Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The scene: Said author in a Buffalo Bills jersey at the front door distributing candy to some punk ass kids (more on this in a minute)
Punk: Who is that? (Looking at the jersey)
Me: The Buffalo Bills
Punk: (Sneering) The Bills.........they're like 3-4.
Kid, a couple of points here. The Bills lost close ones to Denver and Dallas despite the rash of injuries and could easily be 5-2. Second, don't passively follow conventional wisdom. Two years ago everyone who was anyone was buying securitized sub-prime mortgages. Now, after almost sending the economy into a tailspin because of the short term liquidity crunch it doesn't look like such a good idea any more. It's like when your buddy goes off the bike ramp the wrong way and impales his groin on the handle bars; what once sounded like fun doesn't doesn't seem like it is worth doing.
If you just listen to everyone else your just going to get their interpretation. Who knows if that person actually knows what they are talking about? Go see for yourself, get some raw data points and pull your own conclusion. Maybe you can see something that everyone else has missed.
Monday, October 29, 2007
"Most organizations have a set of “norms” that operate at some level of violation of the written or established procedures. The reasons for this are many, but usually it is because good people are doing the best they can, in the conditions they are given, to get the job done." - Mark Rosenthal from The Lean Thinker. Link When things go south everyone rushes to the rules, and if you aren't in compliance you are at fault. The rules generally take minimally more effort which is well worth it when you are asked to show your cards.
There is an article in today's WSJ about "Handicapping the Environmental Gold Rush" Long story short; demand is up and the regulatory environment is changing creating an environment of increased energy costs. When prices go up, so do opportunities, and there are a lot of companies trying to cash in. Want a stone cold, lead pipe lock for which companies won't win? There will not be a single Big Oil company that makes the transition. (If there is a transition, which is another long story.) They have too much invested in solving the problem by pumping stuff out of the ground to be able to develop any other solution. A better bet would be to watch who leaves the Big Oil companies from their alternative fuels division to start their own company. Bet on them.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
But once in a while you live an adage and it takes on a whole new meaning.
We've recently had the opportunity to bring on a couple of new people into the group. After working with them for a couple of months I believe more than ever in the power of people.
These folks brought with them the ability to do things that we couldn't do. As much as we wanted, hoped, reached, or endeavored we could not do what these people can.
Case in point, I needed to create a electrical conduit that would allow me to measure a certain voltage in a hard to reach place. We came up with some solutions that would work, but the change over time between units would be seriously hindered. Enter new guy.
In hours, not days or weeks, new guy machines the perfect solution. Wow.
As Jim Collins wrote, "First put the right people on the bus."
Monday, October 22, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Living in America, we don't have that problem. When we turn on the switch the light come on. If it doesn't then we get upset. If the outage lasts more than a day then it becomes an event that is discussed about for years.
That's why today's article in the Wall Street Journal about how U.S. demand for electricity is growing at twice the pace supplier are being added is so interesting. (Kids, I want to say just one word to you - just one word. "Energy") What happens to American Innovation if we can't keep the lights turned on?
As much as we want to talk about Innovation, the unexplored territory waiting to be found, Innovation is the result of many other foundational processes running right. You aren't going to find any new unexplored ground in a leaky canoe.
And this is why Innovation isn't for everyone. If you can't get your current product portfolio to work, forget about new ones. The question you need to ask about solving your customer's future needs is how are well are you solving them now?
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I have decided to take my own advice; that I shouldn't think a product should work, I should know it will work. I am missing a delivery date in order to make another prototype. I'll take my lumps now, but I know I am making good product.
The Buffalo Bills have got something special going on. I said it back in August, and it is still true today. With the emergence of Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, and Lee Evans the Bills have the makings of a Super Bowl Contender. My buddy has made me promise that when the Bills make it to the next Superbowl we have to be in attendance. He has agreed that we will also go to the parade when they when. BTW, doesn't count if the team is no longer in Buffalo
Innovation is not hard. It takes some smart people, who treat each other with respect, and are willing to work hard to try something different. It really is that simple. Note: It gets much harder when you skip the respecting each other part.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Three cheers for the folks at Bendaryl for their new "Perfect Measure" spoons. The pre-filled spoons eliminate the mess associated with the old bottle and cap method. Simple twist off the top of the spoon and administer the correct dosage.
The best part of this idea is that the company brought Innovation to a tired market; a market that accepted that children's medicine needs to be dispensed from a plastic cup.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
In fact, sometimes you will be outright pummelled. You will be crushed, smushed, laughed at, ignored, and humiliated. You will hurt and anguish in ways that you didn't know were possible. And all of it will be unfair.
Your response is what matters.
You get to choose what you do in response. Do you go on an office tour and tell all your co-workers how unfairly you have been treated? Do you shut down? Refusing to be of any help at all? Or do you act like a professional? Go in, head held high, and do your job.
You are being paid to do what you do. You don't have to accept that pay check. But if you do, you have an obligation to give a 100%
You don't do it for them. You do it for you. For what you do speaks so loudly that no one can hear what you say.