Beliefs

I look at things a little differently, and my approach is grounded in what I've seen work, which isn't always the conventional wisdom.


Behind every technology problem is a business problem. And behind every business problem is a people problem.

This has been my mantra for many years. Having worked in Silicon Valley, I've seen many companies come up with a technology without a way to monetize (revenue, sufficient market size, etc.), and without a good understanding of how it will be used, for what purposes, and by whom. More often than not, this leads to an intellectually interesting product that goes nowhere. Connecting and aligning technology, business, and people (both customers and your own employees) is the surest path to success.

Design and marketing should be allies, not competitors

Too often, design and marketing teams are at odds, or at best working in silos. In a world where the line between products, services, and marketing is almost completely blurred, the common antagonism between design and marketing is unfortunate and counterproductive. Ultimately, they share many of the same goals - insights into the customers and what their goals and wants are, differentiation in a crowded competitive landscape, and creating an offering that works for both customers and the business. I've worked closely with marketers and designers for years, helping build bridges and create mutually beneficial solutions.

Editing and execution > more ideas

If there's one thing I've learned working with companies, especially established ones in complex industries, it's that they more often suffer from a surplus of ideas, not a deficit. The conventional drive to come up with more new ideas isn't necessarily that helpful in that situation. What's more critical is to focus: edit down to the best ideas, and execute that smaller number as well as you can (then iterate/pivot based on feedback). Most established companies have a host of "failed" ideas - but often they failed due to poor execution, targeting the wrong customer, immature technology, or just bad timing. Instead of treating them as toxic waste, there's a good chance the underlying idea was solid, it just needs recasting and polishing.

Think small(er)

Sure, moonshot innovation is sexy. But it's highly risky, and in the media you only read about the few successes, not the many more ambitious leaps that didn't make it. Don't dismiss going after the "adjacent possible" (as technology author Steven Johnson calls it). It's a much safer bet, especially if you're just getting your innovation engine cranking - if you do it right and with the right mindset.

 

 

What do you believe? Let's exchange perspectives.