There is a cottage industry in conducting executive tours of Silicon Valley, and now increasingly San Francisco SOMA, to expose teams from other parts of the planet to what is admittedly a uniquely successful culture of innovation and wealth creation. I’m all for it up to a point. Where I part company from the herd is with the notion that global corporations have a chance in hell of playing the same game. They don’t. Here’s why.
As technological innovation continues to disrupt industry after industry in waves of what Joseph Schumpeter taught us to call “creative destruction,” executive decision-making is being driven down in the organizational hierarchy, closer to the customer, nearer to the action. This in turn is putting pressure on the HR function to deliver programs to develop executive talent faster and better than ever before. They are going to need help.
All development programs are intended to change state, so as good program designers, it behooves us to answer two questions at the outset:
- What is the current state a candidate needs to have achieved to qualify for entrance into the program?
- What is the future state a candidate needs to achieve in order to graduate?
Here is a template for getting started: Continue reading
In the Age of the Product, customer service ensured that the product lived up to its specifications. Everything after that was the customer’s responsibility, not the vendor’s. In the Age of the Customer, the bar has been raised. Now it is the outcome that must live up to the customer’s expectations, else it is the vendor who is left holding the bag. That requires a whole new function, what the SaaS sector has taught us to call customer success. Let’s take a closer look at what has to change.
First of all, we still need customer service. Products still break, implementations still go awry, and parts still wear out, and they all need to be attended to. The traditional CRM customer service model is admirably suited to the task. It is organized around a trouble ticket generating a case which is managed through to a resolution with the data captured in a knowledge base to better inform the next case. This is by design a product-centric model, putting a premium on accuracy of information and reduction of errors, with productivity being measured first and foremost by the number of cases closed and the time taken to close each one.
What this system does not measure well is the customer side of the equation. Continue reading
I just read a blog post, The Future of Work – Redux by John Philpin. It provides a nice, short look at what might happen as computers, robots and artificial intelligence become increasingly present in the workplace—what will people do when “all the work is done by robots?” As a result, I will be using computer, robots and AI interchangeably for the rest of this post.
John expresses a view that the future includes people working with robots, not simply people being replaced by robots. I happen to agree with that. I’ve written several blog posts on artificial intelligence (AI) and my skepticism about the capabilities and pace of the introduction of AI systems. AI has enormous potential, but I don’t see AI making humans obsolete any time soon (actually, I don’t see AI making humans obsolete—period).
Computers, and by extension, robots and AI, possess one important capability: they can add and subtract really friggin’ fast. George Boole developed what we now call Boolean Logic and it created an approach that allows us, following in the footsteps of Charles Babbage, Augusta Ada King-Noel Countess Lovelace (nee Byron), Grace Hopper and Claude Shannon, to stick those additions and subtractions together in such a way as to resolve any computable task (à la Alan Turing).
You probably know that we publish articles to the People First Publication on Medium. We just published an article on politics and venture capital funding.
People First is not a politically driven group, but in modern America, it is increasingly hard to keep politics out of business as the two seem to get rammed against each other over and over again.
This article falls into three parts, the first referencing a politically oriented post, the second from a venture capitalist and the third my thoughts about the connection between the two.