Monday, September 30, 2013

Davos Discussion on Leading Through Adversity

It is vital that leaders, especially those in multinational companies, school themselves on pressing global issues.  It is a boon, then, for them and professionals alike, that the World Economic Forum uploaded several videos of their sessions in Davos earlier this year, as as this one - Leading Through Adversity.  I would have preferred that the panelists be more regionally-diverse and that government figures or public officials be among them.  Be that as it may, it's a very instructive, spirited conversation among these top leaders.

The following are some notes about what the panelists discussed, plus my commentary:

John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco, USA

The guiding question was "Are leaders too risk-averse in efforts to bring the economy back on track?"  John Chambers remarked off the bat, You get left behind, if you don’t take risks.  The best returns often come when things are going bad.  The speed of change makes it seems as if the global landscape were on steriods.  Just go for it, he exhorted.      

There is both certainty and uncertainty. So to denigrate, fear or idealize one or the other is foolhardy.
Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, USA

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the discussion revolved around innovation.  This being his expertise, Clayton Christensen walked us through his model:
  • Empowering innovation. A lot of people have access it, for example, computer and phone.  It creates jobs. 
  • Sustaining innovation.  It makes new products better, but it doesn’t quite create a lot of jobs.
  • Efficiency innovation. It makes the same products cheaper, and worse yet in certain respects it reduces jobs. 
Christensen remarked that we don't need MBAs anymore.  Such a degree, at least the way many schools teach business, makes leaders scared to death, when they face unknown business models.  They look at marginal costs, and they look at existing models, so students and graduates aren't necessarily prompted or able to create new business models.     

It's a provocative set of remarks, given that Christensen is a professor of a business school.  No doubt, though, Harvard differentiates itself from those schools that he criticizes.  In essence, nevertheless, what he relates is the innovator's dilemma.  

Mike Duke, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, USA

Mike Duke preferred Christensen's old term - disruptive innovation - rather than empowering innovation.  That said, Walmart has been about sustaining and efficiency innovation.  He cautioned against falling into the trap of short-term evaluation. Walmart gathers corporate officials to relate mistakes they made and lessons they learned from these.

I cannot emphasize enough having such regular gathering and conversations.  But Western management seems to focus more on mistakes as sources of lessons learned.  I say, any experience and any outcome is a source of learning.  So I hope that Duke facilitates a wider, more balanced review of what these officials did well and what they didn't do very well.  

Orit Gadiesh, Chairman, Bain & Company, USA

People feel more uncertainty, Orit Gadiesh pointed out. She distinguished between risk averse and unfamiliar risk.  Old business is no longer good. Innovation is tough, even in the best of times. The Samsung Chairman said:  Change everything, except your wife and children.  Reform education from kindergarten to the top, in large measure because it doesn’t quite provide the guidance, mindset and skills for jobs that are needed going forward.

Gadiesh offers a no-nonsense take on what has to happen and the difficulty of actually making this happen.  Moreover, she echoes what I've heard, namely, that the US educational system and philosophy are founded on decades-old, and thus outdated, models.  So there are pernicious, if not emerging, gaps in the talent that companies require.

Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India

India and China need to do things differently, Anand Mahindra schooled his fellow panelists.  More for less has been the primary motto. Regulated, autocratic governments are full of certainty. Indians clamored for the uncertain!  Regulatory constraints have fenced-in leaders. But Mahindra encouraged leaders to look at this as a playpen and as a platform for freeing themselves. To solve poverty in India and Africa, you need the most cutting-edge innovation. But not so much iPhones per se, but solutions that people need and that work for them. Today he looks for filmmakers, designers et al. (rf. Google).

I am glad that Mahindra is on the panel, as he represents the only non-Western company.  So as I suggested earlier, we need to account for both certainty and uncertainty, and to acknowledge how different cultures may look at the tension and balance between them.

Martin Senn, Group Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Insurance Group, Switzerland

When taking risks, you have a reasonable expectation of return.  Martin Senn added, You need to rebuild confidence among people.

While it is virtually impractical to expect perfect line of sight to outcomes, assessment of risks ought to discern at least an acceptable or strategic benefit from jumping into them.  It's an insightful thing for Senn to point out.

Jim Frederick, Editor, Time International, USA

Pessimism has set in, so Jim Frederick asked, Is innovation slowing down?  We want flying cars, but got 140 characters, instead. We haven’t mined government-business connection.

It may have been out of Frederick's hands, as far as panelist selection and the concentration of corporate figures are concerned.  But when he pointed out the need to better tap into the government and business connections, I thought, Yes, indeed!  

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Workplace Wisdom from brotips™

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Lean Startup Principles of Eric Ries

This short interview with Eric Ries - author of The Lean Startup - is chock full of ideas, views and advice. It's mainly for entrepreneurs, but listen actively to what Ries relates and you hear him speak to how leaders and staffers in companies can do their work better.

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The Lean Startup works off the premise that many entrepreneurs are not creating the right products. That is, they create products that customers aren't buying. Ries helps them get on track with their business.  He contrasts his efforts with those of lean manufacturing, which is to make products on time and on budget.  

It reminds me of a story that speaks to this point.  A fire station gets a call, and the chief has his crew on it immediately.  The crew is well-trained and well-prepared, and firefighters are on the truck rushing to the scene in no time.  The chief understands the flow of traffic in the city, and directs the crew onto the best possible, quickest route to the scene.  Once there, the crew sets up their equipment, locates the fire hydrant, and  up the ladder before anyone can blink.  

Except that the chief didn't bother to double-check the address.  He had mistakenly transposed two digits, so the crew followed procedures perfectly and arrived super time efficiently at the wrong scene.

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The more precisely the position [e.g., an electron] is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.
Reference:  The Uncertainty Principle, or the principle of indeterminacy, by physicist Werner Heisenberg.    
Entrepreneurship is management is the first principle of The Lean Startup.  But it's not management in a stable context, rather amid uncertain conditions.  

In coaching and advising leaders, I could readily distinguish between those who possessed wisdom and calm when faced with uncertainty and those who were clearly out of sorts if directions or information was ambiguous.  With the first, we could move right away to sharpening their efforts to make decisions and craft solutions. With the second, we needed to begin with instilling calm first and appreciating the fact that many situations do not offer optimal clarity.  

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In The Lean Startup, what you learn is as much a unit of progress as what you create.  Ries emphasizes that in the midst of uncertainty, entrepreneurs must learn how to sustain a business effectively.  They may not know, at first, what customers want, where the market is, and what products to create.  But I think what Ries teaches them is how to find the information they need, amid foggy weather, and to conduct tests that help them determine whether they are on the right track or not.  

I'd draw on my concept of meta-skills.  Entrepreneurs need skills to determine what skills they need to deal with particular situations and to learn what they need to learn correctly and efficiently.  

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Last night I was walking my daughter through what I called the algorithm that makes a car run.  For decades, it's the same fundamental one:  Gasoline is fed into the engine, where combustion takes place.  Drawing from her chemistry lesson, I said that this process was an exothermic one, that is, it released energy.  The combustion was a controlled explosion under the hood of a car, and the resulting energy was fed into sophisticated mechanisms that powered the car movement.

Just as car makers must understand this algorithm, so must entrepreneurs grasp the engines of growth, as Ries prefers to call processes happening in the markeet:  viral (customers infecting others to buy), engaged (customers who keep buying), and paid (customers who generate profits that can be reinvested back into the business).

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At the end of the interview, Ries makes a very compelling argument about what will help the economy: We've become so good and efficient at manufacturing products and handling routine tasks, that we're not creating as many jobs as before. So he argues that we need teach more people to get into the "creativity business" (i.e., entrepreneurship). Entrepreneurs identify problems, find solutions, and carve a business around them. The businesses they create ... create jobs.

Eric Ries
Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crucial People Issues vis-a-vis Emerging Markets

By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have joined the consuming class, driving annual consumption in emerging markets to $30 trillion, from $12 trillion. Emerging markets could account for more than 70 percent of global economic growth during this period.
Reference:  Winning the $30 trillion decathlon: How to succeed in emerging markets.

For one, world population will continue to grow at a major rate.  For another, each person in each family has needs - from food and shelter, to schools and clothing, to resources and energy - and in business and economic parlance each one consumes.  Put one plus another, and we get growth in consumption that, purely by McKinsey's quantification, will be an even more staggering opportunity for companies around the world.

Enter, stage left:  Boston Consulting Group, with Playing to Win in Emerging Markets:

Awareness of opportunity is clearly there, as are ambition and expectation among multinationals to tap that opportunity.  Yet, this recent BCG study clearly echoes what McKinsey noted a year ago:
While executives recognize that winning in emerging markets is the key to long-term growth, many companies remain reluctant to commit resources and talent at scale.
A full year passed, and athletes have hardly shown up at the track and field for decathlon training and practice, never mind competition and performance.

Enter, stage right:  Booz & Co., The 2012 Chief Executive Study:

The good news, companies worldwide are more stable, and thus better able to succession-plan for leadership.  In their 13 years of running this study, Booz found the largest number of incoming CEOs (300).  But just 45% of them had any experience outside of their home countries, prompting Booz to wonder, quite amazingly, whether the global CEO was just a myth.   

So to say that there is a gap is an obvious thing.  But to understand why there seems to be such a wide and persistent gap is a challenging study.

Among the 13 capabilities for emerging markets, BCG found that People and Organization were a 'double-whammy' cluster:  Companies clearly rated these the most important, yet their performance in these areas visibly lags.  Reconciling this is a long-term business proposition, not a strategic or tactical quick fix.

Let's focus just on people and organization, in particular expatriate issues.

It's unreasonable to deploy only expatriates to run an overseas operation or to engage only local talent to lead and staff it.  So more than anything we're looking at some combination of both expatriates and locals.  What that combination ought to look like is a matter of purpose and aims for each multinational.

Individual Factors

Michael Dickman speaks to the different motivations of those who work abroad while sponsored by the company versus out of personal, independent initiative:  career and development for the former, adventure and exploration for the latter.

What he refers just  tacitly to is personality.

I am an extravert, and love meeting new people and visiting new places.  I moved from Chicago to Dubai as part of that second group Dickman speaks to, and in fact I had already built a good network of friends and colleagues in Dubai long before I moved there.  So I adapted easily, and without question relished the experience.

Another area to weigh is cognitive ability. How well a leader or staff can grasp more ambiguous, novel issues, navigate diverse cultural norms and languages, and forge personal and professional relationships matter a great deal.

Motivation, personality and ability are all individual factors that must be considered and assessed, before deploying any leader or staff abroad.  The fact is some are more suitable for an expatriate assignment than others, and fundamental task for an organization is determining who is who.

Interpersonal Factors

Well before I left Chicago, I attempted to secure company backing for such a move to the Middle East.  There was much back-and-forth in the executive committee of the consulting firm I worked for, and I could no longer wait for them to finalize a decision.  To their credit, they engaged me in conversation about such a move, and inquired about my family, even thought the firm simply didn't have enough knowledge, experience and resources to advise me adequately for an expatriate assignment.

My final point is that a move abroad is not just an individual event, but an interpersonal one.  There may be marriage, relationship or parenting to consider.  If not, there are often social networks, leisure activities, or  community service to account for.  Even in a perfectly strategized and planned business decision, with a fully knowledgeable and experienced HR organization to advise the leader or staff, the expatriate assignment can fail if these interpersonal factors are not part of strategy and plan.

In other words, companies are not just dealing with the individual working for them, but also with that individual's life concerns that they may hardly see, let alone know about.

I will address this more in a future article, but local talent have these issues as well.  I know that some of my former colleagues and clients in the Middle East were motivated neither by career development nor personal adventure, but rather by grade and salary increase.

Also, many Arab men and women were raised under very different gender norms, and while these were relatively progressive or liberal among my friends and colleagues, some women were hesitant to interact with men and were virtually unlikely to assume jobs that required travel or relocation.

I am certain that McKinsey, BCG and Booz are awareness of these expatriate issues, but I simply do not see them addressing these nearly enough.  Certainly, in reference to BCG's findings above, they're pivotal in attracting and developing talent, developing strong leaders, and ultimately building a capable local organization.

In the end, then, to say that these opportunities in emerging markets are exciting is an understatement.  So is the point that capturing these opportunities are easier said than done.  But if people issues are not fully accounted for, addressed, and reconciled, then winning that $30 trillion decathlon will remain a pipe dream

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Meghan McCain and the Undeniable Millennials

"Raising McCain" is a new up close and personal TV show by Meghan McCain, daughter of US Senator John McCain. Like those of the Millennial Generation, she is a "digital native" and is therefore verse in that space and comfortable talking about all sorts of issues. Wendy Bounds, with the Wall Street Journal, does a fine job of engaging her in this interview.

"Raising McCain" is on the new pivot network:
pivot is a new television network from Participant Media serving passionate Millennials (18-34) with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films and documentaries.
This genre-busting docu-talk series follows Meghan McCain, the outspoken daughter of Senator John McCain, on the road talking to unexpected experts, regular people and members of her generation. In her travels, Meghan explores the most important and unusual questions of the day framed by her personal experiences. The series explores topics ranging from Bullying and Feminism to Sex Overload and the Death of Romance, among many other themes.
If you were born before 1980, you are essentially in the pre-Millennial generations.  So if you watch this first episode of "Raising McCain," it might make your head spin, make you shake your head, and perhaps make you just toggle out of the video altogether.  

Regardless of what you do, what McCain engineers in her show is very much part of our landscape now - our culture and language, our media and technology, and our privacy and integrity.  It's raw and spontaneous, yet well-produced and filmed.  It allows for swear words, yet it doesn't let these dominate the show.  It gets in your face about how, for example, things you posted years ago may haunt you going forward indefinitely.

Let's suppose, you watch this entire first episode, you might come away asking "So what?  What does this have to do with my leadership, my company or my business?"  The lead-up to his show covered a range of topics, but this first episode revolved forthrightly on privacy.  

So my answer to your questions?  You tell me. 

Amy Gutman, President of the University of Pennsylvania, says civic engagement (making a difference) and social entrepreneurship are vital to Millennials.  Those of the pre-1980 generation are "digital immigrants," and those of post-1980 are "digital natives."

My daughter was born in 1998, and she has been computer- and digital-literate since she was a toddler.  She loved playing with the mouse, for example, as she sat on my laptop in front of our old desktop.  She was two years old, but in no time she learned how to navigate the cursor with that mouse and the keyboard.

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Many researchers, including the Pew Research Center in a 2010 report, have examined the Millennials' attitudes and opinions across a spectrum of issues. Most show evidence of a generation that is highly educated, self-confident, technologically savvy and ambitious.
One of the oft-cited aspects that distinguishes the Millennials is that they're extremely "connected." Pew found that Millennials use social media and text on their cell phones significantly more than older generations.
I believe that all of us from different generations are intimately connected.  So while your company or business may have little to do with Millennials, in a direct or formal sense, this avant garde generation still has implications for a lot of what you - meaning we - do.  Information and communication technology is one broad arena that affects us:  They influence what mobile devices we can choose from, what programming we see on YouTube and the venerable TV, and how we build and sustain relationships.  

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beneath the Surface with AOL Brand CEO Susan Lyne

I love how Moira Forbes conducts an interview:  It's professional and focused, yet warm and personal as well.  She seems perfectly comfortable asking about career trajectory and family loss.  So it is with Susan Lyne, selected last February to head up AOL Brand Group as CEO.

Lyne responds in kind with wonderful candor.  For example, she acknowledges being 62 years old and noticing the big age difference with Millennial staffers.  As it is with some executives and professionals, she relates how her career wasn't exactly planned and how, instead, she simply leaped in.  Moreover, losing her husband to cancer prompted her to be present in the situation and set aside efforts at multitasking.  In all, there doesn't seem to be any wistfulness in her voice, no regrets that weigh on her, no emotion she hadn't yet reconciled.  Rather, she is grounded and centered.

AOL’s Susan Lyne on embracing being the boss
I WAS THE NO. 2 at a lot of different magazines for, I would say, a decade. And [then] I got an opportunity to create a magazine about the movies, a magazine called Premiere, and spent six months putting together the first issue and was very excited about getting it out. I wrote my editor’s letter and instinctively sent it to my boss. He called me about 10 minutes later and said, “Why are you sending me this? I don’t buy a dog and bark for it.”
I was a little stunned. 
He called me back [again] about 10 minutes later and said, “You do understand what I meant by that. You have to make all the decisions now, this is your magazine. You’re going to have to make them on the fly, and you’re going to have to own them. You’ve got to get used to the fact that there’s no teacher, there’s no boss, there’s no person that you get to run things by. You own your success. You own your failures. Embrace it."  [emphasis, added]
Hey, AOL Content Makers!  Meet Your New Boss, Susan Lyne
We began with the present, then worked our way backward, with AOL Brand Group CEO, Susan Lyne. In this article, we get glimpses of those first few days on the job, earlier this year: content (check), brands (check), mobile (check).

Alexia Tsotsis
Alexia Tsotsis, co-editor of TechCrunch, was none too pleased about having yet another boss come into the picture. In fact, she publishes Lyne's e-mail, and takes a potshot at her repeated references to "brand." It looks like Lyne literally leaped in (alliteration, not intended), and neglected to contact Tsotsis and other editors under the AOL Brand Group ahead of that blanket e-mail.

Hence, Tsotsis titled her article: Aol Talks About Us More Than It Talks To Us.

Tim Armstrong
Earlier this year Tim Armstrong announced his high-level hire:  AOL CEO Calls New Content Head Susan Lyne A 'Game-Changing Player.'  Breathtaking for not saying much of anything specific.  Except that we do glimpse his helicopter-view expectations:
"We just picked up another game-changing player."
Asked if her hiring would change AOL's content strategy, Armstrong said no. "I think it is going to enhance it," he explained.

AOL needs to make and can still make "significant progress" on the programming side under Lyne's leadership, he said. "We need to be the world's best content company."

He also predicted continued video usage upside and predicted that in the network upfront ad selling season, "more and more money [will] be moved to digital" in integration with TV spending.
So, back to Lyne:  She comes into her role at AOL with quite an accomplished, diverse curriculum vitae, and this alone makes her a good fit for what Armstrong has in mind for AOL Brand Group.  He seems to have all the faith and confidence in her, but make no mistake about it, his expectations for the new CEO are a tall order indeed.  For the wisdom and the centeredness she's gained in her career, Lyne may very well manage upward (i.e., with bosses) better than she manages downward (i.e., with direct reports).  Hence, the glowing announcement from Armstrong, and the cranky article from Tsotsis.  

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chat on Good-to-Great Leadership

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Putting McKinsey Analytics in Perspective

Big Data and Advanced Analytics is a key theme for McKinsey & Company, and its first call to top leaders is Big data:  What's your plan?  

Not so fast.

I suggest that if you're a CEO, for example, you're very first step has little to do with planning and perhaps even little to do with Big Data and Advanced Analytics.  That first step is to begin with the end in mind:  What are you trying to accomplish, and what purpose - business, organizational or leadership - are you working to serve?  

The second step is to walk backwards to map the pathways, that is, from the end in mind, back to where you are now.  We often get so caught up in elegant processes, so-called proven methods, or best-practice solutions, that we lose track of what it will really take to accomplish our task and fulfill our purpose.  Therefore, I suggest this walk-backward process, because it points you to those factors and actions that will have the most direct, most immediate impact on your task and purpose.

The second step, in other words, is about creating the roadmap between where you want to be and where you are now.  

The planning that McKinsey elaborates on is, I posit, the third step.  Put simply:  Walk those pathways.  Do what you need to do to accomplish your task and fulfill your purpose.  

Depending on how complex and unfamiliar your endeavor is, this third step can be quite a challenging indeed.  But to the extent you've carefully and thoughtfully navigated the first and second steps, the efforts to create and action your plan ought to be easier.  Not easy, but easier.  After all, you've just created a workable roadmap, haven't you?

Big Data is so phenomenal, given what new media and internet technology have gathered, that it's virtually an imperative for a CEO to look and tap into; that is, if he or she wants to retain competitive edge.  So, by and large, we can expect that Big Data will emerge as a key component of the roadmap from the second step.

In this video, Tim McGuire says as much:
By now, most industries recognize that "big data" and analytics can boost productivity, make processes more visible, and improve predictions of behavior. "Analytics will define the difference between the losers and winners going forward," says McKinsey Director Tim McGuire.
In this video, he explains how to start thinking about analyzing data, and how to address the key strategic and organizational challenges of implementation by focusing on "the right data, the right modeling capability, and the right transformational methods to have your people act differently and make decisions differently."
Note that only in the second half of this video does McGuire talk about where you ought to start.  What he relates and emphasizes are spot-on, but to speak of the problem as if it were an after-thought is a trap many organizations fall into.  

For example, one colleague of mine talked with me about a client organization that hired consultants to look into a bonus system.  Apparently the work wasn't going well, so they engaged a second consultancy.  They, too, weren't working out, and this is the situation where my colleague and his company were called into.  The organization was no longer clear on the specifics of what they were trying to accomplish to begin with.  

So while we cannot edit this video, you simply shift in your mind that second half to the first half, as I've emphasized so far in this article.  

"Big data: What's your plan?" sets out the imperative task: to develop a plan that brings together data, analytics, frontline tools, and people to create business value. Only by spending the time to craft a plan can executives establish a common language to focus on goals and on ways of getting started.

As a part of our special package on advanced analytics, Matt Ariker, of McKinsey's Consumer Marketing Analytics Center, focuses on the human element: the skills needed; how to organize and integrate new capabilities, people, and roles; and the mind-set and behavioral changes organizations must make to become data driven.
 What Ariker relates in this video is how much Big Data and Advanced Analytics are a human endeavor.  It isn't just an element of the process, I argue, but rather the whole process is quintessentially a people one.  This reframed point, then, is the context on which we can better appreciate Ariker's fine walk-through of the different capabilities needed to run with Big Data and Advanced Analytics.  To distill what he pinpointed:  You need knowledgeable executives, technical experts, and change agents who can modify the process and persuade clients accordingly.

One caveat:  I caution against re-fashioning the organization as a data-driven one.  Yes, undoubtedly, Big Data will have a enormous play in your efforts.  But I suggest framing the organization, if it isn't already, as a goal-, target-, or purpose-driven one.

"It's essential to have a business case for your data transformation. Many organizations somehow slip into a transformation state where they have basically several IT projects being run," say McKinsey expert Matthias Roggendorf. "You need to be very clear on what kind of business value you want to create with your data transformation." 
In this video, a part of our big data and advanced analytics series, we explore the essentials of a business case for implementing a data transformation, including managing the life cycle of data.
That business value Roggendorf speaks to is a crucial one.  In my suggested framework, value is determined by how well a process, methodology and solution actually helps you to accomplish tasks or fulfill purpose.  Moreover, while "target picture" has a structural, process and technical reference, I suggest expanding it to mean organizational challenges, business purpose, and financial goals.

In closing, then, Big Data and Advanced Analytics is servant to a larger purpose and a bigger picture, and you as the CEO, who has weighty decisions to make and diverse responsibilities to uphold, are the master.

This article is one of a series I am writing on Big Data and Analytics.  Please click on My folders on the right hand column to see what I've written so far.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CapitalOne Panel on Social Media

Ilya Pozin, Founder of Ciplex, runs an internet business that's growing at a 25% - 30% clip annually.  As a small business, Ciplex has "flipped" the organizational chart, "fired" its managers, and installed staff as empowered leaders.  Pozin's title, for example, is now team support.  

Scott Gerber, Founder of Young Entrepreneur Council, works at supporting, educating and connecting American entrepreneurs worldwide.  He works at bringing entrepreneurship (i.e., self-sufficiency) up to the same level as traditional jobs, that is, as a viable option for university graduates.  

Panel members respond to audience questions about ethics and controversy, new sites "popping up," and the CapitalOne switch from direct mail to social media.  

Mike Darne, Senior Director Senior Media & Search Marketing with CapitalOne, views social media as "a shiny new toy."  He and teams at CapitalOne look at how this toy can complement their TV campaign and come up with products that small businesses need.

Bess Wyrick, Founder and CEO of Celedon & Celery, wants to rebrand the company, after splitting with a partner.  But how does she do this, and is it even a good idea to do so?  More pointedly perhaps, how does she deal with the identity crisis her company is going through?  

David Smith, Founder and CEO of TekScape, asks how best to work social media and grasp its ROI.  Social media may be less product-determined and more customer segment-focused.  But even before that, Smith learns that coming up with a strategic plan first helps to answer such questions.  

Michelle Madhok, Founder and CEO of SHEFINDS Media, asks how to separate signal from noise of social media, that is, genuine followers and potential customers versus contest participants.  In light of two million unique visitors a month, it's a massive, complicated question to answer.

Shane Snow, Cofounder of Contently, relates a focus shift from small business to big brands.  Do research and fashion crisp messages are the advice from the panel.  However, this clip didn't address his second query:  Right now his sales people rely on the founders to close big deals.  So how does the company scale the ability to close, because the founders aren't always going to be able to step in?

Susan Lindner, Founder and CEO of Emerging Media, wonders how to best balance marketing efforts with client work.  Does it makes sense, for example, to hire someone to handle the operational moves?  This way, she can focus on promoting the business.  It's rethinking how and where she ought to spend her time.

Thank you for reading and watching, and let me know what you think?

Ron Villejo, PhD