Monday, November 19, 2007

Innovate to Compete Like PayPal

An article in Reuters said that in an answer to Google Checkout, PayPal will announce tomorrow PayPal Secure Card, designed to make it easier for consumers to make credit card purchases online as well as prevent fraud.

Innovation is an inherently different activity than problem solving: where problem solving is addressing an issue to bring you back to status quo, innovation raises the bar.

No matter what industry, your organization can build a stronger business through innovation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Business Langage Made Easy

Here are a few useful websites that can help you understand business language:

  • Business Lingo Explained -
  • The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary -
  • The MBA Jargon Index -
  • Dilbert -

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What to do when your hard drive fails

At our entrepreneur circle meeting, we spent time discussing the woes of one member who had lost his computer without a backup.

The two lessons that emerged are 1) have an emergency plan, and 2) always have a current back-up of your current drive, even if it's virtual.

For an emergency plan, I recommend contacting a place like Tech Restore, based in Concord, CA. They do work on WinTel laptops, MacOS laptops, any hard drive from a desktop computer, and even iPods.

For back-up services, you can use external hard drives or even virtual services that back up encrypted data over the Internet for a reasonable charge. I use two big Maxtor drives that I alternate. (Remember to completely disconnect your back-up drive when it is not in use to protect against power or lightening surges!) Thanks to Syd Weinstein for the tip, I'll also check out one of the online back-up services reviewed on Tom's Hardware site and compare them to the .Mac offering of 10 GB.

When you're building a stronger business, you've got to be prepared for emergencies.

Alan Weiss and Bill Ringle Discuss Strategy

Alan Weiss, president of Summit Consulting and known as the 'Million Dollar Consultant', has been a friend, colleague, and mentor to me for the past 10 years or so.

This past weekend, about 100 of the sharpest consulting minds from across the United States and Canada gathered for a retreat on business strategy in Providence, RI. Seeing old friends and making new ones made it a doubly-rewarding experience.

Here are 7 points I'd like to share with you from the seminar to help you build a stronger business:
  1. Being excellent at what you do is the foundation for both business and personal growth.
  2. Strategy and planning are entirely different, and blurring this distinction can be deadly to a business because planning is a bottom-up approach while strategy is a top-down approach.
  3. Strategy fails at execution, not on the drawing board.
  4. Strategy work is periodic and situational, not continuous. Once it is set, let it operate.
  5. Minimizing or avoiding risk has it's place, but to advance and achieve growth it's necessary to take prudent risks.
  6. Executives commonly use strategy to instantiate ambiguity. Instead, absorb the ambiguity and create tangible accountabilities for those involved.
  7. You learn the most and at a faster rate when you make a commitment. Commit to a strategy and you'll see very quickly how it impacts decisions. Waffle, meander, and prevaricate and you'll never really know which direction is forward.

Lastly, a favorite quote from George Santayana that's germane to the discussion:
A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts after losing sight of his goals.

As you build a stronger business, take the time not only to build a solid strategy, but to really use it as a decision-making framework.

More Choices for Cell Phone Customers

When most people buy a cell phone, they are also locked into the carrier providing service for that phone.

According to The New York Times article, "Locked vs. Unlocked: Opening up Choice", Apple's iPhone has caused much controversy lately as customers who purchase the phone are immediately locked into AT&T's service.

As a result, Apple claims nearly one in every six iPhones sold in the U.S. were bought with the intention of unlocking it.

Despite updating their operating systems, Apple has been unable to stop programmers from unlocking the iPhone, calling into question the legal limitations of such a practice.

Some say unlocking a phone violates the company's warrantee, while others imply that it is illegal. Yet no one knows for sure, as the laws surrounding the issue are unclear.

According to Kyle Matthews, 25-year-old co-founder of, unlocking an iPhone is very simple, requiring less than an hour to complete.

The amount of attention iPhone unlocking is receiving, is a good thing according to legal scholar, Professor Susan Crawford. It will allow Americans to see the choice they have when it comes to cell phone service providers.

When customer demand turns to customer revolt, leaders who want to build a stronger business find ways to adapt and be flexible rather than break.