Zeitgeist

Zeit·geist = spirit, essence of a particular time

A collection of food-for-thought posts and articles on technology, business, leadership and management. 

Metanoia (n.) the journey of changing one's mind, self or way of life

A conversation over the weekend with Peter Simons, co-founder of Performant, a management consulting firm, turned into a twitter dialog which, eventually, sparked other thoughts and ended up with his ideas about change in my inbox.  His views around change & perceptions are too good not to be shared (thanks Peter for permission to reproduce in here), not to mention his formula to calculate quality of feelings as a function of change in perceptions, simply brilliant (nerds & quants please feel free to comment or elaborate).

Metanoia

CHANGES

Changes in our lives are important and cannot be avoided.  We normally do not like them, they trigger us to take action.

There are many simple examples how we react to changes. If temperature starts raising we notice.

If light levels or sound levels suddenly change we react.  If something in our view suddenly moves we look at it before we know.

The reason is that when we lived in trees we needed those triggers in order to survive.

Today changes affect us in the following way: If something changes for the better we are happy. If it changes for the worst we dislike.  Once better or worse we do not pay attention to it anymore. We get used to it. Hence only the CHANGES give a stimulus to our mood, to our lives.  Please understand the importance of changes to the way you are.

PERCEPTION

Whatever we do in live is mainly driven by perceptions. Marketers now that very well.

We hardly take the time to verify and we believe what we perceive.  The media are very good at that. We assume a lot and that is dangerous.

News shows one side of the story:  the accident with the aircraft. They will NOT TELL US how many aircrafts landed safely.

They will not tell us about all the peaceful muslims on earth after a car bomb kills an American soldier in Afghanistan etc..

It would be worth to THINK at least  a few minutes once digesting information.

QUALITY

Here we go.  We are triggered by changes. You cannot always manage changes yourself.  Or can you? Yes you can because a large part of those changes are changes in PERCEPTIONS.  We are triggered by CHANGES IN PERCEPTIONS:

For those who love mathematics:

U = d(Perception)/dt .

where U is the quality of the feeling that was triggered. It can be positive or negative

Once you understand that,

YOU yourself can change your perceptions too.

- look at the flip side of a story, what was NOT TOLD???

- if you have a bad moment start to think that tomorrow probably will be better and if tomorrow arrives ENJOY the improvement

- in conflicts with other people try to understand that a large part of the conflict is probably based on perceptions. Find out what really goes on instead of assuming

Three ways of improving your quality of life, personally and professionally. It improves your decision-making.

Good news: think about it and you will find that there are many more ways of changing your perception.

About Peter Simons

By applying the management techniques he learnt at AT&T, Peter turned smaller technology companies into successful businesses. In the current crisis he is co-founder of Cohen & Simons that assists companies in financing industrial, technology and life science companies.

Peter holds an MSc (Hons) in electrical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology and an MBA (Hons) in finance and general management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

@efernandez

The Sales Cycle Inside Out #toomuchtimeonplanes

sales cycle

The full picture behind a handshake, the universal expression of a successful transaction, a sale, has many similarities with other processes in physics, like the behavior of sub-atomic particles in a fusion process where atoms combine at the expense of energy to achieve a 'desired' new stable form. In a short-sighted view, a sale, is just a transactional consequence of the collision between a problem and its potential solution. Beyond the solution, it's about 'the job to be done', as analyst Horace Dediu many times refers to.

Problems belong to buyers, who are perpetually in active seek of solutions, in a dance surrounded of sellers.

 sales

In between problems and solutions, where they meet, there is, in 'firewalling' words, a DMZ area, the conflict zone. In the corporate world, this DMZ area is delimited by finance, business operations, business affairs and legal on one side, Brand & corporate marketing, channel marketing, Product Marketing, Technical support and PR on the other.

Picture yourself driving the Challenger spacecraft re-entering atmosphere. You can feel the heat below your feet, that burning side of the spaceship will be what we call sales in any company. This fringe, always in friction, is where I work, at the beginning of the end of problems, where the job needs to be done.

Problems and solutions belong to 'The What' of the story. The bigger picture becomes visible if we ask about 'The Why'. Why does a problem exist?, answers are not always evident.

Majority of the times, particularly in the tech word, and as a consequence asymmetric competition, it becomes necessary to reverse engineer everything from the visible impact in the market.

Smartphone sales, as an example, may illustrate this. A smartphone is actually a piece of hardware whose purpose is to materialize an interconnected multimedia experience for human beings (although we see also cats, dogs and other animals staring at screens). The problem to solve here, is to deliver intelligibly a stream of content&services to an UI, the solution (or the tool if you will) is a smartphone.

In this case, the problem belongs to different stakeholders in the value chain. Content and service providers want to reach end users, that's their problem. They ultimately rely on carrier networks to convey their products. Carriers, owners of networks, also want to reach end users and their problem is to make sure end users have something in their hands with a screen as big as reasonable to deliver their megabytes of data. But… why?.

Problem owners or buyers, carriers, content developers, service providers, share the same motivation, they want to monetize their products or services, that's why. In other words, they want to deliver something on to a recipient (at a cost) to obtain a benefit (at a profit), the delta between cost and profit speaks to the importance of the problem and fuels the determination to resolve it.

In our example, the solution is simple, go and buy an smartphone. In our story, those with bigger profits at a stake will be keener to dance with smartphone vendors, rules are simple, everyone will fight to maximize profit or reduce cost in the value chain but always within the limits to secure the new, aspirational stage, is not jeopardized. i

It's a sum-zero game in which everybody wins one way or another. We, users, enjoy our connected life in our never-leave-more-than-a-meter away smartphones, while carriers, content and service providers make commercial profits. It's all about the transfer of value and the transactions in between.

But, this is not over, no single solution can ever, never, serve entirely to solve the problem it is intended for. There will be always gaps. Gaps need to be filled in by means of innovation in products and services, ultimately serving better end users, us, for a richer and happier experience.

Is there a limit to this?.  I guess the answer is yes, if we, at some point of time, connect ourselves to an on demand endorphins delivery system.

But, this is a standalone topic on its own…

@efernandez    from the series #toomuchtimeonplanes

 

We can predict the future, it is just a question of computing power.

"...Future can be seen? Come on!, this is just another headline purposely made up to draw attention on ads or something else" Yes, it is, and I carefully selected the words in this tweet before posting it to trigger that sort of rejection, and, as I predicted... It happened.

Therefore, based on this simple logic, future can be predicted to a certain extent, although with many limitations, but, it is a fact.

My brain could predict reactions from my twitter audience to that original statement, however, because of my own brain computing power limitations, I cound't predict who of my 2700+ followers would be the first to deny and reply my tweet.

Being said that, it's just a question of thorough analysis of my followers, their profile, interests and activity, that I could come up with an statistical prediction of who could have responded back first. With more computing power I could tweet, predict reactions and estimate who would reply and even what he or she would say.

Haven't you ever been in a situation with your other half or an old friend knowing exactly what she or he was going to say, think or do?.

Similarly, in the wireless industry for instance, we very much apply a 'reverse engineering' management approach both to competitors and other parties, tracking down actual offers, prices, market shares, and extrapolating the top-down objectives of those companies which, in turn, help predict market behaviour and leads to a fact based sales forecast.

The more data you have, and the more you analyze and compute, the better forecast accuracy.

So, more data (Big Data) +  more computing power (Moore's Law) =  better accuracy in future predictions, and this is exactly the point.

The web, internet, cloud or whatever you may want to call it is growing exponentially in terms of available digital data (big data), storage, infrastructure, and intelligence (interconnected apps and services) all converging in our personal portable communication devices (smartphones), and all of these glued together will give us increasing and pervasive computing power, with nearly infinite data points to help us predict the future.

If we extrapolate and apply this rationale to physics, considering it is all about matter, and matter components down to individual atoms, moving around forming our past, present, and future [*forget about time, it is just an illusion we humans build up as part of our limited perceptions to understand matter behavior] then, if we only could have sufficient computer power, we could probabilistically build all potential future scenarios of matter formation and determine statistically the most likely ones, based on historical patterns, carefully reverse engineered.

I need to work in that super-cloud-machinery, but first, I'll make sure we all get our hands on a smartphone ;-)