Archive for the ‘business’ Category

The wisdom of Charlie Munger

Saturday, September 20th, 2014






From here.

12 lines from Munger is worth more than 5 of your business books, Horatio.

There isn’t one novel thought in all of how Berkshire is run. It’s all about what [Mr. Munger’s friend] Peter [Kaufman] calls ‘exploiting unrecognized simplicities.’ We [Messrs. Buffett and Munger, their shareholders and the companies they have acquired] have selected one another. It’s a community of like-minded people, and that makes most decisions into no-brainers. Warren and I aren’t prodigies. We can’t play chess blindfolded or be concert pianists. But the results are prodigious, because we have a temperamental advantage that more than compensates for a lack of IQ points.

Nobody has a zero incidence of bad news coming to them too late, but that’s really low at Berkshire. Warren likes to say, ‘Just tell us the bad news, the good news can wait.’ So people trust us in that, and that helps prevent mistakes from escalating into disasters. When you’re not managing for quarterly earnings and you’re managing only for the long pull, you don’t give a damn what the next quarter’s earnings look like.

2500 people have subscribed to my website instead of coming back each day. You can subscribe to the site using a feedreader or email. I'm also on Twitter. My online marketing blog might also be worth a visit. Thanks for visiting - Damien.

Future of media bla-de-bla

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Actually, this is interesting enough.

So Buzzfeed gets $50 from Andreessen Horowitz, decides it will create a movie studio.

Post this, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz talk “software will destroy the world” and more in this podcast.

Meanwhile one of the other Bens talks on a podcast about why Buzzfeed is a very interesting investment. Supporting blog post from him. The way they do “native” advertising could be one future of media. Advertiser picks a topic/area and Buzzfeed does a Buzzfeed on interesting content with the advertiser marked as a sponsor.

Re/Code are now doing it too. What’s interesting there is their journalists DO NOT write this content but do we really look at who write pieces? Well actually, I do as you can easily spot biases depending on the writer. For example you can see who is in bed with what tech company in the broadsheets quite easily. Metaphorically.

And 2013 content and traffic starlet Upworthy are getting hit by traffic decreases which they blame on training their new staff. New one on me that one. How long does it take to train these staff and does not say something about the structure that bringing new staff on board causes dips in traffic for months?

Upworthy, Buzzfeed and even most Irish media websites are over dependent on Facebook right now. And now Facebook at last have said they’re going to combat click bait articles. Interesting to me is they’re using a lot og techniques Google uses to measure if a site is good content or not e.g. how quickly they click back to FB, the faster = less quality.

These few tips on how to increase or sustain reach on Facebook may be of use.

Now look at this switch too. MLB TV streams are moving away from desktops to devices. They’ll also move from traditional TV stations to streams too. Goodbye TV stations maybe, definitely “channels”.

So this is why Twitch which was meant to be bought by YouTube is being bought by Amazon now for nearly $1 Bn in cash. Twitch is 3 years old. 3! Retaining their independence with Amazon seems to be the message. Remaining independent is the hot new thing. Twitch is where gamers stream their games and millions of people watch them every month. It’s huge and it seems nobody in “traditional’ media saw it coming. This is going to happen more and more.

In January, Twitch reported that 58 percent of its viewers spent more than 20 hours per week on the site.

20 hours!

The future of PR – Robots

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Stay with me on this. See the recent BBC news piece about a Korean baseball team adding in robots to the crowd so it appears the team is followed more than they are? Sure, people have been buying followers for years in the virtual spaces but now it’s physical spaces.

And at the same time we have these scientific studies showing how humans will mimic the facial expressions of robots. Silly humans.

The spontaneous mimicry of others’ emotional facial expressions constitutes a rudimentary form of empathy and facilitates social understanding

This mimicry occurs even though these participants find the android unsettling and are fully aware that it lacks intentionality

Now the study does say when the android is videoed instead of being in person, less mimicry occurs. They can fix that I bet. See the issue here is we mistrust someone as we can read their face and even the best trained PR people do actually find it hard to physically hide their lies despite what comes out of their mouth. But with with robots you can perfectly program the facial expressions and we’ll smile back to the “genuine” smile. A physiological study shows that when people give their driverless cars names, they are more forgiving when the vehicle has an error.

So another oil spill and this time BP whips out the robo-spokesperson who like Johnny-Cab, tells you with a face full of contrition that they are sorry and it wasn’t their fault. Suckers.

And this from a few years ago when two bots argue with each other

Don’t Wait – Ira Glass Quote

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Ira Glass, from a Lifehacker interview.

Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.

Culture Shock Notes

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Culture shock notes

I bought Will McInnes’ Culture Shock book a good while back and finally had enough time off to read it. As I said to Will, I dog eared the shit out of it and these are the notes from those dog eared pages. Makes sense to me, maybe not to you. I think a lot has happened and sadly a lot HAS NOT happened since it came out so the book is worth a read for anyone in a company/organisation that wants to make changes. Like all books in a new area it had to mix the cheerleading and bringing you over the line part with the “and here’s how to do it part”. I do think even in 2014 that this still needs to happen but for not as many people so one wonders could there be a sister book for the “doing” part and maybe with more exercises. So Will, another book please!

A word of warning: The book however in size looks like it’s going to be nice and easy but the work involved is going to take a lot to do but this will help you plan it all out. This book is a “put downable book” because you are dog earing or taking notes. A very personal feeling is a different shape to the book might have helped with some of the exercises/flows so they’re all on one page or spread over two matching pages. Bigger in terms of being wider. Slimmer but wider.

There’s probably a niche for another book in this area too for people like me, “lone wolf” business people. So Will, a third book!

So, some of my notes, copy, paste and Google, I might be unlazy and add links to these later.
Pg 9 “In ultra competitive business landscape, our organisations need a higher purpose. a story of meaning”

Pg 24 CTI – Coaches Training Institute
“what’s your purpose?” – Richard Jacobs
Check four audiobook too

Pg 47 HCL Technologies.
“employees first, customers second” – Vincent Nagar
Namasté Solar

Pg 57 Worldblu. List of most democratic companies. The Worldblu Scorecard.

Pg 58 Ready. Fire. Aim.

Pg 81 Namasté Solar – F.O.H. Frank Open Honest comms.

Pg 87 Gore.
Associates not employees. Sponsor not manager.
Max 200 in a unit/plant
CEO Terri Kelly – MIT Talk
Nixon McInnes – Church of Fail

Pg 105,106 Conscious Leadership
1. Leading Yourself
2. Style
3. Trust and Ethics
4. Transparency
5. Rewards
6. Comms – Realtime
7. support

Pg 108 – Questions to ask yourself

Pg 118 “Every soldier is a sensor. Every citizen is a contributor. Every resident a reporter.” – Brian Humphrey

Pg 137 Euan Semple “Banning social sites at work is for wimps, real managers have conversations with their time wasters about wasting time”

Pg 142 Crowdsourcing site “Innocentive” – Yury Bodrov

Pg 147 Hackdays – Social Innovation Camps

Pg 162 Andy Grove – “high tech runs three times faster than normal businesses. government runs three times slower than normal businesses”

Pg 173 Ben Fletcher, Karen Pine – Do something different programme

Pg 177 Train company PR guy – “We have twenty seconds before the world knows more about the crisis than we do”

Pg 179 OODA
Observe – What’s going on here?
Orient – What’s my place? Where am I in relation to this?
Decide – What will I do?
Act – Do it
Quick loops, moving and iterating
“The best decision right now”

Pg 240 Global Guerrilla blog – John Robb
Vinay Gupta writings
Are you financially resilient? How can you improve this.

It’s all about execution. What is your “Brand”?

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Forbes interview with Matti Leshem. Some nice quotes worth sticking up here.

I thought Barry Diller hired me for my creativity where in fact he was interested in my ability to execute. Barry taught me everything I know about business and that your creativity is only as good as your ability to execute against it.

it’s causing people to pursue a career trying to work for themselves when they would be much happier just working for someone else.

The Protagonist credo is that brand is meaning. When you come in contact with a brand, an emotional shift takes place in the consumer and the person perceiving that brand immediately knows what it means to them. The brilliant thing about branding is it doesn’t have to mean the same thing to all people. When you see someone wearing a Nike logo or a Nike jacket, you immediately have an emotional and visceral connection of that brand because of the connection they have made on you over time. Building those connections with people is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

Every business is a failed business

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

(In which the author quotes his own tweets)

Every business is a failed business if it’s not started. If it only survives a second, a day or a year, it beat the odds, that’s not failure.

See: And? FDIY.

ISME 2014 Survey – Baloney from Banks and Govt on lending to SMEs

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

ISME Survey. PDF.

  • 52% of companies who applied for funding in the last three months were refused credit by their banks, a slight improvement on the 54% refusal rate, seen in the previous quarter.
  • 32% of respondents had requested additional or new bank facilities in the last 3 months, a reduction from 39% in the previous quarter and lowest demand since June 2011.
  • On average, the decision time has increased to just over 4 weeks and the wait to drawdown has increased from 3 to 5 weeks.
  • 11% of respondents who required bank finance did not apply for various reasons, a decrease from 17% in the previous quarter.
  • Of those 42% were actually discouraged by bank from making application and another 33% were afraid of a reduction in existing facilities.
  • 50% of respondents are customers of their bank for over 20 years, while 85% are over 5 years.
  • Of the 48% approved for funding, only 43% have drawn down the finance either fully or in part.
  • 46% of requests were for term loans, with 34% for overdrafts, or alterations to existing facilities, while invoice discounting/factoring accounted for 5% of requests, with 20% requesting leasing.
  • 60% of respondents had increases in bank charges imposed, while 20% have suffered increased interest.
  • Reductions in overdrafts were demanded of 23% of SMEs, down from 35% in the previous quarter.
  • 71% state that the Government is having either a negative or no impact on SME lending.
  • 74% of owner/managers are in favour of an alternative Strategic Investment Bank.
  • Only 32% of respondents are aware of the code of conduct for business lending to SMEs.

And now the board of Trinity commissions their own app

Monday, May 19th, 2014

After the well received reaction to Trinity changing their logo. Oh right. It now seems that the Board of Trinity College, University of Dublin (get used to that) want an iPad app just for their board meetings. The Public Tenders site lists iPad App for Board meetings.

Informally asking and those who dabble in this area think it could cost anywhere from €15k to €25k based on how difficult the “cloud” backend will be.

From the Trinity College iPad app tender

Background & Project Overview

It is desirable for a number of reasons to move to an electronic system of organising and circulating documents for the College Board meetings and for meetings of the Executive Officer Group. Such benefits include environmental gains, financial gains and more efficient use of College resources and staff.

There are a number of ways that the organisation can securely circulate documents. Both commercial options and in-house options can result in savings versus the current processes. Best practice in other educational providers was explored and it was agreed by the Executive Officer Group (EOG) that the purchase of a hosted solution should be explored.

Reminds me of Dave Morin and the “bespoke app” he had made so he could communicate with his secretary.

I guess an app is needed because nobody has already made one. Oh. Hang. On.

But hey CLOUDCOMPUTINGAPPBUZZWORD!

Here’s one take on that new Trinity logo too from Conor Walsh.
New Trinity Logo

“Square acquired by Visa” – Will Secret, Whisper influence the news?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Woke up this morning to this:
John Wilshire Square bought by Visa

How can you trust a system that allows any rumour, lie or planned defamation to be published? Well, American laws for one. It’s a hot startup and has millionaire backers for two. Plenty of startups that do very dodgy things are left unchecked for a while in case there’s a chance they make money and others can profit from it. Ireland would knock and attack an idea like this, bludgeon it with negativity until we kill it. The American way is to encourage success so you can come in later and try and get a cut too.

Valleywag loves Secret. And some really good information has been leaked out through the app. And crazy fun stuff too. It was a Secret post that eventually unraveled the toxic truth behind how Github operated in such an anti-woman brogrammer way.

And the Evernote acquisition rumour was so far untrue. If you read this hilarious Tumblr, most of the rumours are untrue. Yet every now and then… Something like this too would be a perfect hoax, it’s well known that Square is trying to sell itself and is failing to do that. Visa is already and investor and of course the Square founder is already well known for running Twitter. Hoaxes have to have reality as a base.

For hunting stories though, tiny bits of information, rumours that are mostly untrue but with a tiny amount of truth are things you can use to chip away at a story. A lot of investigative type stories are almost negotiations or trades. Approach a source with a little bit of information, see will they give you a tiny bit more when you offer than tiny slice of truth. Take that, move on, uncover more with that and chip away even more until eventually you have a solid foundation for a story and then are confident to approach the main sources you can use/you want for your story.

An hour after the Twitter chatter, nothing has happened to that Square piece. An hour with a rumour or bit of information is a long time in media and a very long time in tech media. But the Paltrow/Martin marriage on the rocks rumour was weeks on Whisper before the conscious uncoupling became a reality. Nieman Labs even goes through the use of apps like these for journalism. Journalism with a small j, mind. Buzzfeed has even inked a content deal with Whisper. Well it certainly won’t be old-skool media would would find that distasteful and would take two years to come to that decision too.