups. Second, markets change faster, and Individuals can adapt faster than groups can. Interesting.

So it makes sense that more smart people will be thinking about going solo. And that may be a trend. Forbes has the story.

The Demise of Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley has become an amazing brand. Everyone who is anyone in the tech world either has offices there or visits there. The places is loaded with heavy hitters. It has seen so much success, you get weird stuff like a $25 cup of coffee at conventions.

But … that is not a guarantee of ongoing success. What could go wrong? Simple. Silicon Valley succeeds in one main area — software based enterprise development. It has a wonderful model to turn software based ideas into profit making firms. And as the computer capacity has grown steadily over the years, one could do more and more with software. But what if we are reaching the end of the road on growing computer capacity? What if Moore’s Law no longer applies?

That appears to be happening. It is getting harder and harder to squeeze more good stuff on chips. And if the future is not in ever faster computing, we may need to re-think our business models. Translation: the business model that Silicon Valley has used needs to adjust.

Silicon Valley folks may realize this and adapt. And they may not. That will be one of the more interesting stories of the 2020’s. But for the rest of us, it poses some interesting new possibilities. Why? Because the preferred mode of doing business in this new era is based on collaboration. And if we can figure out that business model, we can play ball with the big boys in the tech world.

Stay tuned!

Memory Lane: How did Web Business Get Going?

It is strange to think of this as “history”. I can remember when it was just a lot of talk. When using the internet mean using “Gopher”. When you might be tempted to buy a book called “Internet for Dummies”.  When some people got upset that the web started to commercialize web traffic. When Google started its ad business.

So how did all of that happen?  Watching the video that Fred Wilson put together to tell that story reminds me of stories of the early automobile industry.  Bottom line: Three things pushed everything forward

  • it seemed like fun. A brave new world where anything seemed possible
  • there was a lot of trial and error. No one really knew what they were doing.
  • the folks who were pushing things forward shared learning. They had to. No single person was going to make this industry work.

Compared to that, the web based industry looks pretty corporate today. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc, no longer act like start ups. And that is ok.

But it leaves one wondering. Where is tomorrow’s fun getting started?

Ready to Innovate?

We are told that the pace of change is accelerating. What does that actually mean? There are two ways of looking at it.

It might mean that one must react faster to change. Be ready to adapt to things, rather than sit back and watch the world go by. Sit back too long, and the world will have gone by.

Or it might mean that one should be part of the change. Participate in finding better solutions to problems.

When I was a young lawyer working in Philadelphia, I had the first mentality. I was on the lookout for new things, and when they arrived, I adapted.  But as time has gone by, I have become more interested in the second mentality. That has sparked my interest in the word “innovation”.

It is a word that we use a lot but don”t understand very well Steve Blank brings out why. The institutions that we work in are geared to do things the same way — to eliminate deviation from standards. In that type of culture, we are less free to produce change.

But this is changing too. New types of organizations re developing that are change agents. They use an “innovation model” to add value in relationships with people and organizations by helping change culture.

Slaughter & May is a law firm in England that has caught that bug. Here is their “Innovation Report”. It is not really about law or legal advice. It is about moving from adaptive to creating change.

Go for it!

What Happened to Facebook?

I thought that this quote from Emily Bell gives a key insight to how things went south at Facebook

Because Facebook still sees itself as an engineering company, its internal organization is not attuned to the daily risks of publishing. The crisis at Facebook resides in its backward-looking attitude to technology; seeing it is a neutral vector for commerce rather than a potent cultural intervention.

Here is the source.

It pays to go green!

This is a pretty remarkable bit of data (from Forbes)

A dollar invested two decades ago in a select portfolio of public companies focused exclusively on growing their businesses would be worth about $14 today, according to a study by the Harvard Business School. But if that dollar had instead been invested in a portfolio of companies that focused on important environmental and social issues – along with growing their businesses – it would now be worth more than $28.

Going green is not just for tree huggers. The fact is that tech upgrades enable companies to reduce costs and build better products causing less environmental harm.