system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Friday, 28 March 2014

Porn statistics

23% of all internet users went on an adult site in December???

that is nuts...

If my math is correct, and based on some fairly uncontroversial assumptions.....if you happen to be sitting in a meeting or in the pub, with more than 4, 20-50 year old men, it is statistically impossible that one of them hasn't "looked" at an adult site in the last 24hrs. really is extra-ordinary the contradictions which are built into our world...

Monday, 24 March 2014

Lola's Magnifsnt

Without any prompting or encouragement we found our 6 year old had put together a business plan.....we genuinely have no idea where it came from....

It looks like, having come up with the concept of a shell model business, she's planning to outsource the collection of the shells and the production to her own children, with the grandparents (presumably Rachel and I) managing the production....

She appears to have got the hang of management surprisingly early in life...

What's perhaps even more troubling is the quality of the plan and the succinctness of the communication, in many ways improves upon her fathers planning process....

Thursday, 20 February 2014

MVE (Minimum viable experiment) not MVP in early stage innovation

The acronym MVP (standing for "Minimum Viable Product") has entered the innovation lexicon.

The principle it describes is sound but the word "product", in the early stages of innovation, is misleading.

The first few cycles of of innovation, when users get their hands on our new ideas for the first time, is all about testing desirability. Whether they see value too. It is experimental.

In the first throws of innovation then we should talk about a Minimum viable experiment rather than a product. 

The word "experiment" communicates the nature of the endeavor more accurately. It says its not ready. It needs time. Give it some space. Let it make mistakes.

The word "product" says ship it, cost it, give it a line in the P&L...and that is an innovation killer...

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Product+ : meaningful digital innovation in the gap between a core product and marketing

Product+ is a term I started to use about 18 months ago to describe meaningful innovation in the gap between product and marketing.

The below is a first stab at a better definition....


A Nike trainer is a product, a Nike Superbowl ad is marketing, the Nike+ running system (the website, the wearable technology, the content) – that's product+ (It may well also be where the "+" in Product+ came from).

For Ford, the car is the product, the press advert is the marketing, the mobile telemetrics insurance is the product+

For Barclays, the bank account is the product, the direct mail is the marketing, the data visualization which helps me compare ISA products - Product+

For Farrow and Ball, the paint is the product, the display ad is the marketing, the app which substituted a colour in a picture of the room you're about to paint, that might be Product+

For B&Q, the kitchen is the product, the marketing is the TV ad, Product+ will be virtual reality walk throughts of a potential customers' new kitchen.

For Benson’s Beds, Product+  might be about integrating sensors into their mattresses and partnering with apps like Sleep Cycle.

You get the idea...

Product+ is something that isn't the core product, but isn't marketing either.....

Product owners, marketing and IT can own it - anyone in the enterprise can fill the gap. This is specifically not innovation on the core product.

If you're the CMO of Farrow and Ball you probably don't know enough about how paint is made to come up with a new type of emulsion - but you doesn't need to. This gap is a digital one – its social, mobile and local. It is about new devices, data and technology which when used together, create a "sticky" ecosystems around a brands’ core products. An ecosystem which is revenue generating but has as its primary goal, the intention of driving the sales of the core product.

This is useful innovation. The concept is a great shortcut to enable us to focus on digital services customers actually want, not the fluffy cereal packet digital marketing a lot of brands churn out. We measure Product+ in revenue not Facebook likes.

The best thing of all about Product+ is its straightforward to achieve. Using lean as the principle by which we develop these new services, the process is simple, it energises teams, gets brands face to face with their customers again and most importantly of all - the results are tangible. The output isn't a powerpoint or a strategy piece - its a thing, a product, a service - in the hands of users.

Lastly - this work is also disproportionately focused on a younger user – true digital natives. Those under 30 who live entirely digital lives and to whom a brand without a digital, social and mobile context is simply invisible. For those brands struggling to engage a younger demographic - the development process itself is a great conversation starter.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Google reader is more than a daily habit...its an extension of myself....I am truly fucked now

For 5+ years now, like millions of others, I've used Google reader every day.

It wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that the insight and ideas I glean from my daily trawl of my 150 feeds has helped me define my business, who I am even.

I coped when Delicious became a bit shit...I was pretty gutted when they culled iGoogle. Now I just feel my way of working is somehow not legitimate in the eyes of one of the few brands I genuinely trust and "believe" in.

I understand the priority Google have placed on G+. Presumably the 5 tags I put into Delicious a day as a direct result of using Reader, Google now want me to push into my social network. But this desire to force everyone, of all creeds, characters and persuasions to use social networking - to constantly shout, constantly share is.....dysfunctional.

I don't want to share the little things. Most of the value I add to my clients is noise reduction. I see it as my job to take all the thousands of little things, and find the larger patterns and shapes in them for my clients to more easily digest and exploit.

Yesterday I did share something with my social graph - a business we'd invested in had launched its first product - that's something significant I want to tell my social graph about.

But outside of significant thought pieces and news, I actually believe being so visible on the day to day damages my own brand - if thats not too pompous a thing to say.

As it is, since writing this post, I've discovered Feedly....which is much more friendly interface, has just the same swipe functionality as Reader on my phone and presumably, isn't going to abandon me on a commercial whim.

Bad luck Google. Net result. From now on I just spend an hour less with you a day....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Choice is toxic

Choice isn't something that the primal parts of our simple human brains understand very well.

Imagine its July 8th, 7:03am, 13,654 BC

You're cold, filthy and hungry. You’re being chased by an angry bear. You stumble across a blackberry bush. You desperately need food to sustain your flight but your favorite fruit is raspberries….

Do you have an existential issue about the "choice" on offer?

When I hear second rate NHS managers and socially awkward politicians talk about "choice" I get very nervous. "Choice" for technocrats has come to mean wiggle room. “Choice” allows many of those who choose to govern us to muddy the waters around adequacy of specific services. It allows the disingenuous in both private and public sectors to use the best, to obscure the worst.

Take your nearest A&E department. As a consumer of government services, you need the one closest to you to be up to scratch. A “choice” within some arbitrarily assigned perimeter of my home is meaningless. "Choice" helps politicians answer awkward questions on talk shows, not patients in blue lights speeding to be taken care of in failing hospitals.

There isn't much of a choice with Apple. Apple don't make the iPhone 4D and the iPhone 5TXd and iPhone 8PS14 extreme. They make the iPhone 4. That's it, that's the standard and as a consequence anything else looks rather second rate and flabby.

Blackberry - lots of choice..

And their respective shareprice....

The antidote to the toxicity of choice is simplicity, curation and trust.

The service of a tailor makes the  assumption that customers without the looks and figure of a supermodel are prepared to pay more, specifically not to be given a choice. To be free from its tyranny.

That is why I'm excited about one of the MVPs we released last week from Fluxx labs called