March 2018
« Aug    

Startups, Business Plans, And All That Risk

Sabeer Bhatia, cofounder Hotmail, on business plans for startups – and risk management.

“It doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter business plan with glossy pages and lots of information. Essentially it’s a plan that says what the company is going to do, what problem it is going to solve, how big the market is, what the sources [...]

Tempting Fate and Other Silly Concepts

Why rely on one guess about what the future holds?

I once worked with a mid-sized bank with some decidedly odd ideas, my favorite of which was their emergency relocation plan for their headquarters. When disaster struck, their plan was to move – to a different part of the headquarters building.

The building was large for the small town in which [...]

Risk Management Ain't Rocket Science, But...

… integrating it into operations can be tough.

Your organization has a mission and it is probably not risk management. Schools exist to teach, manufacturers exist to make things, and service providers exist to provide services. Accept that risk management is just one of many things that needs to get done so that the teaching, making, and service providing [...]

Socks, Then Shoes

It’s all about the basics

Almost any professional golf or tennis coach will tell you that they spend most of their time teaching the basics. Golfers forget to keep their heads down. Tennis players fail to follow through. No one, no matter what the sport, seems to remember that footwork is key.

Regular readers know that this site is [...]

You're Not Lost Until You Run Out of Gas


Why Plan B – and the means to execute it – matter

The zipper was invented to fasten shoes. Columbus left Spain looking for the Far East. Apple spent a fortune on the Newton. Sometimes good ideas do not work out exactly the way we expect they will. Decades after the first patent, the zipper became a [...]

Who Is Going To Turn Your Business Upside Down?

Tomorrow’s competition may not be who you think

Surprises are hard to predict. This may seem obvious, but what children understand, adults often refuse to believe. Disruptive innovations show a pattern of surprising us when they should not. This is silly, but silly or not, established firms miss the pattern over and over.

The competitors we fear usually [...]

No One Is Going to Steal Your Great Big Idea


Your ground-breaking innovation is more likely to be ignored than copied

Some risks are smaller than they seem – and having someone run off with your revolutionary innovation is one of them. Small improvements and changes are usually copied quickly, but the disruptive changes are not, even if you think they should be. Simply put, your blinding flash of [...]

Can Your Firm Survive Disruptive Innovation?

Do you even know how your firm will react?

Change is a constant. Steady, constant change forces firms to continuously update their products and processes, but the sudden disruptions caused by major new innovations can present a completely different task. Markets and business models can be turned upside down, destroying some firms and creating others almost overnight. [...]

Innovation Risk and The Road Not Taken

Innovation is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

The business school researchers tell us that established firms are good at the constant, incremental innovation necessary to stay on top of their fields. New firms are famously better at the disruptive innovation typical of new technologies. The risks of not managing disruptive innovations seem [...]

Cyberwar vs. The Humble USB Key

Hollywood may not make films about USB keys, but they’re probably your biggest information security threat

Given the choice between writing a special 12-page supplement about Cyberwar and trying to fill as many pages about the threat presented by the USB key, it is no surprise that the editors of The Economist chose the former. Hollywood does not make [...]