Wearable computing has been touted as the next big thing for some time now. Early efforts included the partnership between Apple and Nike to create a running shoe that tracked activity levels by communicating with an iPod. Nike+ has been popular with athletes since its introduction.
Now, Ralph Lauren is jumping into the space with compression T-shirts that track breathing and heart rates. The secondary benefit is you get to display the big pony on your chest!
I always remind my students that when it comes to effective presentations, they are the stars of the show. Too many people believe a presentation has to include transitions, flying fonts, and special effects. This post from Macworld emphasizes what really matters.
Wall Mossberg recently sat down with the CEO of Best Buy to discuss the company and recent sales trends in technology. I found his comments that tablet sales were "crashing" to be quite interesting. I never anticipated they would become this popular in the first place. It now seems like everyone has one and the market growth has slowed dramatically as purchases shift to less frequent replacements. PC's went through the same cycle although over a much longer time period. Product life cycles have really become accelerated these days.
So this is old news now but I'm finally getting around to commenting on it. I want to break down specifically what's wrong with the e-mail message that Executive V.P. Stephen Elop sent out. It begins with the greeting, "Hello there." My students often ask how they should refer to me. I give them plenty of choices including Professor Komaromi, Professor K, or just plain Kurt. So, I don't stand on formality. If I received an e-mail from a student that began with "Hey there," I would politely remind the student to use something more appropriate. In a business or institutional setting "Hey there" is unprofessional and somewhat disrespectful to the recipient. The exception might be if you were announcing something fun such as "Hey there. Free cupcakes are available in the break room." It's never appropriate to say, "Hey there. We're going to whack 12,500 jobs."
Secondly, Elop takes way too long to get to the point. It's not until the 11th paragraph that he finally announces the layoffs. Worse yet, the 10 paragraphs leading up to this are filled with corporate buzzwords that only a management consultant or senior executive would relate to. Here's a brief sample:
"Accruing value to Microsoft's overall strategy"
"Within an appropriate financial envelope"
"We plan to select the appropriate business model approach"
"We plan to right-size our manufacturing operations"
I'm sure that this memo was reviewed by a senior HR manager and probably by the CEO before it was released. I'm really surprised that no one picked up on these issues and suggested to Mr. Elop that he make changes. Let's start by talking like an ordinary person and not a corporate dweeb. Let's try to sound just a little sympathetic over the many lives we will be disrupting. Right now, it's a cold and emotionless celebration of corporate strategy over the livelihoods of the company's employees.
Herman Miller, the furniture manufacturer best known for making the iconic designs of Charles and Ray Eames, is looking to expand its brand into new territory. It's buying Design Within Reach, the upscale retailer known for promoting modern design. There's nothing hotter than the concept of innovative design these days, whether in boutique hotels, autos, home decorating, or furniture. The whole mid-century modern vibe is everywhere. Good luck to H. Miller. They are an American manufacturer with a history in the modern design movement.
I'm teaching a course on New Product Development and in preparing my content, I researched the concept of disruptive innovation. This was first articulated articulated by Harvard Prof. Clayton Christensen. Now you might be thinking that it's high technology that serves as the disruptive force. Sometimes that's true. As Christensen defines it, however, it's actually a simplified solution that often serves the low end of the market and then gradually takes dominant share from the established companies. Here's a short video clip from Harvard Business School explaining things:
In the age of pervasive social media, it's important to have a strategy rather than just randomly posting your favorite cat videos. Research conducted by professors from Wharton and U. of Quebec has identified four distinct approaches:
Open - you post everthing and share content with everyone.
Audience - you carefully limit the audience you are sharing content with.
Content - you share with everyone but curate your content.
Are you getting the most out of LinkedIn or is it just another social media site for you?. I'm in the latter category but would like to change that by using the site more strategically. Here's a post from the Social Media Examiner with some good ideas on how to do just that.