Ideas and Execution
If you want to be successful in the world of technology that’s where you have to focus, on ideas and execution. I help technology innovators and entrepreneurs discover and implement best practices in planning and execution. I’ve spent 35 years trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t in developing a technology company and this site is an attempt to outline critical practices. Many of these best practices revolve around a better understanding of buyer and employee behaviour, areas often ignored by left-brained technology professionals.
The Power of Research
I’m one of those crazy people who believes in evidence based management or to put it another way, if you aren’t basing decisions on evidence then what are you basing them on? For this reason, I do research from time to time to figure out how entrepreneurs, innovators, and professionals can better understand customers and employees and thus build more successful businesses.
Blatant Plug for Business
Yes, this is a blatant plug for business. I have to earn money somehow. I love exposing people to new ways of thinking, to new trends and ideas, and to help them grow their businesses successfully. While I spend much of my time at the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto doing research I make time to speak and conduct workshops for innovators and entrepreneurs. This website gives you an idea of some of the research I’m doing, some of the best practices I’ve discovered, and some of the speeches and workshops I can do for you.
I’m a serial entrepreneur and I’ve been an investor, director or officer of over a dozen companies, most of them in technology. I’ve also taught at the Schulich School of Business and the University of Toronto. Like many entrepreneurs, I lack an ability to focus, like chasing shiny balls, and am easily bored, so I do all sorts of things just to keep entertained.
Why this stuff is important
Percentage of new products that fail.
Percentage of startups that fail
Percentage of failures due to lack of market need
Percentage of venture backed startups that earn a 4X return
Finding Your Market
One of the things that I have gotten wrong on several occasions is thinking that there is a market for something I’ve developed or gotten involved with. This has left me too many times with a product in search of a market. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing these situations and have started looking more closely at buyer behaviour and how buyers react to change. This has led to an examination of the forces that act on buyers; the triggers to innovation, the barriers and the forces of competitive differentiation. This is the first step in strategy execution for innovators and entrepreneurs, making sure there is a market for your product or service.
Leadership and Management
There’s a great debate out there about what leadership is and what management is. Some people define leadership as setting the vision, communicating the vision and motivating people around the vision. Management is seen as planning, organization, staffing, directing and controlling. And to add to the confusion, what is strategy execution? Is it a leadership or a management function.
I prefer to think of leadership as the soft skills, the emotional skills, and management as the hard skills, the techniques you use to get things done. I believe that if you focus first on the hard skills, the management ones, you’ll naturally become a better leader. But if you focus on the leadership skills first, you may never pick up management skills.