jerryking + problems   58

The Six Laws of Technology Everyone Should Know WSJ
Nov. 26, 2017 | WSJ |By Christopher Mims.

1. ‘Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral’ Melvin Kranzberg in the 1960s. He became a technology historian. Prof. Kranzberg’s first law is also his most important. He realized that the impact of a technology depends on its geographic and cultural context, which means it is often good and bad—at the same time. (E.g. DDT, a pesticide and probable carcinogen nonetheless saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in India as a cheap and effective malaria prevention. Or, Facebook groups, serve as a lifeline for parents of children with rare diseases while also radicalizing political extremists. Tech companies' enormous power means they have an obligation to try to anticipate the potential impact of anything they produce.....however, the dirty little secret of highly accomplished people is what we’ve had to neglect to achieve that,” (JK: tradeoffs) “To become spectacular at any discipline in technology means you’re not well-equipped to address these questions.”

2. ‘Invention is the mother of necessity.’ Yes, that’s backward from the way you remember it. It means “every technical innovation seems to require additional technical advances in order to make it fully effective,” In our modern world, the invention of the smartphone has led to the necessity for countless other technologies, from phone cases to 5G wireless. Apple’s cure for staring at your phone too much? A smartwatch to glance at 100 times a day.

3. ‘Technology comes in packages, big and small. To understand any part of a technological package requires looking at its interaction with and dependency on the rest of it—including the human beings essential to how it functions. While innovation destroys jobs, it also creates countless new ones.

4. ‘Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.’ “People think technology as an abstraction has some sort of intrinsic power, and it doesn’t,” “It has to be motivated by political power or cultural power or something else.”

Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president, software engineering, spoke about differential privacy, which Apple says is a way to collect user data while protecting the individual’s anonymity.
More broadly, lawmakers are taking an interest in everything from privacy and data transparency to national security and antitrust issues in tech—more because of a shift in our culture than in the technology itself.

5. ‘All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.’ The Cold War led to the buildup of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them anywhere on Earth. That led to the development of a war-proof communication system: the internet..... But does that mean we owe the modern world to the existential contest between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R.? Or was that conflict itself driven by previous technological developments that allowed Hitler to threaten both nations?

6. ‘Technology is a very human activity.’ “Technology is capable of doing great things,” we use technology is up to us. The trick is, because technology generally reaches mass adoption via corporations, those businesses must think of the consequences of their actions as well as how they profit from them. When corporations don’t, regulators, journalists and the public sometimes do it for them.

As Prof. Kranzberg presciently noted at the dawn of the internet age, “Many of our technology-related problems arise because of the unforeseen consequences when apparently benign technologies are employed on a massive scale.”
anonymity  anticipating  Christopher_Mims  Cold_War  contextual  cultural_power  high-achieving  necessity  nuclear  overachievers  political_power  privacy  problems  scaling  technology  tradeoffs  unforeseen  unintended_consequences 
november 2017 by jerryking
Bryan Roberts of Venrock on Seeing Problems as Opportunities - The New York Times
by ADAM BRYANT OCT. 13, 2017

Bryan Roberts always tries to interact with people who put other people front and center, rather than themselves. His reasoning....People who are self-directed generally gather accomplishments and accolades and are very happy to tell you about them. When people are company- or mission-directed, it manifests as humility, and they generally push credit off onto other people.....You’ve been at Venrock for 20 years. How many pitches have you heard from entrepreneurs over the years?

Probably about 25,000. I hate getting pitched, by the way. The part of the job I love is when you and I have decided to work together to go solve a problem that the world thinks can’t be solved.

I don’t like sitting on one side of the table trying to discern the problems you’re leaving out while you give me the world-is-a-bed-of-roses version of what you’re trying to do.

The pitches are just a means to a small number of relationships where we can go do something extraordinary.

I imagine you interview executives for your portfolio companies. How do you hire?

I start off most interviews with, “What can I answer for you?” It tells me a lot, including how knowledgeable they are about the company, how much they’ve thought about the interview and what they care about. I leave it very open-ended and listen to where they go. I can tell an enormous amount from that.

Then I say to them, “If we take the next step, I’m going to do a bunch of reference checks. I’ll find 10 people who know you, including names you won’t give me. How will they describe you?”
vc  venture_capital  Venrock  problems  problem_solving  opportunities  serving_others  hiring  open-ended 
october 2017 by jerryking
Boost your sales with tips from Warren Buffett

How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett
By Tom Searcy and Henry DeVries
(McGraw-Hill, 217 pages, $24.95)

The authors recommend a process they call "the triples" that will help you make the case for your product or service:

Triple 1: The prospect's three problems

First, find out – and write down – the three biggest problems the prospect faces in the area your product or service can help. This aligns you with the buyer's interests.

Triple 2: Your three-part solution

Now think carefully about how you can solve each problem. As you write it out for the client, remember that generic language such as "improved," "better," and "big difference" are not that compelling. Use actual numbers and refer to specific pressure points to focus on the outcomes your prospect can expect.

Triple 3: Your three references

The third step is to identify at least three references you can share who have experienced similar outcomes when using your products and services. This may be sensitive, given confidentiality and competitive issues. But the authors stress: "The most effective way to get the attention of prospects is to drop the names of others just like them."

The authors urge you to become a student of psychology and develop profiles of members of the prospect's team. Try to determine each person's fears, since those qualms may send your pitch into the ditch. Determine each person's point of view about your solution, as well as any other personal trait or event that might be of importance. At the same time, study the team dynamics, from where people sit around the table to who they defer to.

The most dangerous person will be "the eel." The authors insist that "in every deal, and at every prospect's table, there is always an eel – a person who is against the deal. Always. Eels have a tendency to hang out in the shadows. They are hard to get to, and they usually talk you down when you're not around."

Usually eels are driven by fear that they don't want to acknowledge, so instead they insist they are against the deal on principle. They are dangerous, and must be identified early. Then you can try to co-opt them, taking the eel's ideas and baking them into your proposal.
Harvey_Schachter  deal-making  eels  Warren_Buffett  books  tips  salesmanship  pitches  think_threes  solutions  psychology  references  problems  obstacles  management_consulting  JCK  problem_solving  indispensable  enterprise_clients  aligned_interests 
august 2017 by jerryking
Ontario Tender Fruit Lab
October- December 2014

Found by Googling "challenges import exotic fresh produce ontario"
Ontario  fruits  fresh_produce  branding  organic  agribusiness  agriculture  farming  retailers  supermarkets  grocery  MaRS  sustainability  challenges  problems  solutions  farmland  local 
august 2015 by jerryking
South Korea’s chaebol problem - The Globe and Mail
SEOUL — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 24 2015

Economic observers suggest the chaebol are now thriving to the detriment of other players in the economy – hoarding profits, increasingly focusing on overseas factories, squeezing domestic suppliers, and preventing the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that employ nearly 90 per cent of South Korean workers. There are also ongoing concerns about crony capitalism and the massive firms’ close relationship with the government.
chaebols  South_Korea  conglomerates  problems  family-owned_businesses  cronyism  crony_capitalism  The_One_Percent  political_elites  corporatism  supply_chain_squeeze  SMEs 
april 2015 by jerryking
Forget the problem. Focus on the solution - The Globe and Mail
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 20 2015
books  Harvey_Schachter  problem_solving  problems 
january 2015 by jerryking
Chasing Problems?
the ones who would be “very disappointed” if your solution were no longer available to them (i.e. visceral? you are definitely not "delighting customers")......a startup that chases problem after problem creates a bloated, fragmented solution that isn’t really needed by anyone.

Find the “Must Have” Use Cases – Ignore Most Problems

Ultimately the goal of any startup should be to create a “must have” product experience. The signal that tells you that you have created a “must have” product is your true north to build a successful business. You should understand everything you can about the “must have” experience so you can cultivate and protect it. Who considers it a must have, how are they using it, why do they love it, why did they need it, where do they come from…?.....Problems Worth Solving

So which problems are worth solving? Essentially any problem that stands in the way of delivering the “must have” experience once it has been identified.

Problems worth solving include:

* Usability issues that prevent reaching the must-have experience
* Confusing value proposition about the must-have experience
* Targeting the wrong users (AKA users who don’t need the 'must-have' experience)
* But start by focusing the majority of your energy trying to create at least one must have use case.
case_studies  customer_experience  delighting_customers  disappointment  frictions  growth_hacking  must-have_experience  North_Star  pain_points  problem_solving  problems  start_ups  true_north  usability  use_cases  visceral  worthwhile_problems 
december 2014 by jerryking
How can I make $XX,000/month for next 6 months?
A) Goal
B) The Plan
1. Find something you are good at doing,
2. Find a group of people who are having a problem
3. You create a a product that solves a problem that they are having.
4. Create a Sales Letter
5. Test The Marketing
C) The Timeline
D) The Payment Processing
Quora  howto  problems  validation  wealth_creation  JCK  problem_solving 
october 2014 by jerryking
How to Write a Problem Statement for Six Sigma
By Craig Gygi, Bruce Williams, and Neil DeCarlo
The problem statement serves several purposes in a Six Sigma project. First, it significantly clarifies the current situation by specifically identifying the problem and its severity, location, and financial impact. It also serves as a great communication tool, helping to get buy-in and support from others. When problem statements are well written, people readily grasp and understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

A brief description of the problem and the metric used to describe the problem

Where the problem is occurring by process name and location

The time frame over which the problem has been occurring

The size or magnitude of the problem
problems  problem_solving  Six_Sigma  writing  Communicating_&_Connecting  howto  problem_framing  frequency_and_severity  buy-in  financial_impact 
may 2014 by jerryking
The Power of 'Thick' Data -
Christian Madsbjerg and
Mikkel B. Rasmussen
March 21, 2014

companies that rely too much on the numbers, graphs and factoids of Big Data risk insulating themselves from the rich, qualitative reality of their customers' everyday lives. They can lose the ability to imagine and intuit how the world—and their own businesses—might be evolving. By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.

Successful companies and executives work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change. They are able to use what we like to call Thick Data.
thick_data  massive_data_sets  Lego  ethnography  visceral  storytelling  social_data  observations  Samsung  consumer_research  imagination  skepticism  challenges  problems  sense-making  emotions  contextual 
march 2014 by jerryking
Monetizing open data
September 21, 2012| Strata| by Jenn Webb

One of the big questions on everyone’s mind at this year’s Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki, according to a report by David Meyer at ZDNet, is: Where’s the money in open data?

Ville Peltola, IBM’s innovation chief in Finland, told Meyer the situation is becoming frustrating, that he doesn’t understand why it’s so hard to properly open up data, or even just some of it. “You could have bronze, silver and gold APIs, where more data costs more,” Peltola said to Meyer. “It’s like a drug dealer. Maybe you have to solve this chicken-and-egg problem by giving samples of raw data.”

Meyer points out the real issue inherent in what Peltola is saying: “that large amounts of data are very valuable, and the companies that create them tend not to know how to realise the greatest value from them.” Peltola had an interesting idea to address this: “What if you have an internal start-up in your company tasked only with monetising your data?”

Chris Taggart, co-founder of OpenCorporates, made a more competitive argument for opening up your company’s data: it “exposes your competitors’ internal contradictions” and might inspire disruption, he told Meyer — “Most big, fat secure companies don’t have the confidence to disrupt themselves,” he said.
open_data  monetization  massive_data_sets  problems  challenges  intrapreneurship  chicken-and-egg  commercialization  APIs  disruption  complacency  contradictions 
december 2013 by jerryking
WHOLESALE The real squeezed middle?
From dealing with ongoing margin pressure in a low growth environment, to dealing with higher customer expectations,
and mounting concerns about the black market, the challenges facing wholesalers are considerable. However, the picture is not all gloom. Opportunities still exist for operators able to supply goods in line with changing industry trends, while maintaining a low cost base. Increasingly this will be through supply chain integration and enhanced service levels. But, ultimately winners will be wholesalers that can effectively reinvent themselves by developing new
hooks into their customers.

Demand is highly influenced by end user trends. However, wholesalers only have limited ability to respond quickly.

The ability to source and alter stock in line with changing trends is vital, especially in terms of broadening of the
product range.

Wholesale is generally a high volume low margin industry with operating margins of only 1-2%.

Margins are constantly being squeezed. Bargaining power in many consumer goods markets has been weakened by
powerful manufacturers and dominant retailers.
responding to end-user trends
margin pressure

Most wholesalers now offer a range of new added value services. White label provision and web integration
increasingly common

Service level agreements increasingly tight

Symbol groups have become more popular across the grocery sector, with increased investment in own-label
development. In other sectors branding has never been more important.

The introduction of tightly-managed production techniques has resulted in greater sophistication in distribution

Wholesalers are now expected to have systems in place to run goods direct from production plant to end-users

Disruption in overseas supply chains caused by ‘growing pains’ in emerging markets is becoming increasingly
enhanCed serviCe levels supplY Chain integration

The black and grey markets, and fraud in general is on the increase. Alcohol duty fraud is a particular concern

Sourcing from correct brand owners is becoming more difficult. Fines for the possession of fraudulent stock are
becoming more severe.
fruits  vegetables  wholesalers  challenges  problems  margins  supply_chains  fresh_produce  OPMA  slow_growth  black_markets  low_growth  customer_expectations 
october 2013 by jerryking
'12 Years a Slave,' and Historians' Problems with Slave Narratives : The New Yorker
October 23, 2013
Slavery’s Shadow
Posted by Annette Gordon-Reed

The historian’s task is to recognize this truth, figure out what problems are inherent to each form of evidence, and find ways, if possible, to surmount them. Take that most cherished of historical documents, the family letter. Letter writers often used the medium to create a pictures of what their families were like, and to illustrate what role they played in the family. Sometimes the picture was good. Sometimes it was bad. But the family letter is always subjective, and carries with it the problems that go along with all subjective judgments. We must be wary of them—not reject them out of hand but, rather, recognize their limitations.

What do we do to satisfy ourselves that any critical or important information contained in a family letter, or in any letter, is reliable? We look for evidence outside of the document, preferably created by someone other than the letter writer, to support what it says. If the letter presents information that we have no good reason to question—if the writer is not saying anything that is fantastical, or which contradicts other known information—we tend to accept its assertions. There is only so much time in the day and in life. The same process can be, and has been, followed with slave narratives.
slavery  storytelling  historians  history  critical_thinking  problems 
october 2013 by jerryking
Six clues your innovation process is broken
Oct. 20 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

1. Innovation is episodic
2. The process is invented from scratch
3. Resources are held hostage
4. Innovations are force-fitted into existing structures
5. Applying the same criteria to innovation
6. Insisting on the venture meeting its plan
Harvey_Schachter  innovation  warning_signs  strategy  competitive_advantage  shortcomings  problems 
october 2013 by jerryking
Marketing matters: The 'small' problem with mobile ads - The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Jun. 29 2013
mobile_phones  mobile_advertising  problems  Susan_Krashinsky 
august 2013 by jerryking
Big Data, Big Blunders -
March 8, 2013 | WSJ | By SHIRA OVIDE.
Big Data, Big Blunders
Five mistakes companies make—and how they can avoid them
massive_data_sets  problems  data_scientists  mistakes  howto 
march 2013 by jerryking
If You Were the Next Steve Jobs...
September 3, 2012 | Harvard Business Review | by Umair Haque.

Imagine, for a moment, that you (yes, you) were the next Steve Jobs: what would your (real) challenges be? I'd bet they wouldn't be scale (just call FoxConn), efficiency (call FoxConn's consultants), short-term profitability (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers), or even "growth" (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers' lobbyists). Those are the problems of yesterday — and today, here's the thing: we largely know how to solve them.

Whether you're an assiduous manager, a chin-stroking economist, a superstar footballer, or a rumpled artist, here's the unshakeable fact: you don't get to tomorrow by solving yesterday's problems.

To solve today's set of burning problems, you just might have to build new institutions, capable of handling stuff a little something like this...
Singularity. Scale is a solved problem. We know how to do stuff at very, very large scale — if by stuff you mean "churning out the same widget, a billion times over". What we don't know how to do is the opposite of scaling up: scaling down an institution, to make a difference to a human life.
Sociality - something resembling the advanced dating stage of the courtship ritual.
Spontaneity - the act of human potential unfurling in the moment — and if it's human potential you wish to ignite, then it's spontaneity you need to spark.
what distinguishes organizations that achieve enduring greatness is teamwork and collaboration — and those are words so overused, they make my teeth ache just saying them. Here's my bet: it's time to drop the fourth wall of the "team" — and go beyond collaboration, to something like what Jung called synchronicity: a kind of uncanny intersection of seemingly unrelated lives.
Solubility. But the biggest lesson — and the one hidden in plain sight — is this: creating institutions capable of not just solving the same old problems, forever.... the greatest challenge for tomorrow's would-be problem-solver renegades is this: building institutions that don't keep solving the same old solved problems, like profitability, scale, efficiency, productivity, and the like. Over and over again, like algorithms of human organization run amok. Institutions that are capable of taking a hard look at unsolved problems around the globe — as big as climate change, sending humans to Mars, and redesigning the global financial system, and as small as Umair's perfect coffee — and then accepting the difficult, often painful, always fulfilling, work of attempting to solve them.
living_in_the_moment  creativity  Steve_Jobs  HBR  problems  problem_solving  umairhaque  political_infrastructure  ideas  value_creation  wealth_creation  threats  scaling  institutions  spontaneity  human_potential  superstars  financial_system 
february 2013 by jerryking
Bill Gates on the Importance of Measurement -
January 25, 2013 | WSJ | by Bill Gates.
(Charles Waud & WaudWare)
From the fight against polio to fixing education, what's missing is often good measurement and a commitment to follow the data. We can do better. We have the tools at hand.

Without feedback from precise measurement...invention is "doomed to be rare and erratic." With it, invention becomes "commonplace."
An innovation—whether it's a new vaccine or an improved seed—can't have an impact unless it reaches the people who will benefit from it. We need innovations in measurement to find new, effective ways to deliver those tools and services to the clinics, family farms and classrooms that need them....As budgets tighten for governments and foundations world-wide, we all need to take the lesson of the steam engine to heart and adapt it to solving the world's biggest problems...information [needs to] go into a system—part paper-based and part computerized—that helps decision makers see where things are working and to take action in places where they aren't....the most critical change we can make in U.S. K–12 education, with America lagging countries in Asia and Northern Europe when it comes to turning out top students, is to create teacher-feedback systems that are properly funded, high quality and trusted by teachers....The process I have described—setting clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach—helps us to deliver tools and services to everybody who will benefit, be they students in the U.S. or mothers in Africa.
billgates  metrics  problem_solving  problems  dashboards  innovation  instrumentation_monitoring  data  tools  Ethiopia  goal-setting  goals  feedback  measurements  assessments_&_evaluations 
january 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes
March 15-21st, 2006 | | Andrew Clarke.

1. The plan is poorly written.
2. The plan presentation is sloppy.
3. The plan is incomplete.
4. The plan is too vague.
5. The plan is too detailed.
6. The plan makes unfounded or unrealistic assumptions.
7. The plan includes inadequate research.
8. You claim there's no risk involved in your new venture.
9. You claim you have no competition.
10. The business plan is really no plan at all.
problems  business_planning  assumptions  market_research  competition  risk-assessment 
december 2012 by jerryking
In a Downturn, Provoke Your Customers
March 2009 | HBR | by Philip Lay, Todd Hewlin, and Geoffrey Moore

The downturn is making it tougher than ever to make a sale. The companies you serve are slashing budgets. Senior executives—
not the managers you’ve traditionally dealt with—are now the decision makers. But you can motivate those executives to allocate funds for your offering—by using provocation-based selling:
• Identify a critical problem facing your customer—one so ominous that, even in a downturn, it will find the money to address it.
• Formulate a provocative view of the problem—a fresh perspective that frames the problem in a jarring new light.
• Lodge your provocation with an executive who has the power to approve the solution you’re proposing. To win support,convey the magnitude and intractability of the problem—without putting him on the defensive.
boldness  economic_downturn  fresh_eyes  Geoffrey_Moore  HBR  howto  pain_points  perspectives  problems  problem_solving  provocations  selling_the_problem  recessions  sales_cycle  selling  solutions 
august 2012 by jerryking
Cannot Scan on Brother MFC-490cw - FixYa
Cannot Scan on Brother MFC-490cw

Everything on our new printer works fine, except for the scanner. The scanner only works when scanning to a pdf on a flash drive. Other wise it gives this error : "An unexpected error occurred. Please restart your computer, then try again. (CC3-003-00031c0e)". Restarting changes nothing. All the latest drivers, and all the latest software within the last day directly off Brother's site downloaded and installed just fine but didn't change anything.

Posted by avatarjonjonr on Sep 12, 2009

By avatarjonjonr Sep 12, 2009


For some reason the scanner dpi and auto program aren't set. Open Control Center 3, go to scanner settings and set them.
problems  scanning 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Trouble with Big Data
May 5, 2012 | | What's The Big Data?| GilPress

“With too little data, you won’t be able to make any conclusions that you trust. With loads of data you will find relationships that aren’t real… On net, having a degree in math, economics, AI, etc., isn’t enough. Tool expertise isn’t enough. You need experience in solving real world problems, because there are a lot of important limitations to the statistics that you learned in school. Big data isn’t about bits, it’s about talent.”.....The “talent” of “understanding the problem and the data applicable to it” is what makes a good scientist: The required skepticism, the development of hypotheses (models), and the un-ending quest to refute them, following the scientific method that has brought us remarkable progress over the course of the last three hundred and fifty years.
in_the_real_world  massive_data_sets  blogs  skepticism  challenges  problems  problem_solving  expertise  statistics  talent  spurious  data_quality  data_scientists  haystacks  correlations  limitations 
june 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Solving the problem isn't the problem
Seth Godin on May 08, 2012

The problem is finding a vector that pays for itself as you scale.

We see a problem and we think we've "solved" it, but if there isn't a scalable go-to-market business approach behind the solution, it's not going to work.

This is where engineers and other problem solvers so often get stuck. Industries and organizations and systems aren't broken because no one knows how to solve their problem. They're broken because the difficult part is finding a scalable, profitable way to market and sell the solution.
Seth_Godin  problem_solving  scaling  problems  OPMA  Michael_McDerment 
may 2012 by jerryking
Advice straight from the dragon's mouth -
May 25, 2005 | FT | By Doug Richard. ask Kemp these questions.

*Ask what problem is being solved with your product or service

*Talk to potential customers to understand the problem

*Know the cost to customers of the problem you are trying to solve so that you get your pricing right

*Define your customers as a group linked by a common problem

*Keep the business simple and focused on one mission and one target

*Protect your ideas where possible
angels  entrepreneur  start_ups  due_diligence  problem_definition  questions  simplicity  cost_of_inaction  problems  problem_awareness  awareness  consumer_awareness 
may 2012 by jerryking
Flexibility, Realism and Passion -
March 17, 2003 | WSJ | By PAULETTE THOMAS | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Entrepreneurs' Biggest Problems -- And How They Solve Them
Among the ingredients for success: flexibility, realism and passion

Mark Goldstein, a Pittsburg immigration attorney
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  problems  problem_solving  strategy  flexibility  Flexcar  automobile  globalization  lawyers 
may 2012 by jerryking
Settling the Landscape After Merging Firms -
April 15, 2003 | WSJ | Paulette Thomas.

THE PROBLEM: A merger, intended to open new sales opportunities, introduces a host of unexpected hurdles.

Steve Thomas thought he'd hit upon a perfect solution to his marketing problem. His company sold enterprise software -- for multiple users within a company -- for corporate training. But the Columbus, Ohio-based Pathlore Software Corp. couldn't break into the top tier of companies. The $5 million business had about 200 smallish customers. "We would jokingly call ourselves "the quiet company," because no one had ever heard of us," he says.

So he pursued a merger with another company, coveting its big, fat client list. Silton-Bookman Systems in Cupertino, Calif., also sold software used for corporate training, but it was a modest, PC-based product. It had 2,000 customers, including most of the Fortune 100. Its owners quickly agreed to terms. So in late 1999, while other software companies were plotting IPOs, and primping for venture capitalists, they combined in a lowly stock-swap, with Pathlore taking the controlling position.

Happy ending, right? Pathlore would sell its more sophisticated, big ticket product using the entrée provided by Silton-Bookman's gold-plated client list.

Except that their sales teams were utterly incompatible. Pathlore's sales people were accustomed to meeting with top executives to pitch their $1 million product face-to-face, with a sale typically requiring 12 months of courting. Silton-Bookman's salespeople worked by phone, selling its $10,000 software using a methodical step-by-step program. Retraining was unsuccessful. Some of the Silton-Bookman sales team left in frustration, and some went to new Pathlore jobs.

Tech support was a challenge, too. Pathlore's product required lots of time on the phone with its customers, working through the challenges of its sprawling, Web-accessed product. Silton-Bookman tech support addressed fast, easy-to-solve problems at high volume.

"Sometimes you don't know what the issues are going to be until you get in," says Mr. Thomas. "We struggled."

THE SOLUTION: Playing to the strengths of the component companies.

In order to bolster the old Pathlore sales team, it raised $10 million in venture capital for new hires and training. With the new client list in place, aggressive spending for new sales hires -- with experience -- made sense.

Pathlore split up other tasks among the two companies. Its tech support staff -- newly trained to deal with both products -- moved to Columbus, where tech labor is cheaper and less prone to turnover. It put its product development team and marketing staff in Cupertino to take advantage of the deep reservoir of Silicon Valley talent. Sales -- now requiring about six months -- have reached $26 million, and they are profitable.

THE LESSON: Even the most straightforward mergers present unforeseen challenges. Expect surprises and stay flexible.

-- Paulette Thomas
mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  problems  incompatibilities  tech_support  venture_capital  lessons_learned  post-deal_integration  consolidation 
may 2012 by jerryking
Einstein’s Secret to Amazing Problem Solving (and 10 Specific Ways You Can Use It)
Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

The point: before jumping right into solving a problem, we should step back and invest time and effort to improve our understanding of it. Here are 10 strategies to see problems from many different perspectives and to master the most important step in problem solving: clearly defining the problem in the first place!
The Problem Is To Know What the Problem Is

The definition of the problem will be the focal point of all your problem-solving efforts.
1. Rephrase the Problem
2. Expose and Challenge Assumptions
3. Chunk Up
4. Chunk Down
5. Find Multiple Perspectives
6. Use Effective Language Constructs
7. Make It Engaging
8. Reverse the Problem
9. Gather Facts
10. Problem-Solve Your Problem Statement
creativity  lifehacks  thinking  tips  problem_solving  Albert_Einstein  problems  problem_framing  critical_thinking  Philip_Mudd  uncharted_problems  thinking_backwards  problem_definition 
january 2012 by jerryking
Letters - What Kind of Innovation?
I am concerned because bright young entrepreneurs and engineers, as well as the venture capitalists and their billions, could be spending their time, talents and money to spur innovation in areas of critical need: feeding a growing planet, finding new solutions for energy, and providing health care around the world, to name a few.

These are challenging problems, to be sure, but they are surely not intractable to the optimists drawn to the tech industry. Angel investors perpetuating the cycle of start-ups should keep this in mind — our future requires creative, innovative ideas in these areas far more than it needs a slate of variations on shopping or social networking sites.

Colleen Murrett

Manhattan, Aug. 21
letters_to_the_editor  silicon_valley  problem_solving  problems  innovation  angels  taxonomy 
september 2011 by jerryking
Stop Looking for Ideas, Look for Problems to Grow Your Business - India Chief Mentor - WSJ
April 19, 2010, | WSJ | By Gautam Gandhi. Stop looking for
good ideas. That’s right, you read this correctly. Please don’t speak of good ideas ever again. Instead tell me about good problems. They'll most likely bring a business opportunity, Where are the problems?

If you look around there are problems everywhere. Question things you
take for granted and think to yourself: Is there a better way? When you
have your next business meeting, whether it is with a client or
customer, ask them what their biggest problems are. You will be
surprised by what people tell you. Hopefully, you will start to notice
patterns and will soon identify a problem to solve. Better still, if it
is a problem that affects you directly.

When you think of the problem that you are going to solve, ensure that:

You are tackling it for a sizable market
People are willing to pay for your solution
You assess your rivals

The last one is important. Never think: “I don’t have any competition.”
growth  problem_solving  pattern_recognition  idea_generation  problems  challenges  worthiness  messiness  uncharted_problems  large_markets  competition  questions  ideas  assumptions  criteria  India  pain_points  discernment  curiosity  dissatisfaction  opportunities  inquisitiveness  Michael_McDerment  worthwhile_problems 
july 2011 by jerryking
BlueCat Networks' Michael Hyatt swims against the tide - The Globe and Mail
May. 20, 2011 | Special to Globe and Mail Update | by DIANE
JERMYN. Where there’s mystery, there’s margin. If you build a product
that has enough mystery, there’s a lot of margin to it. And if you’ve
developed something in technology that solves big problems for big
companies, they’re going to give you big, big cheques.
BlueCat  Michael_Hyatt  entrepreneur  problem_solving  contrarians  problems  margins  large_companies 
may 2011 by jerryking
The rich make investing mistakes, too
March 21, 2011 | CTV News | THANE STENNER.


Many wealthy investors overestimate their ability to understand the
markets. Some believe they can predict market movements; others think
they can beat the experts at stock picking. This can be an issue with
wealthy business owners, who sometimes assume business success
translates verbatim into investment success.

A young high-tech entrepreneur I met at a conference several years ago
is a case in point. Back in 2000, he sold his software company for over
$10-million. He subsequently made a substantial “angel” investment in a
single dot-com startup. He was confident he had a good read on the
company, its industry, and its management. Things did not work as
planned, and he lost a good chunk of the wealth he had built.
Thane_Stenner  high_net_worth  problems  investing  wealth_management  angels  start_ups  overconfidence  biases 
april 2011 by jerryking
Africa Spends $50 Billion Each Year on Food Imports, Group Says
Apr 15, 2011 | Bloomberg | By Moses Mozart Dzawu. Africa
pays $50 billion each year on food imports and will need to invest $39
billion annually for the next 15 years in order to become
self-sufficient, said Akinwumi Adesina, vice president of the Alliance
for a Green Revolution in Africa. The continent faces problems with a
“lack of storage facilities, infrastructure and marketing of
agricultural produce,” he said in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, today. If
Africa doubles its agricultural output by 2015, the continent’s annual
gross domestic product would increase by 5.5 percent, Adesina said.
African governments need to develop strategies to get banks to boost
lending to the industry, he said.
Africa  food  importing  ideas  opportunities  farming  agriculture  infrastructure  problems  challenges  fresh_produce 
april 2011 by jerryking
Don’t outlaw human smugglers – drive them out of business
Dec. 4, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | Doug Saunders.
We can drive the worst of the smugglers (who are also the most
expensive) out of business by making our legitimate pathways work as
they should. This efficiency doesn’t raise the number of refugees coming
in; rather, by killing the market for private-sector alternatives, it
can reduce them....Canada has less of a problem than other countries in
large part because we know how to pre-empt the smugglers at their own
racket. The largest “smuggling” operation in this country is the one
overseen by the Department of Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism, in which Ottawa authorizes private agents (i.e.,
charities and church groups) to bring in 11,000 sponsored refugees from
United Nations camps every year. The minister, Jason Kenney, a huge
proponent of the program and its record of integration success, raised
the number this summer by 2,000 more. This does more to make smuggling
marginal than any further criminalization would.
human_trafficking  Doug_Saunders  problems  outlaws  problem_solving  migrants  illicit  piracy  pre-emption  smuggling 
december 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Sell the problem
August 25, 2010 | Seth Godin. My friend Marcia has a very
cool idea for large professional firms. As an architect, she realized
the firms were wasting time and money and efficiency in the way they use
their space. Roomtag is her answer.

The challenge is this: if your big law firm or accounting firm doesn't
think it has a space allocation/stuff tracking/office mapping problem,
you won't be looking for a solution. You won't wake up in the morning
dreaming about how to solve it, or go to bed wondering how much it's
costing you to ignore it. And so the marketing challenge is to sell the
problem. Imagine, for example, getting the data and publishing a list of
the top 50 firms, ranked by efficiency of space use. All of a sudden,
the bottom half of the list realizes that yes, in fact, they have
something that they need to work on.
Seth_Godin  problems  problem_solving  Octothorpe_Software  JCK  problem_awareness  awareness  consumer_awareness  selling_the_problem 
august 2010 by jerryking
What are worthwhile problems: Feynman's moving letter
Posted on March 11, 2008 by Selva.

The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. A problem is grand in science if it lies before us unsolved and we see some way for us to make some headway into it. I would advise you to take even simpler, or as you say, humbler, problems until you find some you can really solve easily, no matter how trivial. You will get the pleasure of success, and of helping your fellow man, even if it is only to answer a question in the mind of a colleague less able than you. You must not take away from yourself these pleasures because you have some erroneous idea of what is worthwhile.
problems  inspiration  creativity  advice  worthiness  uncharted_problems  discernment  Richard_Feynman  worthwhile_problems 
july 2009 by jerryking
7 Tips for Difficult Conversations
March 11, 2009 || Daisy Wademan Dowling

Tags:Communication, Giving feedback, Managing people
Communicating_&_Connecting  providing_feedback  managing_people  conversations  problems  challenges  stressful  difficult_conversations  tips 
march 2009 by jerryking
Independent Street : To Solve a Problem, Try Asking Another Company
June 12, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | blog post by Wendy Bounds
on how company companies are traveling to meet with managers from other
companies that have solved problems similar to theirs.
learning_journeys  Gwendolyn_Bounds  business  innovation  entrepreneurship  ideas  problems  idea_generation  problem_solving  questions  brainstorming  learning_curves 
february 2009 by jerryking
L. Gordon Crovitz Says Technological Creativity Could Help Wall Street Make Sense of Data -
FEBRUARY 9, 2009 | WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ reports on
the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. TED as an
antidote to recessionary pessimism. Reminder that other industries,
especially Wall Street, need to embrace the technologist ethos of
constant creativity and innovation. "Raw data, now!" Find new
relationships among data and new answers to problems in ways we haven't
been able to imagine
analytics  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Web  data  Wall_Street  TED  unimaginable  sense-making  pattern_recognition  patterns  data_mining  problems 
february 2009 by jerryking
Outsourcing Times: India
Goggled "problem Outsourcing Inda banking"
problems  Outsourcing 
may 2007 by jerryking

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