Someone has to lead, someone has to move the conversation forward..

Lefsetz is talking about BMW and using automobiles as an analogy for Twitter..

“Someone has to lead someone has to move the conversation forward…”

“…..our nation has gone topsy-turvy, it’s all about the money. It’s ruined the arts and it’s ruining business. If you’re not making a ton of dough and increasing the number every quarter you’re falling behind, out of the conversation. And yes, an entity needs cash flow to survive, but how much? And isn’t impact more important than money, especially when it comes to changing the conversation?”

He could be talking about a host of things but he’s choosing to make it about Twitter.

Worth a read HERE

The Monday Morning Quote #416

The four most expensive words in the English language:

“This Time It’s Different”.

Sir John Templeton

 

You have to build for the reality we live in, not the one we hope to create.

I have been travelling and choosing to ignore Facebook for a few days, I am starting (probably too late) to actively resent its insidious ubiquity. For someone who is known as, a “hail fellow well met, first to the bar, last to leave, loves a party” person I enjoy my own company, my books, silence & contemplation and try to choose with whom I spend my time. So when read this piece via Dave Pell’s Newsletter  I thought it had enough in it to be worth sharing.

“The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes. The issue with giving just anyone the ability to live broadcast to a billion people is that someone will use it to shoot up a school. You have to plan for these things. You have to build for the reality we live in, not the one we hope to create.”

Climbing Out Of Facebook’s Reality Hole

With its new camera platform, Facebook is busy augmenting reality. Perhaps it should pay a bit more attention to the hard truths of the world in which we currently live.

Full article HERE

 

Playing the “What If” game.

I delivered my presentation, “Is Dentistry Making You Sick?” in Gloucestershire a couple of days ago and introduced a game that I suggest participants play with their teams and partners. It’s called “What If” and the rules are simple in the extreme, you come up with the most unlikely thing that you can imagine and make plans on how you will deal with it on a personal and business level. Then move on to the second most unlikely and so on – I think you get the drift.

Visualise scenarios, research, plan and rehearse.

The example I used was of the owner of a 95% NHS dental practice who had been planning for the new NHS contract to replace the shameful 2006 edition, it has been promised over and over by successive governments. The contract will emphasise prevention and have a level of capitation payments. It will have been trialled and tested and approved by the BDA.

The What If game when played on Monday at 9am would have had them wake up one day and discover that the government had called a general election in order to concentrate on Brexit. The side effects of the likely victory would be to railroad their austerity programme through until 2022 and also enable them to kick any positive change in the dental contract into the the longest of long grass until who knows when.

Now what would you do if that happened – apart from ringing Lily Head?

What If – what’s next?

“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

Another post via the essential Benedict Evans’ Newsletter. This is from Jeff Bezos‘ (Amazon founder & CEO) annual shareholder letter: “managing Amazon and change in a large company”. Well worth a read.

“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

True Customer Obsession

There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

Why? There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen.

Resist Proxies

As companies get larger and more complex, there’s a tendency to manage to proxies. This comes in many shapes and sizes, and it’s dangerous, subtle, and very Day 2.

A common example is process as proxy. Good process serves you so you can serve customers. But if you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right. Gulp. It’s not that rare to hear a junior leader defend a bad outcome with something like, “Well, we followed the process.” A more experienced leader will use it as an opportunity to investigate and improve the process. The process is not the thing. It’s always worth asking, do we own the process or does the process own us? In a Day 2 company, you might find it’s the second.

Another example: market research and customer surveys can become proxies for customers – something that’s especially dangerous when you’re inventing and designing products. “Fifty-five percent of beta testers report being satisfied with this feature. That is up from 47% in the first survey.” That’s hard to interpret and could unintentionally mislead…….

……..Good inventors and designers deeply understand their customer. They spend tremendous energy developing that intuition. They study and understand many anecdotes rather than only the averages you’ll find on surveys. They live with the design.

I’m not against beta testing or surveys. But you, the product or service owner, must understand the customer, have a vision, and love the offering. Then, beta testing and research can help you find your blind spots. A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste. You won’t find any of it in a survey.

In full HERE take the time and read the 1997 letter which follows it – makes interesting reading.

The Periodontist, deep pockets in LA.

from the Lefsetz Letter…

“I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news.”

Huh?

I thought the hygienist cleaned and the dentist evaluated.

But not at this joint.

My old dentist had a love affair with Alaska. For three months every summer he took his boat up north and regaled me with incredible tales thereafter. The only problem was if you had a crisis during those three months.

I did.

So I went to see his old associate, the one who bailed when the seaman wouldn’t cough up his practice as promised. This young man said the tooth in question was unsavable and would have to be extracted and replaced with an implant.

But then I called Irving. Medical consigliere to the stars.

Irving had been imploring me to see his guy for years. And Irving’s track record is impeccable. He always hooks me up with the top guys, with an appointment right away, oftentimes outside scheduled business hours, with no wait. And if you don’t think that’s important, if you don’t think that’s an asset…

You just haven’t been broke down and busted on the side of the road, with no direction home, wondering how you’re going to escape this pain.

So I got an appointment.

But just before I went, Irving said he’d forgotten to tell me this was the most expensive dentist in the world.

And he is. He’s 50% more expensive than any dentist I’ve ever seen. Assuming you need serious work. Cleanings? Routine stuff? That’s all reasonable. But if you need a crown…

You’re gonna pay $1500 more than anywhere else, but this dentist has his own lab and there’s no waiting, from drilling to replacement it’s two, maybe three days.

And he saved the tooth.

So, ultimately I saved money. Instead of paying for an implant, for half the price I continued to use my own tooth, which is always preferable.

The next time the crack was below the gum line. I had to go for an emergency root canal, on my birthday no less. The endodontist, another Beverly Hills bigwig, told me there was no way the dentist could save the tooth, that an implant would be necessary. But this guy, my guy, Irving’s guy, said “I’m gonna work my magic.” And he did, he put on a crown.

And it’s been an endless series of crowns. Is it my age? My affinity for trail mix stirred up in Dannon coffee yogurt? I don’t know, but I’ve given up the trail mix, it’s just too expensive and aggravating in the long run.

Worth reading to the end HERE

They shopped until they dropped and then they stopped….

On the very rare occasions I am in large shopping “malls” (usually visiting a John Lewis – predictable I know) I wonder, “how do these places make any money”?

Interesting article in the New York Times about the changes in US retail via Benedict Evans’ Newsletter where he says:

Is American retail at a tipping point? (Arguably, it passed one several years ago). The USA has 2-3x more retail square footage per capita than other developed countries, and that may now be starting to collapse, driving (sic) by commerce but also lots of other factors.

Worth a read HERE.