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Entries in Business (32)

Thursday
Sep042014

Connecting the Dots

Pressed for time, challenged for attention in an environment flooded with content.

How do you quickly make relevant sense of all the stuff that is disseminated?

Lets take a look at some points:

  • We all gravitate to content that captures our attention, or content that is relevant to our activities.
  • We are all flooded by immense amounts of content, be it thoughts, opinions or data.
  • We instinctively filter portions if not all of the content.
  • We all know that the same news item gets repeated by a ton of platforms that are in the news business.
  • All of this pedestrian content is free, and is repeated by numerous platforms.

How do you connect dots to arrive at a meaningful perspective?

  • Its a real challenge.
  • Its time consuming.
  • It requires a profound understanding and a deep knowledge base.
  • It requires the ability to quickly uncover specific points (dots).
  • It requires the prescience to connect seemingly unrelated dots.

Once you have connected dots and have a perspective!

  • Go out and do it, usually its the stuff you read about, that someone connected dots and did it.
  • Yes...most folks will not understand, even the ones in the same business as you.
  • Obvious that when they don't understand is when you have a serious advantage.
  • Yes...they might even think that you are a s#$t disturber...its all cool do it.

 

 

Tuesday
Sep022014

Big Data 

As we get back to "reality" this morning.

Hoping that you had a wonderful summer with your family and friends, and that you are prepared to get back to the real thing.

As usual we are enjoying a few balmy days which were elusive during most the summer.

Enough pre ambles...let's get going.

Have you noticed that during a time of big data many individuals focus on the data, thinking that its the answer. We all hear data here, there, and literally all over the place, and of the various tools to better assemble big data in various formats. Dashboards becoming the favorites lately, while requiring tomorrow's data yesterday. 

Lets go back a few steps to gather some insight.

If you were around during the time when the slide rule was the order of the day. You surely remember that humans can understand a myriad if numbers and fomulas, but lacked the tools to comprehend a good quantity of numbers.

Obvious that Lotus 123 was quickly adopted by the folks that understood slide rules. It made by today's standards a modest amount of data easier to understand, and started providing a competitive advantage to companies that were proficient in understanding their numbers.

This entire process created the term "spreadsheet jockey" since one generation was more adept than another at "jockeying" spreadsheets. While focusing on numbers for the sake of the numbers.

Imagine spreadsheet jockeys, teamed up with powerpoint pilots what a powerful combination during a time of big data. Agreed you have to reflect on this for a moment.

As we get back to reality be aware that data generated by spreadsheet jockeys, and presented by powerpoint pilots is useless without a deep understanding of the customer, the business, and people.

Its the proufound understanding that makes the data come alive, become useful, provide an advantage.

During the Dog Days of Summer, we have seen more folks shuffle a bunch of data relating to the auto business for the sake of the data, that its almost...no it is scary. 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul302014

Leadership

This morning we have The Colonel sharing a coffee, and his thoughts with us.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you look refreshed as usual.

A: Thank You, and just back from a road trip.

Q: What is going on with leadership. As you know there is constant talk about leadership.

A: There is lots of talk about leadership, and when the proverbial s#%t hits the fan, there is a lot of ducking.

Q: What is going on with leadership at dealerships.

A: Great question, what leadership?

Q: Are you implying that dealers owned by "groups" are lacking leadership?

A: It goes beyond that.

Q: Care to be specific?

A: Dealers are in the people business through cars (vehicles). Its that simple, and that complex.

Q: It should be easy to be in the people business with social media, various platforms, and so on.

A: It probably is not easy, its confusing, and misleading. Dealers have all sorts of "techno apps" that often do not flow well together while augmenting the confusion.

Q: Are dealers missing the essence of being in the people business for a lack of leadership?

A: Precisely, its getting lost in the trees, and  missing the forest.

Q: There has to be some leadership, some sense of direction?

A: Absolutely, there is some, but is it enough for 2014?

Q: You point is vague.

A: Good observation, it can be interpreted as vague, and perhaps its the vagueness that is perplexing too many individuals. You need more leadership now, than 10 years ago.

Q: Its more challenging to keep folks aligned and focused on achieving results, closing deals as an example.

A: Precisely, in 2014 the focus must be laser sharp.

Q: Some dealers have exceptional leadership, which seems "old school".

A: Absolutely, it seesm old school because human nature is "old school".

Q: With all the technology one would think...

A: There lies the competitive advantage...

Q: Let the techno apps do all the grunt work, freeing the humans to lead humans.

A: Its quite an advantage for the folks that grasp the "forest".

 

 

Friday
Apr042014

Vroom Room

Good Morning!

DeuceIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment.

Is Spring finally in the air?

A statement by Peter Drucker...

The educated person will therefore have to be prepared to live and work simultaneously in two cultures--that of the "intellectual," who focuses on words and ideas, and that of the "manager," who focuses on people and work.

A statement by Phillip Roth...

The young especially live according to beliefs that are thought up for them by the society's most unthinking people and by the businesses least impeded by innocent ends. Ingeniously as their parents and teachers may attempt to protect the young from being drawn, to their detriment, into the moronic amusement park that is now universal, the preponderance of the power is not with them.

We urge you to reflect on these 2 statements, especially if you are in the auto business. While taking a monent to connect a few dots that capture your attention.

It will be informative and fascinating to see how the GM ignition switch investigation, debacle develops in the coming weeks. The opening round this week was perhaps as expected with the anticipated posturing from all concerned. At some point additional transparency will be shed on "modifying a part, not changing the part number" mystery.

Talking of GM, the product is dramatically better that the sales numbers indicate in Canada. It remains a mystery (you think) as to why GM is not selling more. One gets the feeling that GM refuses to double down, start selling, start winning. Go figure, and yes we could keep on going...

Canadian Sales:

A good March comparable to previous years, and a strong first quarter. As expected some manufacturers gained sales, while others faltered, fair to say that most throttle up in March to arrive at a satisfactory first quarter. Its been a "rugged winter" while keeping in mind that most folks use the Internet which is not affected by climatic conditions.

Our usual old race cars from the Goodwood Members Meeting.

 

 

 

Monday
Mar312014

A Data Conversation - 1

Lets continue our conversation with The Colonel.

Q- Colonel we heard that you were on the leading edge of the Internet a couple of decades ago.

A- Guys what does the Internet have to do with data? Yes...in hindsight I was too far ahead, and perhaps I'm still waiting for folks to catch up.

Q- Lets come back to the challenge, what do you mean?

A- When machines do a bunch of grunt work, they save time, and accelerate time. The Internet enabled machines to connect, while opening other possibilities. Broadband enabled the connections to become increasingly visual. The human brain must remain ahead of all this...

Q- Similar to a Moore's Law for the brain?

A- Great analogy guys...exactly that...the brain has to step it up to deal with the onslaught of data, and the modeling of data.

Q- It seems increasingly easy to get lost in the "data trees" and miss the "data forest".

A- Another great analogy...many folks get suffocated in the data details, losing the essence of the data.

Q- What happens when the data is erroneous, or fraught with lapses.

A- Most folks shy away from that discussion or use the "garbage in-garbage out" analogy. Its easy to fool people with "data" that is presented in a "slick fashion" where the presentation supercedes the quality of the data. 

Q- There are many folks in all sorts of fields talking a good line, about data, Internet, and so on.

A- Yes there are...the reason we have been saying that "you have to be your own editor" for several years now. You can safely say that around any industry there is a level of "pedestrian knowledge" with limited authority that becomes mainstream.

Q- Pedestrian Knowledge what is that?

A- Its a level of knowledge, data, that is easy to understand, it has a wide band of appeal, is repeatable, is transportable, and probably makes money for some folks.

Q- Similar to the idea that everyone knows something about cars, knows something about social media, can access simple metrics and weave a tale around them, can access simple content and use it for their "gain".

A- Precisely...

Q- Lets bring this a little closer to the car business, managing data with spreadsheets, and presenting data with Powerpoints.

A- There is an entire layer of management that for the past 20 years has used spreadsheets and powerpoints to save money, expand markets, and get themselves in serious "deep yogurt". Often selling a tale of BS using both. 

Q- How about dealers, and customers.

A- The Internet empowered the customer and it started 20 years ago. The Internet continues to disintermediate the dealer and it too started 20 years ago. The manufacturers have driven down costs, have passed along costs this vector also started close to 20 years ago. The dealer is caught in the middle, and being distracted by a myriad of forces.

Q- Is it fair to say the dealer has vast amounts of internal and external data?

A- Absolutely, vast amounts of internal data to grasp, comprehend, execute. Now the dealer must deal with a wave of "digital natives" as customers with their own distinct approach, needs, expectations, requirements.