Working Wider


Six Lessons for Business Leaders
from the Lance Armstrong Disaster

Sports figures have longed served as icons for business leaders.  They simplify and symbolize the essence of competition by their dedication and success. As an avid cyclist, I’ve followed the meteoric rise and fall of Lance Armstrong’s career with deep interest.  Without drugs, he was one the greatest cyclists of his time.  With drugs, he [...]

7 Lessons for Business Leaders from the 2012 Election

The two major candidates raised just short of $2B in the recent election. Rather than dissecting the return on investment politically, here’s a quick look at the leadership lessons that played out over the campaign. In no particular order: 1. Get Out Ahead: President Obama defined Mitt Romney while Romney was still finishing the primaries. [...]

A Slippery Slope: Dissing Facts and Science

Every successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur I’ve met fueled their dream with rapid cycles of learning, infused with facts and feedback. Granted the Valley’s engineering heritage places a unique emphasis on data, but it is also foundational thinking for every MBA program in the world. So riddle me this Batman, how is it that the convention [...]

Modern Heroics: The Story of KONY 2012

I begin most mornings reading national newspapers online.  What looked like just another story about crowdsourcing on the Internet turned out to be one of the most creative and humanly compelling change strategies I’ve ever seen. Ironically, I’ve been working on a piece on the importance of individual heroics in our flat and networked world.  [...]

The One Man Steve Jobs Didn’t Try to Control

Steve Jobs was not a quiet presence.  In Walter Isaacson’s biography, colleagues described how one could go from exalted hero to useless zero overnight.  Love him or hate him, Jobs inserted himself relentlessly – with one notable exception. Pixar’s John Lasseter stands out as the one person who Jobs consistently granted far more space. To [...]

Apple’s Jobs Loss:
End of an Era

Jump Start Demand and Job Creation

Anyone who’s watched a medical drama on TV knows when someone yells “paddles” in the ER it’s a crisis.  Everyone stands back as  high voltage charges the paddles, someone shouts “Clear!” as the shock rips through the patient’s chest hoping to kick start their heart back to life. It’s time we did that to our [...]

Design Process vs. Passion:
Lessons from GM, Apple & Dyson

In his new book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters, former GM, Ford & Chrysler executive Bob Lutz asserts that great products come from people passionate about the product, not MBA’s, brand managers or financial analysts. Lutz’s advice is not new nor is the choice as simple as he suggests.  Pricing, cost and positioning matter, so [...]

Apple’s Strategic Challenges:
Taking a Wider Bite

At Apple’s Q2-2011 earnings report, Chairman Steve Jobs said, “With quarterly revenue growth of 83% and profit growth of 95% we’re firing on all cylinders.” The momentum in Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Macintosh product lines suggests that doing well in 2011 is not an issue.  The more important question is what happens beyond that? This [...]

Leadership Style:
The Horses, Muffins and Birds Assessment

It’s springtime here in California.  Winter’s downpours are now misty showers pushed aside by the sun.  The pollen count is high as the early daffodils give way to other blooms.  The birds and bees are getting back to work. Spring triggered a distant but vivid memory.  It was springtime some thirty years ago when I [...]

Beyond Steve Jobs Health:
Apple Grabs for More Publisher Revenue

While Monday’s news of Apple CEO Steve Job’s leave-of-absence grabs most of the headlines, another Apple story broke late last week that will have more immediate impact.  Apple has told newspaper and magazine publishers that starting April 1, subscribers to print versions of their publications cannot be offered free iPad editions. As today’s market gorilla [...]