Working Wider


Can Google & Motorola Make this Marriage Work?

On Monday, Google announced that it’s engaged to buy Motorola.  Is it a brilliant move that puts Google on an even footing with Apple as a vertically integrated competitor?  Or is it an overpriced, gargantuan error that transforms Google from a fleet-footed software company with great margins into a hybrid hardware/software company with average margins? [...]

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 [...]

The Google vs. Facebook War:
How Many Toasters Do You Need?

After a two-month absence due to other demands on my time (clients and cycling in the French Alps!), this piece sizes up the strategic challenges facing Google+ as it attacks Facebook’s established dominance in social networking. Your Toaster or Mine? When two people move in with each other, there’s always an excess of toasters to [...]

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 [...]

Cisco’s Flip Video Error:
Mistaking an Edgy Product for a Disruptive Technology

This week, Cisco Systems announced they were shutting down Flip Video.  Introduced in 2006 as a single use video camera for CVS Pharmacy, it was re-launched in 2007 as Flip Video: an elegantly simple video camera with a built-in USB connector. Flip sales rocketed and the company was bought by Cisco Systems in 2009. Flip [...]

The Apple Fortress Part III:
A Relentless Pursuit of Minimalist Perfection

The two previous posts in this three-part series (Profits Beyond Platforms and Inventing Customer Experience) provides lessons applicable to any company.  Apple’s passion for minimalist perfection, however, is deeply rooted in the unique genius of Steve Jobs and Apple’s culture.  It’s captivating, describable but very difficult to copy. Shortly after joining Apple’s original Mac team, [...]

The Apple Fortress Part II:
Inventing Customer Experience

This is part two of a three part series on the strategy behind the integrated product, service and content platforms that forge the Apple Fortress.  In Part I-Pacing Profits Beyond Platforms, we defined the three cornerstones behind Apple’s transformation: 1. Pacing for Profits – Apple sets a deliberately moderate pace that extracts disproportionate profits while [...]

The Apple Fortress:
How Apple Paces Profits Beyond Platforms

Working wider begins with thinking beyond today’s boundaries.  Over three posts, we’ll explore how Apple grew by blowing away traditional boundaries of product, service and content strategy . Stephen Elop, the new CEO of Nokia, recently issued a memo to Nokia employees where he compared their predicament to that of an oil worker trapped on [...]

The Future of Content:
Old McDonald Had A Farm: G…O…O…G…L…E

I grew up near Cow Lane so when I think of farming, my mental images is barns and cows.   Constant recitals of America,The Beautiful in grade school enable me to see an occasional waving field of grain in the background. Fish farming?  I get it but that just raises my interest anytime I see “wild [...]

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 [...]

The Internet’s New Normal: 4 Implications for 2011

A seismic tremor rippled through the Internet this week.  Did you feel it?   The recent FCC decision opened the door for tiered service levels for wireless Internet while preserving equality among wired customers.  Just as the recession permanently altered some of our assumptions about the economy, the FCC action signals a New Normal for the [...]