Slowing Innovation

Unfortunately, buybacks are rampant in industries where investment in innovation is crucial—energy, technology, and pharmaceuticals….And five high-tech leaders—Microsoft (MSFT), IBM (IBM), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Intel, (INTC) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)—are in the Top 10 of repurchasers, each having spent more on buybacks than on research and development from 2000 through 2008. (While spending $73 billion to buy its own stock, IBM increased its offshore employment by 133,000, reducing U.S. jobs by 36,000.)

Via BW’s The Buyback Boondoggle.

Great Deck: Experience is The Product

Over on the Web Product Blog Thomas Martin has capture several great product management presentation.  All the decks are worth reviewing but I especially enjoyed “Experience is The Product”.  With audio, the presentation is 47 mins so it is more of a full webinar but well worth your time.  Enjoy!

Did You Know That 70% OF Consumers Have Used Social Media To Get Info About A Product?


Media Post recently reported on a  DEI Worldwide study on Word-of-mouth marketing.

The study showed that 67% of consumers are likely to pass along information from an actual (“real live”) brand representative to other people, and 57% are likely to take action based on that information

Consumers don’t put much trust in corporate blogs or social network profiles, but will readily listen to people–even if they are employed by the company selling the product–provided that they are open about their mission and relationship to the company.

This is a very interesting stat for social media and could lead you to jump to some immediate conclusions.  However, if you really want WOM marketing to work you need a complete story (see Made to Stick)

The Brand Experience Lab has a really good post on the subject and sums it up perfectly here:

WOM is not a tactic or strategy by itself. It is the outcome of doing something really well.

Bottom line, it all comes back to your companies brand and product strategy.  If you create something that has an authentic story behind it, people will love talking about it.

Have You Thanked Your Competition Recently?


Its OK to admit it.  Most of us hate our competitors.  They are always doing something to make our job miserable.  However, two recent articles got me to thinking maybe we should be thankful for this constant pain in the ass competition.

From Seth Godin,

You can pretend that you are unique, that you have no competition and never will. Inevitably, this will create an attitude that, while fun for a while, will probably harm you later. The alternative is to acknowledge that the competition exists and in fact, to encourage it.

and the The Red Queen among Organizations takes this to another level with an academic discussion around the need for competition in order to survive:

If today your organization encounters competition, it will not perform as well as it might have otherwise. To meet this challenge, you will likely attempt to improve; you may even experiment with new ways of approaching the job at hand. If you succeed, now your rivals face stronger competition from you, as your solutions have become their problems.

Bottom line, you don’t have to like your competition but you should be grateful that you are in the game being pushed to make your product even better.