Week in Review: Spotlight on Key Ideas

Staying on top of the latest industry moves, management thinking, etc is something my colleagues and clients all talk about as being “hard to do”. This is a synthesis of things I think are worth reading or paying attention to:
Face Off. On November 1st, Google announced an alliance to make social networking as open as Netscape’s browser made the web. The group released a set of standards called OpenSocial, that allows software developers to write applications that work with any social network that participates. Key implication: Openness across platforms means that social networking becomes mainstream. The thing some call “social effect” will gain momentum. Source: Economist, November 3rd edition.
Value gained for Brands. Landor announced it’s “breakaway brands”for 2007. This measures brand momentum over a period. The top 10 list included TJ Maxx, Ipod, Blackberry, Stonyfield Farm, Samsung, Costco, Propel, Barnes & Noble, GE, and Microsoft.Fortune, November 12 newstand edition has an article on the $ value gained in millions and how they did it. The one that caught my eye: Costco generated $3B in value by taking treasure hunt shopping experience to the web.
Amazon’s Business Strategy. Most of us know the story of Jeff Bezos and how he founded Amazon based on quant analysis of opportunities (selling books on the internet was considered a viable opportunity!). An HBR article talks about the cultural and organizational bias that leads to further success. Couple interesting Quotes:

It helps to base your strategy on things that won’t change. When I’m talking to people outside the company, there’s a question that comes up commonly: What’s going to change in the next 5 to 10 years? At Amazon, we’re always trying to figure out what’s going to stay constant, because you can really spin up flywheels around those things. All the energy you invest today will still be paying you dividends 10 years from now. Whereas if you base your strategy first and foremost on transitory things – who your competitors are, what kind of technologies are available and so on – those things are going to change so rapidly that you’re going to have to change your strategy very rapidly, too.


We have the opportunity for Amazon not just to be a customer-centric company but to set a new standard globally for what “customer-centric” means. After WW II, Morita-san (Sony’s leader) set a goal for Sony. He wanted the company to be known for quality, but his bigger goal for Sony was to make Japan known for quality. Having that kind of bigger mission is very inspiring. Years from now, when people look back at Amazon, I want them to say we uplifted customer-centricity across the entire business world. If we can do that, it will be really cool.

More next week. Let me know if this is useful.

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