We are planning a branding expertise this week and in the spirit of all good workshops the moderator sent us some pre-work (AKA homework if you ask my kids). One of the questions were:
What are your thoughts on what makes some brands inspirational while others struggle?
In order to answer the question, I listed the brands I like: Apple, Amazon, Virgin Atlantic, SPG and Facebook to name few. When I thought of these brands, I found one thing in common: All are brands I like talking about with my friends and colleagues. A great brand is one that its target audience wants to speak about.
Why does it matter to my branding exercise? Continue reading “The one thing branding can’t do”
I tend to have great level of appreciation to Apple’s ability to design amazing and easy to use products. In most cases, there is a lot of thinking behind each feature, but here is one which is far beyond my understanding: Apple intentionally destroys third party apps credibility by encouraging bad ratings. Continue reading “Apple Destroys iPhone Apps Credibility By Encouraging Bad Ratings”
More than a year ago I spent time thinking about Facebook and the problem it solves. Back then, Facebook was growing in a staggering speed, adding 1 million users every week. This week, Facebook turned 5 and with 15% of the world internet users on Facebook, it is clear they are winning the game of user adoption. I made two claims about Facebook back then and I am happy to say I was very wrong about one and only somehow right about the other. Not much of a record…
I was wrong about the problem Facebook is solving. I thought it was a fun product that did not solve any real life problem. With 15 months of perspective I feel that I have a better idea: Facebook is so successful because we are all absolutely horrible in managing our social relations. Continue reading “The Problem Facebook does solve”
The only advice CEOs are getting nowadays is to cut costs and be more frugal. This is a good advice but I don’t think there is any CEO with a pulse that hasn’t heard it before. The other issue with cutting costs is that at best, it will allow you to survive 2009 and show vital signs when the economy is back on track. It would not create a competitive advantage nor will it help you deal with the next crisis or external change in the market place. The real test for a CEO is not cutting costs in time of crisis but rather finding a repetitive way to reinvent her company as market conditions change.
Take Salesforce.com. Not too many companies were able to grow from zero to billion dollars a year in less than a decade. Even mighty SAP took 20 years or so to touch the billion dollar marker. Do you remember how it all started? Salesforce.com started as, yes, sales force Automation company with a very narrow focus and commitment. Later it has expended to become a full CRM package (and picked “CRM” as its NYSE ticker). Nevertheless, in the last 3 years salesforce is becoming a platform company and pushing initiatives like force.com and App Exchange. Without judging the wisdom behind the changes, Mark Benioff built a company with “change” in its DNA. Not only does it want to change every few years, the company knows how to change and it is doing it enough to get really good at it. Continue reading “When was the last time you reinvented your company?”
I had an enjoyable lunch meeting with a general partner in a leading Bay Area VC firm and during the discussion he wanted to compare notes on the way I evaluate a good SaaS company. I thought that my answer may be of general interest for employees or investors in the space- so here goes… Continue reading “How to measure a good SaaS company”
“Tear down this wall” was the famous challenge from United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall.
The best thing to do when you have only one strategy for your company is to say there is only one strategy in the world. It makes you right automatically which is a great boost for anyone’s ego. When Marc Benioff came with the famous no-software tagline, he was trying to make a point. As the only SaaS game in town, in a market dominated by Siebel, playing the no-software card helped Salesforce.com differentiate itself and win, leaving all its competitors far behind. I understand the marketing wisdom behind “no software” but I don’t agree with this claim. It will be as reasonable for Toyota to declare the death of a non-hybrid cars.
But why do I even bring “no software” up? It is all because Lawson CEO predicted the death of SaaS and carefully explained that he has only one strategy too: YES software. I don’t even want to get to the argument who is right: Benioff or Debes . Debes is entitled to have his own opinion even if I think he is terribly wrong. Nonetheless, most of the reasons he provided to support his point of view are either wrong or bluntly anti-customer. Continue reading ““Tear down this wall”- the Lawson version”
Office 2.0 is just around the corner and I am preparing for my session (going 100% SaaS) by interacting with my panelists and doing some thinking. My current thread is thinking about IT and its traditional role vs. its new role in the SaaS era. There were ups and downs in the way IT viewed SaaS and now it seems that IT professionals divide into two camps: the ones that strongly embrace SaaS, and the ones that wait for it to go away.
In general, the ones that want it to go away like control, like hands on approach and rather do the tactical work as a way to keep their kingdom intact. If you work for a startup you may not believe me but in a big company your worth goes up with the number of people you manage and you don’t want to lose anyone you gained. Continue reading “IT can be a boring job (for some)”