During his press conference about the stimulus package the other night, President Obama sounded tired. The source of his fatigue didn't seem to be the size of the bill he was proposing. Instead, Obama sounded burdened by the changes to American society that were required to make $800 billion worth spending. Here's a representative quote:
We are going to have to work with the banks in an effective way to
clean up their balance sheets so that some trust is restored within the
marketplace, because right now part of the problem is that nobody
really knows what's on the bank's books. Any given bank, they're not
sure what kinds of losses are there. We've got to open things up and
restore some trust.
Now, maybe philosophically you just don't think that the federal
government should be involved in energy policy. I happen to disagree
with that; I think that's the reason why we find ourselves importing
more foreign oil now than we did back in the early '70s when OPEC first
Last week I was at a dinner with IT execs from several firms. Not surprisingly, we talked about the economy and what it means for their firms and for their IT organizations. I asked them what the economic pressures meant to them, and they said “their business customers realize now that what they ask for has a cost”. One PMO head said that her business partners used to ask for ‘the quickest solution regardless of cost’, and now they are asking ‘the best value solution’. Others echoed this, saying that IT used to be looked at as a ‘magic cookie jar’ which should always have the resources a business area needed – but now business managers understand IT’s finite resources and the need for prioritization.
Okay, I have to admit it: “My name is Clay and I am a political junkie.” They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I am also a policy geek and I love watching C-SPAN.By now, I’m sure you’re wondering “What the heck does this have to do with I&KM pros?”
I believe last Wednesday’s House Hearing on Madoff and the SEC should be required viewing for all I&KM Pros – particularly for those of you that want to understand how BPM can keep you from getting fired.
If you caught the hearing in its entirety on C-SPAN (I had a front-row seat on my couch, thanks to being taken down by a nasty flu-like virus last Wednesday – this will become relevant a little later), you saw the whistleblower, Harry Markopoulos, rip into the SEC, FINRA, and other industry regulators. Mr. Markopoulos raised numerous red flags to the SEC about Madoff’s Ponzi scheme over an eight year period.
Pulling no punches, Mr. Markopolos called the SEC "incompetent" and FINRA "crooks" to their faces – senior representatives from both organizations were in the audience listening to the hearing and waiting for their opportunity to respond. Following Mr. Markopoulos’s testimony, I thought "Hey, its time to get some popcorn, the fight’s on!" Then I recalled why I was home in the first place – sick, right?
Next Monday the mobile/telecom industry will gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. With 60,000 delegates expected, the Fiera is the largest European Congress and a bigger event in importance than CTIA. There will obvioulsy be discussions about the impact of the crisis but no doubt that the flow of innovation will overcome skepticism. If you want a wrap up of the three previous conferences, you can have a look on my personal blog here (for 2008), here (for 2007) and even here (for 2006; when the Congress moved from Cannes to Barcelona).
Obviously, it's important to handle customers deftly when you can't comply with their requests. You'd like to keep the conversation friendly, but sometimes, the situation gets confrontational. Your diplomatic skills will face their toughest challenge.
All politics is local I might have been unusually blessed with reasonable, understanding customers, but I never found the "foreign policy" part of saying no to be that difficult. The real headache, at least where I've worked, was "domestic politics"--what happens within your own company when you have to say no to a customer.
SAP held a carefully orchestrated product launch event for Business Suite 7 in its global marketing headquarters in New York on February 4, 2009. I had the privilege to attend this event, along with a cadre of other industry analysts, investment analysts, press, and industry influencers, as well as key partners and customers. The 2 hour program featured presentations from senior SAP executives, a product demonstration, and a Q&A session that included CIOs from 3 large SAP customers – IBM, Roche and Colgate-Palmolive.
Ever since I did the research on tools for product managers, I've been diddling with an ROI calculator for improved product requirements, which can come from two sources: (1) hiring another product manager; and (2) implementing a specialized requirements tool.
Here's the final product. Really, this is a way of demonstrating the value of product management. Product managers and PM tools are just the tangible manifestations of that business function.
At Davos the big question was: "When are we going to get out of this economic mess?" So I decided to take an informal poll of attendees. The question I asked was: "When will world GDP start to increase again?" Strangely, the early poll results were quite negative -- the average was hovering in the mid-2011 range. But as the World Economic Forum wore on, there was creeping optimism -- I started to get more 2010s (and an occasional 2009) than 2011s. My sample cut across a wide swath, from CEOs to journalists to academics to political leaders -- 55 votes in total.
According to my unscientific Davos poll, world GDP will turn and begin to grow again in April of 2010.
Depressing? Not necessarily. Davos rarely gets it right. Remember, this was the group that was highly bullish only 12 short months ago.
It's time to finally address the elephant in the room. I've been writing for several years about the power of online video -- specifically the catalytic effect of online TV shows -- to change consumer behavior and the TV consumption model. Then this recession got in the way.
We're busily examining the ways that this will effect everything we cover, whether devices, services and consumer sentiment. But one specific area I want to collect evidence on is the question of online video advertising. For the last year, the rise in spending has been tremendous. The rise of Hulu.com as a destination site as well as a video syndicator plus while a few minor things like YouTube finally tinkering with a viable (read: harder to litigate against) ad model and the rise of Hulu+CBS aggregators like TV.com or Fancast have meant a flood of new inventory, most of it premium.
But when an economy gets as bad as this one, the only thing more predictable than US Democrats trying to insert protectionist trade policies into a stimulus bill is that advertisers will cut ad spend across the board. This excellent and gritty piece from Broadcasting & Cable yesterday discusses the expected bloodbath in the US broadcast upfronts later this year. That has to affect online video ad spend, simply because a lot of online TV show sponsorship is presold in upfront bundles each year (think Sprint + Heroes).
I want to share with you the link to my recent Forrester Research Webinar called Why Convenience is King. This free webinar is the kind of thing we usually reserve for clients only, but it's a big idea and we're eager to share it with the world. It includes a very detailed description of our Convenience Quotient methodology, something that is getting great traction among our clients and will form the backbone of much of our research for the next few years -- starting with media devices since that's what I cover, as well as other consumer technology products (hence this post on this blog). Yet many of my colleagues in financial services, retail, automotive, and even healthcare are working to apply the method to their own research areas. Should create a very fertile field of research. To stay on top of it, click through to the free replay of the Webinar.
Why Convenience Is King - creating winning product strategies
On demand Forrester Webinar available. Original air date: Jan 29, 2009.
To successfully launch or revamp products or services, you must keep convenience high. Achieving high levels of convenience requires offering compelling benefits while reducing barriers to consumer use. Principal Analyst James McQuivey explains how to identify the specific improvements required to increase the benefits or decrease the barriers that stand in the way of consumers. James covers:
- Why Convenience is King
- How the Convenience Quotient can guide your strategy
- What Forrester can do to increase your CQ