Tuesday, July 15, 2003

“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less than excellent work.”

Tom Peters, in his book The Pursuit of Wow references the quote above that was originally stated by Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM.

There's really not much to say about this quote, it is pretty straightforward and ties very directly into my explanation of yesterday's quote -- if you have a way you want to be, a thing you want to do, etc., JUST START DOING IT!

Monday, July 14, 2003

"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right."

Henry Ford was the one that provided the previous statement, and it's been published so many times in so many different books, that I can't really remember where I first read it. Regardless of the exact source, what he says is totally true -- if you convince yourself that you cannot do something, you will not do it, while if you convince yourself you can do something, you will try (and usually succed) in doing it.

Is this a business quote? I don't know. I would answer that question with a question: Is it not a business quote?

I think one of the biggest mistakes that people in business make is to underestimate their ability to do something and usually convince themselves that they cannot do it. It's all really a mind game. I like people who fly in the face of what others believe that they can't do in a particular position in a company. There need to be people that challenge the "rules" that are pushed down upon them. Further more, people need to be willing to break through their own bounded reality of their capabilities and convince themsleves that they can do the work that is set in front of them.

Throughout my life I have found that it is so much easier for people to say "I can't." Why is that? What if we did not allow the conjugation of the words "can" and "not?" That would certainly make "I can't" a little more difficult to physically say, maybe make people think twice?

I love working in companies that are very unstructured (i.e., do not resemble the military command and control structure). Some people thrive in unstructured companies, while other people simply collapse. One thing you very rarely hear (for a long period of time, at least) in an unstructured company is that someone "can't" do something. It's almost as if the "can't-do" attitude has been banned, and if you have someone in the company that consistently "can't-do," they simply die of attrition -- after all, no one (especially in an unstructured organization, where you sink or swim based on your own ability to convince yourself that you can swim) wants to work with someone that can't do.

Friday, July 11, 2003

“Is the internet a big deal? Or is it an over-hyped fad?
I think it is a big deal. I think anything that can affect industries whose total revenue base is many hundreds of billions of dollars is a big deal.”

This quote is from Andrew Grove's book Only the Paranoid Survive. Andrew Grove is the former CEO of Intel -- you know Intel, they probably made the chip that is running the computer you are using to access this page. Don't know if you have an Intel chip? Look for the trademark sticker on your computer or laptop -- chances are you do.

I totally agree with Andrew Grove -- the Internet is a very big deal. It may seem that the Internet coolness, trendiness, even cache disappeared when all of the dot com companies went bust, but the Internet itself is enduring and evolving. For those of you that do not think the Internet is a big deal I suggest that you try a few things (taking for granted the fact that you wouldn't be reading this Blog if you did not at least know how to use a browser) -- (1) Go to the website of your credit card company, set up online access and pay your bill. Wasn't to hard was it? While you're at it, enroll in online statements and save a few trees (or, if it makes you feel better, take a small step toward thumbing your nose at the US Postal Service), (2) Go to the website of your bank and enroll for online access. Once again, not that hard was it? Now realize that something the bank gives you for free just saved you from having to print "Quick Look" statements at the ATM (and pay for them), (3) Visit some of the big sites like Expedia (you don't have to buy a ticket, rent a hotel room, or rent a car . . . but look how easy it would be if you wanted to) or Amazon (look for something you want, I'd be willing to bet you'd be hard-pressed to type in something Amazon couldn't find for you somewhere).

If you work for a company (and if you do, there's a good chance that you are using their Internet connection to access and read this Blog) think about how the Internet makes your job easier. Do you work for a big company or a small one? What's the revenue base of your company? Think it's too small for Andrew Grove's quote to apply to you? Try and think about the other few thousand companies about the same size of yours in the city you work in . . . big revenue base.

Still not convinced? Ok, let's examine why companies are trying so hard to get Internet access mobile. Get e-mail on your cellphone, access the web on your cellphone, pagers that sync with your e-mail, picture e-mail . . . I could go on and on and tomorrow there would be something new that's not on this list. Why is it, do you think, that companies are spending so much money on Internet technologies? More to the point, why is it that you spend money on this stuff if the Internet is no big deal?

Thursday, July 10, 2003

In explanation of the purpose of this site -- I started reading business books by various authors while I was in college because, quite frankly, many of the classes were not very engaging, the course books were boring, and I felt like I was only getting one person's opinion (i.e., the professor's) about a particular subject. I will say that as I progressed through my courses, professors got more interesting, course books stayed about as boring, and I kept reading.

I decided that the easiest thing to collect from all these books I was reading was quotes. Why? Quotes are cheap to collect and, in many cases, I was able to pull away the entire message of a book in one single quote. There were many books I read that were boring and tedious, but I always managed to find at a least 1 significant qoute that at least meant something to me.

One of my most favorite writers in the subjects of general business, management, and leadership is Tom Peters -- expect to see a lot of quotes from him. I think Tom and I are on the same page about a lot of things -- I think we butt heads on a lot of issues (see the quote in my first entry below). I encourage you to visit the Tom Peters website and figure out why Tom uses this symbol: !

Running a close second, if not neck-in-neck, but in a totally different cateogry, marketing, is Seth Godin. It was inspiration from Seth that made me start this Blog. You will be hearing a lot from Seth on this Blog, and I will profile some of the cool companies that Seth originally profiled in some of his writing. Check out one of Seth's websites, Purple Cow . Think you know what a Purple Cow is? Bet you don't.
This is the official creation of the Strategize blog. Every day I will upload at least one business-related quote or thought along with some discussion as to the importance of the quote, my thoughts on the quote, etc.

To start off with, here is probably the most important and appropriate quote from Tom Peters in The Pursuit of Wow:

“Beware of easy solutions and ‘rules’ laid down by management gurus, starting with yours truly.”

As a side note -- I will always try to quote as accurately as possible with at least the author's name and the title of the book. If you like the quote, I encourage you to go to Amazon and buy and read the book. If you hate the quote, I encourage you to go to Amazon and buy and read the book.

As a side note #2 -- Yes, I would, in fact, at least fall into the category of a wanna-be management guru, so definitely beware of anything I have to say.