Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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The Future is Without Apps — Fwd: Thoughts

The Future is Without Apps - Fwd: Thoughts - Medium

How we may soon no longer need to install apps with help from Google and Surprisingly: Apple.

“There’s an App for That.”

It’s the trademarked slogan that defined the mobile world since 2008. Surely, apps seemed to be the way to go. Coding bootcamps that claimed to teach you app development chops within weeks popped up everywhere; products used commercials to go out of their way and show off their new apps; heck, even that family restaurant around the block got its own menu app built.

With the release of the App store in 2008, Apple was the first to popularize the idea of nicely packaged, downloadable applications on your phone. However, this concept of centralized software distribution isn’t actually new. Many handheld and desktop devices already had some form of application store built in years before Apple’s App Store debut. The reason why Apple succeeded, in retrospect, is a combination of timing and technology. By 2008, the iOS (then “iPhone OS”) platform was able to offer access to a maturing 3G network, a well-documented development environment, great handheld graphics, and most importantly, the backing of a technology giant. Mobile apps made sense. They were the most efficient way to deliver the newest content and services with native experience and performance.

People don’t care how it all works, they just want to throw birds at pigs and show off their #nofilter selfies. The ability to download and run cool apps was the iPhone’s winning feature for a short while. Android soon followed suit. Smartphones became cheaper; networks became faster; handheld processing power quadrupled; apps prevailed.

“OK Sherlock, So What’s Wrong?”

Nothing. But we can do better now. “Better than this app that lets me feed and play with cute cats?” Yep. Read more: click image or title.



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Via massimo facchinetti
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

With the user in mind everything gets more streamlined and user friendly. The world of #apps is going the same route. This article talks about #delivery and #discoverability, and how both #Google and #Apple are looking for solutions to keep the client happy.

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Google and Ford to build self-driving car company, report claims

Google and Ford to build self-driving car company, report claims | Competitive Edge |
Google is planning to announce a partnership with Ford to create an independent company that will build self-driving cars, according to a report.

Yahoo Autos said three sources "familiar with the plans" believe Ford will announce the partnership in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Neither Ford nor Google would confirm the partnership plans.

"We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan," Ford stated in a reply to Computerworld. "We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."

Jeremy Carlson, a senior analyst with IHS Automotive, said during a webcast last week that Google is serious about spinning off a separate autonomous car company. Carlson said sources believed Google would develop service-only vehicles and not a traditional car manufacturing business.

Autonomous services vehicles would be used as taxis and deliveries, but not as personally owned vehicles.

Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Major carmakers are looking at #selfdrivingcars now. I'm looking forward at the time I can spend in a car doing productive work or just simple entertainment, like reading a book?

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Google's Larry Page: The most ambitious CEO in the universe

Google's Larry Page: The most ambitious CEO in the universe | Competitive Edge |

As Google's core business continues to thrive, Larry Page is making huge bets on new technology that could define the future.

There’s a joke about Larry Page that’s been making the rounds at Google X, the “moon shot” factory where Google is developing self-driving cars, high-altitude wind turbines, and a fleet of stratospheric balloons to blanket the world with Internet access: A brainiac who works in the lab walks into Page’s office one day wielding his latest world-changing invention—a time machine. As the scientist reaches for the power cord to begin a demo, Page fires off a dismissive question: “Why do you need to plug it in?”

It’s a tall tale that is repeated affectionately by the whizzes inside the futuristic lab because it captures the urgency and aspiration of their boss to move technology forward. The Google CEO is the kind of guy who thinks the improbable is a given and the seemingly impossible is likely. He’s not one or two steps ahead of his engineers and research scientists; he often seems to inhabit an alternate universe, where the future has already happened.

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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What makes Google tick?

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7 Principles for Propelling Your Startup to Success | New Beginnings

Want a venture to succeed?

I developed seven principles that can help a startup improve its odds at success based on analysis of more than 1,500 public companies that I did for my book Value Leadership.

Companies that followed these principles the most closely (I call them value leaders) grew sales 35 percent faster and generated 109 percent higher net margins than their peers and increased shareholder value almost five times faster than the market in the 10 years before 2003. Companies that do a better job of creating value for key stakeholders, such as employees, customers and communities, also happen to generate more value for shareholders.

The organizations that apply all these principles will outperform those that skimp on some. For example, one of Google’s glaring weaknesses today is its inability to create a significant new source of revenue beyond advertising. That does not seem to hurt the company too much now but it could in the future.

Although I developed the following seven principles years ago, I believe they can help a startup succeed today as has been borne out by recent company history

1. Value human relationships.

Entrepreneurs can’t do it all themselves, which means they need to hire talented people. Treat talented people with respect and be sure they are a good fit with the values of the company.

For example, Google hires very smart people who fit with its unconventional approach to problem solving. Google has used its famous data-driven approach to decision making to identify traits associated with effective management. And it has used those insightsto hire and promote peope who demonstrate these skills.

2. Foster teamwork.

If an entrepreneur hires talented people, he or she should demand that they debate solutions. Ask them to use their skills to develop better solutions from working together than they would by toiling on their own.

In the last few years, Google has encouraged more teamwork, which has helped the company bring new ideas like Google Glass to fruition.

3. Experiment frugally.

Startup CEOs must resist the urge to perfect their products before launching them. Instead, they should build fast, inexpensive versions of their products, receive feedback from the market and improve the product in response.

Google encouraged this kind of frugal experimentation by letting its employees spend 20 percent of their time working on projects of personal interest.

In 2011 new CEO, Larry Page, decided he wanted to “put more wood behind fewer arrows” and phased out 20 percent time while phasing in the Google X lab to work on innovations, Quartz reported.

4. Fulfill commitments.

A startup will not succeed unless the team knows the management’s intentions and then leaders act accordingly. And leaders who tell their people they’ll do one thing but do the opposite will lose trust.

Google has certainly tried to follow through on its oft-stated value “don’t be evil.” Sadly, it has not always succeeded, such as when it decided tocensor search results in China in 2006. It stopped in 2010.

Don’t make the same mistake. It’s better for a startup to give up on a business opportunity than to violate its core values.

5. Fight complacency.

Don’t let the success of a particular product or service keep the company from searching for better ways to meet customers’ needs. Remember Blockbuster? To fight complacency, maintain a healthy paranoia and always be on the lookout for how to adopt new technologies that will give customers superior value.

Consider how Netflix transformed itself from a DVD-by-mail service to an online streaming provider. Not only has Netflix managed the transition masterfully, it has also added new capabilities like creating popular shows and managing relationships with high-bandwidth service providers.

6. Win through multiple means.

Don’t let the startup become dependent on one product that competitors can copy. Protect sources of revenue and profit by being good at a few key skills that are difficult for rivals to copy.

Under Steve Jobs, Apple could enter into existing businesses (like MP3 players, smartphones and tablets) and cut itself a big slice of the profit pie. Apple won through multiple means: It had great product design, superb marketing and customer service, an efficient supply chain and the ability to motivate third-party providers as evidenced by the success of iTunes and the App Store.

7. Give to the community.

Running a startup is especially challenging because business owners can’t pay enough to attract top talent. But they can make up for the smaller pay packet by developing a meaningful mission.

Consider the case of Embrace Innovations, whose CEO, Jane Chen, I interviewed in June 2011. The social enterprise was started in an attempt to save the lives of premature babies in developing countries. In India, many premature babies died after not being kept warm during a four-hour journey to the hospital.

Because of its inspiring mission, the company attracted talented employers, who developed a tiny sleeping bag of special materials able to keep infants at the right temperature. This saved many lives.

This week my class of 30 Babson College undergraduates explored how Google has applied these seven principles: The students concluded that despite some flaws, notably in its privacy policies, Google is a value leader. The students concluded that Google excels at valuing human relationships, winning through multiple means, experimenting frugally and fighting complacency.

Ready to try these principles? In my book I listed 24 specific activities that companies should perform to follow the seven principles as well as 107 more detailed tactics to accomplish these activities.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good principles to keep in mind when doing business.

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Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models

Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models | Competitive Edge |

Box, Dropbox and Hightail are rethinking their core business models, focusing on specific industries or bolstering customer service.

SAN FRANCISCO — Nothing concentrates minds at a tech start-up like living in the middle of a price war between Amazon and Google.

Just ask executives at companies like Box, Dropbox and Hightail. They pioneered a new kind of Internet service that allows people and companies to store all kinds of electronic files in an easy-to-use online locker. But as often happens, the much bigger companies liked the idea so much they decided to do the same thing — at a much lower price.

“These guys will drive prices to zero,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and chief executive of Box. “You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. ‘Free’ is not a business model.”

So how do you avoid free? Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide.

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“It’s very tough just to be in the storage business,” said Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive of Hightail. “We don’t think that is what we’re selling anymore.”

In the tech industry, they call this sort of reinvention of the core business model a “pivot.” Another way to describe it is a fight for survival.

Box, founded in 2005, has attracted $512 million in investment, and in March it filed papers for an initial public offering of stock. In July, the company said it had 39,000 businesses paying $15 to $35 a month a user. It is hard to know how many people that is, since some businesses have just a couple of people, and others include General Electric and Eli Lilly.

Dropbox has 300 million customers worldwide and actually runs inside Amazon Web Services, as do parts of Box. Many Dropbox customers pay nothing and get two gigabytes of storage capacity a month, the equivalent of 1,000 books or seven minutes of high-definition television. A version for $10 a month offers 100 gigabytes.

Hightail, which used to be called YouSendIt, says it has over a half-million business customers paying $25 a month or more, depending on the features chosen.

“There’s a place for all of them,” said Amita Potnis, an analyst at IDC. “Amazon’s focus is really computing itself. The smaller ones have to focus on ways businesses actually use it.” For example, she said, the services can help companies collaborate with each other online instead of sending emails back and forth with attachments.

While devices and apps get most of the attention, data storage is every bit as important, particularly as objects like phones, tablets, cars and thermostats become appendages of the Internet. Throw in trends like collaboration and big data analysis, and all those bits of data become more dynamic than something in a file cabinet. They are fluid and being entered and retrieved from many points.

Managing all that data should be a good business.

The problem for everyone is price. Amazon and Google have for years decimated competition in their respective fields of Internet advertising and retail. As the two companies move to dominate cloud computing, including online storage, they are turning that relentlessness on each other.

In March, Google celebrated the unification of several cloud computing services with price cuts of 68 percent for most customers, to 2.6 cents a gigabyte a month, about one-quarter the price of Dropbox’s premium consumer service.

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Amazon’s Web Services, which had cut prices at least four times since 2008, responded with cuts of its own, including one cut to 2.75 cents a gigabyte for large amounts of storage, and just a penny a month for data used less frequently. It has made further price cuts on other types of storage since then. Many expect Microsoft, which runs its own big cloud business, called Azure, to follow with similar cuts.

Even by the standards of computing, where services seem almost invariably to become cheaper and faster, storage prices have had an exceptional fall. The first gigabyte storage device in 1980 typically cost $120,000 and weighed 550 pounds. Amazon’s cloud-based storage might cost 12 cents a year.

None of the smaller online storage companies doubt that Amazon and Google can make seemingly impossible pricing moves. Both companies also have a scale that means even the tiniest profit can be huge. A.W.S. brags that almost all of Netflix, and Amazon itself, is inside its cloud, along with hundreds of other substantial companies.

Apple’s iCloud storage service and other parts of Apple, along with operations at several large banks, run inside A.W.S., say people familiar with the service who spoke on the condition they not be named so they could sustain relations with the powerful cloud company.

Amazon would not comment on confidential customer agreements. An Apple spokesman noted that Apple had its own data centers in four locations in the United States and said that “the vast majority” of data in services like iTunes, Maps and the App Store ran on its own computers. Apple uses other facilities as well, he said.

Google does not have anything like the Amazon customer list, but its computer network is probably the largest corporate network in the world. It includes custom-made computing and power systems and several thousand engineers to keep it running. According to one person with knowledge of the system, Google spends about $2 billion a quarter on its computing infrastructure.

Google would not comment on its costs. In an email, Tom Kershaw, a product manager for Google’s cloud service, predicted more cost-cutting. “As more customers store more information, for longer, we’re able to make gains in efficiency and pass these savings along to the customer.”

Both Box and Hightail now say they assume that they will offer customers unlimited storage free and push their costs into the prices they charge for other services. “At this point, it’s better just to say ‘unlimited,’ ” Mr. Levie said. “The thing to do is take into account why someone is storing something online and what their needs are.”

Box has hired people with specialties in health care, media and entertainment, hospitality and retailing. Dropbox still has supposed limits on storage in its business offering, but they start at a terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, and customers can upgrade from there with seemingly no fee.

This niche approach could work, provided the big companies do not go after these industry-specific storage markets or build more consumer-focused service offerings. Mr. Levie said he thought that was unlikely. “No one is going to build Google Health Care,” he said.

Google’s Mr. Kershaw differed. “Industry-specific solutions are the wave of the future and a key part of what Google is building for our customers,” he said.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Coming up with a great idea in the tech world and putting it out is not a direct road to success anymore. Companies, even successful ones, need to adjust, pivot, and compete with corporations like Google and Amazon. Not an easy task. Complex world.

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How BIG Is Google? - YouTube

Many of us use Google services each day but very few of us ask the question, "How BIG is Google?" Obviously this question cannot be answered directly, however, the sheer size of Google can be realised by the hard facts and figures shown in this short film.
Please enjoy and don't be evil.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Impressive picture on what Google represents, it's not 'just' a search engine. This is far from complete, but even so it's mind boggling . While the earth is experiencing major emergencies, such as global warming for example, to name one of them, Google is creating the tools to involve everyone on this planet to be aware and have a voice. It's also creating the technology to step it all up and go where no one has gone before. Take a look.

Jaouad Lahlal's curator insight, April 18, 2014 9:42 AM

If you think about google, you think: isn't real big thing, but if you look what they have and what they have in the future. Their projects are very cool and futuristic. I even saw a futuristic lens for your eyes.    

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GPlus How2Girl: How To Start A Private Hangout In A G+ Community

GPlus How2Girl: How To Start A Private Hangout In A G+ Community | Competitive Edge |

Private communities are a great way to take your relationships to the next level, offer group connections with your online programme members, create support groups, masterminds and much much more.

One of the great things when you have a community, is that you can also initiate community only private Hangout chats and video calls.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Great Jobs for Developers at Excellent Startups! 

at Fibonacci Sequence (US only)

Via Jaana Nyström, Marc Kneepkens
Jaana Nyström's curator insight, January 1, 2014 12:55 PM

Great tool for businesses:  Private communities and Hangouts!

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, January 2, 2014 11:40 AM

Great information, there is still lots to learn about Google+

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Amazing Science!

First remote virtual surgery performed via Google Glass

First remote virtual surgery performed via Google Glass | Competitive Edge |

A University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) surgical team has performed one of the first surgeries using a telepresence augmented reality technology from VIPAAR in conjunction with Google Glass.


The combination of the two technologies could be an important step toward the development of useful, practical telemedicine.

VIPAAR (Virtual Interactive Presence in Augmented Reality) is commercializing a UAB-developed technology that provides real-time, two-way, interactive video conferencing.


UAB orthopedic surgeon Brent Ponce, M.D., performed a shoulder replacement surgery Sept. 12 at UAB Highlands Hospital in Birmingham. Watching and interacting with Ponce via the VIPAAR technology was Phani Dantuluri, M.D., from his office in Atlanta.


The VIPAAR technology allowed Dantuluri to see exactly what Ponce saw in the operating room and introduce his hands or instruments into the virtual surgical field.


At the same time, Ponce saw Dantuluri’s hands and instruments in his Google Glass display, along with his own field of view, as a merged-reality environment.


The two surgeons were able to discuss the case in a truly interactive fashion since Dantuluri could watch Ponce perform the surgery and simultaneously introduce his hands or instruments into Ponce’s view as if they were standing next to each other during the case.


“It’s real-time, real-life, right there, as opposed to a Skype or video conference call, which allows for dialogue back and forth but is not really interactive,” said Ponce.


UAB physicians say this kind of technology could greatly enhance patient care by allowing a veteran surgeon to remotely provide valuable expertise to less experienced surgeons.

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Via Ray and Terry's , Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A great example of how Google Glass technology will bring new concepts to many industries.

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10 Top Google Plus Tools for Digital Marketers

10 Top Google Plus Tools for Digital Marketers | Competitive Edge |

Google+ is making waves in social media. So what are some powerful Google Plus tools that should be added to your social media marketing toolbox to improve your effectiveness?

Google+ is the love child of search and social.

When Google realized that Facebook wasn’t an aberration, anomaly or an afterthought it made its move. It created a social network that glued all its online assets together, collected social data and added social signals to its search algorithms. That glue cost them over half a billion dollars to design and develop. Google+ emerged from the Google lab womb with serious intentions.

To stop Facebook having all the fun, fame and fortune.

It collected demographic data that would allow them to target users with search ads that were user relevant. That’s called personalization. Others call it an invasion of privacy.

It’s the synergy of social networks and search engines that makes users salivate with information that informs and inspires them.

Google+ is about data

To create a Google plus account you needed to tell them your age, location, email account and other data that revealed your likes and dislikes. We also live in a digital data age that empowers us to express, publish and share. That reveals who we are and Google can use that to increase revenue and improve user experience.

Nothing is for free.

Social networks need a supporting ecosystem

Social media has grown rapidly because the online global community has provided the audience, the tools and the ecosystem that feeds the social media beast. The beast needs daily multi-media content to discover, wrangle and curate for its attendant audience.

To make sense of the data and allow brands to manage what could be described as extreme cat herding, you need social media management platforms.

Social media management platforms

When social media emerged from the web primal mist it was raw and wild. Smart and savvy entrepreneurs saw an opportunity. Social media needed platforms for creating, managing and measuring the mayhem and buzz.

Facebook with its longer history has many supporting platforms. Google+ is just starting to partner with providers that help it grow its community to add value to its users.

Some of the third party partner platforms for Google+ include the following five social media management platform tools.

To read the full article with the 10 Google Tools, click on the title...

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Want to Start your Own Website, you have the Ideas and Content, but you're not sure where to start? Check out Sitesell:

Via Kamal Bennani
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

So much to learn and know about Google+. This is a good place to start.

Jane Phelps's comment, September 8, 2013 12:57 PM
I use Buffer to manage my Google+ postings. It was just recently added so I now just combine it with all my other Buffer postings.
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The Dot Com story

The Dot Com story | Competitive Edge |

How it all started.

Old Testament computing....

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dorothy. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

"YAHOO," said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that's the truth.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Found this in my inbox this morning, though I'd share it here.

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Shocking predictions for life after 2020 from Ray Kurzweil, who leads Google's AI effort

Shocking predictions for life after 2020 from Ray Kurzweil, who leads Google's AI effort | Competitive Edge |

Ray Kurzweil is the world's foremost futurist, authoring bestsellers like "The Age of Spiritual Machines"  and "How to Create a Mind."

He's so influential that Google hired him to lead its artificial intelligence efforts.  Kurzweil is known for making predictions, which are right about 86% of the time.  Here are some of his most promising (and terrifying) visions of the 2020s and beyond. Read more: click image or title.

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Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article will start you thinking about AI - Artificial Intelligence and how it will impact you in this lifetime.

The Asymptotic Leap's curator insight, January 30, 4:56 PM

The G-forces of asymptotic liftoff...

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The One Thing Every Great Company Has In Common

The One Thing Every Great Company Has In Common | Competitive Edge |

Obscured in the valuation dust of the current unicorn stampede is a key question: What actually makes a great company great? What do the future Facebooks, Googles and Apples have in common — not to mention the current ones?

Let’s take Google and Apple. Both have reached the pinnacle of business success. And some of their flagship products — like iPhone and Android — can even be eerily similar (even before they’ve had time to imitate each other).

But the souls of each couldn’t be more different: Apple is notoriously secretive; Google is a pioneer in transparency. Apple began as a hardware company; Google started as big data research. Apple has a military-style top-down command-and-control org chart; Google has a Burning Man-inspired, bottoms-up chaos to it. Apple is driven primarily by vision; Google worships experimentation and data. Steve Jobs was a heart-centered designer; Larry Page presents himself as a Spockian engineer.

Yet, in terms of revenue and impact on the world, both are among the world’s most successful companies.

How can this be? How have they gotten to the same mountain peak taking such totally different paths? Shouldn’t one of those approaches be right and the other wrong? Shouldn’t one company be decisively winning and the other decisively losing? Read more and find the answer: click on image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What makes you #startup stand out and unique?

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Alan Eustace, Google, Jumps From Top of Stratosphere, Falling Faster Than The Speed of Sound

Alan Eustace, Google, Jumps From Top of Stratosphere, Falling Faster Than The Speed of Sound | Competitive Edge |

A well-known computer scientist parachuted from a balloon near the top of the stratosphere on Friday, falling faster than the speed of sound and breaking the world altitude record set just two years ago.

The jump was made by Alan Eustace, 57, a senior vice president at Google. At dawn he was lifted by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium, from an abandoned runway at the airport here.

For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of 135,908 feet, more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.

“It was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”

Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at a speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by observers on the ground.

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Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some people dare to take a challenge. They prepare well, they calculate the risk and then they just do it. Awesome.

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Why You Shouldn't Envy The Lives Of Some Billionaires

Why You Shouldn't Envy The Lives Of Some Billionaires | Competitive Edge |
Money can take all the serendipity out of life.

Poor Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg. They're worth billions of dollars, and that makes life hard.

Actually, it kind of does, and Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham explains why. Graham's startup accelerator program yielded a few billionaire founders of its own, including Dropbox's Drew Houston and the founders of Airbnb.

Graham points out that Google and Facebook run Page and Zuckerberg as much as they run their companies. They can never enjoy regular activities or do things spontaneously the way the rest of us can.

"Mark Zuckerberg will never get to bum around a foreign country," Graham writes. "He can do other things most people can't, like charter jets to fly him to foreign countries. But success has taken a lot of the serendipity out of his life."

What adds to the stress: billionaires can never publicly complain about how tough their money-filled lives sometimes are, because everyone else will freak out.

In a Stanford talk about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur, Graham says how all-consuming running a startup — even once it becomes a multi-billion-dollar company, can be. Here's an excerpt:

Larry Page may seem to have an enviable life, but there are aspects of it that are unenviable. Basically at 25 he started running as fast as he could and it must seem to him that he hasn't stopped to catch his breath since. Every day new shit happens in the Google empire that only the CEO can deal with, and he, as CEO, has to deal with it.

If he goes on vacation for even a week, a whole week's backlog of shit accumulates. And he has to bear this uncomplainingly, partly because as the company's daddy he can never show fear or weakness, and partly because billionaires get less than zero sympathy if they talk about having difficult lives. Which has the strange side effect that the difficulty of being a successful startup founder is concealed from almost everyone except those who've done it.

...Mark Zuckerberg will never get to bum around a foreign country. He can do other things most people can't, like charter jets to fly him to foreign countries. But success has taken a lot of the serendipity out of his life. Facebook is running him as much as he's running Facebook. And while it can be very cool to be in the grip of a project you consider your life's work, there are advantages to serendipity too, especially early in life. Among other things it gives you more options to choose your life's work from.

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Google Wants to Patent Contact Lenses That Can Snap Photos

Google Wants to Patent Contact Lenses That Can Snap Photos | Competitive Edge |

IThe tech company has a new patent application to apply Google Glass's camera feature to contact lenses.

It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?" In this series, we'll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies -- and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.

Today and today only, Google Glass is available to anyone 18 or over in the U.S. (OK, so supplies are limited and the price hasn't been marked down from $1,500, but still). As is the way with disruptive technologies, however, the time will inevitably come when we look back at Google Glass and think "how vintage."

That day may arrive sooner than expected: Google has filed a patent application for a micro camera component that could work in conjunction with the smart contact lens it's already developing for people with diabetes. (The chips and sensors in the lens are built to track the glucose levels in a person's tears.)

The patent takes one of Google Glass's central features – the ability to take photographs – and repurposes it for contact lens by embedding tiny cameras in the contacts themselves.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Innovation seems to be the norm at Google. The article is called 'Far out technology'.

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Management Be Nimble -

Management Be Nimble - | Competitive Edge |

“We aspire to be the largest small company in our space.”

When Dominic Orr, the chief executive of Aruba Networks, said those words, he crystallized a goal I had heard many leaders express during the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted for the Corner Office column: they want to foster a quick and nimble culture, with the enviable qualities of many start-ups, even as their companies grow.

All leaders and managers face this challenge, regardless of the size of their companies. Even the founders of Google have worried about losing the magic that helped propel their search engine’s phenomenal growth. When Larry Page announced that he was taking over the chief-executive role from Eric Schmidt a few years ago, he explained to reporters that the company needed to move faster and recapture the agility of its early days, before it grew into a colossus.

“One of the primary goals I have,” Mr. Page said at the time, “is to get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and speed of a start-up.”

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Beth Kanter
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent views on how to align people in companies to get focused and treat each other with respect.

The viewpoint of Beth Kanter on email is worthwhile reading too. Email is truly an issue because it is so bland, not only emails in the workplace but also in any kind of human interaction. It's so easy to misinterpret a few words since we ususally project our own images and emotions into the situation. Isn't that why 'emoticons' were invented?

Great article and comment.

Beth Kanter's curator insight, January 5, 2014 8:40 PM

The Hazards of Email

Bring up the subject of workplace email during conversations with C.E.O.’s, and the mood often shifts. Email is a hot-button issue, and clearly a source of endless frustration.

The problem, of course, is that for all the obvious benefits of email in speeding communication, it is also a dangerous trap. Emails are too easily misinterpreted, with often-disastrous consequences for the culture of an organization, because they can damage whatever connective tissue exists between colleagues. Yet the allure of email is powerful, and people fall repeatedly into the same trap, thinking that email is the best way to accomplish a lot of work in a short time.

Many C.E.O.’s are perceptive observers of the hazards of email, and they establish a variety of rules in their companies to discourage its use and encourage people to talk instead.

“If there’s a conflict and you need to resolve it, you cannot really do it in an email because people don’t know tone,” said Nancy Aossey, chief executive of the International Medical Corps. “They don’t know expression. Even if they like you and they know you, they might not know if you were irritated or joking in an email. There are things we can say in conversation that you can’t say in email because people don’t know tone and expression.

“People change when they talk in person about a problem, not because they chicken out, but because they have the benefit of seeing the person, seeing their reaction, and getting a sense of the person. But arguing over email is about having the last word. It plays into something very dangerous in human behavior. You want to have the last word, and nothing brings that out more than email because you can sit there and hit ‘send,’ and then it just kind of ratchets up and you don’t have the benefit of knowing the tone.”

By talking over the phone or in person, you’ll not only avoid dangerous misunderstandings, but you’ll also develop relationships and a sense of trust with colleagues — essential ingredients in fostering the kind of high-performing culture that drives innovation.

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Startup Revolution!

Google's Zero Moment Is The Ultimate Moment of Truth

Google's Zero Moment Is The Ultimate Moment of Truth | Competitive Edge |

In 2012, Google along with Jim Lecinski published a fantastic book that explored how digital customers made decisions in what Google refers to as "The Zero Moment of Truth."

The ZMOT as it's abbreviated, helps strategists discover relevant strategies and tactics on how to show up at the right place, at the right time and with the right content in a digital ecosystem.

In a world where consumers "Google it" to begin their digital journey, ZMOT revealed that brands need to re-think the connected experience and the resulting click path. But what happens when the web sites that appear in traditional Google search results no longer suffice for someone so connected that impatience becomes a virtue? This is after all someone who begins the journey on a smart phone or tablet tapping review sites and social networks to make information come to them before conducting formal research. Some call it the lazy web. Others refer to it as the social web. In the end, it's just how people make information come to them. Once they do, it becomes the norm.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Rami Kantari, Thomas Faltin, Martin (Marty) Smith
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The 'digital experience' has changed marketing completely. People still respond emotionally to the 'increasing' amount of stimuli. The art of getting a response has to adapt to the new media, every day new tools and new ways to reach the client appear. Successful companies understand this very well, companies such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more. Focusing on one or more aspects of these new ways of reaching out to the not so new responses of comsumers has grown into huge new phenomena, the social media. Playing these well and understanding them well will mean success or failure.

Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, November 22, 2013 1:26 AM

Very cool ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). Too late to write much now, will fill in tomorrow. Marty

Great comment by @Marc Kneepkens on his Rescoop to his Competitive Edge feed:

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The 'digital experience' is changing marketing. People still respond emotionally to an 'increasing' numer of stimuli. The art of getting a response must adapt to the new media. Every day new tools and new ways to reach the client appear.

Successful companies understand this. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, focus new ways of reaching out to the comsumers' not so new emotional respons. Reaching out has grown into a huge "new" phenomena called social media.

Playing our new social media games well and understanding them will mean success or failure.

Amanda Groover's curator insight, November 23, 2013 10:02 PM

The more we can understand how Google thinks, the more we learn about how to work with Google. It doesn't mean it always follow logic, but it does help you promote your brand!

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Mobile Development News!!

Google Glass Could Save Companies $1 Billion By 2017 (GOOG)

Google Glass Could Save Companies $1 Billion By 2017 (GOOG) | Competitive Edge |
Hands-free access to the Internet, cameras, conferencing and phone calls, plus something called "augmented reality" will be a big help to people who work in jobs that take them outside of the office, Gartner says.

While most of us think of Google Glass as a consumer gadget, it's going to be great for businesses, too.

Market research firm Gartner has boldly predicted that companies using Glass and similar gadgets could save $1 billion a year within three to five years.

Hands-free access to the Internet, cameras, conferencing and phone calls, plus something called "augmented reality" will be a big help to people who work in jobs that take them outside of the office, Gartner says. This includes fields like technical repair, health care and manufacturing. Augmented reality is when information is projected in front of you. So, for example, you could look at a building and see a superimposed image of its blueprint.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, Marc Kneepkens
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Did you have any idea that Google Glass would have such impact?

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, November 14, 2013 4:51 PM

Progress is being made with leaps and bounds. Here is a superb example.

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Digital Marketing Digest!

How Retailers Can Use Social Media To Attract More Customers

How Retailers Can Use Social Media To Attract More Customers | Competitive Edge |

If your business marketing plan doesn't include social media strategies, you're already dead in the water. 

Via The Fish Firm, Ally Greer
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There's no way around it. Social Media are more important every day.

Watch this brief video presentation to find out about a great marketing template:

Ellaine Wilson's comment, May 24, 2013 11:22 AM
There is no doubt that social media can bring in more traffic to your business
Oluwasemilogo Akinmuyiwa's comment, May 25, 2013 10:34 AM
My concern is the cost at which these things come to us marketer. There is no budget for small businesses.
Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, May 26, 2013 1:30 PM

Dead In The Water
Dead in the water indeed since your competitors are out there creating wiht social media, learning what works and building a following. Good luck catching up fast.

NOTHING happens all that fast in social media. You can create great campaigns that boost your social media 10x, but natural growth is SLOW and STEADY.

This means your social media strategy will need to DISRUPT to win and create trust at the same time. Those two ideas can be mutually exclusive so make sure to JUMP IN NOW or double your efforts now.

Rememer if you are not the lead sleddog the view is always the same :).