Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 29AUG11

August 29, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Some of us get to make a more profound impact on our world than others. I’m thinking about you, Steve Jobs.
  • When Steve Jobs announced the iPod, I scoffed at it.  The iPod and iTunes transformed the world of music and how we distribute information. I missed it; Steve didn’t.
  • When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, I scoffed at it. Did the world really need another smart phone?  I missed it; Steve didn’t.
  • When Steve Jobs announced the iPad, I wondered what he had up his sleeve.  He made the tablet computer worth owning.  No other tablet device has come close to creating the excitement of the Apple tablet computer. I missed it; Steve didn’t.
Steve Jobs has created a better world for his shareholders, his customers and his employees.  While Steve has not invented new things, he’s perfected the Apple products offered in the marketplace. That has made Steve and Apple thrive.

What are you doing to perfect your offerings and your business execution to make your company thrive?

Thought for the week:

“Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.” – E. W. Howe

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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Learning a past employee lies on resume

August 27, 2011

Earlier this week, I used LinkedIn to research people in my network and learned that a former employee is out and out lying about their background working for me and the employer.  It makes me sick to think that this individual who I’ve always thought of very highly of is seriously misrepresenting their background.

I’m not going to disclose who this person is, but, given this person’s background and credentials, I’m astounded that this individual would do this.  It is completely unnecessary.

The dates of employment have been seriously altered as have the titles and roles this person played. The person was hired via a recruiter whose role was to do a thorough background check and resume verification.  I now wonder if I got what the company paid for?

When I discovered the lies, I didn’t want to share this with my wife or anyone for that matter.  I’m embarrassed for this person. I had always thought highly of this seemingly meticulous person.  This person was effective in the role I asked them to play.

I wondered why this person had never used me as a reference when seeking other positions.  I now know why–I would be unable to vouch for the background this person is offering to potential employers.

I’m sick about this.  This is one of the last people I would suspect of doing such a thing.  A person I held in high regard is greatly diminished in my eyes now.

Some day, this will catch up with this person.  When you live a lie, it eventually all catches up with you.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


Steve Jobs Tech Industry Exemplar

August 25, 2011

Apple has been successful due to Steve Jobs being both a visionary and a fastidious micro-manager about front-end design and back-end execution. No detail falls off his radar screen.

It is almost as though Steve asks, “What would I personally want in a product? What’s missing that would make this really exciting?” And, then, he personally leads the effort to develop and commercialize the product.

When Apple customers suffered an antenna problem with a new iPhone, an SVP lost his job. In Steve’s mind, customers never should have suffered with the problem. Poor execution followed by immediate accountability. How often do we see that in the business world?

Steve Jobs has delighted his customers and shareholders. He’s folllowed other marketplace innovations with breakthrough innovations.

  • There were mp3 players before the iPod.
  • There were smartphones before the iPhone.
  • There were tablet computers before the iPad.
  • There was cloud computing before the iCloud.

Look at the embarrassment HP has just suffered with its TouchPad tablet. HP sold 25,000 units in the first month of availability–Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days. HP’s half-baked effort reflected poorly on its brand.

In Steve Jobs, we have seen genius at work. But, the genius is in both the innovation and the execution. Bravo, Steve, bravo.

I pray Steve can continue to do what he loves for as long as he wants.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Dave Gardner


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 22AUG11

August 22, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

HP has been wandering in a wilderness that it was not passionate about and, this past week, it all has come home to roost.

When you look at HP’s product development over the past decade, what blockbuster innovations has HP brought to the marketplace?  I can’t think of any.  Lots of undifferentiated commodity products.

When HP bought Compaq nearly a decade ago, there was dissent within the board of directors over whether this acquisition made sense.  In the end, it didn’t. HP is looking to move on from that business.

When HP bought PALM and its WebOS a year ago, HP saw a path into a business segment where it had no traction or stellar history: smartphones and tablet computers to compete with Apple and Android phones.  HP is moving on from that business.  There were 275,000 HP tablets shipped to retailers; 25,000 sold in the first month.  Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days after its launch in April of 2010.

The lessons learned will be fodder for business school case studies for years to come.  Here are a few:

  • Bring demonstrable value, not a commodity, to the marketplace
  • Never go to market with an inferior product
  • HP leadership should never have allowed its tablet device to see the light of day
  • Be passionate about what you bring to the marketplace–it says a lot about what kind of company you are

In this moment, HP teaches us what not to do. By seeing this and understanding it, others can thrive by avoiding making the same mistake.

Thought for the week:

“Either you innovate or you’re in commodity hell.” – Sam Palmisano, IBM Chairman & CEO, one year before IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo in 2005

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


HP WebOS Business Execution Failure

August 18, 2011

I must confess at being surprised that HP announced today that it is departing tablet market it recently entered as well as the smartphone business. Additionally, HP is stopping all hardware development around its proprietary WebOS operating system acquired with the PALM acquisition nearly 18 months ago for $1.2 billion.

While you have to applaud HP for quickly recognizing that it couldn’t compete against the Apple iPad and other Android tablet products, how is it a company like HP can realize within weeks of entering the market that there was no market need or demand for its creation? How is it they allowed major retailers like Best Buy to purchase a significant amount of inventory that no one will want?

In desperation, HP dropped the tablet price $100 within a couple of weeks after launch killing its margins in the hope that customers might take a closer look. This is like seeing “price reduced” on a home for sale sign. You know it was either overpriced or there’s something just not quite right about it. For HP, it didn’t work. It’s stunning really. This is a colossal failure of execution.

The Apple iPad has been the dominant market leader since its entrance in the market back in April 2010. [Note: It seems like the Apple iPad has been in the marketplace much longer doesn’t it?] No new market entrant has captured the excitement or even come close to capturing the market share enjoyed by the Apple iPad. And now, we see what a steep mountain Apple has created for its competitors.

I only recall a couple of news highlights around the announcement of the HP tablet:

  • It was no where near what an Apple iPad is
  • Performance issues undermined the user experience

These bullet points wouldn’t make me take even a first look if I was in the market for a tablet device. If the marketplace instantly recognized these gaps, why didn’t HP? What should have happened to prevent this embarrassing debacle?

HP has to have had a stage gate product development process in place to validate the market need and govern the development of products. As the product continues through the development process, there are gate reviews to see if it still makes sense to move forward with the next phase of the project. If not, you stop and figure out whether you can correct the deficiencies and continue on or stop the project all together. HP had multiple opportunities to do this. Yet, there is evidence that this did not occur.

There had to have been huge red flags that were known or ignored at different phases during the process. For example, one of the huge user benefits of the Apple iPad is the seamless iTunes eco-system that enables applications and music to be downloaded. HP provided no equivalent functionality for its device.

For this product to have made it the marketplace suggests a lack of discipline in following its stage gate product development process. A group of people were apparently in denial, thought the gaps wouldn’t matter and they should continue on. What poppy cock.

As of this writing, HP is telling its employees and analysts that it still plans further work around WebOS and hopes to license it to other companies. If you were a hardware manufacturer looking for a software platform, would you choose WebOS? Not unless you were on a suicide mission. What would your investors say? If a company with deep pockets like HP can’t make WebOS viable in its products, who else would give it even a passing thought?

Say goodnight to the HP tablet. Say good-bye to WebOS. Say hello to an execution failure that will be fodder for business schools for years to come.

Dave Gardner Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Dave Gardner


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 15AUG11

August 15, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

So much has transpired over the past few years: downsizing, rightsizing, the elimination of certain business units entirely and the ever present threat of more downsizing.

The dominant executive focus has rightly been how to survive the twists and turns of the economy, not on understanding and dealing with the unintended consequences their employees face each day as a result of the turmoil that has ensued.

There is a quick and efficient way to understand where your company or department stands today. The best practice is to engage a third-party firm like mine to assess:

  • Technology
  • Business process maturity and efficacy
  • People versus process dependencies
  • Trust
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Employee retention issues

A quality assessment will ensure your company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.” – “We’re all marketers now,” McKinsey Quarterly, July 2011


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


My wife is a hero for saving a life

August 12, 2011

A person who saves a life is a hero in my book.  Today, my wife attains that status.

Earlier this week, she rescued a 3 week-old, 11 ounce, male, tabby kitten. Sadly, at this age, weight and maturity, the “no kill” policies in the humane societies don’t apply.

The rescue organizations and humane societies are so overwhelmed with cats and kittens that most are euthanized only weeks into their lives.

Why don’t humans understand that the failure to spay and neuter their pets results in thousands and thousands of unwanted animals being euthanized each year?  This is a horrific problem!

Euthanasia wasn’t acceptable to us.  Even though we are “dog people” (I’m allergic to cats), we took the little guy in with the hope we could quickly find him a great, permanent home.


The mission was accomplished after only 3 days.  Here’s the letter Nancy wrote to the new owners:

Dear New Family:

This little guy has made quite a statement in life already: determined to live, to thrive, to explore, to love and I think will be a great companion. He is so playful already so watch every step because he will be under your feet in NO time.

He loves to drink his milk then snuggle around the your neck, back, shoulder and often goes to sleep there.  He has slept overnight in the carrier cage so I put him there for a nap until he starts crying again. He is very comfortable with our dog and people.

He is beyond that frenetic starving posture; but will overeat if given the chance. I stop periodically during feedings and burp him or give him a chance to breathe.

A little history: he was found by a water treatment worker who didn’t want to see it run over. This man looked for the mother cat/kittens to no avail. He was preparing to take it to the animal shelter where I learned (via 2 visits) that all kittens are euthanized under one pound in weight.

My husband said he has used up 2 of his 9 lives: I suggest he has been granted “extended stay” status. When I bottle feed him, I look into his eyes and tell him, “you are the Fortunate One.” He is; and now you are.

Blessings to your new journey together

Thank you,
Nancy Wilson Gardner

I am so happy for this little guy.  And, I’m grateful and proud that Nancy had the courage, gumption and compassion to take on this mission that resulted in saving this little guy’s life.  He is really is a “Fortunate One.”

And, so am I for having Nancy in my life.

Dave Gardner