No Arms, No Legs, No Worries

March 27, 2013

This is what courage is all about. Nicholas James Vujicic. Wow!

Business execution is about getting things done.  Nicholas has mastered this.

Dave Gardner

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How To Destroy Dell

March 25, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: how to destroy Dell

Dell is attempting to go private. In Saturday’s news, there is word that the private equity firm Blackstone may be making a bid for Dell and may be attempting to recruit Mark Hurd, the former CEO of HP, to be president should the deal go through.

While Mark Hurd did positive things for HP’s stock during his tenure, his sole focus was wringing every scintilla of cost out of the company. He was responsible for no new, significant innovation and left a horror story behind that HP is still trying to dig out from under. HP’s merger and acquisition activity of the last 10 years has largely been written down to a fraction of the original investment value. He left a deeply demoralized team when he resigned due to personal improprieties. Mark Hurd joins Carly Fiorina and Leo Apotheker in undermining the spirit of the company.

Now, after all the talent that could have made a difference at HP has long since left the company, HP finds itself with flat-footed with little bench strength as it engineers a turn-around. This formerly “A” company is left with mostly “B” and “C” players to run the show.

The worst thing in the world for Dell employees and customers would be for a private equity firm to take over Dell without Michael Dell at the helm. Add Mark Hurd to that mix and the party will be over. I don’t see how Dell can possibly thrive under a traditional private equity culture. Remove Michael Dell and Dell becomes just another company.

[Note: I encourage you read why Dell is poised for a strong comeback in my highly-acclaimed Fast Company article If I Sell You My Company Will You Respect Me In The Morning?]

Thought for the week:

“The problem with the world is the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” – Charles Bukowski

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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.

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When Preparation Meets Opportunity

March 18, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: when preparation meets opportunity

My good friend and colleague, Chad Barr, shared a video depicting the wonderful pianist/vocalist Billy Joel working with a class at Vanderbilt University. A student, Michael Pollack (after offering a brief statement about his musical “chops”) asks if he can accompany Billy Joel on one Michael’s favorite Billy Joel tunes, “New York State of Mind.” After a second or 2, Billy Joel simply responds, “Okay.” Here’s the video:

I hope you took a few minutes to watch it.

This video depicts what happens when preparation meets opportunity. You get one take. You rise to the occasion or suffer a crueler fate. Musicians do it. EMTs do it. Firefighters, doctors, Olympics athletes all do it.

When your number is called, you’re on stage and ready to go with a moments notice. You may have prepared for months or years. You are in the moment and not just playing the piano but putting on a show for an audience. One take. No “do-overs.” And, what a show that video depicts.

Yet, when you consider the auditions for a show like American Idol, thousands and thousands are whittled down to 20 in a relative heart beat. For 99.9%, preparation did not meet opportunity. And, that’s not how you thrive.

Thought for the week:

 “Do yourself a favor and take a risk this week. You may be surprised what happens when you abandon the comfort zone and embrace the adventure.” – Hal Croasmun

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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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Business Execution Personified

March 15, 2013

The Top Secret Drum Corp video below personifies excellence in business execution. Enjoy!

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


How To Stand Out In The Crowd At Launch Festival

March 11, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: how to stand out in the crowd

The Launch Festival 2013 concluded in San Francisco this past week. Approximately 50 companies stayed in stealth mode waiting to reveal to the world what they were all about in front of angel investors, venture capitalists, fellow entrepreneurs and the media. Each company had a problem of how to stand out in a big crowd and attract the attention of potential investors.

While some may have thought it’s all about “them,” like it or not, they were being compared to identify which value propositions, teams and ideas had the best chance of disrupting a current marketplace and create huge upside for the founders and investors. For example, which among the 50 is the next Yammer which launched at the Launch Festival 5 years ago and sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion last year?

How could companies have prepared better and attracted more investment money? In no particular order:

  • Too much focus on the technology; not enough focus on ”who wants to buy and why.”
  • If you are tackling a complex problem and your solution to that problem appears complex, you aren’t ready to bring your offering to the world.
  • Entrepreneurs reliant on external data sources need to understand risks of sharing out of date data. Customers will abandon your solution if they show up for a cancelled meetings or events.
  • Not enough attention on what potential investors care about, e.g., business model, monetization strategy, current revenues (if any), margins (current or anticipated), and, the team. Exasperated judges had to ask.
  • Unprepared for judges pushback (objections)–need to anticipate potential questions and objections and have cogent responses, preferably preemptively. If you are caught flat-footed, it undermines you and your solution.
  • Assume the judges don’t know more about your market potential than you do. You live it; they don’t. Judges were incorrect about several market assumptions and got away with it as the entrepreneurs let them.
  • Stand up for your convictions when you know facts are on your side. Be humble when the converse is true.
  • Most offered very little insight as to “why” their solution was going to be a game-changer and be widely adopted.
  • When will tech companies learn that the “best” companies don’t win–it’s the companies that market, sell most effectively and get serious traction via end-user adoption that win.
  • Most firms clearly needed assistance with marketing and with connecting their solution to paying customers–the “if we build it, they will come” school has been disproven time and again.
  • If it’s likely the judges have little expertise in your industry or with your solution, you had better educate them in 30 seconds or less or they will make you feel like you don’t understand your market and total addressable market.

There were a lot of interesting companies at Launch 2013. Sadly, many more of them have the potential to thrive than probably will.

Thought for the week:

“Anybody can have a great idea. Few people can execute. Focus on that!” – Dave McClure, 500 StartUps

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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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Marrisa Mayer Earns $1.1M Bonus

March 9, 2013

Here is the news reported yesterday in nbcnews.com:

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer received a $1.1 million bonus for her first five-and-half months running the Internet company, during which time the company’s stock gained 46 percent…

The 37-year-old Mayer is eligible for an annual bonus of up to $2 million. Yahoo adjusted last year’s bonus to reflect that Mayer spent less than half the year as CEO.

I’m really happy for her.

She is taking action, challenging and changing the status quo, making tough decisions, and restoring shareholder confidence.  She is leading Yahoo out of the abyss.

This is what leaders and change agents do. I continue to wish her and her team well.

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner

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Manufactured Crises

March 4, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: manufactured crises

When the Sequester occurred on Friday, we heard the media share all the things that would be negatively impacted in our lives. Barack Obama and his cabinet heads were particularly vocal about the “major impacts” ahead.

For example, tax returns may be processed slower, there will be fewer TSA folks at the airport, air traffic controllers will be laid off at airports without commercial flights, defense contractors will be impacted, the Blue Angels won’t be able to fly, an aircraft carrier may need to stay in port, etc. Golly.

The Sequester’s impact on Federal spending is an across the board 2% reduction totaling $85 billion. Corporations know a 2% cut will cause inconvenience but not major disruptions or dislocation of services or support. We’ve heard little from any of the industries impacted. Why? Because there isn’t a crisis ahead. This is a speed bump and a not a very big one at that. This was a manufactured crisis.

Companies face bigger crises everyday via margin leaks that erode 2% or more of their profits. These crises are the result of business execution inefficiencies that haven’t been addressed appropriately, new initiatives with unclear outcomes, customer experiences that leave customers treated with indifference, and leadership continually distracted addressing failure work instead of strategic issues to support growth.

We have to be careful about which “crises” we pay attention to so as to not be distracted from those things that are really important in our businesses. This is the key to thriving.

Thought for the week:

3 Simple Rules

  • If you do not GO after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  • If you do not ASK, the answer will always be NO.
  • If you don’t step FORWARD, you’ll always be in the same place.

– Dave’s Words of Wisdom, UK

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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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