jerryking + product-orientated   9

How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
june 2019 by jerryking
How to keep creative geniuses in check and in profit
March 10, 2019 | Financial Times | by Andrew Hill.

The story of how Eastman Kodak invented a digital camera in 1975 but failed to develop it is one of the most notorious misses in the annals of innovation. (It’s more complicated than that, but never mind.)

Polaroid, the instant-photo pioneer, took a slower path to the technology: its first digital camera appeared only in 1996. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, 11 years before Kodak.
Polaroid’s founding genius, Edwin Land, could, though, have been first to the digital party. In 1971, as part of a secret panel advising the US president, he advocated digital photography, which the US eventually adopted for its spy satellites.
But Land was blind to the promise of digital cameras for the consumer.

This tale of failures of leadership, innovation and organisation is well told by Safi Bahcall, a physicist, former consultant and biotech entrepreneur, in Loonshots. There are four types of failure:
(1) Leadership failure. Edwin Land was guilty of leading his company into a common trap: only ideas approved by an all-powerful leader advance until at last a costly mis-step trips up the whole company.
(2) Innovation failure. Bahcall distinguishes between product-type and strategy-type innovation. Classic P-type innovators are the folks at innovation conferences conversing about new gadgets with less attention being paid to the analysis of innovative business models. Indeed, at some forums, P-type innovations also crowd the lobby. Delegates line up to try the latest shiny robot, electric car, or 3D printer.

(3) Organizational failure. Loonshots is based, refreshingly, on the idea culture does not necessarily eat strategy for breakfast. In fact, bad structure eats culture. Bahcall gives this a scientific foundation, explaining that successful teams and companies stagnate in the same way water turns to ice. A perfectly balanced innovative company must try to keep the temperature at the point where free-flowing bright ideas are not suddenly frozen by bureaucracy. How? Since the success of Bell Labs, companies have been told they should set up “a department of loonshots run by loons, free to explore the bizarre” separately from the parent. The key, though, is to ensure chief executives and their managers encourage the transfer of ideas between the mad creatives in the lab and the people in the field, and (the culture part) ensure both groups feel equally loved.

As for the assumption companies always ossify as they get larger, that risk can be mitigated by adjusting incentives, curbing office politics, and matching skills to projects, for which Loonshots offers a detailed formula.

Success also requires a special type of leader — not a visionary innovator but a “careful gardener”, who nurtures the existing franchise and the new projects. Though not himself an inventor, Steve Jobs, in his second phase at Apple, arguably achieved the right balance. He also spotted the S-type potential of iTunes. Even if Tesla’s Elon Musk is not losing that balance, in his headlong, top-down pursuit of loonshot after loonshot, he does not strike me as a born gardener.

Persuading charismatic geniuses to give up their role as leaders of organisations built on their inventions is hard. Typically, such people figure out themselves how to garden, as Jobs did; or they are coached by the board, which may install veteran executives to help; or they may be handed the title of “chief innovator” or “chief scientist” and nudged aside for a new CEO.

(4) They may find themselves peddling a fatally flawed product.
Bell_Labs  books  breakthroughs  business_models  creativity  digital_cameras  Edwin_Land  Elobooks  Elon_Musk  failure  genius  howto  incentives  innovation  inventors  Kodak  leaders  moonshots  office_politics  organizational_failure  organizational_innovation  Polaroid  product-orientated  Steve_Jobs 
march 2019 by jerryking
Stanford dropout with a magical touch
Jul 14, 2017 | Financial Times | by: Hannah Kuchler.

Evan Spiegel refuses to be scared of Facebook. Confidence helped the 27-year-old Snap chief executive take a photo messaging app from a Stanford University coursework project to an almost $20bn initial public offering. The threat of Facebook has been following all the way.

In 2013, when the company behind Snapchat was just two years old, its co-founder (his partner was a fellow student, Bobby Murphy) was quizzed on stage about Poke, Facebook’s first attempt at imitating the app’s photo messaging. “Certainly it is scary when a giant enters your space and you are a small company,” Mr Spiegel said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. He laughed it off: Poke failed, and that became the “greatest Christmas present we ever had”.

But the world’s largest social network does not give up and has relentlessly imitated Snapchat since Mr Spiegel turned down its $3bn acquisition offer in 2013. Earlier this year, just as Snap headed for the public markets, Facebook finally succeeded in popularising a version of “Stories” in four of its apps — the Snapchat feature that expires after 24 hours.......an unlikely analogy..... “Just because Yahoo, for example, has a search box, it doesn’t mean they are Google.”......Mr Spiegel, who dropped out of Stanford, was the first chief executive from a new wave of highly valued tech start-ups to brave the public markets. It paid off personally: he became a multi-billionaire when he took Snap public....Spiegel is soaking up advice “like a sponge” from senior management and the board, which includes Michael Lynton, former chief executive of Sony Pictures and AG Lafley, former chief executive of Procter & Gamble.....Praised as a product genius who instinctively understands the desires of his young audience, Mr Spiegel now has to learn to be a public company leader, managing the expectations of investors who want to compare Snap to Facebook and Mr Spiegel to Mark Zuckerberg......By designing the disappearing photos that made Snapchat famous, Mr Spiegel completely rethought the camera. Photos became transient conversations, not kept for posterity; social media became a way to be creative — and silly — with your close friends, not flick through a feed of near strangers.....Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, told the Financial Times it plans to double its spending to $200m on Snap this year. But, he added, WPP will spend over 10 times more on Facebook.

...
dropouts  Stanford  IPOs  Snap  Snapchat  CEOs  Evan_Spiegel  WPP  Martin_Sorrell  product_development  product-orientated  public_companies  investors'_expectations  10x 
july 2017 by jerryking
HOW TO: Land a Business Development Job
So you want to be a business development professional? The job title has certainly become a coveted one of late, especially in the tech sector where the business guys and gals are the ones forging newsworthy partnerships.
The question is, do you know what the job entails? Even then, do you know how and where to start on this newfound career path? Or better yet, do you have the qualities that make for success in these always-on positions?
Mashable interviewed six experts in the field at various stages in their careers to get their tips on what it takes to become a business development professional at technology companies and startups.
Biz Dev ProsHere is some background information on these six seasoned business development professionals.
Charles Hudson: Newly turned entrepreneur Charles Hudson was the vice president of business development at Serious Business, a top social game developer acquired by Zynga in February. Previous engagements include senior business development positions at Gaia Online and Google. Hudson also produces two conferences focused on gaming: Virtual Goods Summit and Social Gaming Summit. Hudson is now co-founder of Bionic Panda Games.
Jesse Hertzberg: Hertzberg is the former vice president of operations and business development at Etsy, the immensely popular social commerce site for handmade and vintage items now valued at close to $300 million. Hertzberg currently advises a number of startups, including Squarespace, and is the founder of BigSoccer.
Matt Van Horn: Van Horn is the vice president of business development at the super stealth startup Path. His past jobs include more than three years working in business development for Digg, as well as a four-year stint with Apple while attending college.
Tristan Walker: Walker is the up-and-coming investment-banker-turned-tech-star heading Foursquare’s business development efforts. Walker is directly responsible for coordinating a majority of the trendy startup’s biggest strategic partnerships. This role has also brought considerable visibility to Walker, who’s been featured in Vibe Magazine, as well as named in The Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50 list, Black Enterprise’s 40 Next list and Mediaweek’s 50:20 to Watch list.
Jason Oberfest: Oberfest is the vice president of social applications at game developer Ngmoco, which was recently acquired by DeNA for $300 million with a potential $100 million more in post-acquisition bonuses. Prior to joining to Ngmoco, Oberfest was the senior vice president of business development at MySpace, and before that the managing director of business development at Los Angeles Times Interactive.
Cortlandt Johnson: Johnson is the chief evangelist at SCVNGR and actively works to recruit businesses to participate in the startup’s rewards program. Johnson also co-founded DartBoston, an event-centric community designed to connect entrepreneurs and professionals in the Boston area.
Education and Internships

What undergraduate school should I attend? Do I need to go to grad school? What about internships? These are all questions you’re likely to face as you explore a future in business development. The esteemed professionals we interviewed all have backgrounds of varying degrees, so we asked for their input on these subject matters.
Walker’s own personal story is perhaps the most unique example of how to come by a business development position. While certainly making his mark in business development now, Walker initially pursued a career on Wall Street before packing it up and heading to Stanford Graduate School of Business, a shift that pushed him in the tech direction.
All things considered, does Walker recommend internships? “Certainly depends,” he says. However, based on his own internship experiences, “if you want to work in tech long term, interning at an investment bank may not make the most sense,” he jokes.
Hertzberg is a big proponent of internships. “Interning is the best job interview you can ever get, and is critical to beginning to build your professional network. Some of my favorite professional relationships are with folks who once interned for me,” he says.
Johnson suggests going after internships that push you outside your comfort zone. “The goal of my internships was to learn how to interact with all kinds of people. I always went after positions that forced me into different types of situations, whether they be social or otherwise,” says Johnson.
Grad school is something Walker has a bit more conviction about. In his words, “B-school” is “very important … not only for the skills (i.e. accounting, finance, operations, etc.) that could be beneficial for all managers to comprehend long term, but also for the softer skills of ‘people management.’”
Oberfest found an immediate opening in the biz dev field right as he was starting out. “I was fortunate to get my career started at the beginning of the first Internet boom, so for me it was trial by fire,” he explains.
If you’re on the fence about grad school, consider the following statement from Oberfest. “Grad school can help, but [it] is not a requirement. Good knowledge of the mechanics of deals — how to structure and negotiate deals — is an important component of the job and an MBA or JD can certainly help there, but I think the single most important attribute of an exceptional business development person is good product intuition.”[jk: being product-orientated}
Van Horn is also proof that graduate degrees aren’t absolute requirements. “I’ve never attended graduate school, but if you’re able to attend a top tier school, I hear you build an incredible network for life,” he says.
Instead, Van Horn spent his undergraduate college years working for Apple. “It’s very powerful to have a big brand behind your resume,” Van Horn shares. “I worked for Apple for four years doing campus marketing while in college and it helped a lot.”
For Hertzberg, his MBA, “was worth half of what I paid for it, as I already had a business background.” But, he says, “The network is why you go and, yes, that has been worth its weight in gold.”
Required Reading

All of the professionals we talked to strongly advocate that those aspiring to work in the field read up on mentors past.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi is Van Horn’s personal favorite read.Johnson, who also recommends Never Eat Alone, finds Tim Sanders’s Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence to be an important read as well.Walker suggests that business development professionals-in-training pick up a copy of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.Unfortunately, it takes more than a few good books to read your way to success. Hertzberg recommends an aggressive approach to ongoing education that entails consuming as much information as possible.
“Read industry rags voraciously and know who is starting up, who is funded, who is growing, who is cutting what deals, etc.” he says. “Have a deep and holistic understanding of the industry and marketplace beyond just your company’s focus.”
Hudson strongly advises that, “all BD people, especially start-up BD people, should read Steve Blank’s work on customer discovery. That’s a big part of your job.” You might also want to start by reading Hudson’s own in-depth article on what being the “business guy” at a startup entails.
Must-Have Qualities

If you want to work in business development, and do so successfully, these experts agree that there’s one thing you absolutely need — a tangible passion for product.
In actionable terms, Walker describes this as a “tireless hustle.” Van Horn agrees. “I think you need to be passionate and have hustle,” he says.
Van Horn also recommends being an “early adopter of interesting products. If you’re looking for a technology job, make sure you use every awesome sounding new product you read on Mashable.”
Those best suited for business development roles are the make-it-work types, says Johnson. “The most successful people I’ve met are those who know how to quickly adapt and hustle to find ways to overcome any obstacles put in their way,” he advises.
Oberfest believes these three qualities are key: the ability to “quickly read people,” innate negotiation sensibilities and an appreciation for long-term relationships.
Hertzberg reminds that “you have to like people,” if you want to do well in a biz dev role.
Hudson agrees and points to human-to-human interaction as a huge part of the job. “If you want to go into business development, I think you have to be good at dealing with and understanding people. If you’re not comfortable with interpersonal communications and relationship management, it probably isn’t the right job for you,” he says.
On the flip side, Walker says that those possessing a “lack of humility” are least suited for biz dev positions. In a similar vein, Hertzberg says, “Be humble. Always represent your company’s brand faithfully. Constantly work to enhance and preserve that brand. Remember that your personal brand will never be bigger than your company’s.”
Getting Your First Biz Dev Job

For those just looking to get their foot in the door somewhere, knowing the answer to the question, “How does one get a biz dev job?” is of the utmost importance. We posed this particular question to our professionals, who all have slightly different, but uniquely encouraging takes on how and where to get started.
“For me it started with just recognizing the pretty significant business opportunity at a startup that I was already passionate about,” says Walker. “It always starts with product, then recognizing the opportunity on top of that.”
If you’re still an entry-level professional, Oberfest recommends not taking a job in business development at first, but rather in product management.
“I would first go work as a product manager in the industry you are passionate … [more]
business_development  job_search  social_media  social_networking  marketing  product-orientated  tristan_walker  via:sfarrar  thinking_holistically  top-tier  the_single_most_important 
august 2016 by jerryking
In Search of the Next Big Thing
May 2013 | HBR | Adi Ignatius interviews Marc Andreessen.

Tries to find CEOs who are product innovators, have bandwidth and discipline to become CEO. It is hard to pair those skills if they do not reside in one person. It is easier to train an innovator to become CEO than to train a CEO to become an innovator. Andreessen is counter-intuitive: he went into venture capital precisely because the prior decade to his launch had been the worst decade in the industry's history. He believes in cycles and so thought that 2009 was a good time to launch Andreessen Horowitz... Take/Understand a long view....Build "fortresses"--a company so big, so powerful , so well defended that it can withstand the pressures of going public. Focus on the substance of what your company is all about. Be about the substance....companies that are built to be independent are the most attractive...generally companies need to have at least two years' worth of cash on the balance sheet in case your revenue goes to zero....takes sales and marketing seriously--lots of products are being sold and you need a way to get the word about your company into the public space...companies are worth investing in (it's value)only if its going to be an innovation factory for years to come....We are in the early phases of Andreessen's "Software is Eating the World" thesis....best of companies AH is looking at today are unbelievably good at analytics. Good at the feedback loop created by analyzing data and feeding those number sback into the process in real time, running a continuous improvement loop....The best founders are artists in their domain. They operate instinctively in their industry because they are in touch with every relevant data point. They‘re able to synthesize in their gut a tremendous amount of data—pulling together technology trends, their companies’ capabilities, their competitor's’ activities, market psychology, every conceivable aspect of how you run a company.
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  venture_capital  start_ups  vc  HBR  hedge_funds  SOX  IPOs  lean  analytics  lessons_learned  fingerspitzengefühl  contextual_intelligence  counterintuitive  specificity  long-term  software  virtuous_cycles  software_is_eating_the_world  pairs  skills  founders  product-orientated 
december 2013 by jerryking
Bark with bite
January 30, 2012 | FT | By John Quelch.

Academics succeed if their names are linked to one important idea that outlives them. Professor Theodore Levitt’s name is linked to many. The first was a blockbuster. “Marketing myopia” was published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 1960, one year after Harvard Business School plucked Prof Levitt, the son of a German immigrant cobbler, from the University of North Dakota.

The article famously asked: “What business are you in?” It critiqued railroads for “letting their customers get away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than the transportation business”. They were product-orientated rather than market-orientated....the importance of tangible evidence to reassure customers choosing among suppliers of intangible services (the impressive bank building, the authoritative logo)....I gave him a wide berth until it was time for feedback on my thesis proposal after three months of hard labour. The meeting lasted five minutes, barely long enough for Prof Levitt, whose mentoring style was more tough love than hand-holding, to dismiss me with: “Throw this out, start again and come back in a week with something important!” Fortunately, I did.

Prof Levitt’s advice was always to work on important problems that are important to important people in important companies. It spurred me to get out into the field, talk to business people, write case studies and understand the messy complexity of the world, rather than work behind my desk on mathematical models based on unrealistic assumptions.
advice  discernment  feedback  hand-holding  HBR  HBS  John_Quelch  marketing  market-orientated  messiness  myopic  primary_field_research  product-orientated  reminiscing  sophisticated  Theodore_Levitt  tough_love  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
december 2013 by jerryking
Wanted: culture of innovation
Sep.16, 2011 | G&M | Kevin Lynch & Munir Sheikh.
“Productivity isn’t everything,” P. Krugman once wrote in his NYT
column, “but in the long run it's almost everything.” Strange that, with
Canada’s poor productivity & innovation performance compared with
the U.S., that we remain complacent. Where’s our sense of urgency?
Innovation doesn’t occur in the abstract – corps. have to manage for it.
Successful innovation happens in 4 distinct areas. Product innovation:
The capacity to introduce new products & services ahead of
competitors, to anticipate consumer needs or even to create them. Mkt.
innovation: The capacity to decide to change its market, whether it’s
geographically, virtually or creatively. Process innovation: The
capacity to change how goods & services are produced and delivered
to reduce cost, improve efficiency and increase convenience for
customers. Org. innovation: The capacity to convert creativity, market
& customer knowledge & technology into marketable innovations.
innovation  productivity  Canadian  Canada  complacency  organizational_culture  organizational_innovation  urgency  Kevin_Lynch  taxonomy  Paul_Krugman  consumer_needs  process_innovation  process_improvements  product_innovation  product-orientated 
september 2011 by jerryking
Schumpeter: Bamboo innovation | The Economist
May 5, 2011 | The Economist | Anonymous. China’s lack of
originality matters less than you may think, believe Dan Breznitz &
Michael Murphree of the Georgia Institute of Technology. In a new book,
“Run of the Red Queen”, they argue that it is wrong to equate innovation
solely with the invention of breakthrough products. In an emerging
economy, other forms of innovation can yield bigger dividends. One is
“process innovation”: the relentless improvement of factories and
distribn. sys. Another is “product innovation”: the adaptation of
existing goods to China’s unique requirements.

The biggest threat to the Chinese model comes from India.
innovation  China  industrial_policies  strategies  books  patents  breakthroughs  portfolios  process_improvements  product-orientated  taxonomy  moonshots  marginal_improvements 
may 2011 by jerryking
Four kinds of corporate innovation
THE FOUR KINDS OF CORPORATE INNOVATION. Corporate innovation can be divided into four categories:

1. customer oriented innovation
2. product innovation
3. process innovation
4. strategic innovation
corporate  innovation  taxonomy  product_innovation  process_improvements  product-orientated 
june 2009 by jerryking

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