Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Time and ROI

I was in a cafe today, where the people watching was good, and a guy from the East coast was going on about business relationships, how to cultivate them and how it's different on the West Coast. I didn't catch most of what he said, and just tuned in to Pandora radio shortly after, but there was a snippet in his conversation that I could identify: A lot of business can be developed through conversations and building relationships--Californians don't do enough of that here in California because they only care about making a profit.

I don't know if what he says is true about Californians and relationship building. Maybe we don't want to lose our "coolness factor" by acting too interested but from an economic perspective, it looks business is important here and many people are benefiting from the opportunities made possible through start-ups and more mature companies. If it wasn't important here, then a number of the best 100 businesses to work for wouldn't be here. The question is, is it true what he says about Californians? Do we take the time to cultivate our relationships for mutual business benefit and show good will towards others?

How much time do you spend in your relationships for mutual benefit and staying dynamic versus trying to solicit immediate profit via hard sales? Is relationship ROI always a measurable number like how many people you are connected to on LinkedIn or is it more actionable where you see a few quality business relationships bring you steady business and more opportunities?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First Movers: Strive through the narrow gate

Early last week, announced the release of the Kindle, the latest device for e-books, thus taking over the market space once occupied by the Sony Reader, which I've seen a couple of times at Borders in Palo Alto.

It's hard to say just which e-reader is going to win out in the battle, but it's not the first time that Sony has come out with a "first-mover" product to be later taken over by competitors with better resources and positioning.

Also true for the Blu-ray, which is in fierce battle now with the HD-DVD. The last I heard, Blu-ray was in the lead and then HD-DVD was winning, mostly measured by number of units sold. Does anyone know where this is now? There is a fair amount of noise around this subject.

I'm definitely not making any eye-opening comments here but I dare say that Sony has had to struggle really hard to keep their brand on the forefront, which confirms that first-mover advantage doesn't always mean that you've won the game.

Even though Sony revolutionized the music market with the Walkman roughly about 20 years ago Apple came and trumped them with the trendy, life-style icon, the iPod and didn't just stop there.

It just seems that whenever Sony comes up with something, no matter which market, somebody else always seems to come up with something better.