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Maps and me

Abbreviated version of a talk I gave to WA Spatial Excellence Awards 2014 last Thursday. You can view these slides on Slideshare.

I love maps. I reckon I first became aware of mapping when I was 10 years old, in a geography class, and we were using those wonderfully drawn British Ordnance Survey maps.

The geography teacher (wonderful old Mr Law) made the subject come alive. I was fascinated by all the detail on those OS maps, the churches (showing whether it was a spire or a tower), the post box, the gradient lines… even where there was nothing, there was detail.

Today sadly people are, as a rule, map illiterate. A recent US poll revealed that eight out of ten want to bomb Syria. Sadly, a similar number cannot locate Syria on a map.

Laughable if it were not so dangerous. I feel much the same every time there’s another report of a lorry wedged in some old alleyway because its driver used sat nav instead of common sense, or when I read that park rangers in Victoria keep being asked for the postcode of mountain peaks.

Who needs a boring old map and compass when you can just tap in the address for Mount Bogong and follow the screen on your smartphone?

As atlas sales plummet so those getting lost rises. Funny that?! According to Mountain Rescue England and Wales, the total number of call-outs in 2004 was 965. Last year the figure was 1,486 — an increase of 54 per cent.

But the real sadness in all this, quite apart from all those idiots with hypothermia and all those stranded juggernauts, is that millions of young people seem destined to grow up without appreciating the sheer beauty of a decent map. I had that joy, and it has held me in good stead.

I am certainly not denouncing all the joys and seismic progress we owe to digital mapping. I am a digital business guy.

It is telling that when the British car industry was designing the new State Bentley for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2012, the designers asked the Palace what sort of sat-nav device Her Majesty would like installed in her state-of-the-art car.

Back came the reply: none at all. The Queen and Prince Philip, it turns out, prefer an Ordnance Survey map. And, as far as I am aware, the State Bentley has never got lost.

I alighted on these West Australian shores 17 years ago, and after doing an MBA here at UWA changed career course, going from being a school teacher to an internet entrepreneur.

Our idea was to put real estate on maps on the internet. After all, property is all about the 3 Ls as someone used to say… Location, Location, Location. Why couldn’t we see properties for sale or rent on maps on the internet? Well, no one had done it before, so we set out to find out how to do it.

Imagine our delight to find that Perth was a centre of GIS expertise – take an isolated mining town like Perth or Vancouver and there ye shall find GIS technology. We knocked on the door of Prof Julie Delaney here at UWA and asked her is what we wanted to create was possible.

Sure it was, she said and gave us a few GIS consultants to go see. 5 months later we launched aussiehome.com, as far as we know, it was the world’s first interactive map based property site.

We plotted the properties on the map, so people could see where they were, alongside the schools, parks, beaches, shops and transport systems. People buy a lifestyle when they buy a house. They buy into the local community. They want to see what’s around, what the neighbourhood is like. Our initial maps were very rinky dink, but they sort of worked. We deployed 4 types of mapping software, and spent $100ks to get them to work.

Our tag line was “putting your home on the map”, which we thought was quite clever. Although it seemed to confuse some, as did our name, as people used to walk in off the streets looking for home loans.

A few months after launching in 1999 a real estate agent rang us up and told us to hide the address of the properties on the site.

“Which bit about a map-based property web site are you not getting?”

Stony silence.

A few years later none of them really worried about showing the address; the era of open information had set in; giving away more info reduced the tyre kickers anyway. It meant real estate agents could spend time with those that wanted to buy; they’d seen everything on the market already.

And so we built ourselves a nice little online business all due to our distinctive mapping, 7 years before Google Maps came along and gave it away. The software, data sets and consulting fees were significant, but it was a worthy investment. It was our sizzle, and to us, we were proud to be pushing the envelope. And when Google Maps came out in Sept 2006, we leapt on them and made them sing.

We were the first to introduce mapping directions to every property, and as far as I know, the still only site to allow users to map their home open route according your starting route and where and when the open properties were located.

When apps came along, we transferred this to the app environment – an obvious move, as people had these devices with them as they went around looking for properties.

10 years went along and we sold the business to REIWA, and my team and I got to run reiwa.com. I stayed for 3 years before moving to my current role at Business News.

2 weeks ago I notice reiwa.com has relaunched with mapping at its core – even the new logo tips its hat to Google Maps. Their tag line “be WA streetsmart” is all about mapping.

At my current position at Business News, I am looking to how we can use mapping to show off our amazing array of data – how about mapping every business in our Book of Lists (4000 businesses and 14000 executives), mine sites, map stories where relevant, show where the public companies are and quantify the market cap of West Perth? All possible.

Where is mapping going into the future?

Presumably more accuracy, more handiness, more mapping will surround us – corrected sat nav, and I hope beautiful mapping will appeal. People of all nationalities intuitively understand what maps are. Mapping is, you could say, an international language; and apart from great music what else is there that can do that?

There will be business opportunities wherever mapping itself helps solve problems. For what I have discovered about business can be distilled into one sentence: if your customers have a problem that you can solve, then you will create value for them; if you create value then they will pay; and if they pay, you’re in business. (It’s amazing how many businesses forget this simple rule.)

I am sure most of you are doing some really cool stuff, and for that I salute you. Keep going, keep pushing the boundaries. We’re living in exciting times and the best ideas are still to be discovered.

Thank you for this opportunity to address your Gala Dinner; congratulations to all of you that work in the spatial industry, and well done to those walking home with awards tonight.

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Scotland the Brave

vote-yes_vote_no_for_web__wide

The signs are that the vote for Scottish independence this week is going to be close. The NO vote (or ‘No thanks’ as the posters politely put it) has been ahead for years, but as the voting day drew close the YES camp crept up, and for a time took a slight lead. I don’t think anyone really knows how it will go.

If Scotland does vote YES for the split from the UK, then the UK will lose about a third of its land mass, but only 8% of its population. It is unlikely the British PM David Cameron would keep his job for long (being the man who lost the Union), and yet (ironically) it would give his ruling party a much better chance of locking in political power for years, as it hardly has any MPs there. Labour would lose 40 seats in Westminster, the Conservatives only 1. Both sides of power have vested interests to keep the status quo. Possibly the worst (yet most likely) result is a close NO. The discontent from north of the border will rumble on for many years to come; nothing really will be settled.

What do I feel? Not much really. I’m British (English) and love Scotland – having honeymooned there 20 years ago and visited many times. My Uncle Jim is from Scotland. A lovely man, he is gentle and considerate, soft spoken and as passionate a Scotsman as ever there lived. A mad keen Scotland (and Chelsea) football fan. It’s a beautiful country. I wish it well, whatever it chooses.

Being an Economist by training though, I cannot reconcile the YES camp’s argument. It has to be more emotional and a ‘feeling’ that you can do better on your own. National pride. Yes I know countries with smaller populations (NZ, Singapore) have done well on their own, but this is a different situation. The economic sense of keeping the pound as the currency, but with monetary policy set by another country south of the border seems madness to me. Interest rates set by Bank of England for its own unique needs while the Scottish government may very well have its own priorities. 7% of Scottish jobs are in financial services (more than the 6% in oil) and many of those jobs will move south. Not independence really, but dependence. Much worse than now. Would they be allowed to join the EU, would they move to the Euro? How could they handle their own Defence? Public services? Economy? The GDP per head is lower than in the UK, they will no longer be drawing the benefits from their slightly richer, larger southern brother. They will have to pay for it themselves.

Staying in the union, Scotland seems to have the best of both worlds. Will it be Scotland the brave, Scotland the foolhardy, or Scotland the self confident?

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How to rule the roost with Twitter (and why you need to)

I’ve been on Twitter now for over 5 years, and this Tuesday I’m speaking at the AMI annual conference on ‘How to Rule the Roost with Twitter – and why you need to.‘ I believe I only know a small fraction of what Twitter can do, and probably practice even less. But if you were to drop me on a desert island with but one social media, I would take Twitter. Why? Because, it’s so damn powerful, and yet like most of the best things, incredibly simple.

Here’s a link to my Prezi

I remember getting on Twitter (rather begrudgingly – why do we need another social network? and with such a silly name?) and within 6 months I was running seminars that other people would pay to attend, to learn about Twitter… from me! Most people do not (and have not) persisted with it, most notably Bunnings, who seem to have ignored it with much disdain ever since they sent out their first (and as yet only) tweet on the 3rd Feb 2012 (having joined in May 2011 – so presumably they sat around and strategised what their first tweet would be for 8 months?). What a lost opportunity. Masters has tweeted out over 2,600 times and counting. They have a higher Klout score, thousands more followers and are engaging with their marketplace, being human, being social. Not that it’s a numbers game. It’s actually a quality, deep game.

With Twitter you can pin down topics, hear what people are saying about things right now, and interact, learn, engage and pass it forward. You can discuss, listen, remind, laugh, have a little dig, and discover incredible content.

The only way to find out is actually to go do it. Like most things.

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Nice bucket challenge

ice bucket challenge

The #icebucketchallenge is the viral social media event of the year, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve probably seen countless videos in your news feeds or read about it online, in the paper or on TV news.

I succumbed last Sunday. My kids enjoyed the set up and execution, and one of the three people I challenged completed it within 24 hours. I’d first noticed it a week or so ago and now it’s reached saturation. The US charity that benefits has had $100million in donations in a month, more than twice what it raises in a normal year. Last week the UK charity’s website had more hits to its web site in one day last week than it receives in a year.

Along with the fun and good cause came the inevitable criticisms – of wasting fresh water, high % of donations going to admin, the narcissistic show-offs and icebucketchallenge fails. One of the founders of the challenge actually died (in an unrelated diving incident) earlier this month. He had started the whole thing to raise awareness and donations for a 20 year old friend who had just been diagnosed.

Motor neuron disease (which is also referred to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, sometimes Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a particularly nasty and progressive muscle wasting disorder for which there is no known cure, and usually leads to death inside three to five years. I have known 2 former colleagues who succumbed to MND, and the pain and anguish of their loved ones was terrible to bear as they saw these fine people literally waste away. Steven Hawking is one of the most famous people afflicted. He is one of the 4% that last over 10 years – he has lived over 50 years with it having been told he had 2 years at best. He (of course) also did the challenge.

While the repetitive challenges across social media (amusing at first) might be wearing thin for some, and be annoying for others, there is no doubt that a huge increase in awareness regarding this terrible disease has resulted, plus extra millions has been raised. This has to be good. Yes, some people do the challenge to show off, but the whole idea of the challenge had this at its centre, and is why it went viral. It included video (so easy to do now on your phone, click, up it goes to facebook or instagram) and the chain-mail letter idea of challenging 3 others meant it mushroomed. It also brought the world together a little bit – I’ve watched challenges of rock stars, politicians and adults and kids from all over the world. I’ve seen school and Uni friends I’ve not seen in decades do it, friends of friends and others.

The challenge has resulted in various forms of humblebragging (people trying to act humble but showing off – it is public after all), jealousy (people decrying the whole thing with aloof protest) and not a little creativity (my favourite being India’s rice bucket challenge, where Indians give poor people a bucket of rice and challenge others to do likewise).

Making this all possible of course is social media; none of the this would have happened without the connected world we live in; and for one thing, I prefer a connected world, to one where everyone is disengaged and removed.

Do the challenge or not; no skin off my nose – but all along, you can but marvel at its scope and power. If it helps find a cure for ALS, who are we to argue?

For more on ALS and to donate: http://alsa.org

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On Demand, Everything

{ In flight entertainment of yesteryear }

{ In flight entertainment of yesteryear }

I think I was on my first long haul airplane flight 30 years or so ago when the idea struck me. Back then jumbo jets took 30 hours to fly to Australia from the UK with 5 stop overs. At your seat you could flick the channel of the entertainment system’s handset to hear comedy, the latest pop hits, or classical music. There were maybe 12 channels tops, but to me this was electrifying – imagine being able to listen to what you wanted, when you wanted, and go back around the channel again laughing along to your favourite comedy routine, or listening to your favourite tracks.

On that same trip I bought my first walkman (in Melbourne’s Victoria Markets) and slipped in a cassette (remember those?) of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I listened to this on a continuous loop for weeks. Listening when I wanted, where I wanted, anytime. Reverse, play a favourite track again.

They say the head of Sony persisted with the Walkman’s development even though research suggested people wanted larger, bigger HiFis not a small mobile device you had to listen with headphones. He said, “No, this will be a hit – people are bored.”

Yeah, walkmans reduced the boredom of youth, but they also gave us instant entertainment, when we wanted it, on the move. It was the first mobile device, a forerunner of what was to come in the 2000s with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Back in the 1980s, the idea hit me that I (and millions more like me) wanted to consume music, or comedy, and favourite TV shows or movies whenever we wanted, at anytime. The idea of listening for the track on the radio or waiting to sit down and watch a show at a time appointed by someone else did not seem as good. VCRs were part of the solution, but were not mobile.

Perhaps it was around this time media splintered, and the era of mass broadcasting started slipping slowly away. Before this time, with maybe 3 TV stations across one country, a joke or event would pass into the national consciousness overnight. Everyone would be talking about it the next day. Everyone else had sat down and watched too.

No more. Apart from the odd realty TV show hit, we don’t seem to sit around and watch shows anymore. [Although even those wither on the vine pretty quickly.] We binge consume on DVD packs, from downloaded services or saved Foxtel IQ. We want it now, whenever, at anytime.

This desire for ‘everything on demand’ was always there, but untouched. Now, it’s the new normal. It’s a challenge not only for media, but for every business out there.

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Another thing happened at Stirling Station

I often take the train from Stirling Station into work in the city, but I was not there earlier this week when a commuter got his leg stuck in the gap between the edge of the platform and the train. (see video above, or click here).

Poor chap – he was one of the last onto a packed train, and stood on the door opening, only to slide down and get lodged. He could not free himself, but within minutes all the passengers got off the train and without any fuss carefully pushed it over so he could get his leg out. All ended happily, and he walked free, a little bemused and embarrassed and took the next train into work.

Such is the speed of our human connectivity, the video and the news of the escape shot around the country being featured on all the WA and Aussie media outlets such as ABC, and then off around the world including the UK, Iran, India and Russia.

About a week earlier I was standing on the same platform, waiting for a train to work. As the crowds gathered in the gloomy light, the train arrived, completely packed. Hardly anyone got off, so hardly anyone could get on. Me, and about 200 people had to let it pass. Another came and went. Same story. I wondered why Transperth would be putting on so few trains (and only 3 or 4 carriages per train) at rush hour when there were so many people waiting at our station? Then a familiar voice said ‘hello’ and it was Chris Baudia, CEO of GeoMoby – a Perth based tech startup company. We squeezed onto the next train, and had a quick catch up. Chris has recently flown to Seoul and won a global hackathon – yes, won the whole dang thing, against 2000 participants from all over the world no less. A few days later I am standing in the kitchen at Spacecubed (the centre of the start-up community in Perth), and I notice Chris’ award tamely sitting there on a side table. Such a modest fellow, our Chris.

So, here’s to Chris, GeoMoby and the spirit of the start-ups. They do amazing things, with no budget, and are forever pushing envelopes. And here’s to the wonderful Perth people who pushed the train together to free that guy at Stirling station. As an Iranian said on a blog regarding the incident: “Aussies are good when it comes to working together to get something done, even if its (sic) something unplanned and needs to be done immediately.

My only quibble – do you think Transperth could lay on more or longer trains so people don’t have to be crammed onto them? It would prevent someone getting their leg stuck again (or worse), and the ridiculous waste of time waiting for a 3rd train before having a hope of getting on. Too much to ask…?

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Social media and customer service

customer service

A CEO (of a company in the UK) put out a circular to his staff last week asking them how they could use social networking to “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints“. I find the question itself interesting (and revealing) – customer service is the experience the buyer has when they interact with your service. It’s totally in their mind. It’s how the phone is answered, it’s how reception looks, it’s every little thing… These days everyone expects good customer service, even great, so the objective now for businesses is to ‘wow‘. Only by ‘wowing’ can you set yourself apart. It’s the new normal. And that’s got to be good for customers.

A few years ago, as we started our small online business, I remember reminding my staff that we had to wow our customers every day, at every opportunity. Considering we had pesky real estate agents as customers, that was going to be a challenge (!) We did not use social networks to “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints”. We used good old fashioned manners and courtesy. I employed people (irrespective of their IT background) who could learn fast but had a deep seated desire to help people. These two aspects were all we needed.

Roll on ten years and we’re in an era of social connectivity. The water cooler conversation of old is twitter today. Organisations in 2014 can use social media to actively watch what people are saying (using # and @ discussions on their name), they can engage with their customers, answer questions, post ideas, ask things, forward good thoughts, thank people for their points, etc. even turn around complainers. Most companies have a full time person on this, or a team of people.

Example – I was giving a “Twitter for real estate agents” course a few years ago, and an agent I will call Barry (for that was his name, bless him) did a search on his own company and was alarmed to find this one tweet had been put up only a few hours earlier: “Property —— <name deleted> are the worst real estate agent – stay away! ” Barry was distraught. What should he do? Could he sue the person? Delete it? After he calmed down a bit, I asked him to call his office and see what this person was talking about and why. He came back and said it was already sorted, the person had been a tenant and had not got her bond back, so had vented on Twitter. OK, so what now? Barry tweeted her back saying he’d sorted out the issue, and to call him in the office if things were not all fine. A few hours later, the tweet was removed (only the person who tweets can remove the message). Problem removed, and I bet that lady had a high opinion of the company as a result, and told her friends about it, as I am telling you now.

Ignoring twitter does not stop people talking about you anyway. Better to be ON there and (at least) surveying the conversation, then maybe taking part, engaging, adding, contributing …

My favourite example of customer service and social media is one I use a lot in my talks – that of Peter Shankman in 2011 and his fantastic true story of Mortons streakhouse. This actually happened, and was not a set up! Peter’s story of how a steakhouse got a meal to him after a long business day and a flight back to New York provided so much free press and positive attention for Mortons over the next few days and months, worth in the multi millions, and all for a simple act of being awake, involved and having the wherewithal to act.

By contrast, I posted 2 Aussie companies and their comparative use of social media around customer service.

Can social media be used to  “improve customer service” or “reduce potential complaints”? Sure, but that’s a bit like saying can you use the phone (or words, or technology, or…) to give great customer service. You’re asking the question the wrong way round.

Infographic above: from Clicksoftware 2012

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10 Surprising facts about Twitter

Twitter facts

I remember being very sceptical about Twitter when I first came across it in 2008, but being encouraged to give it a go, and then persist with it, it slowly became my favourite (and most useful) of all the social media. I can’t really imagine life without it now. { As some of you may know, I once walked inside the Twitter HQ in San Francisco.}

Firstly, it’s the world’s best search engine. Search for something on Google and you see web sites; search on Youtube and you get videos; search on Facebook and you scroll through all the nonsense your ‘friends’ are up to… search a topic/person/business on Twitter and you get what everyone is talking about that right now. In many situations, this is immensely more powerful and useful than anything else.

Using Klout and Twitter together, you can see who is most influential, and who are the ‘amplifiers’ (heavy users who spread the word). Engaging with these people will send your messages further than you could on your own.

Searching google is fine for information retrieval, but if something has just happened (in sport, in the world) then Twitter is where you can get straight to the centre of things as they are unfolding. Usually from the horse’s mouth.

Twitter allows more than just 140 characters of text, but embedded within are links to web sites, photos, videos, and everything else you could imagine. It dissects and disseminates like nothing before, or since.

If you want to reach people, engage in conversations with those of similar interests, or see what’s happening, twitter is ideal.

Here are 10 ‘surprising’ facts about Twitter, courtesy of FastCompany

  1. Tweets with links included are 86% more likely to be retweeted
  2. Twitter engagement for brands is higher at the weekends
  3. Tweets with images get 2x the engagement (sharing, favouritising…)
  4. Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement (even 140 is too much for some folks!)
  5. Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is 55-64 year olds (they started late, but are getting into it now)
  6. Tweets with hashtags (‘#’) get 2x the engagement (this allows you to look for similarly themed tweets, e.g. #perth or #worldcup)
  7. Mobile is responsible for 66% of brand-related tweets (people are out and about with their smartphones)
  8. Mobile tweeters are 181% more likely to be using it during their commute
  9. Amplifiers are 122% more likely to use direct messaging (a bit like email, to other twitter users who they mutually follow)
  10. If you ask for it to be retweeted, the tweet has 12x higher chance of being retweeted, 23% more likely if you mention the word ‘retweet’

The first tweet was sent on March 26th 2006 by one of the founders Jack Dorsey. Today, there are 750m users and 65m tweets are sent daily.

My latest presentation (‘How to be a Major Twit’) can be viewed here. Is it time for you to really engage in twitter, and see what it can do for you?

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Word Crimes

For those of you frustrated by terrible use of English, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s latest parody ‘Word Crimes‘ is  a delight. Set to the music of last year’s infectious hit ‘Blurred Lines‘, he rips into the abbreviated, sloppy expression too often spouted on social media, emails or texts.

Released 4 days ago, it’s already had 7 million views on Youtube. Brilliantly clever, among other things he lampoons those who use “literally” in totally the wrong manner, those that can’t distinguish between “it’s” and “its” and that “to who” is always wrong.

Literally is often abused
One thing I ask of you

Time to learn your homophones is past due
Learn to diagram a sentence too
Always say “to whom”
Don’t ever say “to who”
And listen up when I tell you this
I hope you never use quotation marks for emphasis
You finished second grade
I hope you can tell
If you’re ‘doing good’ or ‘doing well’
Better figure out the difference
Irony is not coincidence!
And I thought that you’d gotten it through your skull
What’s figurative and what’s literal
Oh but, just now, you said
You literally couldn’t get out of bed
That really makes me want to literally
Smack a crowbar upside your stupid head

Has anyone ever written a song about nomenclature, apostrophe or syntax?

It should be obligatory viewing for all. Sadly, however, those it was intended for will not get the joke, but the rest of us can have a chuckle.

He does raise a point – all of us probably are seeing standards dropping. We see 20-somethings come into the workplace who cannot spell or understand basic grammar. Our own handwriting is worsening. We just write less and less. Our writing (as I am doing now) is on a keyboard, or by tapping on (or swiping across) a  screen. If the communication gets across anyway, and spelling evolves over generations, does this matter?

I would like to think that the use of correct English is important – in business, communication, expression… and something to protect.

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Good to Great is still great

a Hedgehog knows just how to do one thing (well)

A few years after completing my MBA and two years after starting my own business, one of my Business School professors brought me Jim Collins’ 2001 book, ‘Good to Great‘. It’s rare a business text has me hanging on its every word, but this one surely did, and still does a dozen or so years later. I go back to it regularly to ‘sanity check’ my own business management. It always highlights something I’m not doing and puts me back on the right road.

If you’ve not come across it yet, I earnestly implore you to give it a read. The quick premise is: there are loads of ‘OK to good’ businesses, products, performance & staff – but what sets apart the GREAT businesses with GREAT performance? Collins went right back through the history books to find companies that achieved truly outstanding performances, well above the market, and compared them to similar companies who’d had the same opportunities to be great in the same market at the same time, but somehow didn’t do it.

Collins found that each of the ‘Great’ companies did the exact same things in the exact same order. Here they are:

  1. LEADERSHIP
  • The GREAT companies all had “Level 5 leaders” ~ a work horse, not a show pony; they lead by example; they would never ask staff to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves.
  • They were humble but purposeful – they blamed errors on themselves, and celebrated wins on everyone else doing things right (‘The Mirror and the Window’)…how many managers do you know that do the direct opposite?

2. STAFFING

  • Hire only the best ~ make no compromises if unsure; if you don’t think they’re right, don’t hire; if they are not working out, get rid of them fast
  • Happy productivity ~ happy staff doing good work, achieving results… means motivated staff, means better content/products means happy clients, mean profits made & happy shareholders
  • get the “right people on the bus, in right seats; wrong people off the bus”
  • staff are the ONLY competitive difference these days

3. CONFRONT BRUTAL FACTS

  • Collins talks about the ‘Stockdale Paradox‘, a terrific story of a General imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War; he found that those that did not make it were the eternal optimists (‘we’ll be out by Christmas…’). Those that did make it out had faith they’d prevail in the end, but they absolutely had a handle on where they were right now and how to deal with it.
  • Brutal Facts; bring the bad news, do not brush this under the carpet; if things are smelling bad, deal with them

4. HEDGEHOG PRINCIPLE

  • a hedgehog understands one thing it can be best at – it rolls up into a ball and protects itself from danger
  • The fox may be clever and have loads of cunning plans, but the hedgehog wins every time
  • What can you be #1 in your market(s) at? (If you can’t be #1 in the market, then stop doing it)

5. DISCIPLINE

  • have big hairy audacious goal (many years out) ~ this drives on the business, and keep pressing towards it
  • measure the right things ~ fire bullets to calibrate, fire cannons to go big

6. TECHNOLOGY as ACCELERATOR

  • tech is not as end in itself, but is used to accelerate growth (such as a new systems)
  • don’t get blindsided by technology for tech’s sake; go for the minimum viable product and get it it there and use it as you go

7. THE FLYWHEEL

  • Another great analogy is the flywheel ~ imagine a huge one that takes all your effort to move one inch; as more of you come in and help, you get it moving and after a while it builds a momentum of its own
  • which push is the decisive one? None of them, argues Collins, but together it works
  • so keep doing those million little things well

This is but a humble overview of the main 7-stage model. If you don’t even do stage 1, none of the other 6 stages will make you great. You have to do all 7.

For more, get the book – you’ll not regret it. And don’t listen to Collins’ critiques (there are a few)… they probably found it too hard to do. For building a great business is no easy, one breakthrough matter. It can take years and years.

But it’s worth it.

Photo: LOLSnaps.com