Mark Ritson: Only crap marketers mistake stereotypes for segments – Marketing Week

For strategic reasons as much as politically correct ones, if you cannot empirically show any meaningful differences between your target segment and the other segments – or if it is populated by completely different people who want entirely different things – your segment is not a segment. It’s a joke and so are your skills as a marketer.

Source: Mark Ritson: Only crap marketers mistake stereotypes for segments – Marketing Week

The age of distributed truth — Remains of the Day

An important insight….

It’s also worth noting that she did what every employee training course I’ve ever taken says you should do, which is to report such incidents to HR. I’ve met many a kind HR person in my career, but let’s be honest about what bad advice this is for employees. It’s not just that Uber’s HR department let Fowler down; in every company I’ve ever been at, HR reports into the CEO, and their job is to protect the company. I hope my readers will provide me with examples of HR protecting employee’s interests in such cases, but from what I’ve seen and read, the moment you report an incident to HR they start building a dossier on you and a case to defend the company in court. Their work will be in that courtroom with you, but it will be on the desk of the company’s attorneys, not yours. As many an employment lawyer has told me, before you talk to HR, you should talk to one of them. Until we have some independent, ombudsman-like HR group looking out for employees in the tech world, that would be my advice, too.

Source: The age of distributed truth — Remains of the Day

San Francisco Review of Books: Book Review: ‘The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage’ by Roger Martin

+  Reliability is what is prized by legacy organizations that seeks to replicate the past and improve means of achieving the same goals.

+  Validity strives to achieve a future objective that cannot be proven on the basis of the past precisely because it is so pioneering in nature.

+    McKinsey and other similar consulting firms continue to focus on reliability and repetition of formulas from the past to the EXCLUSION of validity, exploration, and innovation.  [I am much more critical of all the so-called consulting firms, they tend to throw ignorant MBA billing hours at a problem better understood by the janitor on site.]

+  Three forces converge to marginalize the future: 1) demand for prior proof of sources and/or method; 2) aversion to bias i.e. not open-minded; and 3) constraints on time, demanding results in too short a timeframe.  In short, organizations are poor at SENSING, not OPEN-MINDED, and therefore not ADAPTIVE.

Source: San Francisco Review of Books: Book Review: ‘The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage’ by Roger Martin

Pocket: Charlie Munger on Avoiding Computers

Think first. You can ‘logic’ your way to most answers without having to do research through simple good thinking.

And they asked, “Why are you doing this?” He said, “I’m so located in life that I’m like a gold miner in 1848 who could just walk along the banks of the river and pick up enormous nuggets of gold with organized common sense. And as long as I can do this, I’m not going to use scarce resources in placer mining.”

Well, that’s the way I go at life. I think if you get the big points with organized common sense, it’s amazing the placer mining you never have to do…But is there still enormous gain to be made with organized common sense that doesn’t require a computer? I think the answer is “yes.”

Are there dangers in getting too caught up in the minutiae of using a computer so that you miss the organized common sense? There are huge dangers. There’ll always be huge dangers. People calculate too much and think too little.

Source: Pocket: Charlie Munger on Avoiding Computers

We Too Often Ignore The Tradeoff Between Innovation And Optimization

It’s not how effective individual units are, it’s how effective the system is overall. And maximising the parts doesn’t maximise the whole.

McChrystal realized that in order to defeat a network, his forces had to become a network. So he took a number of steps that actually decreased the efficiency of individual teams, like embedding top special forces operators in intelligence units and vice versa. Liaison officer positions — previously neglected — were now only given to top performers.

At first, these moves inspired resistance in the ranks — nobody wants their team impaired — but as the plan took shape, it became clear that it was working. The individual teams might have slowed down slightly, but the increased interoperability allowed the army as a whole to move much faster, attacking targets almost as soon as they were identified.

Source: We Too Often Ignore The Tradeoff Between Innovation And Optimization

Russel Ackoff said this years ago:

“There are many places where making the performance of the part worse will improve the performance of the whole”.

It’s counter-intuitive that performance decreases improve overall performance. It’s also frustrating to individual teams, who in the short-term feel the downside but rarely the upside. And this is why it doesn’t happen organically, and why good strategy is about seeing the system overall. It’s also why strategy needs to be exercise in top-down power as Richard Rumelt explains in his excellent Good Strategy/Bad Strategy:

Strategic coordination, or coherence, is not ad hoc mutual adjustment. It is coherence imposed on a system by policy and design. More specifically, design is the engineering of fit among parts, specifying how actions and resources will be combined.
Strategy is visible as coordinated action imposed on a system. When I say strategy is “imposed,” I mean just that. It is an exercise in centralized power, used to overcome the natural workings of a system [emphasis mine]. This coordination is unnatural in the sense that it would not occur without the hand of strategy. The idea of centralized direction may set off warning bells in a modern educated person. Why does it make sense to exercise centralized power when we know that many decisions are efficiently made on a decentralized basis?
Left alone, each node of the system will try to optimise its own performance – be that teams in the army, positions on a football field, or functions in an organisation. It takes a strong player to sacrifice their performance for the good of the whole, and it takes a strong leader to say no to those who don’t get this, especially when the system-level benefits are difficult to quantify and only emerge over time. (For another day, but this is why working to a logical theory is more important than prioritising only what can be quantified, as explored here, here, and here.)

Compress to impress — Remains of the Day


Ironically, Jeff employs the reverse of this for his own information inflows. It’s well known that he banned Powerpoint at Amazon because he was increasingly frustrated at the lossy nature that medium. As Edward Tufte has long railed against, Powerpoint encourage people to reduce their thinking to a series of bullet points. Whenever someone would stand up in front of Jeff to present, Jeff would have rifled through to the end of the presentation before they would’ve finished a handful of slides, and Jeff would just jump in and start asking questions about slide 35 when someone was still talking to slide 3.As a hyper intelligent person, Jeff didn’t want lossy compression or lazy thinking, he wanted the raw feed in a structured form, and so we all shifted to writing our arguments out as essays that he’d read silently in meetings. Written language is a lossy format, too, but it has the advantage of being less forgiving of broken logic flows than slide decks.

Source: Compress to impress — Remains of the Day