Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
In the 1950s, the Betty Crocker brand (General Mills) launched a line of cake mixes. They believed it was revolutionary because they converted all of the ingredients to dry, powdered form which when added with water resulted in perfect cake/brownies.
However, when they launched the product was a complete failure. The company could not understand it. Then, General Mills brought in a bunch of behavioral psychologists to understand why this was happening. They learned that Customers believed they didn’t do enough to earn the perfect cake/brownie.
General Mills did the unthinkable then – they pulled out the milk and eggs out of the powder, so that customers had to physically mix those items in. The product became a raging success.
Sometimes you just need to give the customer a little to do so that they feel fulfilled and involved in the process.
I remember reading or hearing something Warren Buffet did in a negotiation where he wrote to the company that he was buying, and asked ‘is this your best offer?’. This was a large equity transaction and his objective was to shave cents off of the share price. With that very simple statement, the company ended up reducing the share price by a few cents as Buffet predicted. They were scared that he is going to take his money elsewhere. His tactic worked.
I applied the same tactic to a negotiation I was conducting in China last year when I was a buyer for marketing agency services. After I spent time negotiating with three different agencies on fees/retainer, I wrote to each CEO and said that I was going to make a decision on Friday and if what they proposed was their best offer. I literally had multiple new proposals over the week, with one agency lowering their costs by almost 50%.
Remember, when you read these lessons from these great business and life figures, think about how to apply them in your life based on your own style of doing things. I like to jot down tactics that I read and then write down where in my life I can apply them. Once you apply the tactic 2 or 3 times, it becomes part of the way you do business.
This was probably not the right forum for Ashton to give this kind of advice (Teen Choice Awards), although this was the audience he needed to give it to. I am a fan of Ashton, he doesn’t care what people think, and constantly is re-inventing himself and ahead of the wheel (atleast from a business perspective). Anyways, I think this was really good advice that I hope the kids listening although it probably went in one ear and out of the other.
One of the reasons I love the Kindle app is because I can easily see what books I read and when. Looking at the themes this year, it was apparent I was heavily into WWII, Big Hollywood Entertainment, the World Economy, Mafia, and Spy stories (fiction and non-fiction).
All of them were pretty good books. I gave a little commentary if they were exceptional.
Trying to go from most recent by category:
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and hope in a Mumbai slum – Katherine Boo
- Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World – Michael Lewis (Amazing explanation of what went wrong in Greece, Iceland, Ireland, and US municipalities. A very easy read that sums up very complicated problems in a very simple way)
- Confidential: The Life and Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon – Joseph Gelman, Meir Doron (Crazy book about an ex-Mossad spy who was responsible for arming Israel with the nuclear bomb who turned out to be one of the biggest Hollywood movie producers)
- Disney War: James Stewart (This extremely long book reads like a fiction that you will not be able to put down. If you like Hollywood, dealmakers, big deals, and the movie business – this is a must read)
- Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia – Hussain Zaidi
- The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA – Antonio Mendez (great story of a real CIA spy and how he was involved in things that have become popular stories and movies now)
- Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers – Gus Russo
- The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called Dreamworks – Nicole LaPorte (Another great, behind-the-scenes looks at some of Hollywood’s biggest figures and what really happens when egos, money, and pride get in the way)
- Seven Days from Sunday – M.H. Sargent
- Churchill – Paul Johnson (probably the best biography of Churchill)
- Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con – Matt Taibbi
Fiction (I am a huge fan of Ken Follet and Leon Uris, and love history based fiction, primarily in WWII, so didn’t give individual comments):
- The Tehran Initiative – Joel Rosenberg
- Berlin Noir – Phillip Kerr
- Morning Spy, Evening Spy – Colin Mackinnon
- The Last Supper (Paul Christopher) – Charles McCarry
- The Old Boys – Charles McCarry
- Tears of Autumn – Charles McCarry
- Lie Down with Lions – Ken Follet
- Jackdraws – Ken Follet
- Eye of the Needle – Ken Follet
- The Key to Rebecca – Ken Follet
- The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan) – Tom Clancy
- Triple – Ken Follet
- Red Storm Rising – Tom Clancy
- War and Remembrance – Herman Wouk
- Topaz – Leon Uris
- Mila 18 – Leon Uris
- Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin – Leon Uris
- Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands (great read if you are into big brands and the evolution of how a brand can go from a commodity to a lovemark)
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space – Chan Kim, Renee Maubornge (one of my favorite all-time business books, a must-read if you are an entrepreneur)
- The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership
Would love to hear if you picked up any of the books I recommend….
I wonder if people thought this was going to end any different? I understand the banks and underwriters made their money, but the public? Remember the rule during the dot com era in the late 90’s….if your dentist or butcher is talking about something, it is time to get out.
(note: I lifted this from Johnnie Manzari’s twitter feed)
I remember doing or attempting to do this in college, and it never really worked to my satisfaction, and if you tried – you know why. Finally, somebody has done the whole movie to the Pink Floyd track. Now that I have Apple TV and can mirror youtube from my iPad on my TV….game time. While it might not be completely consistent the whole movie, there are certain scenes that are bang on…thats when the mental trip starts….
Check it here: