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The Evolution of a Cybersecurity Firm - WSJ
By Cat Zakrzewski
May 16, 2017

......Certainly when someone is working with us today, they’re looking for us to deliver an outcome. They’re not necessarily looking for us to just provide them with a product and move on. That’s a big evolution in our model. We’re helping them manage cybersecurity risk.....It’s a big shift to go from a company that sold several products that each performed a separate security function to one that delivers an architecture designed to help customers drive more-holistic outcomes. In many cases, our customers are now asking us to help them manage and run our products for them so that they can get more value versus doing it themselves.......The problem we see in security is that often companies take the lack of attack on their company as meaning they have a good defense, and as a result do not place enough emphasis on the urgency of patching their systems to prevent future attacks.....[Cybersecurity has] gone from a back-office function to a boardroom-level issue. Now everyone in the C-suite of an organization has at least got some basic understanding of cybersecurity issues.

That’s bringing a whole level of visibility to it that we haven’t had in the past. Boards are worried about brand implications, they’re worried about intellectual property, they’re worried about business operations being interrupted, they’re worried about losing value. .....: I think the biggest mistake technical people can make is leading with the technology in both their explanation as well as in their remedies, leading with a one-size-fits-all problem. I think that’s when people get confused about what we’re trying to do. Then they think, well I can just go buy a widget and technical widgets should solve my technical cybersecurity problem. Cybersecurity is a systemic challenge. There are people issues......One key area is making sure that your partners and vendors are part of your extended, coordinated response, and that comes through clearly understanding what potential scenarios you face and then practicing what to do when an incident occurs.......Cybersecurity has a similar set of challenges, where you constantly are operating and have risks. People can be compromised, you have complex systems. You might make an acquisition where that firm had a breach and you’ve brought that into your organization. Cybersecurity is something you need to think about in a risk-based context and think about it holistically.
CEOs  McAfee  boards_&_directors_&_governance  cyber_security  cyberthreats  outcomes  risk-management  data_breaches  network_risk  threat_intelligence  one-size-fits-all  thinking_holistically  Michael_McDerment  C-suite 
may 2017 by jerryking
Starting Over: How FreshBooks Reinvented Its Online Accounting Service On The Fly
Bo Burlingham ,   CONTRIBUTOR
I write about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
This story appears in the May 16, 2017
Michael_McDerment  Freshbooks  SaaS  reinvention 
may 2017 by jerryking
McDonald’s is going to play SXSW this year — Quartz
Svati Kirsten Narula
March 03, 2015

McDonald’s will host three “pitch sessions” at SXSW on March 13, offering an audience for tech startups with ideas for innovation in three categories:
Reinventing the Restaurant Experience: “This is not about tweeting, ordering online or Wi-Fi connectivity…. We are talking about multiple screens, proximity technology, personalization and even smart packaging.”
Content Creation: “Brands have to co-create content with communities, curate daily content to stay relevant, and create content with social in mind. How can brands tap into new content partners and models that can tackle these objectives?”
Transportation and Delivery: “Our existing idea of door-to-door delivery and drive-thru will soon be obsolete. Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you’re driving down the highway.”
The best pitch will earn the presenter a trip to McDonald’s corporate headquarters, where he or she will be invited to pitch directly to the company’s C-suite. McDonald’s says pitches will be evaluated based on “current traction and milestones,” “market potential,” “customer value proposition and service offering,” and “overall brand fit.”
brands  McDonald's  SXSW  digital_strategies  pitches  sponsorships  millennials  Fortune_500  creating_valuable_content  content_creators  metrics  proximity  personalization  home-delivery  drones  Michael_McDerment  C-suite 
march 2017 by jerryking
5-Step Primer to Entering New Markets
| Inc.com | BY KARL STARK AND BILL STEWART, Co-founders, Avondale.

Expanding into a new market can be an effective way to leverage your core business for growth. But it takes a disciplined process to accurately assess the potential of each growth opportunity, because a bad bet can bog down your business.

Investing the appropriate level of resources in market analysis, selection, and entry method can create a foundation for success in the chosen market. We suggest following five steps to properly assess the opportunities and risks of a new market.

1. Define the Market
2. Perform Market Analysis
3. Assess Internal Capabilities
4. Prioritize and Select Markets
5. Develop Market Entry Options
marketing  growth  core_businesses  market_entry  new_markets  capabilities  frameworks  market_definition  market_analysis  self-assessment  market_opportunities  market_assessment  generating_strategic_options  assessments_&_evaluations  opportunities  Michael_McDerment  primers 
october 2016 by jerryking
Thane Stenner: Here’s where the wealthy get their investment ‘edge’
Mar. 02, 2016 | The Globe and Mail | THANE STENNER.

They have clear investment goals: High-net-worth individuals are obsessive goal setters. They always know why they’re investing (beyond “to make money”). They reverse-engineer their return objectives to meet both long- and short-term goals.

They know when to delegate: High-net-worth investors are not “do-it-yourself” investors.

They think risk first: High-net-worth individuals are generally focused on wealth protection as much as wealth generation.

It’s business: In general, high-net-worth investors tend to be good at “segregating” their emotions from their investment decisions.

They keep the news in perspective: Most wealthy individuals are news junkies. Of course they listen to, digest, and consider a lot of financial news. But the focus of their attention is on long-term trends, not necessarily up-to-the-minute financial data. And they think very, very carefully before making any decision based on news.

They seize the opportunity in crisis: Most high-net-worth individuals are born contrarians.
high_net_worth  slight_edge  investing  investors  rules_of_the_game  Thane_Stenner  goal-setting  contrarians  reverse_engineering  wealth_protection  kairos  impact_investing  passions  passion_investing  calm  Carpe_diem  Michael_McDerment  thinking_deliberatively  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
march 2016 by jerryking
Looking Beyond the Internet of Things
JAN. 1, 2016 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

Adam Bosworth is building what some call a “data singularity.” In the Internet of Things, billions of devices and sensors would wirelessly connect to far-off data centers, where millions of computer servers manage and learn from all that information.

Those servers would then send back commands to help whatever the sensors are connected to operate more effectively: A home automatically turns up the heat ahead of cold weather moving in, or streetlights behave differently when traffic gets bad. Or imagine an insurance company instantly resolving who has to pay for what an instant after a fender-bender because it has been automatically fed information about the accident.

Think of it as one, enormous process in which machines gather information, learn and change based on what they learn. All in seconds.... building an automated system that can react to all that data like a thoughtful person is fiendishly hard — and that may be Mr. Bosworth’s last great challenge to solve....this new era in computing will have effects far beyond a little more efficiency. Consumers could see a vast increase in the number of services, ads and product upgrades that are sold alongside most goods. And products that respond to their owner’s tastes — something already seen in smartphone upgrades, connected cars from BMW or Tesla, or entertainment devices like the Amazon Echo — could change product design.
Quentin_Hardy  Industrial_Internet  data  data_centers  data_driven  machine_learning  Google  Amazon  cloud_computing  connected_devices  BMW  Tesla  Amazon_Echo  product_design  Michael_McDerment  personalization  connected_cars 
january 2016 by jerryking
Canada’s new census needs to capture nuances of fast-evolving economy - The Globe and Mail
MIKE MCDERMENT
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015

Building a world that better suits their needs is good for the Canadian economy and it starts with collecting better data.

In 2016, the government will reintroduce the census used before the previous government came to power. Adherence to inflexible testing principles and a looming print deadline mean that a more comprehensive survey will not be ready in time for next year. I understand this – it’s prudent to get accurate data. But printing? It’s 2015. We can file our taxes online; surely, we can a complete the long-form census online.

Perhaps a better question is: Can we afford to go five years between censuses given the current rate of change driven by technology? Just look at Canada’s manufacturing, automotive, and oil and gas sectors – rapid change in a fast-evolving world. In today’s world, five years is too long to go between drinks of new data, not to mention that five-year intervals translate into 10-year timelines before we can establish a trend. It’s high time we pick up the pace.
Michael_McDerment  Freshbooks  cloud_computing  census  statistics  rapid_change 
november 2015 by jerryking
How to Leave a Mark - NYTimes.com
JAN. 27, 2015 | NYT |David Brooks.

Impact investors seek out companies that are intentionally designed both to make a profit and provide a measurable and accountable social good. Impact funds are frequently willing to accept lower financial returns for the sake of doing good — say a 7 percent annual return compared with an 11 percent return. But some impact investors are seeking to deliver market-rate returns....It’s hard to find a reliable way to measure the social impact of these dual-purpose companies. Impact investors have also had trouble finding scalable deals to invest in. It costs as much to do due diligence on a $250 million deal as on a $25 million deal, so many firms would rather skip the small stuff... impact investing is now entering the mainstream. An older generation used their (rigorous) business mind in one setting and then their (often sloppy) charity mind in another. Today more people want to blend these minds. Typically a big client, or a young heir, will go to his or her investments adviser and say, “I want some socially useful investments in my portfolio.”...Impact investing is not going to replace government or be a panacea, but it’s one of a number of new tools to address social problems. If you want to leave a mark on the world but are unsure of how to do it, I’d say take a look. If you’re a high-net-worth individual (a rich person), ask your adviser to get you involved. If you’re young and searching, get some finance and operational skills and then find a way to get involved in a socially useful investment proposition. If you’ve got a business mind, there are huge opportunities to build the infrastructure (creating measuring systems, connecting investors with deals).
David_Brooks  capitalism  impact_investing  hard_to_find  Michael_McDerment  high_net_worth  new_graduates  skills  passions  passion_investing  TBL  social_impact  measurements  high-impact  heirs 
january 2015 by jerryking
Bill McFarland: Why it’s crucial to embed innovation in business plans - The Globe and Mail
GUY DIXON
TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014,

When it comes to innovation, wouldn’t it be better to be second--to let another company assume the headaches and expense of innovating first?

A lack of drive to innovate or even taking solace in being second best has been a trait of Canada’s business DNA. ... innovation as a means to try out new things, even if they mean going out on a limb, with a greater possibility of failure. But he notes the importance of building innovation into a business plan. Some companies, he said, also reward employees for trying and even failing, setting up a company culture in which not trying is seen as a bigger problem than continual success.
PwC  fast_followers  innovation  business_planning  CEOs  Sobeys  grocery  supermarkets  customer_experience  failure  organizational_culture  mediocrity  Michael_McDerment  messiness 
september 2014 by jerryking
Want to land a big client? Here are four important tips - The Globe and Mail
MATTHIJS KEIJ
Young Entrepreneur Council
Published Tuesday, Aug. 12 2014

Study them

Landing a big client isn’t about you. Let me say that again: It is not about you.... remember that to succeed, you must help your client succeed. How do you do that? Study everything you can about the client until you fully understand the business, strategies and objectives.

Next, clearly define how your product or service will help the company achieve its goals. If you can identify a problem or isolate areas for improvement, then you can clearly illustrate your ability to provide a unique solution.

Make the connection. to land that enterprise client, try to identify your Norgay or Hillary. Talking to the wrong people wastes valuable time. However, if you can create a relationship with a strategic partner, that person can help get you in front of the right people and into the necessary meetings – all the more quickly than you could do on your own. Your target client is Mount Everest. Start climbing.
Gain influence

“An enterprise client needs to be convinced that working with your company is the best decision they could ever make,” says Karthik Manimozh, president and COO of 1-Page. “One of the most effective ways to help them arrive at this conclusion is to let your reputation precede you.”

The leadership, prestige and visibility that your company wields in the marketplace are all key factors that influence buying decisions. The answers your potential enterprise client seeks rest on your ability to shape your story. Good PR and marketing is the foundation. Strategic networking and social proof are pillars.

Remember, influence is something that comes with hard work...Be everywhere; talk with everyone (but ensure your conversations are informative and upbeat, never desperate).

Persevere through tough times

It can take months or even more than a year to land an enterprise client. Nothing worth having comes easy.

During that time, you’re bound to find yourself in countless meetings, possibly caught up in the middle of office politics, or jumping through hoops as the legal and procurement departments vet your company. Don’t dismay. This is par for the course when trying to land an enterprise client.
solutions  solution-finders  marketing  business_development  tips  indispensable  influence  networking  JCK  due_diligence  large_companies  perseverance  Communicating_&_Connecting  value_propositions  serving_others  strategic_thinking  client_development  hard_work  enterprise_clients  hard_times  office_politics  Michael_McDerment  the_right_people 
august 2014 by jerryking
The Science of Serendipity
Q3 · 2011 | Think Quarterly by Google | WORDS BY Dave Allan, Matt Kingdon. The co-founders of ?WhatIf!, the world’s largest independent innovation company, explain how.

The best innovation leaders are good at asking questions that help make an idea real: what does it weigh? Can I put it in my pocket? What will be the consumer’s experience? What will they stop buying when they switch to our product?

One client of ours wanted to cut the time and expense of launching a new restaurant. They had budgeted $3m and several months. We took $150,000 and in three days had a pop-up restaurant running. We made plenty of mistakes, but we made them fast and cheap and we learned things that saved our client time and money.
innovation  serendipity  pop-ups  buyer_choice_rejection  restaurants  customer_experience  product_development  cheap_revolution  product_launches  questions  Michael_McDerment 
april 2013 by jerryking
Right Questions
New businesses proceed through distinct stages, each requiring a different management approach.Experimentation is only the first step in an extended, multistage process of business development. Each stage
introduces a different set of questions and challenges. (See the exhibit "The Right Questions.").Each stage also demands different talents and perspectives, and new leaders usually have to be brought in as businesses progress. The visionary who is well suited to leading a new business through its early experimental
stages is often poorly equipped to guide the venture through the expansion and integration stages, when sales and organizational skills become more important than bold thinking and creativity. Nor can performance measures remain immutable. Because new businesses are seldom profitable in their early, formative years, financial metrics
make little sense as a starting point for evaluation. Instead, milestones of various sorts-the number of prototypes in customers' hands; the number of times analysts mention a hot, new technology; the number of salespeople bringing in leads-are more useful indicators of early progress. During expansion, measures of market penetration and market share become important; as the business becomes established, traditional financial measures can be
installed.
asking_the_right_questions  start_ups  lean  experimentation  metrics  measurements  questions  new_businesses  Michael_McDerment 
december 2012 by jerryking
Growing at a Smart Pace
Growing at a Smart Pace

What Every CEO Should Know About Creating New Businesses
1 Ultimately, growth means starting new businesses.
Most firms have no alternative. Sectors decline, as they did for Pullman’s railroad cars and Singer’s sewing machines. Technology renders products and services obsolete—the fate Polaroid suffered, as digital cameras decimated its instant photography franchise. Markets saturate, as Home Depot is now finding, after establishing more than a thousand stores nationwide.
2 Most new businesses fail.
3 Corporate culture is the biggest deterrent to business creation.
New ventures flourish best in open, exploratory environments, but most large corporations are geared toward mature businesses and efficient, predictable operations.
4 Separate organizations don’t work—or at least not for long.
5 Starting a new business is essentially an experiment.
6. New businesses proceed through distinct stages, each requiring a different
7. New business creation takes time--a lot of time.
8. New businesses need help fitting in--"bridging"--with established systems and structures.
9. The best predictors of success are market knowledge and demand-driven products and services.
10. An open mind is hard to find.
growth  Thomas_Stewart  HBR  CEOs  Junior_Achievement  hard_to_find  start_ups  failure  organizational_culture  experimentation  trial_&_error  life_cycle  tacit_data  entrepreneurship  dedication  obsolescence  demand-driven  infrastructure  new_businesses  bridging  large_companies  customer-driven  market_saturation  Home_Depot  Fortune_500  mindsets  open_mind  decline  Michael_McDerment  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
december 2012 by jerryking
Eight Principles of Strategic Wealth Management
August 09, 2006 | Knowledge@Wharton | by Stuart E. Lucas.
1. Take charge and do it early.
2. Align family and business interests around wealth-building goals and strategies.
3. Create a culture of accountability.
4. Capitalize on your family's combined resources.
5. Delegate, empower, and respect independence.
6. Diversify but focus.
7. Err on the side of simplicity where possible.
8. Develop future family leaders with strong wealth management skills.
wealth_management  rules_of_the_game  Wharton  personal_finance  wealth_creation  accountability  strategic_thinking  leadership_development  simplicity  JCK  business_interests  family_interests  diversification  focus  Michael_McDerment  aligned_interests 
august 2012 by jerryking
Managing Risk In the 21st Century
February 7, 2000 | Fortune | By Thomas A. Stewart.

Take risk management, a responsibility of the treasury function. Most risk managers haven't begun to cope with the real threats 21st-century companies face. Like the drunk in the old joke who looks for his lost keys under the streetlamp because the light is better there, risk management is dealing with visible classes of risk while greater, unmanaged dangers accumulate in the dark.

Risk--let's get this straight upfront--is good. The point of risk management isn't to eliminate it; that would eliminate reward. The point is to manage it--that is, to choose where to place bets, where to hedge bets, and where to avoid betting altogether. Though most risk-management tools--insurance, hedging, diversification, etc.--have to do with reducing loss, the goal is to maximize the gains from the risks you take (alpha? McDerment?)

So where should we look for these new risks?

--Your reputation or brand. When a bad batch of carbon dioxide in Coca-Cola sickened some Belgian children last summer, Coke's European operating income fell about $205 million, and Coca-Cola Enterprises, the bottler, incurred $103 million in costs. What about the cost to brand equity? One highly imperfect proxy: Coke's market capitalization fell $34 billion between June 30 and Sept. 30, 1999.

--Your business model. Asset-free, knowledge-intensive competition is to entrenched business models what the Panzer was to the Maginot Line. MP3s changed the music business more fundamentally than anything since radio. E*Trade, 18 years old, forced Merrill Lynch, 180, to change its way of doing business. Yet the new guys' very nimbleness creates its own risks, which traditional risk management can't help. You can protect the hard assets of a brick-and-mortar mall. Click-and-order stores are much more exposed: Cash flow is just about all they've got.

--Your human capital. The obvious human-capital risk is flight--especially in a tight labor market--but it's only part of a larger, subtler problem. When the CEO intones, "People are our most important asset," he's wrong, even if he's sincere. People are your most important investors. Your stock of human capital matters less than your flow of it. Any turbulence--and is there anything but turbulence these days?--can disrupt the flow, damaging your ability to attract human capital or people's desire to collaborate. Says Thomas Davenport, a partner at Towers Perrin: "Uncertainty is a real enemy of human capital. People rebalance their ROI by cutting back the investment."

--Your intellectual property. Many risks to intellectual property--theft, for example--can be dealt with in obvious, if sometimes onerous, ways. Here's the cutting-edge question: How do you manage risk in the process by which new intellectual property is created? How do you cope with the fact that the safer a given R&D project is, the less likely it is to be a big-money breakthrough? How do you balance the virtues of specialization against those of diversification?

--Your network. No company is an island, entire of itself; odds are your business is embedded in a network you do not control. It's not just that AOL might crash and cost you a few days' sales; your whole business may depend on tangible and intangible assets that belong to outsourcing partners, franchisees, sugar daddies, or standard-setters.
There are a couple of patterns here. First, an ever-greater part of business risk comes from sources your company can't own--people, partners, environments. Second, volatility isn't just a currency or stock market risk anymore. Labor markets, technologies, even business models oscillate at higher frequencies--their behavior more and more resembling that of financial markets.

In those patterns are hints of how to manage intellectual risks--which we'll examine next time.
risk-management  21st._century  risks  Thomas_Stewart  reputation  branding  business_models  financial_markets  talent_management  intellectual_property  networks  human_capital  turbulence  uncertainty  volatility  instability  nimbleness  labour_markets  accelerated_lifecycles  intellectual_assets  e-commerce  external_interaction  talent_flows  cash_flows  network_risk  proxies  specialization  diversification  unknowns  brand_equity  asset-light  insurance  hedging  alpha  Michael_McDerment 
june 2012 by jerryking
How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work
March-April 1994| HBR | Amar Bhidé.

However popular it may be in the corporate world, a comprehensive analytical approach to planning doesn’t suit most start-ups. Entrepreneurs typically lack the time and money to interview a representative cross section of potential customers, let alone analyze substitutes, reconstruct competitors’ cost structures, or project alternative technology scenarios. In fact, too much analysis can be harmful; by the time an opportunity is investigated fully, it may no longer exist. A city map and restaurant guide on a CD may be a winner in January but worthless if delayed until December...What are the critical elements of winning entrepreneurial approaches? Our evidence suggests three general guidelines for aspiring founders:

1. Screen opportunities quickly to weed out unpromising ventures.

2. Analyze ideas parsimoniously. Focus on a few important issues.

3. Integrate action and analysis. Don’t wait for all the answers, and be ready to change course.
entrepreneur  strategies  HBR  founders  Amar_Bhidé  hustle  capital_efficiency  pivots  analysis_paralysis  action-oriented  pragmatism  Michael_McDerment  frugality  parsimony  good_enough 
june 2012 by jerryking
McDerment Interview of DJ Patil
May 23, 2012 | Mesh Conference 2012 | Mike McDerment interviewing DJ Patil
mesh  conferences  Michael_McDerment  massive_data_sets  data  hackathons 
may 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Solving the problem isn't the problem
Seth Godin on May 08, 2012

The problem is finding a vector that pays for itself as you scale.

We see a problem and we think we've "solved" it, but if there isn't a scalable go-to-market business approach behind the solution, it's not going to work.

This is where engineers and other problem solvers so often get stuck. Industries and organizations and systems aren't broken because no one knows how to solve their problem. They're broken because the difficult part is finding a scalable, profitable way to market and sell the solution.
Seth_Godin  problem_solving  scaling  problems  OPMA  Michael_McDerment 
may 2012 by jerryking
What Customers Want
JULY 7, 2003 | Fortune | by Larry Seiden and Geoff Colvin
To increase overall profitability, smart companies retain and
grow their most profitable customers and acquire more of them.
They fix, close, or sell their least profitable customers. And they
organize in a nontraditional way, around customer segments...
A winning value proposition is the one that best meets the full
set of customer needs, including price. That is, certain critical
elements of the experience deliver on the customers’ most important
needs better than the competition. This creates differentiation
and the potential for superior customer profitability—a mutually beneficial value exchange. Your goal is to create mutually beneficial value exchanges with customer segments that offer the greatest economic profit potential. Creating, communicating, and executing competitively dominant value propositions that earn exceptional customer profitability involves a sixstep process we’ve identified at leading companies and dubbed value proposition management.

Step 1: Figure out the needs
of your most profitable customers
Step 2: Get creative
Step 3: Test and verify your hypotheses
Step 4: Tell customers how great
your value propositions are
Step 5: Apply the best value
propositions on a large scale
Step 6: Begin anew.
Geoff_Colvin  customers  Dell  RBC  value_propositions  customer_segmentation  customer_acquisition  mutually_beneficial  customer_experience  Michael_McDerment 
april 2012 by jerryking
How to Be Like Apple - WSJ.com
AUG. 29, 2011 | WSJ | RACHEL EMMA SILVERMAN. Driving
Innovation: Mgmt. experts say there are specific ways firms can generate
and execute new ideas. Solicit input. Great ideas come from all levels
of the organization, not just the top. Provide workers time for
"unofficial activity," set time to work on creative ideas. Executing
ideas is often tougher than generating them. Companies need a clear
process to prioritize, resource & test ideas quickly and cheaply, so
that they can afford to experiment...Observation can help companies
understand not just what people say they want, but what they really
need. Clay Christensen says P&G's new-product success rate in recent
yrs. came from observing that people were concerned about how their
clothes smell (Febreze) & were always looking for simpler ways to
clean the floor (Swiffer.). P&G overhauled its new-biz strategy
after realizing that just 15% of its ideas, developed in more of an
ad-hoc approach, were meeting revenue & profit targets.
Apple  innovation  execution  Vijay_Govindarajan  P&G  business_development  Clayton_Christensen  new_products  kill_rates  success_rates  ad_hoc  new_businesses  slack_time  companywide  observations  experimentation  primary_field_research  large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  unarticulated_desires  Michael_McDerment 
august 2011 by jerryking
Stop Looking for Ideas, Look for Problems to Grow Your Business - India Chief Mentor - WSJ
April 19, 2010, | WSJ | By Gautam Gandhi. Stop looking for
good ideas. That’s right, you read this correctly. Please don’t speak of good ideas ever again. Instead tell me about good problems. They'll most likely bring a business opportunity, Where are the problems?

If you look around there are problems everywhere. Question things you
take for granted and think to yourself: Is there a better way? When you
have your next business meeting, whether it is with a client or
customer, ask them what their biggest problems are. You will be
surprised by what people tell you. Hopefully, you will start to notice
patterns and will soon identify a problem to solve. Better still, if it
is a problem that affects you directly.

When you think of the problem that you are going to solve, ensure that:

You are tackling it for a sizable market
People are willing to pay for your solution
You assess your rivals

The last one is important. Never think: “I don’t have any competition.”
growth  problem_solving  pattern_recognition  idea_generation  problems  challenges  worthiness  messiness  uncharted_problems  large_markets  competition  questions  ideas  assumptions  criteria  India  pain_points  discernment  curiosity  dissatisfaction  opportunities  inquisitiveness  Michael_McDerment  worthwhile_problems 
july 2011 by jerryking
How to Be an Angel Investor
Mar. 2009 | Paul Graham...Don't worry about the details of deal
terms, esp. when starting to angel invest. You win at angel investing
by investing in the right start-ups...When negotiating terms with a
start-up, there are 2 numbers to care about: (1) how much $ you're
putting in, and (2), the valuation of the company which determines how
much stock you get...The 2nd component to angel investing is how much
you're expected to help the start-up--this can range from simply being a
source of money, or becoming a de facto employee of the company.
Clarify your role in advance....Picking Winners..."Pick the start-ups
that will make something people want." ..." How do you do that? Angels
have to pick start-ups before they've got a hit—either because they've
made something great but users don't realize it yet, (e.g.Google ), or
because they're still iterations away from the big hit, (e.g Paypal).
Angel investors must be good judges of potential...fund people who are
relentlessly resourceful.
howto  angels  Paul_Graham  investors  investing  start_ups  JCK  Michael_McDerment 
december 2010 by jerryking
Lean start-up thinking that works for all
Oct. 26, 2010 / FT/ Philip D. Broughton. The classic method is
to look at the mkt. for an opportunity, establish a business case,
develop a product, test, validate & finally launch. At each stage,
you gather resources, establish criteria for the next step and try to
adjust as you go. The challenge, though, is that technology &
customer tastes move so fast that the classic method is
inadequate....Rather than wait until all your ducks in a row, iterate
early & often by finding customers willing to help you refine your
product & even buy it in its most primitive form. Don't waste $ by
investing in an unproven product, but rely on customer feedback to tell
you where to spend. The ideas owe much to "agile software development",
an adaptive process that values customer collaboration, responsiveness
& individual input over strict product road maps, tools & mktg.
plans. For traditionalists, agile development may smack of
ill-discipline, when in fact it is just a different kind of discipline.
ProQuest  Philip_Delves_Broughton  start_ups  lean  experimentation  criteria  iterations  early_adopters  Michael_McDerment 
november 2010 by jerryking
MaRS Discovery District - MaRS Video
Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, planet earth's
leading online invoicing and bookkeeping app for service oriented
professionals, freelancers and teams. Mike built FreshBooks in 2003 for
his design firm in order to scratch his own itch. Since launching in May
2004, FreshBooks has touched over 2,000,000 lives and Mike and his team
dedicate themselves to being a great service for people who love their
work, and want to focus on it instead of focusing on their paperwork.
Come hear firsthand about Mike's entrepreneurial journey.
Michael_McDerment  web_video  Freshbooks 
november 2010 by jerryking
Legal Rebels - 5 Business Model Innovations Solos Need to Truly Compete with BigLaw
With the financial crisis of 2008-2009, every part of this old model has come under scrutiny, even in a traditionally high-end field like IP litigation. Specifically:

Leverage. Leverage, or the associate-to-partner ratio within a firm or practice, is good for reportable profits per partner. But it is not necessarily good for clients. As clients push to cut litigation costs, leverage declines. This trend favors solos and less-leveraged practices.

Within One Firm. Historically, the transaction costs associated with assembling a team of lawyers not located under the same roof made it prohibitive to build a competitive litigation team from a network of solos. But the rise of Web 2.0 is changing that. With my LinkedIn/Facebook/Outlook network of colleagues, I can identify, customize and assemble a team in less time than it used to take to walk the halls of my old BigLaw firm. But we need innovation in the areas of contractual arrangements and the laws governing lawyers to fully deliver on the promise of the ad hoc, Web 2.0, virtual law firm.

Customized. In most areas of law practice, as the field matures, more and more aspects of the discipline become standardized.

Off the shelf. The opposite of build-it-by-hand-from-scratch-every-time. Compared with some other fields of law, IP litigation has been fairly slow to progress in this manner. It has therefore remained—relatively speaking—profitable custom work. But we are starting to see some indications that aspects of IP litigation are being made more routine, even standardized. This is a good development for the solo IP litigator. As formerly labor-intensive-but-routine pieces of IP litigation evolve into off-the-shelf modules, we are freed up to apply our creativity and good judgment to the more strategic aspects of the case, with a diminished need to spend time supervising large teams as they custom-polish a third set of interrogatories or research for the nth time how to apply the Brown Bag Software case to a two-tiered stipulated protective order. Innovation in off-the-shelf litigation modules is starting to arrive, and more is needed.

Billable hours. It has been proclaimed and repeated that the billable hour is dead. Well, maybe not quite. But it is certainly open to competition from alternative fee arrangements. We have enough data and experience now that we can start to accurately predict IP litigation costs. And we can bill a la carte, charging fixed fees for different pieces of litigation. A menu might include one fixed fee for pleading-through-pretrial conference, a per-deposition fee, a per-custodian document discovery fee and so on. Models continue to evolve. Clients want their lawyers to share the risk—to have some “skin in the game”—and to have incentives for efficiency. Innovative billing models are coming.
solo  business_models  law_firms  leverage  competitive_landscape  BigLaw  off_the_shelf  billable_hours  transaction_costs  LinkedIn  Facebook  networks  JCK  Michael_McDerment 
october 2010 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: ROBERT M. MCDERMENT
August 21, 2010 | Globe & Mail . ROBERT M. MCDERMENT, Q.C
OCTOBER 24, 1933 ­ AUGUST 17, 2010 The family is deeply saddened to
announce Bob's passing after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer.
Beloved husband of Claire, devoted father of Mary (Tom), Robert
(Hannah), Martha (Nick) and Michael.In lieu of flowers, donations to
Camp Kirk, the camp Bob started for children with learning disabilities
(115 Howden Road, Scarborough, M1R 3C7 or www.campkirk.com) or, where
appropriate, the bursary funds of Trinity College School Class of '52,
or Queen's Engineering Class of '57 would be appreciated. Condolences
and memories may be for warded through www.humphreymiles.com.
obituaries  Michael_McDerment 
august 2010 by jerryking
Six Deadly Orthodoxies of Recessions | Articles | Homepage
Jan./Feb. 2009, article in CEO Magazine by Pierre Loewe and
Dave Jones
* Reduce costs selectively, not indiscriminately, monitor carefully the
impact of cost cuts on staff.
* Don't stop investing - seek undervalued assets and opportunities to
upend rivals who only think of retrenching.
* De-risk and lower the costs of innovation efforts by reaching outside
company and by conducting well-designed experiments.
*If your company has developed a new product or business that
significantly enhances the customer value proposition, a recession is
the time to introduce it and get a lasting advantage over more timid
competitors.
*A recession is the time to bypass incremental cost reduction efforts
and to focus employees' energy on innovation aimed at dramatic cost
reduction.
*Even if you have to curtail innovation efforts to conserve cash,
maintain a sufficient level of activity so you can ramp-up efforts
quickly, retain your key innovators, and tap the pulse of the changing
dynamics of the mkt.
innovation  rethinking  lessons_learned  recessions  Michael_McDerment  counterintuitive  CEOs  Daniel_Pink  Freshbooks  economic_downturn  orthodoxy  conventional_wisdom  breakthroughs  new_products  de-risking  cost-cutting  new_categories  undervalued  incrementalism  marginal_improvements  experimentation  moonshots 
february 2009 by jerryking
Ping - How Google Decides to Pull the Plug - NYTimes.com
February 14, 2009 NYT article By VINDU GOEL on how Google
evaluates budding projects, its key tests for continued incubation, its
use of its own employees as a test bed, and its use of product-specific
blogs to communicate and listen to, the public.
Daniel_Pink  Freshbooks  culling  decision_making  business  innovation  Google  exits  trial_&_error  commercialization  projects  kill_rates  test_beds  assessments_&_evaluations  Communicating_&_Connecting  testing  blogs  new_products  Michael_McDerment 
february 2009 by jerryking

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