Archive for November, 2010
The creation of the Internet has created plenty of good in the world. People now have access to more information, tighter connections with more friends, and the ability to make a difference. But some things haven’t had an easy time making the adjustment.
Here are just a handful of technologies that the Internet is transforming for better or for worse.
1. Pay TV
Recent findings have revealed that the U.S. pay-TV industry has lost 119,000 subscribers in the last quarter. This has only ever happened twice, which doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that the first time was two quarters ago. So two straight quarters of subscriber drops doesn’t sound so good. There is no doubt that pay-for television is in trouble.
New players like Hulu, Netflix, and other video-on-demand services have stepped in to fill in the gap that pay TV has never filled. Consumers are beginning to realize that they don’t need thousands of irrelevant channels. Even sporting associations are beginning to get with the program. Consumers simply want to watch what they want, when they want, and without the extra crap that usually comes with pay TV.
Until the industry learns to adapt — which is doubtful in the short term future — consumers will continue to convert to IPTV and video-on-demand options. It’s only a question of whether or not the television networks and providers will be able to get in on the action before it is too late.
|Published:||November 22, 2010|
Harvard Business School
Business leaders can’t develop and execute effective strategy without first gathering the right information, says Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons. In his new book, Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution, Simons explains how managers can identify holes in their planning processes and make smart choices. Here’s an excerpt outlining the seven questions every manager should ask.
1. Who Is Your Primary Customer?
The first imperative—and the heart of every successful strategy implementation—is allocating resources to customers. Continuously competing demands for resources—from business units, support functions and external partners—require a method for judging whether the allocation choices you have made are optimal.
Therefore, the most critical strategic decision for any business is determining who it is you are trying to serve. Clearly identifying your primary customer will allow you to devote all possible resources to meeting their needs and minimize resources devoted to everything else. This is the path to competitive success.
It’s easy to try to duck the tough choice implied by the adjective primary by responding that you have more than one type of customer. This answer is a guaranteed recipe for underperformance: the competitor that has clarity about its primary customer and devotes maximum resources to meet their specific needs will beat you every time.
2. How Do Your Core Values Prioritize Shareholders, Employees, and Customers?
Along with identifying a primary customer, you must also define your core values in a way that ranks the priority of shareholders, employees, and customers. Value statements that are lists of aspirational behaviors aren’t good enough. Real core values indicate whose interest comes first when faced with difficult trade-offs.
Every depiction of future transport since Buck Rogers includes a jet pack, so who are we to mess with invention convention? The Martin Jetpack positions itself as the planet’s first practical jet pack — as if it were some kind of airborne Swiffer. New Zealand inventor Glenn Martin spent nearly 30 years developing a successor to the proven but impractical Bell Rocket Belt, which first flew in 1961.
Martin’s version doesn’t look practical: he appears to have welded two enormous leaf blowers together and thrown on a harness. But the carbon-fiber composite frame houses a gasoline-fueled, 200-horsepower engine — more power than a Honda Accord — that turns a pair of carbon-Kevlar rotors. Theoretically, the Martin Jetpack could take its operator up 8,000 ft. Since it holds only 30 minutes’ worth of fuel, though, you won’t want to linger. The commercial application may be more for first responders than for early adopters. The Jetpack will sell for about $100,000; field tests start in 2011.
The whole social networking phenomenon has millions of Americans sharing their photos, favorite songs and details about their class reunions on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and dozens of similar sites. But there are a handful of personal details that you should never say if you don’t want criminals — cyber or otherwise — to rob you blind, according to Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
The folks at Insure.com also say that ill-advised Facebook postings increasingly can get your insurance cancelled or cause you to pay dramatically more for everything from auto to life insurance coverage. By now almost everybody knows that those drunken party photos could cost you a job, too.
You can certainly enjoy networking and sharing photos, but you should know that sharing some information puts you at risk. What should you never say on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site?
Your Birth Date and Place
Sure, you can say what day you were born, but if you provide the year and where you were born too, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life, said Givens. A study done by Carnegie Mellon showed that a date and place of birth could be used to predict most — and sometimes all — of the numbers in your Social Security number, she said.