Archive for the 'Blog' Category



FMCG, RFID & Live Sales Reporting

Sales through retail chains can often be a pain, especially when it comes to reporting, a lot of businesses rely on restock numbers to calculate sales.  Which are of course quite delayed (in terms of reporting) and not often accurate.

So what can you do to get live sales reporting?

Using RFID technology and a detector at the store front (which can be a small unit) you could tell when your stock left the store, hook that up to a 3G device and you can get live sales reporting.

Which would make things much more interesting.  Simple technology, someone please do it, or if it exists implement.

August 29th, 2010

Have you heard this? Get it off iTunes.

Seth Godin has stirred up a lot of discussion with his statement that he won’t be producing books the traditional way anymore.

His key point, is that there is a huge amount of friction in spreading an idea via books, with digital the friction to becoming a fan is very very low.

It all starts when we discover something, just like a band, we get a few tidbits, suddenly we’re nodding our head, I like it!

20 years ago you would then seek out another book or record to get more of the good stuff. Unfortunately you might have to backorder or wait 9 months till the next album came out.

Now though it’s more instant you can peruse a back catalog within a few hours; read a series of ebooks, download all the albums off iTunes, read a years worth of blogs. You can go from interest to raving fan with (again) very little friction.

So Seth, I understand why, you’re right ideas can spread much much easier online.

August 25th, 2010

The Matthew Effect: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

Discussed in Outliers, the Matthew Effect is where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Or talking that to another analogy, those that learn to read faster, get more attention & reward, so get better.  Those that can’t don’t get the same benefit.

Or those that are born earlier in the year and start school earlier, (generalising) are physically bigger than their classmates, so perform better at sports.  As such they get more attention, more training etc.

Gladwell in short argues in Outliers, people that squeeze this effect and become those outliers (or run with the effect and get there faster).

I was reminded of this in a recent Radiolab podcast, whereby Gladwell was questioning the idea of a ‘child genius’ – what is the relevance of a 7 year old being able to read like a 9 year old, none really? Should we reward them as much?

Food for thought.

Inspired by Outliers, Radiolab and a recent study in NZ analysing the effect of the brain drain on high academic performers which suggested high academic results equated to real world success…which really is like the 7 year old reading like a 9 year old, your really marginally ahead of your peers – what real world significance does that have?

August 24th, 2010

We're better because we're cheaper

That has to be the laziest marketing message I’ve heard.

Who wants to be cheaper?

Who wants to attract customers that want cheaper?

Who wants to motivate staff that we’re doing this to be cheaper?

It’s a losing battle… please do not ever ever say your better because you’re cheaper, say your better because you deliver magnitudes times more value, robust support, innovative technology, improving your customers life, increasing their status… the list goes on but you get the point.

August 23rd, 2010

The difference between business model & strategy

“Every viable organisation is built on a sound business model, but a business model isn’t a strategy, even though many people use the terms interchangeably.  Business models describe, as a system, how the pieces of a business fit together.  But they don’t factor in one critical dimension of performance: competition.  That’s the job of strategy”
August 22nd, 2010

It's a million times more valuable to fail than be average

Don’t you think?

August 18th, 2010

Great companies organise themselves like a family

At least says Kevin Roberts (hinting at his next book).

I tend to agree, thanks to The IceHouse along with a group of entrepreneurs we got to sit down with Kevin Roberts CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide (but thankfully a kiwi!) and talk marketing.

His point comes from a study of 10,000 or so companies and what differentiates the high performers from the pack.  Those that organise like a family, hard working team, caring yet pushing (who pushes us more than our families) outperform the rest.

And nothing is more demanding than a family… what better way to get the most out of your people.

[He also noted, families do change, grow, separations do happen, new family units form.]

August 17th, 2010

The classic bait and switch

Wikipedia defines it quite nicely:

“In retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is. This use of this term has extended to similar situations outside of the marketing sense.”

The world is far too transparent now, people will expose these techniques faster than lightening.  However if you’re reading this you probably don’t have this attitude, however I do urge, to check how you manage expectations – you may be doing this… unintentionally.

August 17th, 2010

Asking questions (so you avoid that stump & trip)

It’s very basic, obsessively ask quesitons, why, how, what, when, why? and why again?

August 17th, 2010

The ability…..

The ability to seek answers and learn on your feet is an absolute requirement.

The ability to accept that no you don’t know the answer, but you can (and will) find out the answers are much more valuable than ‘knowing everything’.

The ability to leave your ego at the door, accept when your wrong (but to also fight when you’re right) is amazing.

The ability to kill ideas today but realise they may be relevant tomorrow.

Are all excellent abilities to have (and strive for).  If you can master those it makes you incredibly employable, very attractive and well positioned in a creative knowledge economy.

[ps it also means we’d love to have you on board at Young & Shand: positions are opening all the time (especially for the right people) so do please get in contact if you believe you have something to offer.]

August 11th, 2010

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