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Learning from the Hedgehog and the Fox

There’s a Greek parable I heard recently from a VP of Sales about the Hedgehog Concept. The parable goes, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

In essence, the fox uses his cunning to pounce, sneak upon, play, etc. to attack the hedgehog. However, the hedgehog needs only do one thing and do it well – defend itself. Against the cunning fox, the hedgehog simply rolls into a ball with its spines pointed outward in all directions.
Jim Collins, author of From Good to Great, took the parable and related it to organizations. He suggests companies should find the one thing they’re good at to beat competitors. There are three factors to consider what a company is good -- illustrated below. The VP of Sales I spoke with goes on to share how his sales organization must also be the fox. I couldn’t agree more in today’s age where companies are rising from every corner of the internet. In fact, Chief Martec posted last year its annual Marketing Technology Landscape. They…

Thinking About Joining a Startup? Don’t Overlook These Elements

I get a lot of folks asking me about joining a startup. Most have spent many years in the large corporate world. They start off by asking for recommendations of startups nearby and contacts I know. They think they know what they’re looking for. At least, they know what they are looking for right now. Rarely do folks take a hard look at what they want to achieve longer term. Then, how do they figure how a potential move now fits into the longer goal(s).
Before I go name-dropping startups, I always ask folks to think about the larger picture. There’s a lot of attention to startups because of the glitz and glamour media portrays. But there are big companies that can offer the right opportunities many startups can’t. It’s best to start with what your vision is – what drives you. Cue: Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.
Then, there are other elements oftentimes overlooked when considering startups… The stage of the startup can influence the roles available. Generally, company growth can be spli…

Book Review: Hit Refresh

I’ve always been a Microsoft fan even with their Vista debacle. It’s been sad to see for many years Microsoft lose its position as a dominant company losing market share for… complacency.
But, I’ve been impressed the last several years as Microsoft has re-emerged as an innovative company. So innovative that several developers and engineers I know have shifted from Apple’s ecosystem to Microsoft’s recently. Microsoft’s re-emergence from several lackluster years have been spearheaded by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s 3rd CEO who took the reins of the Redmond corp in February 2014.
I recently read Satya’s book Hit Refresh to learn about the CEO and hear how he has steered Microsoft’s ship into a bright future. Again, I’ve been impressed with the corporation’s recent changes going against its long-gone dogmatic approach from software licensing to hardware.
The book is a deep dive into how Satya views Microsoft’s role in the world. This book was written just several years into his tenure. He …

Which came first – CAC or ASP?

Would You Hire Her?

I reserved a flight by calling Delta recently, and this was one of the few times I stuck around to take a survey. What intrigued me from the beginning was that the integrated voice recording (IVR) told me I would be invited to take a 1-question survey after speaking with the customer service representative (CSR).

Maybe because I have an interest in customer success, customer experience, IVR systems, etc., but the 1-question survey had me thinking. What kind of question would’ve been enough for Delta to know how my experience went? Are there enough takers where Delta could ask several one-question surveys to get a good feel of how I would’ve answered to other questions (they knew me given my SkyMiles number)?
First, I want to share a little detail of what I was reserving because the complexity had me calling in. I was traveling outside of the country with a single stop each way.I wanted to use an “open ticket” from an earlier cancelled flight due to medical reasons. This meant the CSR h…

A Rhino’s Horn and The Lesson of Perspective Bias

I stumbled on this cartoon recently that I thought was funny and relevant to perspective bias.


If you don’t see why this is funny, maybe we appreciate different types of jokes. Otherwise, it’s about the rhino painter’s distorted view of the world – always obstructed by her horn in front of her eyes. It’s omnipresent in all of her paintings.
The relevance on bias, then, is about our biases to things without knowing we have biases. This is touched on my current read Thinking Fast and Slow and a recent read The Mom Test. Many folks are quick to see the world in their own perspective only, and they are less perceptive to differing views.
This happens to me, too. I can be at fault of dismissing other ideas quickly, choosing to listen to what I am thinking. It can get me in trouble. In more specific cases, I can dismiss a colleague’s effective, authentic language style in prospecting, choosing to adopt my more structured, market-y messaging. Then, we find my colleague’s method is 3 times m…

Book Review: Scary Close by Donald Miller