The Effort Effect

Guy Kawasaki writes:

If you manage any people or if you are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read The Effort Effect. This is an article about Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck. It examines her thirty-year study of why some some people excel and others dont. (Hint: the answer is not God-given talent.)

The article postulates that people have two kinds of mindsets: growth or fixed. People with the growth mindset view life as a series of challenges and opportunities for improving. People with a fixed mindset believe that they are set as either good or bad. The issue is that the good ones believe they dont have to work hard, and the bad ones believe that working hard wont change anything.

The Why of Decisions

WSJ writes how understanding the ‘why’ of decisions makes employees more likely to embrace changes:

Management gurus agree that employees are most likely to get on board when they are involved in the decision-making process. In the many cases when that’s not possible, the next-best thing is to make employees feel as if they were involved, consultants say. That means telling workers not only what was decided, but why and how, says Phillip G. Clampitt, a consultant and communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

In a study last year, Mr. Clampitt found that employees are more likely to support decisions when they are told about the rationale. The study surveyed roughly 300 managers and employees at more than 100 U.S. employers, asking what they knew of decisions and how supportive they were of them. Mr. Clampitt says employees of companies that explained decisions more fully were more than twice as likely to support those decisions as workers who got less information.

Nokia’s View of India

The Financial Express has an interview with Devinder Kishore, director of marketing at Nokia India. Excerpts:

What are the challenges in marketing to rural India?

Its a huge market but I must admit that we havent begun to scratch its surface yet. The challenge is mainly of accessibility and infrastructure. You need creative solutions there. Where you cant meet the gaps in infrastructure, you have to close in with innovative processes. Distributors also play a crucial role there. Your dealer network therefore must be very strong and you must have tie-up with micro-finance institutions.

When would a cell phone begin to fulfill all our instrumentation needs?

Its already happening. Camera phones sell more than digital phones the world over and the reason for this is not difficult to fathomeventually, you want to carry one device that supports all functions. You may not be using them equally and all users may not tune in to converged devices eventually but just knowing that the devise is all-encompassing will enhance its utility to most consumers. To cite an example, I am traveling tomorrow and I am not carrying my laptop simply because my phone is loaded with all the content that I may need. If I have to make a presentation, I will simply hook up my phonewhy do I need to carry a computer?

The way I look at it, a mobile phone is a piece of real estatethere are n number of features that you can load on it; whether you want to or not, is of course your choice.

Building an eCommerce Business

Jeremy Liew writes:

The margin structure in most (physical) ecommerce businesses is dramatically different from that of online media businesses. Whereas online media businesses can enjoy gross margins of upwards of 90%, and net margins (at scale) of 50% or higher, many ecommerce businesses have gross margins in the 20-40% range and net margins (at scale) in the 5-10% range. As a result, ecommerce companies have to grow to a much bigger top line to achieve the same value. Well target $500m in revenue to get to net income in the same range as a $50m revenue online media business.

There are three ways that an ecommerce company can get to this scale:

1. Build up $500m in sales in a single vertical.
2. Build up $50-100m in sales across each of 10-5 verticals
3. Build up less than $5m in sales in each of 100+ categories.

Moving Petabytes

[via Thejo] Jonathan Schwartz writes:

It [is] faster to send a petabyte of data from San Francisco to Hong Kong by sailboat, than by the internet.

A petabyte is a thousand terabytes, which is a million gigabytes, or a billion megabytes. Or 8 billion megabits. With me so far?

So if you had a half megabit per second internet connection, which is relatively high in the US (relatively low compared to residential bandwidth available in, say, Korea), it’d take you 16 billion seconds, or 266 million minutes, or 507 years to transmit the data. Can you sail to Hong Kong faster than that? At a full megabit, just divide the time in half. Even at a hundred megabits (about the highest, generally available, of any carrier I’ve seen), it’s a few years.

TECH TALK: Good Books: The Marketing Gurus (Part 2)

Here is a list of the books summarised by The Marketing Gurus:

Differentiate or die
Lateral marketing
The popcorn report
Relationship marketing
Networking with the affluent
Relentless
The one to one future
Up the loyalty ladder
Scoring points
How to drive your competition crazy
Crossing the chasm
Unleashing the killer app
The anatomy of buzz
Purple cow
Don’t think pink
The discipline of market leaders
Renovate before you innovate

The first two summaries I read were The One-to-One Future and Purple Cow. They were relevant for some of the thinking I have been doing on how to rethink mobile marketing. I think the mobile can be a great platform to build 1:1 relationships. In countries like India, with the Internet usage still not at the levels it should have been, the mobile trajectory can create an interesting and different future compared to the one in the developed markets. I will discuss this further in a future Tech Talk series.

After reading the summaries, I could not but help wonder how there arent more such books in other areas. They can be a great introduction to the great ideas and in fact will lead readers to buy the books that have been summarised. While I accept that a 15-page summary can never do justice to the ideas covered in a 200-page book, I think a well-written summary can create greater interest amongst a wider audience.

Tomorrow: Know-How

Continue reading