Charles Murray makes an interesting case on how we might break the back of the regulatory state. His concluding remarks are especially poignant. Grab a coffee and put in the buds. And I say, bring on the Madison Fund!



New Red Skin

What about you?


Three and half minutes that are worth your time…

OK, so obviously the authors of this come from the political right, but facts are facts!

We have wasted countless sums to improve the well-being of poor Americans to NO end … NADA … Zilch … Goose Egg! (Except, of course, that everyone now has modern conveniences and cheap food with little thanks to government bureaucrats.)

We have spent equally lavishly on public and private education for NO marked improvement. Primary and secondary education have tread water at best, while higher education has nearly become a practical joke.

High time we shed our social and political mindlessness, stop the name-calling, and face up to the fact that society can’t fix what is wrong with us!  Don’t you think so?

Mar 26

this_is_progress_2-28-14Click to enlarge.

A great post and good discussion on Hilton Barbour’s blog that’s worth a minute of your time:

The rot that is eating your brand from the inside

OK Marketing friends, how’s that social media advertising investment working for you? This YouTube video might give you pause…

An oh so true and insightful column on page 1 of yesterday’s WSJ B section by a Dennis Berman:  A Riddle:  Is a Peanut Butter Pop-Tart an ‘Innovation’?    (Sorry, behind pay wall.)

Wonderful quote:   “Most CEOs now spray the word “innovation” as if it were an air freshener.”

It IS the magic word … but rapidly becoming devoid of meaning. ‘New & Improved’ has been confused with the truly ground-breaking and, sadly, most pundits and analysts are missing the point.

Too many executives get away with this code-word instead of getting serious about the difference between creating new markets and new demand versus what they really mean:  Doing what it takes to win today’s market share battle.  Berman nails it:

They used to call it competitiveness—a word fraught with the implication that others might win. Now it has been elevated to innovation, a more regal way to describe what business has always done:  Adapt.

Behind this poverty of language lurks a huge strategic problem for many firms. What I too often see is that companies confuse the regimen of competing with the act of innovating. Since their stage gate process and supply chain constraints appear to act equally against the merely competitive “new and improved” and the truly “new to the world”, they put these activities on equal footing. This leads to wasting time and resources on the former at the expense of the latter.

Because of the costs, bottlenecks and lack of flexibility in supply chains and various stage gate “processes”, management ham-handedly tries to streamline and “cut waste”. In the end, they settle for a system that is less responsive, less competitive and less innovative.

What really needs to happen is a careful separation of the stream of competitively required, low value activities from the truly inventive and potential blockbuster development work.  The goal would be a two-track system that, on the one hand, could actually produce more low value activities, more quickly; while, on the other hand, carefully and quietly cultivates those big innovations that could grow new markets or new demand streams.

Walk + chew gum + same time … what a novel idea!

Interesting piece this morning in the Wall Street Journal on Google’s strategy on smart phones and devices.  Might Google Have a Sly Motive Behind Motorola?  (Sorry, behind the pay wall.)

The author’s premise is that Google has no intention to ever make money on handsets or software, but rather is attempting to kill the profitability of these markets.

What if profits aren’t part of the plan at Motorola Mobility (which Google purchased in 2011)?  What if Google’s plan for smartphones isn’t to directly make money for itself but, instead, an attempt to destroy money for other companies by making the phone a commodity device?

The author posits that Google’s ultimate goal is to protect and extend their dominant position in internet interaction and their lucrative advertising streaming.  In simple terms, Google’s intent appears to be to “drain the swamp” of device and software profit pools so that device and software players cannot direct consumers away from Google’s internet franchise.

Certainly the data on mobile device market share suggests this is happening.  Blackberry has crumbled and Android has become the big leader.  Apple operates more and more as the minority player (a replay of Mac vs. PC).  And lately, Apple seems to be taking the bait with introducing “low price” versions of the iPhone.

Where does this end up?  And where are the hues and cries about predatory behavior? Intentional loss of money by Google’s device division (which appears to be the case) would normally be a sign of trouble.  And again, what’s the definition of evil?


After a long weekend by a lake in southern Illinois, it’s time to get back to blogging.  Especially to download on the excellent insights and fellowship enjoyed at Reconverge:G2 last week in Indianapolis.

First, big thanks to Gail King at Eli Lilly for hosting and to Aurora WDC for running the show.  Also, next time you find yourself in Indianapolis, try the Alexander Hotel.  Very stylish and modern, very comfortable, and located close to all the hip joints in downtown Indy.

Over the coming days, I’ll post more specifics, especially from the Thursday program that we premiered in the Reconverge Blog series last week.  But here are a couple of great top lines from Wednesday’s keynote, Peter Johnson, VP of Strategic Planning at Eli Lilly.

These come from Peter’s 20 years of trying to manage and make use of Competitive Intelligence in strategic planning at the senior executive level.  What he said resonates strongly with my experience over the years sitting on the other side of the table:

  • If you don’t do good CI on your own organization, you’re toast!  Specifically, how well do CI folks understand how decisions get made or how the internal culture operates?  If CI folks can’t place their work product effectively into their organization’s true decision making flow and match its cultural norms, then CI will make only token impact.
  • If CI doesn’t understand the company’s strategy implicitly, it can’t influence it!  Seems simple enough but if CI isn’t on the inside of the discussion, doesn’t understand the assumptions, the aspirations, and the history behind the organization’s strategy, then it might as well be speaking a foreign language when it tries to report insights.