Thursday, April 26, 2007

Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business

A five-step plan to building a customer driven company:

1. Identify and study lead customers. Harness the creativity and inventiveness of your smartest customers--the ones who are the most knowlegeable and passionate about your field.

2. Provide customers with tools to help them design the products and services they'd like to see. Be part of the customer's creative processes. Watch closely what they do.

3. Nurture customer communities. Make sure executives and employees hang out with customers in these communities, both on-line and face-to-face.

4. Empower customers to strut their stuff. Reward customers for contributing ideas and designs, providing tips and techniques, spotting new products and trends.

5. Open up your products and engage customers in peer production. Invite customers to roll up their sleeves and "mess" with your product, modifying and customizing it. Set up a good governance structure. Be authoritative.

Adapted from Outside Innovation: How Your Customers Will Co-Design Your Company's Future (Harper Collins., ISBN 9780061135903) by Patricia Seybold

Monday, April 09, 2007

Can the White House be bought?

Okay where do I start. It's been a week or longer, since I've sat at the keyboard to punch out my latest musings. Well, it's given me a chance to reflect on not just my world , but everybody elses world. Well, the jury is back and the conclusion is we need to really get our act together and soon. The concern I have is the sense of powerlesness people are feeling. I don't know if we have just become immune, shell shocked, bored, apathetic, or just plain comotose. I mean here's some of the stuff that's been in the news lately, and I think it's just passing over everyone like a cumulus nimbus cloud.,

It was announced last week that between all of the candidates running for the office of President a total of $130 million dollars will have been raised for their respective campaigns. With great pride Barak Obama announced that he has raised $25 milllion, which put him into second place behind Hillary at 26 milllion. What's more shocking than that is that some Washington political pundits on CNN said that Obama was now a serious contender. Just because he has almost as much money as Hillary.

This speaks volumes about the continuing American disease of equating money to success and power. It's not enough that the media has saturated the airwaves with shows like; The Great American Dream Vote Off, Deal or no Deal or "Greed or no Greed". Let's see how greedy people are who are not happy with having $10,000 given to them gratis . Instead of taking the money they never had in the first place, they are encouraged to go for a higher amount and risk losing it all depending on the opening of a suitcase.

Televison has become the Great American Escape. The war in Iraq, the threat of a confrontation in Iran, the continuing sruggle in Afganhistan the downturn of the economy, cities like Detroit facing huge layoffs and unemployment, poverty, floods, plagues, locust, global warming, no health care, a $65 billion drug trade, homelessness, and urban violence, oh well there's always American Idol and baseball. Win fame and glory...fulfill the American dream that all things are possible, just don't tell anyone that your chances are about the same as winning the lottery,

Okay that's enough bashing of our neighbours to the south, how about some solutions. By the way, here's a nice one to think about over your double latte, if you live in Canada or in Vancouver for example. NBC is reported to have paid $820 million for the rights to televise the 2010 Winter Games. and CTV/TSN $90 million., now they are expecting 3.8 billion in revenue for that. So where is this money going? Well, just by coincidence, the only people who can afford to advertise on these telecasts are the large mega corps.,

In order to sell the Olympics to tax weary Vancouverites CEO John Furlong of VANOC , told the general public that everyone would benefit including small business..hmmm. can you say; "We gottcha". Pan handling in Vancouver is epidemic, but we are told that we'll have extra police on the streets for two weeks. during the Olympics so we'll look good and so turistas are'nt hassled. We'll hide the problems till after the Olympics, and then let them come back after so they can continue to hassle the local residents.

And so the insanity continues, $17 million dollars for a snow machine at Whistler, just in case it doesn't snow. In what can only be called the most bizarre court cases in BC's history, the organising committee for the 2010 Olympics has taken a Prince George based Eco Toursim company to court over the use of the number "2010".

The Eco Tourism 2010 Society [claimant] and VANOC met in court on January 28 in Prince George to contest the use of the number 2010. The claimant had been unable to register the name of his company with the provincial registrar due an order by VANOC. VANOC had ordered the registrar not to allow any non-profits to register any name that included the number "2010".

A construction boom in western Canada has sharply pushed up the cost of preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, forcing organisers to ask for a 23 per cent increase in financial support from federal and provincial governments.

The organising committee said that it now estimated the construction budget at C$580m ($505m), up from its 2002 estimate of C$470m. Some of the Olympic venues are located in Vancouver and others in the ski resort of Whistler, a two-and-a-half hour drive to the north.

Can the White House be bought- you bet, can the Olympics be sold to the highest bet. I am a huge fan of the Commonwealth Games, because it brings countries together for comaradrie, goodwill and the fun of sport. The Olympics, with all of it's bribes, financial discrepancies, and drugs has become like big business, the NFL or the NBA of amateur sport. The Olympics does nothing to stop wars, prevent famine, erradicate poverty, stop global warming, educate poor people, find homes for orphaned children, provide water anf food for starving nations. Nor does it offer it's profits to the cities or countries that host , as a legacy of goodwill and compassion. The Olympic mandate is not about compassion, nor is it pure of intention, it's about corporate greed, elitism and medals, pure and simple. How many gold, how many silver and how many bronze will your country bring home.

Now it's time to end with a ray of hope, of a billionaires' story of compassion and "pay it forward:. A Japanese real estate mogul inn Hawaii handed over eight of his multi million dollar homes to low-income native Hawaiin families. Now that's compassion!!

Buddha says; A wrong action may not bring it's reaction at once, even as fresh milk turns not sour at once: like a smoldering fire concealed under ashes it consumes the wrong doer, the fool.