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

Today marks the day of a new journal!

Keeping a journal is a fantastic habit to have, you don’t realise the value till you have it and use it.

I jot down the date and notes during the day, each and every day, I’ve been doing it for a number of years now… (probably 6-8 years).  I used to use pad and keep that on me, but journals last the time.

Last week I actually finished my second journal for the year, and are now on the third.  Yay!

You see it keeps a nice history by day of what you were up to, places for sketches & ideas and is very handy to wind back the clock and see the key takeaways from each meeting (or what you were doing on a specific day).

I’m often referring back to meetings 6, 7 months ago, using my Google Calendar as a reference to check when I met someone.

So grab one today, make it a habit to carry it everywhere with you and jot down pertinent notes, I bet you do it anyway but just aren’t keeping it in a centralised location.

Extra: If you are already using a journal, what’s the best story you have from using it? I’d be keen to hear them.

August 9th, 2010

I don't spend money (well not often) I invest it

In books

In time

In knowledge

In mistakes

In resting

In goofing around

We don’t waste time, we should invest it.

[A riff from the endless stream of entrepreneurs I run into, who invest in everything, not spend]

August 5th, 2010

Harvard Business Review: On innovative business models…

A great quote on the first couple of pages:

“business models are, at heart, stories that explain how enterprises work”

And isn’t that so true? Business models: a (hopefully) compelling & engaging story of how your business functions.

[They go on to say, strategy, is how you deal with competition].

Great book – pick it up if you can.

August 4th, 2010

A remarkable hour that I got to spend with Jack Daly

Now I know many of you (including me) would probably hesitant to engage with someone that calls them a sales coach, however Jack Daly is the real deal, he was Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and has built half a dozen (from scratch) national businesses in the US.

On a recent visit to New Zealand (yay!) I was lucky enough (thanks to the!) to sit down with him and talk business.  Of which I am really grateful for (thanks guys!).

I’ve shared the YouTube videos below, they’re absolute gold, and gold for everyone.

In effect we’re all in sales, we need people on our side (in personal & professional modes) to help us get going from community work to business, if you have the time please have a listen I’m sure you’ll either get value out of it today if not in the future.

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Part 4:


Thanks again to & Jack Daly for giving up his precious (and very expensive) time – legends.

August 3rd, 2010

An effective speaker…

Creates a mesmerising experience by keeping on message, low language level, summarising and repeating through stories.

Old Point, Reason, Example, Point.

It’s very basic, it’s hitting those basics which makes it effective.

And also hard, as instinctively you want to wow through whizz bang, way out there stuff, however if you have a choice between the two, stick to the basics.

[Just my notes on reflecting some of the better speakers I’ve seen over the years]

August 2nd, 2010

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
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