The fine art of saying no

In some odd way the reading of “What Is Strategy” by Michael E. Porter reminded me of the program “Ramsey’s kitchen nightmare“, where the celebrity chief Gordon Ramsey visits failing restaurants.

I’ve seen this program a couple of times – is really entertaining – but the first advice he nearly every time gave was that the restaurant needed to shorten their menu to maybe 3-4 main dishes.

And in reading “What Is Strategy” I found out that’s what you call strategy in Business lingo: The capability of saying no or make trade-offs.

The text have several examples of businesses failing in saying no through the 80’s and 90’s.

One of them is when Continental decided to try to comped with Southwest with their cheap-flights Continental Light.

Michael E. Porter writes this as a Failure to Choose:

“Taught by popular management thinkers that they do not have to make trade-offs, managers have acquired a macho sense that to do so is a sign of weakness”.

As I read the text, Michael E. Porter, means there is sources of choosing a strategic position:

– Variety-based positioning: This is based on the choice of product or service varietes rather than customer segments. Example: Jiffy Lube International is specialized only in automotive lubricants. That’s it.

– Needs-based positioning: Targeting of a customer segment. Example: Ikea. They seek to meet all the furnishing needs of its target customers, not just a subset of them. More traditionally way of thinking, Porter writes.

– Acces-based positioning: This is less common than the others. Acces-based positioning is about reaching customers in the best way by example their geography or the scale. Example is Carmike Cinemas. They are specialized in operating movie-theaters in towns with a population under 200,000.


How can get nearly 50% higher CPM than broadcast networks?

Here are my three summarized key points from reading “Note on Marketing Strategy” and “Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World?”
  • Positioning statement for is the premier online aggregator of premium video content among all online aggregates of premium video content because of its innovative service and many users.
    (the positioning statement form p. 4 in Note on Marketing Strategy combined with p. 1 in the Hulu-case)
  • How can in average get an CPM between $40 and $50 (p. 12 Hulu-case) when the major broadcast networks gets an CPM between $15 and $25 (p. 4 Hulu-case)?
    With their allowance for advertisers to “target specific genres, demographic groups, geographies, day-parts, or behavior to ‘increase relevancy to users and increase effeciency for advertisers’” (p. 12 Hulu-case) they where able to move classic tv-advertising to a more direct form. It isn’t as targeted as a direct mail would be, but they are moving towards it (p. 12, Note on Marketing Strategy).
  • The last thing I want to mention is how kept aware of their Life Cycle Management (as explained on p. 8, Note on Marketing Strategy). I can’t tell if they have made the right decision to prevent a loss to an upcoming competitor-TV Everywhere, but they reacted. And we are still waiting for TV Everywhere introductions to the market though they have talked about it for nearly two years.

Zinio is down
Zinio's homepage hasn't worked all weekend. Just the time where people has time to read magazines.

In 2005 the digital magazine provider Zinio partnered with a Spanish franchiser, AccesoGroup, to open op for a new market in Europe.

Zinio Spain was the first digital magazine provider in the country, and it gave them a lot of upsides and downsides.

At the time the digital magazines was winning land in the consumptions of magazines, but reading the case today already feels oldschool. Since has among other products the iPad arrived and seems to beat the success out of magazine providers on desktops.

And they said it themselves:

– If you want to look at the whole ecosystem of Zinio, you could ask, ‘should we try and partner with a hardware manufacturer to build a reader?’ The industry predicts that Apple will release an iPod with a larger screen very shortly and Sony already has a hardware screen on the market. Or what about partnering with a printer? Or maybe a software developer? Microsoft has recently announced a partnership with the New York Times for a reader to be bundled with the new Windows Vista system, said Suárez spearhead of Zinio Spain.

Things happen within five years.

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Key questions in market research

My three key questions to find out in my market research.

1. Where does EU-professionals get their news from today?

2. What’s the businessplan for and the European Voice? Do they make any money today?

3. Is it only i Denmark there is fewer EU-correspondents and a lack of information in EU-covering, or is it a problem in the 26 other countries in the EU?

To find out, my plan is to interview politicians, lobbyists and businesspeople concerned with EU-decisions. Hopefully starting this week.

Innovation is basically hard work

After years and years missing the magic moment where I come up with a great idea that will enrich me for the rest of my life, I read The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun only to discover that the magic moment probably won’t appear at any time. That is a shame.

But on the other hand is quite comfortable to read. It means that though I haven’t got the great idea yet, I should just continue to search for it, and step by step it will hopefully be born… and fail…and born…and fail, and maybe finally succeed. Innovation is just basically hard work.

But I guess that you need to have some kind of talent to see have you i.e. can change a mining and manufacturing company in to a masking tape company.

Another great point in the book is the frustration over bigger companies not ready to invest in ideas that leads to new companies that really innovates. It’s new for me that Google started that way, but I knew Microsoft and the Windows-era began that way. I’ll guess you kneed to have a lot of will in you to really innovate, and what is better than a good old rejection.

What’s The Problem?

The news about the European Union has a couple of problems.
They are boring, and they are not spread – maybe because they are boring. That leaves us with very few news stories from the European Union Parliament and the national media cut down their staff on European Union news because there are no interest in it, and there is a lack of identification for the readers of the stories.

With a news agency giving away free stories I hope to solve the spread-problem. It will be a very low cost and easy a h…. for the online media in Europe to get stories from the European Union. They don’t need to have their own expensive correspondent in Brussels or Strasbourg. They can just grab stuff from the news agency.

To succeed it is very important that the news agency will be able to produce “high-clicked” stories with catchy headlines. It has to be stories that the journalist would read even if he/she hadn’t written it. Continue reading

Four reasons not to do

On the paper,, sounds like a great project. Just the thing I want to do in Brussels with the Parliament of EU.
But Politico has some advantages compared to me. And even they can’t earn the required money yet.

– First of all they got good writers, with followers and a known name nation-wide. I’m me.
– Next they’ve got a supportive money-media-guy in the background. I have the student support from the danish government.
– Third they’ve got a great nation with interest in the politics, they write about. The European Parliament is a place the (at least the danish) politicians go, when they retire from the national Parliaments. Could I ever expect the Europeans to be interested in the legislation that those old politicians make in Brussels?
– Fourth they’ve got a great nation who speaks the same language, has some of the same interest and feel connected somehow. I’ve got EU with 27 different nations pushed together in a artificial parliament, that nearly any of the citizens of Europa ever seen.

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