Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fast Mover Advantage?

I just finished reading the book "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich. The book provides great stories into the lives of the "founding fathers" of probably the most successful website on the Internet today - Facebook - although it wasn't a first mover. What amazed me the most about the book is how fast everything was happening.

Maybe once upon a time "First Mover Advantage" was important, that time I believe is long gone. Maybe it was important when building and shipping any product or service was extremely costly and time consuming. It was probably an important idea or theory for the Space Race in the 60s and 70s. I don't think it is all that important today.

Image from

I think people should think more about the "Fast Mover Advantage" (I'm surprised there is no Wikipedia page on this today). The fast mover is able to counter all the hypothetical advantages associated with the first mover. Here is why:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't tell me your TV supports Twitter

Last night I caught a Best Buy ad on AMC about Samsung's smart/social/internet TV.  It reminded me of the Telus/Rogers/Bell BlackBerry ads a couple of years ago marketing Twitter and Facebook as features of their smartphones. They're still doing it with terms like "social phone" or "smarter smart phone" which I don't really understand.  I was still really excited about this ad, especially because it got the gears in the crazy place between my ears turning again...

Samsung seems confused about what to do with Google entering a market in which Samsung is one of the largest players. Add to that, Apple's arrival later this year with iTV. The same two companies that pretty much destroyed Samsung's chances in the phone industry. Samsung has its own OS for its phones, which also powers their smart tv - Bada. This is a bad idea:
  • PopularityRecent market results show iOS and Android capturing about 80% of the mobile web consumption. (Not including iPad). Since these numbers were gathered in June, the iPad has probably gained some more ground for iOS. Let's keep it at 80%. Samsung Bada's share is a fraction of that 10% for "Other", with probably an equal if not greater chunk of that "Other" going to SymbianOS.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yahoo's culture vs. Google's culture

Two interesting articles I have read in the past week had to do with Yahoo's "hacker-centric" culture - or lack of. Two different views, one from Paul Graham's "What happened to Yahoo" post and the second from Ryan Grove's "What's happening at Yahoo!". Both were excellent reads and provide an interesting look into Yahoo's culture.

These articles got me interested in comparing both Yahoo! and Google, and see which is more a technology/software firm. I started out with the leadership team of both companies and counted how many engineers, scientists and mathematicians are in both. I could be wrong, but I'm considering a "hacker-centric" culture is composed of a high number of engineers, scientists and mathematicians. So I'll refer to these as "techies".

The results were pretty amazing. The higher that number is, the more "hacker-centric" that company is. Feel free to comment about this, if I'm being biased or overlooked something. One thing I did, but not on purpose was I double counted some members if they were in both the board of directors and VP lists, so the ratios are a little skewed, but still the difference is huge.

First insight was the very different leadership structure in both companies. The boards of directors for both are rather similar, nine members in Google's, ten in Yahoo!'s, roughly the same number of "techies"; four in Google's vs three in Yahoo. Nothing surprising here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Daily Digest

Last night I came across this sweet web app called that generates a newspaper of your Twitter feed daily. It comes with a pretty basic embed that displays a table of contents for your own personalized news paper that you can embed on your blog or website. The people I follow are mainly from the tech community in North America and the Toronto Twitter community. You'll find posts from the usual suspects like GigaOM, TechCrunch, Mashable, and Seth Godin. Also some local people like Alex Blom, Scott Stratten, Breanna Hughes and Joallore have appeared in my daily digest today. Anyway, if you are interested in seeing what the Twitter community I'm following is publishing on Twitter, feel free to bookmark this page.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex

Just came across this fascinating video on TED. Needless to say that when technological ideas have sex we can end up with the Twitters, Facebooks, iPads, iPods, iPhones, etc. etc. Enjoy.
At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It's not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Stay on your toes, think proactively

I was coming back home today and while in the elevator the lady that just got on forgot to press her floor's button. She realized a little too late as we passed the 15th floor; her floor. She then press 17, but that too was too late, then she pressed 18, and again that was too late. She gave up and got off the 20th floor with someone else. At that point I was thinking, if she pressed 17 and 18 at the same time, she probably would have gotten off at the 18th floor. Anyway, no harm done when you miss your floor, I just thought its an interesting intro to this post.

When things don't go to plan, most start to think reactively, how do I get back on plan? We panic and try all sort of different things to reduce the damage - with little consideration to the consequences of our remediation. Ex. You are driving on the highway and tailgating the person in front. Breaks go on, and now you are forced to slam on the breaks to avoid a collision. Thinking proactively would mean you wouldn't have been tailgating the person ahead, it would mean you were aware of what is happening around you. Isn't that what you get taught at driving school? Defensive driving is proactive thinking.

Even when things go to plan, you can begin to think reactively. Task 1 is done, on to task 2, then task 3, and so on. Following your plan blindly is also reactive thinking. I also think the longer your actions have been in line with your plan, the worse the consequences of your reactions will be when things eventually don't go to plan.

So, shit happens and you can't do anything about it, but good leaders shine when shit hits the fan. Good leaders are proactive thinkers. People who think reactively, are good at following, they're bad at leading; and that is okay. Not everybody can lead, and not every leader can lead all the time. I've been in positions where I followed great leadership; proactive leadership. I have also been in ones with reactive leadership. Its very different, but both offer lessons to learn. Good leaders know when to step out of your way and let you run with it. Because reactive leaders are bad leaders, and they're good at following, they expect others to blindly follow them - blindly following someone isn't proactive thinking.

Proactive thinkers are Linchpins.