Joe Kraus, who among other things founded Excite, has a new blog called Bnoopy where he recently highlighted three cost differences between starting a technology company in 1993 compared with 2004:
I am re-reading the classic articles from the Harvard Business Review, and the 1975 article by Henry Mintzberg titled The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact is not only as relevant as ever, but in the light of developments in using social tools in the workspace, Mintzberg seems to be advocating corporate blogging:
I have an interest in social software in the enterprise - the use of tools like blogs, wikis, document management, rss, communities, discussion boards, and so on within large organisations to foster “bottom up” knowledge management, collaboration, etc.
Geoffrey A. Moore has an important article in the July-August 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Articulating and systematising what we probably already understand at some level, Mr. Moore proposes a taxonomy of innovation and reminds us how different types of innovation are relevant at different stages of the market lifecycle from disruptive innovation in the early markets through to structural innovation near the end of life of the market for a particular product or service offering. The article also provides a useful summary of the type of leader best associated with each type of innovation.
I proposed a slightly provocative definition of social software when we were discussing it at the July 2004 London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise.
A common activity when we work with start-up companies is to help them discover what business they are in. It may sound surprising to people who are not entrepreneurs themselves or who have not worked closely with management of young companies that this should be needed. Surely why you are in business should be pretty obvious?
“We like to think that we hire mostly above-average people with above-average skills and motivation. We know that our future as a company depends on our ability to continuously innovate and stay one step ahead of the competition. How can we best encourage creativity and risk-taking within our organization and how can we be much more effective at initiating and executing changes initiatives?”
Sometimes the shortest route is a long one. I am still a little dubious about some of the social networking sites out there, but one thing I find absolutely fascinating is the insights they can give into how human networks and relationships really work.
I have seen the future of business process outsourcing (BPO) to India and other large, low-cost areas, and it is very different from what the current promoters would like you to believe. The future is not to get a consultancy to run your business for you, in your country or abroad, but to get a business like yours to run some of your operations from a lower cost base in a partnership model that also give you access to the foreign markets. The ICICI Prudential partnership in India is an example of how to do this.
The last thing IBM needs now is a vision.
Lou Gerstner, CEO IBM, August 1993
When Lou Gerstner joined IBM as its new CEO, he famously quipped that "the last thing IBM needs now is a vision". Four or five years later, the company announced a new vision symbolized by the letter “e” and backed by a huge advertising campaign. Four or five years after that we were told, again through a massive advertising campaign that is still with us, that the company's vision was expressed in the “On Demand” tag line.