Thursday, January 16, 2014

Accident's don't happen, they are caused...

 ...and why this matters in business as much as life.

Often I have been in situations, mostly while growing up, where I blamed everything and anything but myself for whatever happened, unless the outcome was good. This was the birth of not giving credit where it was truly due, but also not recognizing the importance of taking responsibility.

Anecdotes are a lot like old wives tales or urban myths. We can stretch it as far as a striking comparison with superstition. The parallels are quite simple - really just different ways of looking at things. Like Robin Williams did in 'Dead Poet's Society', change your perspective, stand on top of the table. They help by guiding us through situations plain, simple words cannot otherwise do.

This morning I got my daily email news from a widely read Pakistani newspaper, where a headline read, "17 schoolchildren killed in accident". The article is about how two large vehicles collided, one of them carrying the 17 kids destined for death today. Some say when your time comes, it was actually written sometime back by some unknown scribes. I haven't prescribed to this thinking. The accident wasn't an accident, just as their death wasn't an accident; it all could have been avoided. 

I like to think that there is more to life than just conforming to rules others set for you, whether religious, social, academic or professional. No, that does not mean I prescribe to rebellion, although I have been known to condone such acts occasionally. 

Go out and take a risk. Do something different. Be a salmon. Buy a Dodge Charger, despite the myths of after-purchase market value or spare part prices.

How else will you know there's yet another way to do it, right or almost? Math is pretty boxed in with all those formulas. Yet every once in a while, a rebellious mathematician presents another way to crack the code. I hated math, never was any good at it.

There is always a method to the madness and it's not accidental. The first step to recognizing this is learning
to take responsibility for your individual actions. We may or may not be born good, but we do have a lifetime to correct it with all the messages shrouding our everyday. You could be daft to miss them, for which you still remain responsible, whether or not you choose to accept.

Step back, take a look at the macro before analyzing the granularity of the micro. After all, it just took one caveman to be 'different'.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Best Competition is Partnership

Image: Gamespot

"I destroy my enemies by making them my friends" ~ Abraham Lincoln, 

If you ever studied economics or the basics of supply and demand, you will know that they are kind of like yin and yang and go together like pieces to a puzzle.

Do you wonder why demand is sometimes high, but supply remains low? Aside from other complicated reasons like regulation, sometimes it's as simple as you don't know where your customers are - thereby missing out on a great opportunity.

Competition is good. It's healthy and it gives you drive to keep charging on. Complacency is a killer and the only way to kill the killer is to find new and better ways of improving your business, your product and your brand. This doesn't mean paying an agency millions of dollars to redo you, but rather simple things like staying true to your brand values. Consistency can kill the killer, without becoming boring.

These days it's all about keeping the customer in the center of it all. Isn't that how it's always been? Maybe I missed the memo. 

Feet on the ground. Get a solid partnership, even if it's with the competition. Some companies kill their own products by cannibalizing existing products with new ones. Don't reinvent the wheel, expand it's purpose. Partnerships lead to creativity and that is the best competition - with your own product. 

Image:   CK NG of Indonesia
I remember someone once telling me - it's not the ones ahead of you that you should worry about, it's the ones behind you; they have drive the drive you once had.

It's the same as 'keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer'. The positive side of this is simply don't wage a war, rather find common ground to succeed. Two is better than one.

Imagine if Coke and Pepsi tried this...

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