Leadership and sales are associated with having people follow you. The difference with leadership is having people follow you where they wouldn't normally go - possibly in a direction that they think is dangerous. Great leaders have followers that do great things and become heroes who wouldn't normally be. But the leader's direction has to be virtuous. Value / judgement / ethics all come into play when deciding if this is a good leader or just a salesman. Leaders tell you why you want to do what is necessary and it sounds very simple. A complicated message is a symptom of a bad leader. Timing is also a factor - it may not be a lack of courage but a lack of courage at the right time. The mark of a higher level of leadership is doing the the right but unpopular thing at a time when everything seems to be going very well.
If you want to be disruptive, you have to kill the sustaining forces sometimes. Strategy is what you say and tactics are what you do - be careful when they diverge. Management and leadership are oil and water types of things. Management is about keeping things running or the avoidance of change. Leadership is about being bold and breaking things - about change and innovation. Management is 80% of what you should be doing. Everything else should be breaking things.
Clay Christensen's innovator's dilemma materializes when companies in mature industries myopically focus on profit. Financials are necessary but should not be the only focus of a company. Profit is not the reason Apple is in business - creating great products is.
Apple is an integrated company so they are out of the gate first. They popularize (and in some cases come up with) the new product categories. Google's Android can be considered the modular approach but Google doesn't directly make money from Android. I'm waiting to see who can actually monetize that. Google might monetize their Android investment through Motorola Mobility but they seem to have a hands-off approach, at least for the moment.
I've been a part of the Venture-Lab at Stanford University. They just posted a very interesting interview with Heidi Roizen where she discusses technology entrepreneurship. Her perspective is very interesting having been in the weeds as an entrepreneur, a VP at Apple and from the financial angle as part of a VC. She discusses:
* Work / Life balance
* Starting a technology company outside of Silicon Valley
* Competing Globally
* Women in Technology
* Networking / Reinventing Yourself
Check it out.
When you are creating a new product category, it is much easier to be integrated because you don't know how the pieces will fit together. Once boundaries are defined, it becomes better to be a modular company.
Can you motivate someone to innovate if they know they will be commoditized in 3 years?
Apple is unable to play in a modular world so they have to constantly be in the new category creation game. With shortening cycles, maybe this becomes a viable long term business model of the technology industry.
"Generally, disruptive technologies underperform established products in mainstream markets. But they have other features that a few fringe (and generally new) customers value. Products based on disruptive technologies are generally cheaper, simpler, smaller and, frequently, more convenient to use."
Two words: republic wireless.
There is an implied contract that contains not just the product being sold but the promise of a future with that platform. Bare minimum for a platform these days is 100 million users.
With thanks to Horace Dediu.
When you buy a company, you are buying:
* Resources / Assets <- easy to assimilate
* Processes <- hard to assimilate
* Values / Priorities / Vision <- nearly impossible to assimilate
Buying IP is like buying a lottery ticket - you never know if it will pay off.
With thanks to Horace Dediu.
The app economy works because it has a clear pricing signal. The HTML5 economy may dominate the free and possibly some of the fremium end of the spectrum but, because it doesn't have clear pricing feedback, the app economy will always dominate the high end of the market.
Prices are a gauge. You read pricing signals to see where the market is and you use them to make decisions about how to bring something new to the market. If you don't have a pricing signal, you have to guess. This makes investment in the market very inefficient. If you don't have investment, the market won't last. So prices are critical in closing the information loop allowing investment. That's why I'm a believer in the App Economy.
With thanks to Horace Dediu.
At some point in the last week or so, Google seems to have renamed Google Docs. Two things strike me with this:
1. The focus seems to be off of competing with Microsoft's Office
2. This bucks the trend away from drives toward the cloud
I haven't had Office installed on a computer I use since roughly 2006.* I have been a fan of Google Docs as an Office competitor and have been cheering each improvement. The functionality is still there but it would seem the desire to have a Dropbox competitor has caused Google to rename the product belying a change of focus. It is just a name but I don't think of a drive as the fundamental product here.
The term "drive" used to refer to a physical disk drive. Flash memory such as USB sticks took the legacy name "drive" as well because of the way they showed up in operating systems. Solid state "drives" have suffered the same fate. Cloud services like Amazon's S3 and Dropbox (which generally term things a "shared folder") have finally gotten away from the name. To see Google take the name Drive seems like an unnecessary throwback.
* I used Apple's iWork productivity suite to bridge the gap between Office and a more capable Google Docs.