The Cult of Apple

Daniel Lyons has more on how the Cult of Apple extends to the press.

It’s All About Execution

So the crying over the Cowboys not making the playoffs has finally stopped here at home and it’s time to take a few lessons from this tragedy. The ‘boys didn’t make the playoff’s because they lacked talent, they are brimming with talent. It wasn’t strategy, head coach Wade Phillips showed that he can build a strong defensive strategy and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is considered a boy wonder off offensive strategy. So what it a lack of teamwork? They sure seemed united as a team for most of the year. Sure there was some sniping at the end but I think that was more a symptom than a cause.

So it must be leadership, right? Isn’t leadership the answer to every organization’s problem? Yet offensively, Romo sure seemed to be a heck of a leader. He shook off his own mistakes and made big plays. He worked to keep the whole offense involved. Defensively, several of leaders emerged, both on the field and off. NFL sack leader DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis come to mind. So if it’s not leadership, what then?

It’s execution. Most companies have talent. Maybe not as much as the Dallas Cowboys but we know that talent isn’t everything. Most companies have a good strategy, if the competition does nothing. Most companies have at non-dysfunctional teams and good, if not great leadership. Most companies also suck at execution.

A lack of execution drives CEO’s nuts more than anything else. The CEO has hire the talent and motivated the team. He’s got a great strategy to crush the competition but nothing happens. The talent and the team just don’t execute.

I see this in lots of companies. People meet, they talk and debate but never go see. Participants discuss but never decide. They come to a half-consensus but no one is willing make a real decision.

Building a culture of execution is the most critical thing a leader can do for their organization.

Layoffs

As I read and hear about layoffs I think about three things. First is Tom Peters seminal Brand You article in Fast Company from ten years ago. Tom’s article is part of what led me to start my Dynamics GP blog. Good ERP consultants are rarely jobless but now I’ve got a much higher national profile in the event of a severe down turn.

Secondly I think about all the great career advice I’ve gotten from Manager Tools. Everything from quarterly resume’ updates to environmental scanning for layoffs to interviewing advices. They’ve never steered me wrong on any significant items.

Finally there was some advice my dad gave me a lot of years ago. I was working as an accountant for an engineer and he said “Remember, engineering firms value engineers, not accountants.” Well now I’m an ERP consultant at an ERP consulting firm. We’re last in line to get laid off and first in line to get picked up by someone else. Thanks for the advice Dad!

ebook Vendors Are Doing It all Wrong

ebook vendors have it all wrong. Everyone is selling books the old
fashioned way, one book at a time with newer “hardback” books being
more expensive. QUIT SELLING BOOKS! Adopt the Netflix model for heaven
sake. Let me pay $15 a month for x number of ebooks at a time.

I read a lot of books, 2-3 a week on average. I read a lot of library books because 2-3 books a week is an expensive habit and if I bought them all it would eat into my food, clothing and shelter addictions. I read some ebooks, mostly with ereader, and would like to read more that way. I love the portability when I’m on the road but ebooks are essentially the same price as regular books so that expensive habit is still a problem. We’ll leave the economics of why that makes no sense alone for now.

The big ebook vendors in my mind are Sony and Amazon, both focused on proprietary devices, the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle respectively, along with a host of multi-device vendors. Of those, I find ereader to be the best by far. ereader is striving to be on any platform they can, including the iPhone which is another reason I include them here.

With Netflix, a movie is consumed in roughly 2 hours. Netflix works because the cost of shipping is low for DVD’s. It wouldn’t work with bulky cassette tapes. Other folks have adopted this model for physical books but the shipping costs make it prohibitively expensive for both the vendor and the end user. Shipping costs are eliminated for ebooks.

There are very few books that I want to read that I can consume in 2 hours. So the hold period for books should be even longer than it is for DVD’s. All the vendors need is a mechanism to check out and return books.

The beauty of this is that the Digital Rights Management is already in place for ebooks and no one is complaining about it. After all, I might loan a physical book to a friend but I wouldn’t cut up the book,  put it on the copier and make a copy so my friend can have one. Buy you’re own freakin’ book. We already think about books differently than we do music or video so publishers get lots of protection on this one already.

The beauty of ereader’s DRM is that is uses the credit card number used at purchase to unlock the book. You might share that with your spouse but you’re sure not putting it on the internet!

Sony and Amazon are taking the Apple route, proprietary device with an “app store”. ereader and others are taking a more device generic approach but they are still selling books. I will consume considerably more ebooks when I can rent them, not buy them.

NBC: "We Have So Few Ideas, We’re Giving 10pm to Leno

How bad is at NBC that it looks like they are giving the 10pm eastern time slot to Leno, every weeknight? So I guess there is not much on NBC’s creative plate. If Leno doesn’t work what’s next, reruns of Friends and Seinfeld?