His comments on innovation and strategy are hugely important. Persistence and addressing moments of customer doubt, desire and dissatisfaction (MODs) are central to the strategy. I’ve maintained for sometime now that the greatest digital businesses today – Amazon, Uber, Apple – and Xero – are all built on addressing fundamental MODs. And those that do all three, are unstoppable.
Loved his comments on managing shareholders. The learning that there isn’t a shareholder anymore than there is a customer. What businesses have to focus on is the institutions and shareholders that they seek to attract and are built to serve. It’s interesting that Amazon only meets with a few of the institutions that hold there stock, and only those that reflect the investing strategy Amazon seeks.
We all want to change something. Normally our consciousness of what we want to change is high.
We want to loose weight. Stop smoking. Get fit. Help those without homes. The list is long.
The challenge isn’t the change we seek, its the act of change. As humans we are particularly ill disciplined, generally directionless and of low awareness. The more we close the gap between the what and the how, the more effective we become at driving change. This requires we look at new systems for organising and orchestrating change.
Kathleen Sutcliffe – a Bloomberg distinguished professor at John Hopkins – summed it up nicely:
“Becoming more alert and aware, discerning when we need to make modifications, is what organizing is all about”
Some wake with a terrible hang-over. Some don’t even wake, they just rumble on from the night before. Others use the day as a starter for the year ahead.
A few years ago a friend of mine took me through his starting ritual. He took the first day of the New Year for himself and retreated to review his bucket list, goals for the year ahead and things to modify and change. Armed with a simple notebook and a pen, he’d find somewhere to walk and reflect.
Eastern religions are full of cleansing rituals. So many in Japan start the New Year with a wholesale clean-out of the possessions they no longer need, value or use.
Western society has institutionalised the generally pointless idea of the New Year’s resolution. I’ve yet to meet one that’s stuck with me. Resolutions largely don’t work because they are framed as goals (like, lose weight) as opposed to things you are resolved to do that result in you achieving goals (like, eliminate all processed sugar). So, if you are going to resolve to do something, make it something that aligns to a broader goal – generally the more specific, actionable and measurable the better.
Think about how you are going to kick the New Year off. Its a great time for renewal.
It’s somewhat amusing to read coverage of Apple Pay while sitting in Sydney. Apple Pay solves a uniquely American problem – cheques and signatures for credit card transactions which result in high fraud levels. Consumer convenience has always been secondary – if it had been a primary concern they would have done this long before now.
Simple an easy payments are something we addressed long-ago down under through a combination of smarter credit cards and apps on phones. Tap-and-go is now familiar and popular.
Seeing alternatives like Current C emerge in the US is interesting in that it addresses another problem unique to that geography (at this stage). And that is the collusion that has occurred between technology and credit card providers to set fees and lock-up transaction processes.
Years ago a really super smart developer said to me that every closed and proprietary system would be met not just by alternatives, but at some a point a powerful and open standard that would crush both. Think Java for payments. I wonder if Samsung could be the company to pioneer that open ecosystem – its current approach to NFC would suggest so.
Suggesting that consumers won’t largely want CurrentC misses the point – its the businesses, big and small, that have to shoulder the cost that will want it. And so long as they market and encourage it, its got a chance. Moreover, any incentive will be automatically applied as they subtract the credit card and Apple tax.
I just wonder if at any point anyone bothered to get on a plane and take a look at what has happened in the Australian and New Zealand markets where competition has driven innovation to outpace the best in Silicon Valley, in turn ultimately benefiting rather than taxing the small businesses that make the economy hum.