21st century business models
When you ask children what they want to be when they are older, how many of them say they want to be a manager? I've certainly never met one who had such aspirations. In part this is because management is a pretty amorphous concept to a ten-year-old. But it's also because we adults aren't... Read more
A humble confession: I'm bored. As mind-implodingly, soul-suckingly, spirit-munchingly bored of business as Jason Voorhees probably is of Friday the 13th. Let me explain why, via a tiny theory. Porter's five forces, the 5 "C"s of marketing? Forget it. I'd suggest that today, nothing characterizes... Read more
"I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." —Oliver Wendell Holmes When it comes to managing their costs, most companies operate with a simple model. They start by trying to maximize their... Read more
If you were compiling a list of the world's most innovative companies, which businesses would top your list? No one would be surprised if you picked Google, Apple, or Amazon, but what about Wal-Mart? (Huh?) Or PG&E (a utility, for crying out loud)? Surely there must be some mistake! Or... Read more
One enduring change in the management lexicon brought about by the dotcom revolution was the term business model—how a firm makes money. The concept had been in existence for decades, but the competition between "old" and "new" economy firms, with very different business models, helped to... Read more
Years back I worked as an editor for the now-defunct Red Hat Magazine. While our circulation numbers were respectable, the department head wanted to see a sizable increase. In most companies, I would have been asked to do some research and present a publishing plan or a report on how to improve the... Read more
While the print comics industry has been slowly shriveling, an interesting new world of comics has emerged on the Internet. Known as webcomics, these new comics range from those professionally illustrated to those, well, not. Whether geek-inspired, or erotica (I'll let you Google that one),... Read more
There are a few things you should know about democratically run “cooperative” businesses. First, they're not all that unusual. They're also respectably profitable. And working in one doesn't require you to be a Marxist or wear patchouli.
So maybe I'm just getting old, but when just about every article about the Silly Bandz craze credits social media with the spread of the fad, I can't be the only one who thinks we're overvaluing the role of Twitter and Facebook. Word of mouth marketing has always been the best type, and social... Read more
There's one major advantage to openness in business. Like the Billy Joel song says, it's just a matter of trust. Harvard Business Review's Peter Merholz recently highlighted several successful businesses modeled on trust—and, though he doesn't note it, openness.