In The Langoliers by Stephen King, a plane flies through a strange wave of light and ends up landing at a deserted airport. Suddenly, strange creatures start consuming everything, including the ground. They surmise that they have somehow flown just slightly into the past, and the creatures are destroying the present. Once the Langoliers are…
Time to fight the bloat
Did you know that FOMO has been around since the 16th century?
Back in 1525, Erasmus, among many others, opined that due to the printing press, that there were just too many books to read — that one could never read all of the books out there in one’s lifetime.
A common refrain that I hear from individuals at some of the companies that we’ve worked with in the past (and some prospects who ultimately decide not to work with us) is that we are experts at generating ideas, but most of those ideas simply do not have a business model – which is, of course, a fancy way of saying “we can’t figure out how to make any money with this idea”.
It’s In Your Pocket
I was a fan of Last Man Standing before it was canceled and during a recent binge watch there was an interesting scene of a neighbor couple bickering over a smartphone – they were sitting at the kitchen table and the husband was looking at a cell phone and the wife was talking, or at least trying to talk to him. She saw him looking at his phone and said: “Are you finding that phone more interesting than me?” He started to explain that the smartphone was the window to all of the world’s information, entertainment and people, saw the look on her face, then put the phone down.
To Be Successful, You Need Both These Attributes In Equal Measure
If you look at most of the successful startups (and internal innovation programs) throughout history, you’ll note a trend – there are usually two or more partner founders (or intrapreneurs) right there at the beginning (although eBay is a notable difference). Additionally, these partners need to have specific traits, typically one is the more extroverted sales type, and the other is the more introverted engineering type, even though there are those who have both of those skill sets.
Prior to the widespread adoption of the web and the internet, I used to run something called a Bulletin Board System (BBS), where we would use phone lines to communicate on message boards. Every so often, our message boards would call each other and exchange messages, thus allowing us to communicate (this was in a time when long distance calls actually cost money, so the updates sometimes only happened once a day).
Ah, failure. Are there still people out there who feel that it is a bad thing? I know of very few cases where, barring a life and death struggle, failure does not produce a positive effect. Failure does teach, and it teaches a great lesson.
I’ve worked with a number of clients over the years who seem to have a bit of a self-esteem issue. We have very successful ideation sessions, a number of great ideas are generated, but then when it comes to taking the best of the best of these ideas and turning them into reality, they get cold feet. The phrase I hear a lot of is “We’re not like Google, we don’t have unlimited funds to spend on crazy, out-of-the-box moonshots.” It’s lucky for you then, that you don’t need unlimited funds to drive innovative new products and services out of your organization.
Do you, like most, have a bias for short-term results?
I love Scott Adams and Dilbert – he perfectly encapsulates some of the incredible silliness of corporate work and life – and like all great humor, contains enough truth to sting. The other day, I was especially struck by the last panel in a running joke about Wally being selected to be mentored by the CEO. As it happens, Wally, being Wally, has been mentored for a week and has not improved at all. The CEO, worried that this will look bad (he can’t win, he either appears to hire crappy people or can’t mentor anyone successfully) is in discussion with the HR Director (Catbert) about this, deciding that to save face, he will need to promote Wally. To which Catbert says “That might be a bad idea in the long run”. In the final panel, the CEO says:
Stress and conflict can be a good thing.
One of the key things that I’ve seen is that is quite common among truly innovative new ideas is that they can sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. This discomfort ranges from a mild creepiness all the way to outrage and pure hatred, leading to protests and lobbying for you to be shut down (see Uber, almost anywhere there is a strong taxi union, colluding with the city government).