Is your company anti-innovative?

It’s been said that launching a new innovation from within a big company is like getting a bill through Congress. You spend a ton of time getting votes from peers whose buy-in is critical, officially or unofficially. You have to raise money, and defend it, over and over again. Promises are made, and broken, along the way. Then, even if…

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In strategy, a little evidence goes a long way

Pretend your new business has a choice: it can target high-end markets with a premium offering, or it can target low-end markets at the lowest price. What should it do? Rather than jumping to an answer, let’s slow down and investigate. One idea is to ask the industry’s top customers what they’d prefer. The customer is “always right,” after all.  Spoiler…

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Cool Kids in the Kingdom of Venture Capital

The kingdom of venture capital was largely built on the grounds that a startup’s founding team, above all else, is the greatest predictor of success. Success breeds success, so the prophecy goes. First and foremost, most VCs seek startups with founding teams that have been successful (i.e. been acquired or gone IPO) in the past. These founders are the “cool…

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Strategy by Storytelling

I love stories. They help us learn and can be powerful, wonderful things. As a kid, stories were entertainment. Yet as an adult, stories can also be a form of currency. In business, managers with the best arsenal of stories tend to have the nicest offices. Stories are the troops in the war of ideas. Yet despite how helpful stories can…

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Help! My boss doesn’t speak “data”

If there were a Top 5 playlist for things data scientists gripe about, this would be Track #1: How can I get my boss to understand the value of data science? We all know data science has done, and continues to do, amazing things. The movie Moneyball was about how data science can improve baseball recruiting. Las Vegas knows how…

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Has your innovation guru been tested? The answer might surprise you

Would you make loved ones fly in an airplane that hadn’t been safety tested? Would you give your child a drug that skipped out on clinical trials? Probably not (at least I hope not). How about your innovation? Would you bet your career, salary and colleagues on advice that had never been tested? No… of course not… well… actually… yes. Name…

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Do great leaders improve a business’s odds? What does the data say?

I use algorithms to predict if businesses will survive or fail. In this line of work, probably the #1 most asked question is "how much do you look at the leadership team?" Said another way, does the quality of a business's leadership change its odds of success? It's a venture capital cliche to bet on the "jockey" (leadership team) rather than…

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Are you innovating in a house of cards?

Hi - my name is Thomas - and I'm addicted to House of Cards. It's funny how life and art can rhyme. I developed algorithms to predict if new innovations will survive or fail. They are really, really accurate and corporations - usually huge ones - that launch new innovations all the time and use my analyses in their due diligence. But this isn’t…

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Don’t trust your judgment – trust the data?

This month in a Harvard Business Review blog Andrew McAfee wrote a stirring article called Big Data’s Biggest Challenge? Convincing People NOT to Trust Their Judgment.  It says management education and human nature encourage people to trust their guts and instincts in business. He says this is a bad thing, calling it “the most harmful misconception in the business world…

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A Tale of Three Startups… and how they mess with our brains

Do you recognize this story? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Entrepreneurs we’ll call “Alan,” "Ben" and "Colleen" started competing companies around the same time.  In the chart below you can see their competitive rises and falls over a period of several years.  The X axis is time. Consider the Y axis each firm's…

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