tech + culture + design

Posts tagged with strategy

Invest In Design

The bottom line is that companies that use design strategically grow faster and have higher margins than their competitors. High growth rates and margins make these companies very attractive to shareholders, increasing competition for ownership. This ultimately pushes their stock prices higher than their industry peers.”

Embrace Discomfort

2013 was a year of pulse-pounding, sweaty-palmed discomfort, and consequently, extraordinary amounts of self growth. Being brave enough to shatter beliefs about my own limits was one of the most powerful commitments I have ever made to myself. 

Here are a few things I learned: 

1) “Believe In Your Flyness, Conquer Your Shyness” - Yeezy

We’ve all heard it before - our biggest enemy can be ourselves. Growing up a painfully shy child (my preschool teacher had to have a talk with my parents about me not speaking with any other kids in the class), it has been a lifelong struggle to find my voice and, as Yeezy puts it, conquer my shyness. The best way to conquer anything, from climbing Everest to overcoming a fear, is simply to take it one step at a time. This for me was practicing speaking up in front of groups of 40+ people on a daily basis and not only writing but actually publishing my writing. It meant owning my thoughts and believing in the importance and value of what I had to say. When you express thoughts and ideas you have to the world, you begin convincing your worst critic (yourself) specifically and uniquely why you are so very fly. Each time you chip away at fears by forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, you expand it. And, most importantly, begin believing in your own flyness.

2) ”Choose Growth, Over Perfection” - Amber Rae

Society demands perfection, from shining the spotlight on “perfect” grades or the “perfect” body. While societal definitions of “perfection” are thrust upon us, we must be mindful about how a sterile view of perfection can actually hold us back. Whether it is waiting too long for the “perfect” idea or the “perfect” soulmate, unexamined standards of perfection can lead to painful downfalls. The truth is - growth is the only thing that ever can get you close to perfection. Growth is messy. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. It’s humbling. It’s downright chaotic at times, but it is the only thing that leads to what perfection falsely promises: satisfaction. An empty pursuit of perfection for its own sake is dangerously misleading, but a mindful and deliberate choice to grow and learn is what ultimately breaths meaning into life. 

3) “No One Knows What They Are Doing” - Alexis Ohanion

With the exception of Bruce Lee. A refreshingly honest perspective in a world full of “experts”. Don’t ever be afraid to not do something because you aren’t 100% sure you know what you’re doing. In fact, most people don’t. Not even the President of the United States (as history so clearly has shown us time and again). The only way to get closer to knowing what you are doing, is doing it. No one always produces No. 1 hits (not even Beyoncé). No one has a crystal ball. No one consistently makes the best decisions. No one is infallible. So embrace your own imperfect, ignorant self and get out there and do what you want to be good at. Only through doing, making mistakes, and growing will you eventually at least look like you know what you are doing enough to achieve your goals. Doing things you aren’t 100% sure about should be the standard, not the exception. 

2013 taught me the value of a thick skin and continuing to embrace discomfort and uncertainty in exchange for self growth. Here, I leave you with words from a man far wiser than I: 

"Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”

- Oh, The Places You Will Go! by Dr. Seuss 

"Developers are like the honey badger. They don’t care. They go where the money is, and to create revenue-generating experiences they created apps. Millions of apps to encapsulate experiences in bite-sized, constantly updated little nuggets. We need the same kinds of building blocks for the IoE. Durable and useful building blocks that allow an ecosystem to bloom because developers and manufacturers can create experiences knowing that these building blocks are available for their use. And consumers must feel confident that their investments represent sustained value. So any such building blocks need to be openly available and interoperate on many dimensions: across OSes, across fields of use (car/home/office/mobile), across languages—and across all vendors. It can’t be the experience that each smart TV will require another app on every brand of smartphone in order to work. That won’t create an ecosystem. It can’t be that a washing machine can only interact with same-brand devices. That won’t create an ecosystem."

"The primary thing that any technology startup must do is build a product that’s at least 10 times better at doing something than the current prevailing way of doing that thing. Two or three times better will not be good enough to get people to switch to the new thing fast enough or in large enough volume to matter. The second thing that any technology startup must do is to take the market. If it’s possible to do something 10X better, it’s also possible that you won’t be the only company to figure that out. Therefore, you must take the market before somebody else does. Very few products are 10X better than the competition, so unseating the new incumbent is much more difficult than unseating the old one."

To capitalize on the Redbull-sponsored Felix Baumgartner skydive from space, the brand has enlisted Syyn Labs, a Los-Angeles-based creative collective best known for creating This Too Shall Pass  (Ok Go that with over 38 million YouTube) to create an epic athlete-powered Rube Goldberg machine. Since its release on Nov. 11, the video has already garnered 9 million views. One of the most risk-taking and innovative brands in the world, Redbull continues to think of ways to outdo itself, and its strategic partnerships continue to fuel the brand. A long way since the cutesy line-drawn commercials of “Redbull Gives You Wings.” 

"The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary. What trait signified someone who was wrong a lot of the time? Someone obsessed with details that only support one point of view. If someone can’t climb out of the details, and see the bigger picture from multiple angles, they’re often wrong most of the time."


You have to know more about more things.

Because we can’t beat the brain’s hardwiring, we’ve got to train it by routinely introducing new information, people, settings, sensations, and experiences in order to expand our databank of memories. In this way, we create more flexible and varied mental models that our brains can use to fill in the blanks of the future. With a richer store of memories, we are able to imagine a vast range of possibilities, appreciate the web of factors affecting a given issue, and make more of the associative links that prompt consideration of different scenarios. This is your best defense against—and preparation for—unforeseen events and opportunities that will likely impact your business.


- How To Hack A Moment, Fast Company

The Best Sales Leads Are Trend Hunters

1. Choose the right trends. It might sound obvious, but companies often don’t monitor the most relevant data. A basic materials company selling to the automotive sector, for example, drove its sales projections by the number of cars sold by region, which seems logical. However, its orders were actually tied to the number of new automotive projects (e.g. prototypes, factory modifications). The company simply got the correlation wrong. One way to figure it out is to “analyze your analysis.” Trend analyses are often based on false or old assumptions that haven’t kept pace with changes in the market place. Each data set you’re examining should tie directly to your sales goals. If you can’t make that direct connection, you’re looking in the wrong places. One critical way to identify the trends that matter to you is to ask yourself, how could this affect my customers? It’s a basic question but one that’s often overlooked when looking at long-term trends.

2. Keep it manageable. Even when you’ve narrowed down the trends to the ones that really matter to you, it’s still easy to drown in complex models that become both time consuming to run and hard to make sense of. You need information to help make decisions — investments, resource allocations, hiring — not awe-inducing spreadsheet models to impress particle physicists.

3. Tie insights to operations. Too many companies fail to take effective action or manage performance based on the insights they uncover. If you’re still rewarding the frontline based on short-term results, then any long-term effort will fail. 

Harvard Business Review