All Markets Are Not Created Equal– How to Compete: Understand Importance of Target Market (s)…

Targeting a market is a complex process with many variables, and choosing a model for targeting a market is crucial especially in the current global economic environment… But first; What is a Market? According to dictionary; it’s a set-up where two or more parties engage in exchange of goods, services and information… Ideally a market is a place where two or more parties are involved in buying and selling…

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At its core, every market is similar: On one side, there’s a seller (supply), on the other side a buyer (demand). The market acts as an intermediary to bring these two sides together… and, there can be much innovation in– How a market handles these transactions… How it takes care of its sellers and buyers… How it approaches monetization…

According to Khaled Almgren; targeting a market relies on capability of a market to ‘produce’ consumers that are willing to pay for a certain product or service… The factors of size, growth, stability, competition are the market variables that translate into growth. Markets are tough to identify and develop, but once they reach liquidity, they can be even tougher to kill. Perhaps the two most important strategic decisions a business can make is where and how to compete…

Different markets have different winning formulas. In some markets, brand strength may be the best competitive differentiator, in others a low-cost position, and yet others comprehensive product/ service offering or an ability to innovate more quickly than rivals…

In the article How to Identify a Target Market by Katey Ferenzi writes: Clearly defining a target audience (market), and creating a customer profile(s) is an imperative… You must not only determine– why someone would want to buy the product or services, but also who is most likely to buy… Often, its discovered that those who find the product or service appealing share similar characteristics, which will help in fine-tuning business messaging… When you are designing a product or service, one of the many questions ask ed is; Who is this going to appeal to? Who do I want to appeal to the most?

Knowing the target audience (market) determines which marketing tools to use… No business can just put up a marketing campaign and be done with it. It requires a lot of fine-tuning and adjusting and keeping in touch with consumer trends– all to keep adapting to change. Good marketing begins and ends with; Knowing your market… Knowing your customers profile(s)…

There are two basic areas of inquiry when defining customer profile, namely;

  • Demographic will get you started: Knowing– Age, Location, Gender, Income Level, Education Level, Occupation, Ethnic Background…
  • Psychographic will go a little deeper, bringing to light more of your target audience’s psychology: Knowing– Interests, Hobbies, Values, Attitudes, Behaviors, Lifestyle Preferences…

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In the article Factors To Consider When Evaluating a Market by Bill Gurley writes: A true market needs natural pull on both consumer and supplier side of the market. Aggregating suppliers is a necessary, but insufficient step on its own. You must also organically aggregate demand. With each step, it should get easier to acquire incremental consumer and supplier…

Highly liquid markets ‘tip’ towards becoming a clearinghouse where neither the consumer nor the supplier would favor an alternative. That only happens if momentum is increasing, and both consumers and suppliers are sensing an increasing importance of their place in the market…  Here are few factors to consider when evaluating the potential success of a market opportunity:

  • Experience vs. Status Quo: Great companies do not simply aggregate a market; they enhance it. They leverage the connective tissue to offer the consumer a user experience that simply was not possible before the arrival of this new intermediary…
  • Economic Advantages vs. Status Quo: Some markets provide enhanced economic advantages. If you can change the economics of a market, it gives a huge advantage when it comes to tipping a market…
  • Opportunity for Technology to Add Value: In many markets, the technology offering greatly enhances the user experience. Facilitating work-flow through the use of technology reduces work for the customers, and increasing switching costs…
  • Size of the Market Opportunity: A proper TAM (total available market) analysis is imperative, but it is easy to make mistakes looking only at TAM… For some markets it may not matter that the market is large, since an oligopoly of large players may control a massive percentage of the market and is unlikely to support a new entries…
  • Network Effects: Network effects are tricky and hard to describe but fundamentally it turn on the following question: Can a market provide a better experience to customer– ‘n+1000’ than it did to customer ‘n’ directly as a function of adding 1000 more participants to the market? You can pose the question to either side of the network– demand or supply. If the answer is yes,  then it’s magic, and you will get stronger over time…

In the article How To Identify a Market and Size-Up Competitors by Rebecca O. Bagley writes: Several of questions you try to answer are: How big is the overall market? How rapidly is it growing? What segments are most interesting? But it’s also important to distinguish between ‘addressable’ and ‘available’ market. The ‘addressable’ market is total revenue opportunity for a product or service. The ‘available’ market is the portion of the addressable market for which you can realistically compete.

Once you are clear about this distinction you can begin to collect data to size a market… Be aware that collecting information and finding relevant and accurate data can feel a bit like detective work, e.g.:

  • Customer Targeting: The goal is to identify customers that best fit a value proposition and can best influence broader adoption of the product or service… If you determined that the product’s or service’s primary value is, e.g.; technology, cost…then identify customers that prioritize with these values… Also, determine their influence and identify the decision makers… Use websites, personal connections and other tools to find out who they are and target them…
  • Competitive Assessment: Knowing who competes for customers is essential to assessing opportunities and odds for success. By understanding competitors’ value propositions, you can begin to evaluate top competitive threats and determine the availability of the market… Take broad inventory of competitive landscape, determine who are key competitors and identify their customers. Then, map their value propositions along three key dimensions: Cost, Service, Technology… Successful competitive strategies include highly differentiated value propositions tailored to the needs of a specific target market…

Companies often have a clear picture of their internal performance, but often have little visibility into markets, competitors… According to Karl Stark and Bill Stewart; knowing the attractiveness of your market, your competitive position, and a clear understanding of where and how to compete is critical… According to Finn Kelly; Who is your ideal customer? And if you say the target market is ‘everyone’, then you have a difficult task ahead…

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This is a fundamental mistakes that many businesses make. When you define the target audience (market) correctly and precisely, you focus marketing efforts on the people who are most likely to buy your product or service… hence you use valuable resources in the best way to solve that problem. They define an unmet need or under-served market, and offer a clear benefit to potential target customers…

According to Cindy Schulson; ask– what problem is your company trying to solve… people don’t buy a product or service; they buy a solution. Don’t define your business by what you want to sell, but by what target customers (market) want to buy…

Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about customers. Your audience (market) is not who you think they should be, but who they actually are… which may not be the same at all…

Dark Side of Thanksgiving — Truth About the First Thanksgiving: Something to Think About at Your Thanksgiving Dinner…

Much of what people know about ‘Thanksgiving’ is actually a blend of fiction, myth and history that has become widely accepted as truth. But events of what we call First Thanksgiving is nothing like the traditions today. According to Marshall Vian Summers; Thanksgiving are images of– good food, family, friends and times of celebration…

It’s images of the kindness of Native Americans helping newly arrived Pilgrims in struggle to become established in the New World Yet, Thanksgiving has a dark side, a cloud of reality that overshadows its otherwise festive quality. Despite all cultural images, it retains an ominous significance of tragic and devastating consequences for Native Americans…

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According to Scott Berkun; the history behind this holiday is shrouded in controversy, propaganda and myths… According to Howard Zinn; during the early 1600s the Native Americans and the Pilgrims were at constant war with each other; it was bloodshed not brotherhood that brought these communities together…

Remember, American history with Indians is fraught with terror, genocide, war, and deceptive practices with regards to treaties… Hence, when you sit down at the table for Thanksgiving and everyone is giving thanks, think about how this holiday started and think how many lives were lost…

In the article Thanksgiving–Alternate Version by Phil Zastrow writes: Every time we approach the modern Thanksgiving Holiday, with its food, football, and mythology based on a few unusual days in 1621, I ask myself: What is it all about? As a child I enjoyed the feast and as a teenager and young adult I overindulged on football and food. Now, having studied the myth of Thanksgiving I wonder why I did not ask earlier how the carefully crafted myth does not match the reality of the Native people of the Americas since 1621…

It’s called a myth because it meets Webster’s definition; a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people… Example: How do the rosy images of Indian and Pilgrim sharing the bounty of the land as brothers come to terms with genocide that characterizes the taking of the land? Surely something has been left out of the story… We wonder why there are not enough citizens with curious mind who would ask questions, e.g.; What really happened at that first Thanksgiving?

A more accurate accounting of history, based on written documents of the Puritans and those who came after, as well as the Wampanoag people’s oral history, paints ugly montage of conquest and genocide… Of course the interpretation of the documents and the thinking of the time leave a wide range of possibilities, but we argue that none of the histories would match what is common fair in schools and the mass media even today… But did this thanksgiving festival actually take place?

It seems that between mid-September and early December of 1621, Plymouth Governor William Bradford did invite local Wampanoag to a three-day gathering where food was shared, and mutual aid treaty was signed and harvest traditions of both cultures were observed… However, the modern images of today’s holiday don’t quite match the realities of the time… and school children are taught that Pilgrims served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash…

But according to Michael Dorris; On the contrary! It was the Native Americans (not the Pilgrims) who brought the bounties of the land, since all these foods are exclusively indigenous to the Americas…

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In the article Real Story of Thanksgiving by Susan Bates writes: Most of Americans associate the thanksgiving holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast.  And yes, that did happen just ‘once’… According to William B. Newell; Thanksgiving Day was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 Pequot Native American men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance… which is the current day Thanksgiving celebration… The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought, located near present day Groton, Connecticut…

 For next 100 years every Thanksgiving Day, ordained by a Governor in honor of a bloody victory over the Pequots, thanks God that the battle had been won… This story doesn’t have quite the same fuzzy feelings associated with the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast… Hence, this Thanksgiving, when you gather with your loved ones to be thankfully for all the blessings, think about those 700 Native Americans who suffered and died in 1637…

 In the article Not Thankful for Thanksgiving by Michael Dorris writes: As the father of three Native American children, I am particularly attuned (but not resigned) to the huge store of folk Americana presuming to have to do with ‘Indian lore’, e.g.; from the– ‘One little, two little… Indians’ messages of nursery school… to the ersatz pageantry of boy scout/campfire girl mumbo-jumbo… to the ridiculous, irritating ‘Indian’ caricatures that are forever popping up…

Consider for a moment underlying meanings of some of the supposedly innocuous linguistic stand-byes, e.g.: ‘Indian givers’– take back what they have sneakily bestowed… or, in much the same way that ‘Indian summer’– deceives the gullible flower bud… or, unruly children who are termed ‘wild Indians’… or, the countless athletic teams, that have the emblems of Native Americans’ savagery and bloodthirstiness… and see fit to title themselves– ‘warriors’, ‘braves’, ‘redskins’,  and the like…

Thanksgiving, like much of American history, is complex, multifaceted, and will not bear too close a scrutiny without revealing a less-than-heroic aspect… Knowing the truth about Thanksgiving, both its proud and its shameful motivations and history, might well benefit benefits us all… But glib retelling of an ethnocentric and self-serving falsehood does not do one any good…

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And so, if one takes thanksgiving for what it is for most citizens, there seems only good to come of it. Celebrate it with family and friends! Who would argue that is a bad thing, if taken at face value, but it’s almost never allowed to be– just what it is. For some reason we have to invent a story to accomplish that… According to Felix Okoye; it would be better not to know so many things, than to know so many things that are not so…

Bullshit is Taking Over the World — It’s Epidemic; The Truth is Meaningless: Life Has Become a Bubble of Bullshit…

We live in a world of bullshit– its epidemic… people ‘just talk’, and they talk about things they know nothing about, saying whatever audience wants to hear and whatever makes them appear smart. Speaking plain bullshit has become a language for just about everyone, especially– social media, business, government, academic… it’s used to confuse people by replacing simple concepts with words that sound nice, but mean nothing…

To put it differently, bullshit is  empty of meaningful content, it’s just hot air… It’s new era of bullshit in workplaces… It was estimated that about four-out-of-five employees use buzzwords to keep up with colleagues, without ‘having a clue’ as to what the words mean.

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According to Lois Beckwith; it’s injecting this meaningless language into– websites, padcasts, webcasts, infomercials, textings, emails, meetings… bullshit language has tainted almost every interaction in workplaces, and beyond… Its become a sickness that has placed a stranglehold on the culture of work, affecting how people relate to and treat each other. It enables incompetence, iniquity and frankly, inhumanity… Language is merely a vehicle through which the bullshit is communicated…

According to Alberto Brandolini; the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it in the first place (its Brandolini’s law)…

In the book On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt writes: Bullshit is taking over the world and it’s certainly become a staple of modern culture… and the stuff is piling up higher every day; social media, marketing, advertising, public relations… reeks of it. Politics makes it sound holy– bullshit consumes more and more of the informational oxygen in the room… The fact is bullshit rules… One of the most salient features of modern culture is that there is so much of it– public relations, social media, politics… are replete with instances of it so unmitigated that they serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept…

Most people don’t have clear understanding of what bullshit is– when it starts or when it ends, or why there is so much of it. In fact, bullshitters misrepresent themselves not as liars, by deliberately making false claims about what is true but as ‘alternative to truth’,.. Hence, people accept it as truth…  Bullshit is more ‘insidious’ than lying because  while liars ‘substitute the truth’ but  eventually truth can be revealed… while bullshitters ‘manipulate the listener’ and have no concern for truth…

In the article Politics, Business, Education have Taken Over Bullshit by Victoria Heath writes: Bullshit is empty talk that has no reference to the truth and is produced with intentions to mislead and to benefit the bullshitter… Perhaps the paradigmatic example of this is the well-known boardroom game of ‘bullshit bingo’, where the challenge is for players to count up the number of empty buzzwords which are used during a meeting. Often they will be assigned a buzzword (e.g.; ‘value’, ‘quality’, ‘responsibility’, etc.). When a player’s buzzword is uttered during a meeting they are score a point. The player with the highest score at the end of the meeting wins…

What makes this game more than just entertaining is the fact that it points to the emptiness and disconnection from reality often present in management discourses. It suggests that vocabulary of management and bullshit are virtually interchangeable and mean very little… Often bullsitters goal is to say something without saying anything… to appear competent and respectful without concerning themselves with the truth… Reality thus becomes unidentifiable… It’s ubiquitous and it permeates, e.g.;  social media, politics, business, education, religion, even the news…

According to Harry Frankfurt; it’s everywhere; guard against it, reject it… combating it is simple: just don’t believe everything you– hear, read, see… ‘think’ more critically…

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In the article Guide to Neutralizing Bullshit by tylertervooren writes: Bullshit [bool-shit] noun, verb: foolish, insolent talk.. There’s a lot of it in the world and isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing; it just is… Today, its ubiquitous part of society. The amount created, transmitted each day is so tremendous that it’s no longer a special event– it’s more or less part of every day life… In the modern world, people have developed a taste for unbelievable hype… Sensationalism, no matter how true or false, draws attention… it’s world of information overload, and what doesn’t get hyped, often doesn’t get noticed…

Combating malicious bullshitters needn’t be all that complicated– but, before you can fix something, you must identify the problem… Since bullshit is so prolific in today’s age, it can hit you from almost any angle, so being ready for anything is the best strategy, but that may be impossible. Instead, more realistic and decidedly less bullshit way to approach it is to attack areas where it’s most likely to disrupt your life… Here are a few examples that apply to most people:

  • Marketing and advertising: The average person sees thousands of Ads/day– social media, TV, newspapers… and he/she wants to believe some of the bullshit…
  • News and politics: Due to the human appetite for sensationalism, the flow of bullshit runs very deep in this sector of society…
  • Higher education: For all the good it does, higher education has an underbelly of bullshit created by intelligent people who are more concerned with prestige than truth…
  • Work: Bullshit is mostly benign, but during the hiring and firing, the amount of bullshit by both employers and employees can be overwhelming…
  • Social Media: It’s the hot bed of bullshit…

Bullshit has become an  integral part of life and it can even be fun and exhilarating… However, when it’s the malicious brand of bullshit that you must stand-up to,  and beat it down with as much truth and integrity as possible… Getting it right is critical. Attacking bullshit with more bullshit does not cancel the equation; it multiplies it…

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The best decision in a bullshit-prone environment depends on how important the outcome… According to Dr. Wobs; world has changed completely– truth and clarity are replaced by– malicious hedges, vague qualifiers, mixed jargon.. so that the only way to make everyone happy is to be politically correct, which means– muddy-up the text enough so it’s just all bullshit…

Debatable: Technology Innovation Stagnation, Slowdown– Fiction or Fact– But Does it Really Matter?

The current pace of technological change make one’s heads spin, and it’s easy to think of the digital age as the most innovative ever, e.g.; smartphones, supercomputers, big data, nanotechnologies, gene therapy, stem-cell transplants… But despite these seemingly advancing technologies and hyper-connected economies… the data show that the world is really in long-term period of slower growth, and pundits suggest the reason is because of slower breakthrough technology innovation…

Hence, two questions: 1.) Is there a slowing of technology innovation? 2.) Is there direct link between the rate of technology innovation and economic growth?  

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According to Irving Wladawsky-Berger; data suggests that growth in world economies that operates at technology leading edge are slowing down… Of course, there may be, and probably are, many different explanations for slowing economic growth, but given the emphasize that most economists place on importance of technology innovation as the ultimate source of long-term growth; the obvious question; Is slowing economic growth due to slower technology innovation?

According to Tyler Cowen in his book, The Great Stagnation; most world economies have already ‘picked low-hanging fruit’ of technology, so it’s inevitable that technological progress and growth is slowing…

According to Marc Andreessen; innovation is far from dead and to say that we are entering period of innovation stagnation is hard to equate with smartphones in hands of nearly 2 billion people, worldwide…

According to Peter Thiel; current innovation has not created enough good jobs, or produced revolutionary improvement in overall productivity, or improved the living standards of most people… Yes, the Internet is ‘a net plus, but not a big one’… We wanted medical breakthroughs, but instead we got 140 characters… we are no longer solving big problems.

In the article What is Innovation Stagnation by Stian Westlake writes: Since the financial crisis there’s been wave of worry that technology innovation has slowed down. High-profile proponents of the ‘Great Stagnation’ theory, include; Silicon Valley svengali Peter Thiel, and economist Tyler Cowen, and economic historian Robert Gordon.

The subject has also piqued curiosity of economic heavyweights who are concerned about a wider economic slowdown, e.g.; Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Martin Wolf… But strange thing about this discussion is that none of it seems to have cast much light on whether or not the phenomenon is actually happening. In the absence of real data, it’s almost impossible to prove whether innovation is slowing down, or not…

Even contributions from luminaries like; Joel Mokyr (who argued against a slowdown) have felt surprisingly general and not terribly compelling. Indeed, one of the most fact-based contributions came from Bill Janeway, who drew on historical examples to argue that it’s too early to say… Yet although no one has much evidence as to whether or not a technology slowdown is happening, people seem surprisingly sure of opinions and keen to discuss the subject. There are no knock-down arguments, but plenty of conviction…

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In the article The Golden Quarter of Innovation by Michael Hanlon writes: We  live in a golden age of technology innovation– medical, scientific, consumer, social progress… Just look at the smartphone! Twenty years ago the Internet was a creaky machine for geeks. Now we can’t imagine life without it. We are on verge of many medical break-throughs that would have seemed like magic only half a century ago, e.g.; cloned organs, stem-cell therapies to repair DNA… Even now, life expectancy in some countries is improving by five hours a day: A day! Surely immortality, or something very like it, is just around the corner…

The notion that the 21st-century world is one of accelerating advances is so dominant that it seems churlish to challenge it. Almost every week we read about ‘new hopes’ for cancer sufferers, developments in the lab that might lead to new cures, talk of the new era of space tourism and super-jets that can fly round the world in a few hours. Yet a moment’s thought tells us that this vision of unparalleled innovation can’t be right, that many of these breathless reports of innovation are, in fact, mere hype, or speculation, or  even fantasy…

Yet there once was an age when speculation matched reality, but it spluttered to halt over 40 years ago… Most of what has happened since has been merely incremental improvements upon what came before… That true age of innovation call it– ‘the Golden Quarter’ ran from about 1945 to 1971. Just about everything that defines the current modern world, either came about or had its seeds during this time…

Consider; the pill; electronics; computers; birth of the Internet; nuclear power; television; antibiotics; space travel; civil rights… There is more; feminism; green revolution; decolonization; mass aviation… Also, birth of gay rights movement; cheap reliable autos; high-speed trains; man on the moon; probe to mars, beat smallpox; discovered the double-spiral key of life….

The Golden Quarter was unique period of less than a single generation, a time when innovation appeared to be running on a mix of dragster fuel and dilithium crystals… Whereas, today’s innovation is defined almost entirely by consumer-driven, often banal improvements in information technology…

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In the article Technology Slowdown by David Rotman writes: No wonder so many people are upset. They sense that they will never be as financially secure as their parents or grandparents… Anger over the stalled economy is certainly manifesting itself in the current presidential election… However, speculating on how the lack of economic progress has affected the mood of the country is risky… Although intense political anger had also broken out during periods of strong growth, such as; the 1960s… So today’s economic morass cannot be blamed entirely on lack of innovation… But does any of this really matter? So what if white heat of technology innovation is cooling off a bit?

The world is, in general, far safer, healthier, wealthier and nicer than it has ever been… We are living longer; civil rights are so entrenched that gay marriage is being legalized in many places; old-style racist thinking is met with widespread revulsion… The world is better in 2016 than it was in 1971… And yes, we have seen some impressive technology advances… But it could have been so much better, if pace of change had continued– it maybe a world where Alzheimer’s was treatable, where clean nuclear power ended threat of climate change, where the brilliance of genetics would bring benefits of cheap and healthy food to the bottom billion, and where cancer would really be on the back foot…

Could it be that the attitude towards risk (risk-aversion) has changed? People, often the young, then were prepared to take huge, physical risks to right the wrongs of the pre-war world. The early civil rights and anti-war protesters faced tear gas or worse. In the 1960s, feminists faced social ridicule, media approbation and violent hostility… But  now, mirroring the incremental changes seen in technology, social progress all too often finds itself down the blind alley of political correctness. Students used to be hotbeds of dissent, even revolution; today’s hyper-conformist youth is more interested in the policing of language and stifling debate when it counters prevailing wisdom…

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Today’s social media seems, despite democratic appearances, to be enforcing a climate of timidity, encouraging group think… According to Daron Acemoglu; it’s time for a health debate… techno-optimists have had too much of a run without being challenged… and it’s hard to think that we are in an age of paucity of innovation…

According to Michael Lind; government must play a greater role in initiating and supporting innovation at all levels… and it must promote collaboration among– itself, business, universities… to come-up with innovations that boost productivity and quality of life… Innovation isn’t over; but it won’t continue at all on its own, either…

The Technology That Will Change the World– Blockchain Revolution: Reinventing How Transactions Get Done…

Known by many as the technology underpinning the ‘bitcoin’ digital currency, blockchain has acquired a new identity in the enterprise. At a time when companies face new challenges in data management and security, it’s emerging as a way for organizations to make and verify transactions on networks rapidly without a central authority. 

Today more than 40 top financial institutions and growing number of firms in many industries are experimenting with concept of a ‘distributed ledger’ (blockchain) technology as a secure and transparent way to digitally track the ownership and management of assets– a move that would speed-up transactions and cut costs while lowering the risk of fraud…

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The blockchain revolution is about cybercurrency; it moves, it stores, it lends, it trades, it accounts… its peer-to-peer throughout supply chains or electronically initiate contracts… Blockchain is simply shared digital ledgers, and that might not sound like a big deal but it’s an immutable way to initiate and validate transactions through little or no human intervention… which usually takes days, weeks, months to complete…  it allows huge volumes of transactions to be validated automatically, instantaneously…

According to PwC; the market for peer-to-peer transactions is estimated to grow from $5.5 billion in 2014 to $150 billion in 2025, compound annual rate of 35%…

Blockchain is ubiquitous technology that will influence many industries, e.g.; financials, banking, music, voting, Internet of things… the list is endless… However, currently most of these applications are at pre-alpha development stage. With over $667.55 million invested to date in blockchain technology; don’t be surprised to see it slowly creep into your business…

According to Nic Cary; ‘blockchain’ will be the phrase of 21st century; it will be as commonplace as people saying ‘Google’, today…

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What is blockchain? The  blockchain concept is simply: It’s a business network in which members exchange ‘items of value’ through a ‘ledger’ that each member possesses, and whose content is always in sync… The basic components are:

  • Business network: A decentralized peer-to-peer architecture with nodes consisting of market participants (i.e., banks, financials…) Then protocol validates and commit to transactions in order to reach consensus…
  • Shared ledger: It can act as a source of truth for businesses doing transactions on a blockchain, i.e.; records all transactions across the network– shared among participants who have their own copy… And permissioned so that participants see only specific transactions…
  • Smart contracts:  A ‘smart contract’ can include a digital asset which is anything that has an owner and can be converted into value… Digital assets can be tangible or intangible, and a smart contract can include a digital representation of business rules that are embedded and executed in transactions. Its verifiable, signed, encoded in a programming language…

In the article Blockchain Technology by Bernard Marr writes: There is a lot of hype about blockchain technology… According to World Economic Forum; predicts that by 2025, 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain related technology. This means it’s probably something which everyone involved in business should take notice of… However, there’s still a lack of understanding about what it is, and what it does…

One way people describe blockchain technology is as ‘Internet of value’… It’s commonplace to sharing information on a decentralized online platform called the ‘Internet’. But when it comes to transfer of something of value, e.g.; money, assets, property… it’s commonplace to use traditional centralized banks, financial institutions… And even when using online payment methods they require integration with a bank account or credit card… Blockchain offers intriguing possibility of eliminating this ‘middle step’ by filling three important roles; 1. initiating transactions, 2. establishing identity, 3. facilitating contracts. Traditionally these activities are carried out by financial services…

Beyond the basic as a facilitator of value, blockchain is also used to store digital information, including computer code… The code can be programmed to execute when two or more parties enter private ‘keys’, meaning that everyone agrees that a contract has been filled… It can also read from external data feeds, e.g.; stock prices, weather reports, news headlines, or anything else that can be parsed by computer code– to create contracts which automatically ‘sign-off’ when conditions are filled. These are known as ‘smart contracts’…

Also, blockchains can be used to create permanent or transferable link between an owner and IP (intellectual property), or handle licensing issues, and even create ‘limited editions’ of digital information, securely limiting the amount of times a specific piece of information, e.g.; artwork… can be displayed, shared or copied…

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In the article How Blockchains Can Change the World by Don Tapscott writes: The blockchain is basically a distributed database. Think of giant global spreadsheet that runs on millions of computers. It’s distributed and open source, and anyone can change underlying code, and see what’s going on… It’s truly peer-to-peer; it doesn’t require intermediaries to authenticate or settle transactions… It has state-of-the-art cryptography, so for example; in a global, distributed database it can record the fact that a specific transaction was done… But it can do more– it could record any structured information not just who paid whom, but who married whom, or who owns what…

Also in the case of the ‘Internet of Things’, banks or other traditional institutions won’t be able to settle trillions of real-time transactions between things… hence, there is a need for a blockchain settlement system underneath… Blockchain technology is an immutable, less-hackable distributed database of digital assets… It’s a platform for ‘truth’ and it’s a platform for ‘trust’. The implications are staggering, not just for financial services, but for virtually every application that requires the sharing or transferring of assets…

Most blockchains are call ‘permission-less’ systems– transactions that satisfy each parties economic needs without knowing who the other party, and independent from central authorities… For many, the underlying blockchain technology is the biggest innovation in the 21st Century, it’s a distributed database where ‘trust’ is established through mass collaboration and clever code, rather than by powerful institution, that do all the authentication and settlement… This may all sound too good to be true, so what could go wrong? Yes it’s not all a slam-dunk, blockchain technology must still maneuver through some very key issues, and biggest is governance, or better yet lack of governance…

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The whole world of blockchain and digital currency is the Wild West… It’s place of recklessness, chaos, calamity… According to Steven Norton; currently there are no clear standards to govern how blockchain will be implemented across an enterprise. Some companies may choose to use an ‘established’ network, while others may opt for ‘permissioned’ or ‘semi-private’ blockchains… 

According to experts; blockchain technology is still at its infancy and it has many regulatory and legal hurdles, and even potential cybersecurity threats and privacy issues to overcome… 

And Winner Is– Prediction Game: Why Did Most Media, Pollsters, Pundit, Wisdom of Crowds Get It Wrong?

The odds of winning were between 75 and 99% just two days before 2016 presidential election… Most polls consistently gave Clinton a comfortable lead in the weeks leading up to the election… Of 67 national polls tracking the race since the start of October, only four gave Trump the lead… Of 61 national polls tracking the race during final weeks, six gave Trump the lead… So how did so many pollsters, pundits, news media, wisdom of crowds… get it so wrong?

One by one, all the predictions, all the forecasts, the obsessively mined data, the experience at calling previous elections fell apart. It all counted for nothing… According to Nate Silver; in this age of information-overload, it’s more difficult than ever to distinguish a true ‘signal’ from the noisy universe of data… One theory holds that the probably lies in the familiar litany of cognitive biases that lead people astray despite their best efforts to be rational…

Historically prediction like horse races, have tended to demonstrate favorite-long shot bias– overestimating the chances of improbable events and underestimating those of likely ones… Remember a  prediction is statement about an uncertain event, and its often but not always, based upon experience or knowledge… According to Tom Ensey; predicting the future has always been a dicey proposition but in the age of– big data, analytics, algorithms and high-paid pollsters, a certain faith takes hold in pollsters ability to predict election outcomes.

According to Nate Silver; the day before the election day Hillary Clinton had a better than two-to-one chance of winning… According to Larry Sabato; we were wrong, the entire punditry industry, the entire polling industry, the entire analyst industry have a lot to learn… According to Barry Kay; polls don’t predict the future, they are snapshots of the past and hopefully the recent past…

The PREDICTION:

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In the article Why Pollsters Got It Wrong by Paul Cairney writes: Think about what ‘pollsters’ do: They take small samples and use them as a proxy for an entire population… To ensure that the samples are not biased by selection, they try to develop methods to generate respondents randomly, and they try to get enough responses from a ‘representative’ sample of the population… This process involves all sorts of compromises and unintended consequences…

Every survey result is made up of a combination of two variables; demographic composition of the electorate… and how each group is expected to vote… in addition, some groups are far less likely to respond than others, so pollsters typically weight the answers they receive to match the projections of what the electorate will likely look like…

Polling errors can stem either from getting an unrepresentative sample of respondents within each group, or from incorrectly predicting how many of each type of voter will show up… For the layman, it serves as a reminder of the uncertainty in polling, and a warning about being overconfident even when the weight of the surveyed evidence seems overwhelming…

According to Mona Chalabi; journalists, even statistically literate journalists, can be dumb; it’s the reason why just about everyone failed to predict this election… And, it’s not just because the methodology of polling is itself flawed, it’s also because the analysis is affected by the humans conducting it… Personal experience, personal beliefs, and personal biases get in the way…

Many of journalists dismissed Trump with a mere 2% chance of winning… they simply didn’t know of any or care about any Trump supporters– they didn’t get it… And their personal beliefs also encouraged a bit of wishful thinking– they didn’t want to get it… Until we can find perfectly objective robots to conduct these polls, asking 100% neutral questions and communicating them to you the reader with 100% neutrality… then there will always be a polling problem… Humans flawed as they are produce flawed polls that are imperfectly designed, imperfectly conducted, imperfectly analyzed.

The OUTCOME:

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Sensible ‘pollsters’ admit that they might be a bit-off; highlighting their estimated ‘margin of error’ from the size of the sample, then maybe crossing their fingers and hope that they have not missed errors based on non-random sampling… But there will always be the usual reaction; opinion polls are useless and they’ve got it wrong again... However, there is no alternative to opinion polls. Like democracy, they are the worst system apart from all the others.

There is no other way to try to predict elections than to ask a sample of people how they intend to vote, and to use various prediction techniques to try and project their answers to the whole voting population… Humans want to know what is going to happen next; they demand information…

However, pollsters are fallible and their prediction are fallible and sometimes completely wrong… But, there will always be opinion polls… and as long as people understand what polls are, and what they are not– it all works fine…

Uncommon Sense Other Side of Common Sense Thinking in Business: It’s Reason Organizations Outperform Others…

So what is– uncommon sense? While ‘common sense’ is considered conventional wisdom, uncommon sense is a re-examination of that conventional wisdom… According to Dr. Nido Qubein; at one time or another, we’ve all heard someone say: Just use common sense! And while using common sense is important in business and following common sense is usually the safe way to go..it’s not always the right way to look at the world; sometimes you need to use uncommon sense…

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But people who are really making a difference are usually the ones who try something new, different, crazy… These are people who go against conventional wisdom, i.e.; this is right way to do something… Common sense said that humans cannot possibly fly but uncommon sense is reason that humans do fly… Uncommon sense is not about throwing common sense totally out the window… but it’s about tapping into uncommon sense that allows people to take deeper look at things, which are often taken for granted… It’s about non-traditional and different thinking

In the article Uncommon Sense, Key to Business Success by Julian Birkinshaw writes: Common sense is critical for success of any enterprise but in a crowded, ever imitative business world, the best weapon in business is simple: an uncommon sense that stand out from everyone else… What makes companies like; Apple, Google, Virgin… unique, innovative is their (un)common sense approach in business… Strong leadership and robust business models aside, a company’s core beliefs can have the greatest impact on its sense of distinction, the kind of distinction that can capture the world’s attention…

Very few companies stumble onto a winning business formula by simply throwing out ideas and testing them in proverbial vacuum. In fact, most dig out a whole array of benchmark assessments, industry projections, strategies and common sense in the hopes of forging a successful business model… But unfortunately, companies miss the opportunity to understand what really drives customers toward certain products, services, or away from others… While companies at bottom of the proverbial food chain compete with common sense, those at the top simply invent new ones with uncommon sense…

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In the article Uncommon & Common Sense in Business by Ryan Blair writes: Here are a few uncommon ‘common sense’ commandments that can help overcome obstacles in creating successful, sustainable organizations… Perhaps they might help you do the same:

  • You have nothing to lose and everything to gain: If you have nothing to lose, you thereby have everything to gain… Mark Zuckerberg  didn’t fear Google, he didn’t fear Yahoo, and he didn’t care about money, and as a result he went head to head with the giants…
  • Even when you have everything to lose, act like you don’t: Be aware of persons who has a great deal to lose but acts like they  don’t… People who take action and risk without the fear of failure are the ones that will ultimately build a successful organization…
  • When faced with defeat, rise to your feet: There is no substitute for action… As old saying goes– motion creates emotion. The only way to overcome defeat or fear of defeat is to take action… This includes strategies that includes, both common and uncommon sense– that can conquer the circumstances…
  • When people tell you that you think too much, tell them they talk too much: Thinking too much is how every great innovation in society is created… Every great idea came with someone who thought a whole lot about the unthinkable and the people around them telling them that they think too much…

In the article UnCommon, Common Sense by Rob Moore writes: A popular business misconceptions is to profit it must use common sense… But consider the journey of a ‘lemming’– it’s small, short-tailed, thick-set rodent found in the Arctic tundra… and whether true or not, lemmings have became synonymous with mindless followers of a herd that jumps head-first off a cliff for no apparent reason, other then others do it…

Similarly, some business leaders are like ‘lemmings’; they blindly follow advise of experts, mimic strategies of competitors… they have common senses approach to business… and like a lemming many of then follow a herd to failure and destruction. The keyword  here is ‘blindly’; they believe since its common sense and everyone is doing it, it must be right…

In the article How Dangerous Is Common Sense in Business? by James Heskett writes: When decision must be made rapidly, with minimum of research and due diligence, and it has no more than moderate risk or consequences, and it’s made by people who have accumulated experience and wisdom… then common sense is a decision-maker’s friend. But when these conditions don’t prevail, then watch out…

According to Duncan Watts; common sense can confuse correlation with causation… just because ‘A’ happened and was followed by ‘B’ doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘A’ caused ‘B’… Often it’s necessary to apply some uncommon sense, which explores alternative outcomes and doesn’t assume that there is only one correct strategy…

Great leaders test assumptions, question common sense, assume that the unthinkable might be thinkable… According to  Maplesden; uncommon sense means that you are flexible, agile, and able to adapt quickly and easily to new circumstances. In business, that means having a realistic understanding of what is possible but also willing to explore the outer boundaries, non-traditional, uncommon sensibilities… 

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Organizations do not win competitive footholds by accident; it’s those who first adopt a deliberate, self-actualized core belief, which is often an– uncommon sense, non-traditional approach that makes them stand out from the crowd… It’s not enough to simply have a set of uncommon core beliefs; beliefs must resonate and be relevant with consumers…

An organization must know and do things that its competitors don’t, such that– customers feel it and embrace it… That is really essence of ‘uncommon sense’– it’s set of beliefs that make sense because they are true, and uncommon because they are like no others in the world of business… 

 

Subtle Shifts in Business, Leadership, Management, Organization, Strategy, Innovation– Bring Big Results…

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