Fortune Magazine has an interesting article on Steve Jobs, which not only looks at how the stories surrounding Disney linking to Pixar, but takes a closer look at Steve Jobs, the Master of Disruption. It discusses how Steve Jobs has managed to create two different models :
Apple's trick has been not just its game-changing tech breakthroughs
(music and computers made easy) but its relentless push to disrupt
itself before others have a chance to do so. "The thing that most
people don't realize about Steve is that he is not only really good at
taking technology and turning it into good-looking, easy-to-use
products, he's really good at doing it faster than anyone else," says
Paul Saffo of the Institute of the Future in Palo Alto.
The article goes on to give a an example of how Apple did the unforgvable - making a successful product obsolete within 18 months:
The first one released four years ago had a monochrome screen and a
five-gigabyte hard drive. Now it has a color screen and a 60-gigabyte
hard drive at roughly the same price. What other business would
obsolete a successful product like the iPod mini after only 18 months
to introduce the nano?
I think that Tom Peters used to talk about destroying your business before anyone else does. Steve Jobs seems to follow the same mantra and makes sure that he keeps moving the goalposts for his competitors all the time.
We always hear about the guys at major corporations who are making millions of dollars for their shareholders (and themselves). Well, why not take a look at Fast Company's list of 25 Social Entrepreneurs who are making a difference to people with serious social problems both in the USA and overseas? Here are some excerpts:
.".developed a network of microlending institutions that provide the poor
with loans as small as $100 in order to start their own businesses."
"..runs after-school programs at 24 schools in 13 cities, staffed mostly
by about 2,000 volunteer architects, attorneys, journalists, and other
professionals who use their passions to inspire students."
"..certifies "fair trade" products--coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, and other
foods produced without exploiting growers' labor. It also connects
farmers' cooperatives in Latin America, Asia, and Africa directly to
U.S. distributors, eliminating middlemen who otherwise would capture a
chunk of the profits."
"..provides livestock to poor families in developing nations to use for
farming, food production, and fertilization. It also teaches animal
husbandry and skills for flexible and sustainable rural farming."
There are some truly great and inspiring stories in here.
Well, seeing as it's Friday, I thought I'd post this one from Hugh over at Gaping Void. It certainly put a smile on my face when I first saw it!
Just saw that Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates have been named Time Magazine's Person(s) of the Year 2005 for:
"being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and
re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and
then daring the rest of us to follow"
Managing Editor James Kelly said the three had been chosen as the
people most effective at finding ways to eradicate such calamities as
malaria in Africa, HIV and AIDS and the grinding poverty that kills 8
million people a year.
Well, you can't argue with that. I saw Bill Gates speaking at the Live 8 concert in July and couldn't help thinking that it can't be bad that the richest man in the world is also prepared to give virtually all his wealth away in coming years to help people who are in greatest need.
Fortune Magazine has got a great feature in their latest issue on leaders and leadership - How to Become a Great Leader. There are many good articles in this issue (listed below) but the one article - The Education of Andy Grove - really caught my intention. Andy Grove, for those who don't know, survived both the Nazis and the Communists in Hungary before finally settling in the USA, where he completed his Doctorate. Andy Grove is an inspiration to us all and this article has some fascinating insights into what it takes to become a great leader.
Further articles from this issue
Grove of Academe
A photo shoot and a chance encounter spark a $26 million gift to his alma mater.
10 Top Leaders Tell Their Secrets
criticism. Let subordinates have the floor. And think more like Vaclav
Havel. What you can learn about leadership from Paul Tagliabue, A.G.
Lafley, Stan O'Neal and other heavyweights.
Throw It at The Wall and See if It Sticks
Intuit, failure is very much an option as long as you learn from it.
How a Silicon Valley legend and a GE veteran teamed up to lead a
thriving culture of innovation.
Advice From the Master
From the pages of FORTUNE: Peter Drucker on the making of great business leaders.
Quoted Often, Followed Rarely
years after he published the "bible of software engineering," Fred
Brooks talks about managing teams of people and why projects so often
The Man Who Bought Elvis
Investor Robert Sillerman is combining the King, American Idol, and other entertainment assets to build his next media conglomerate.
Technorati Tags: andy grove | leadership
WonderBranding picks up on an interesting stat from CNN Money about the huge upsurge in Internet activity last Monday (28th November). It appears that traffic to the top 100 etailing stores on Cyber Monday was 35% higher than on a typical Monday. They go on to report that 43% of online retailers will offer special promotions and discounts.
Firebox is a great, online shop which sells gadgets and 'boys toys'. If you're stuck for a present, you are bound to find the ideal gift (gadget) on this site. The site was started by a couple of college students in Cardif, Wales and rapidly grew - it now operates out of London with 24 staff and a turnover of over £8 million (2004). One of the things that makes the company really successful is it's website, which knows how to neaty categorise the products. Firebox's home page kicks off with featured products, a what's new section, top 20, a range of gifts and simple search facility.
Probably the best feature of the site is its customer-focused product details page. They are often quite detailed and invariably use features of the products
If you're a Mac fan, you may want to head over to Cult of Mac - a blog packed with Mac and iPod news and culture. A couple of the articles which caught my eye were the one about Apple's iPod Nano Advertising campaign in Tokyo:
You can apparently pick up these iPod Nano cutouts from the wall of the Tokyo underground. Each one has an image of the iPod Nano on the front and URL details on the back. With each wave of passengers the staff have to constantly replenish the walls.
The other article which caught my attention was about a product called iBelieve. Designed by Scott Wilson it will allow you to convert your iPod Shuffle into a crucifix. It costs $13, $2 goes to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and various Children's charities.
The Church of the Customer have an interesting write up about a FedEx client who appears to have incurred the wrath of the mighty corporate company. It would seem that José Avila decided to use his FedEx cardboard packaging boxes as furniture in his new house - he apparently didn't have the cash to buy new furniture having moved from one part of the US to another - and then posted some of the pictures on the web. This is the story according to Joe Jaffe, who seems to have generated a lot of buzz surrounding the story:
* Jose moves from California to Arizona
* Doesn't really have the cash to go to IKEA, so in the spirit of
creativity and armed with the tagline, "it's ok to be ghetto", he decks
out his apartment with Fedex boxes
* Sticks a few pictures on his website and before he knows it, the web lights up with activity and interest...
* Word gets out to Fedex who find Jose's efforts to be a distraction
from the development of their next Superbowl spot or a raging debate
about the recommended Pantone colors from their next branding logo
* Fedex issues a Cease 'n Desist, citing everything from the Digital Millennium Copywriter's Act to Box Theft. Site taken down.
* Jose connects with Jennifer Granick over at Stanford who fights Fedex's imbecilic behavior all the way to the blog. Site back up.
* Avila maintains his position that it's ok to be ghetto and soaks up publicity from Countdown to the Today Show.
He believes that José Avila:
"a pink-haired, unassuming software engineer who could quite
possibly be the marketer of the year (or at least the hour)"
When you read something like this you can't help but wonder at how incompetent some of these large corporate giants can really be. Instead of promoting the story and using viral marketing to push the brand for them, they wheel out the big legal guns and try to beat the poor customer into sumbissions.
Furniture Causes FedEx Fits
Technorati Tags: fedex