I came across this 2015 article in Mashable by Seth Fiegerman on why and how Google jumped into the Social bandwagon, created a non starter and sort of Me-too product, copying Facebook and lost the plot. It is a back story of how Vic Gundotra, then close to Larry page, built up a threat frenzy within where apparently none existed (at this point FB was valued at 14B and Google 200Bn – not any more). Although the security lapses gave the immediate reason for Google to decide on shutting down G+ the broader issues, primarily of non adoption, and blowback for coercion ( remember when you had to have a G+ account to sign into other Google services?) hastened the end.
Lisa Gansky, published her book “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing” and co-founded Mesh Ventures. One key point she made in her TED TALK was about Access Vs Ownership. This basic shift can be arguably credited with the growth of most developments that are driving enterprise and customer conveniences world over. AWS and a host of other cloud services ushered in the era of cheap experimentation and thus extreme low cost threshold for testing, validating and launching a business. Ditto for Airbnb or Uber or WeWork or Zipcar. Dropbox, eMail (started with Sabeer Bhatia and Hotmail), Netflix or Maker spaces.
David Bradley was the 12th member of the 12 member team in Project Acorn – the IBM race to build a PC in record times. It was the spring of 1981 and engineers were going crazy as the prototypes will crash regularly and the boot up will take for ever as every time it had to go through a series of memory tests. Bradley was entrusted with a way to trigger a reset without the memory tests.
I will keep it brief. What are the Lessons from SuperHuman saga? Surreptitious tracking of users – call them prospects, call them customers, call them MQL, SQL or PQL – is not acceptable and will come back to bite you no matter what perceived benefits you think you get. Most Sales Tech that offers analytics of user engagement does it without explicit permission of the end user. Whether it is using pixels (99% users do not know of this technology and do not have image downloads disabled by default) and this is not the Wild West Coast anymore that we will hide behind the Buyer Beware signage.
So what is big data? This is what companies know about us. Aggregated from numerous sources and analyzed for patterns. Big data is what helps banks predict and flag credit card frauds. Little data on the other hand is what we know about ourselves. “What we buy. Who we know. Where we go. How we spend our time. We’ve always had a sense for these things — after all, it’s our lives. But thanks to the combination of mobile, social, and cloud technologies, it’s easier than ever to gain insight into our own behavior” writes Mark Bonchek in this HBR article.
Jordan Valencia, Programs and Partnership Manager at Grab Ventures, in her latest article in Harvard Business Review talks about the need to focus on culture when companies are in the Hyper Growth phase. Defined by Alexander V. Izosimov in HBR in 2008, “Hypergrowth refers to the steep part of the S-curve”. The rapid growth comes with steep rise in employee count. This is where the challenges set in.
It is clear. Everything legacy, every business, every process will be disrupted. So the choice is yours if you will be the one to be disrupted or you will be the disruptor. The disproportionate value that the disruptor harnesses is clear (Uber, AirBnB, Dropbox, Zappos). What makes someone to become the disruptor? Sometimes it is by accident, but more often than not it is because the disruptor decides it was enough of the status quo and acts.
The story of Visicalc as written by Tim Harford in bbc.com in a very recent article is indeed eye-opening. Not only because it tells the story of the first sensation in business software but because he shows how it showed the earliest signs of destruction of jobs by technology. And then creation of new ones.
When I look around for tech business related nuggets for myself, some of which I share in this series, my primary go to topics are related to software, SaaS and startups. Then super high level ideas that need pondering about or keeping them in the periphery of your vision lest they become a Tsunami behind your back. Time to time I come across a story which does not fit my normal scheme of things but are so compelling that I feel like sharing it with friends. One such came out just a few days back in Fast Company written by Joel Johnson. It is the story of how the USB port came about.
Hugh Durkin, Director of Platform Partner Success Hubspot, has been following mobile habits and writing on shifts that he sees in the space. Way back in 2016, when he was a Senior Product Manager at Intercom, he wrote about how browsers are the future of mobile. Data in support – “ most US smartphone owners ( read 65%+) download zero apps in a typical month,” according to Comscore’s then report on mobile apps ( how many new apps did you download last quarter?) and it goes on to show that the top App takes 50% of use time while the top 3 are responsible for 80% of the mobile usage.