Seeing the Far Mountain

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

In Japanese swordsmanship the phrase 遠山の目付け or “seeing the far mountain” refers to the way one should view their opponent in combat. It refers to a way of seeing in totality as opposed to a restricted focus. Before one faces the opponent, one must face oneself. Paring back the layers to see true motivations and capabilities and creating a detailed internal picture from which plans for battle can be made.

This  applies equally to business. Whether you are re-organizing a department, planning a new service, or creating a strategy for success in a competitive market, the key to victory lies in ensuring that your actions take into account not only what you want to do, but also what you are truly capable of doing and really needs to be done.

Seeing yourself and your competition in a wide-view that ensures your actions are commensurate with your capabilities and the true needs of your marketplace.  Having this wide view means that you have analyzed your operating needs with a clear process that includes everyone (CEO to clerk) because, on fight day, only the honest warrior who has truly trained and prepared is the one who will truly see their opponent and will emerge victorious.

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Re-Branding

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Like the development process that most of us go through (via education, work, and the experience of life), companys do the same thing. Or they should (can’t be a child forever!).

So the question is, what kind of process do you apply when you assess where your company is and where it needs to go. And what part does re-branding play in that?

If you started out as a three-person team with a product and vision but you’re now a 20+ company with a payroll and a budget and a bigger product/service offering, how do you communicate that to the world?

The first step is the most obvious: your website. Does it contain up-to-date information about your company? And that includes the people – everyone likes to see a pic and bio of the CEO but there is equal interest in knowing about the people who will actually work with customers.

Also, is your site’s appearance in synch with your culture? If you’re a dynamic organization that is ready to go at all times, does your site reflect that? Or is it a mish-mash of bland colors and stock photo’s of people who look more like mannequins and less like the slightly grizzled but amazing project manager whose team can finish a product on-time and under-budget? Authenticity sells, even if there is a five-o-clock shadow…

Finally, if your site is sharp and service line-up is as awesome as you know it is, then the next and final hurdle is: content. As John Blossom wrote in his book Content Nation, what you say and how you say it along with how you present and distribute is the key factor in successful re-branding.

Every day is a new day, are you ready for it?

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Gnomedex 9.0 or what I did this summer

August 24, 2009 2 comments

ServerLogic attended Gnomedex 9.0 last week and we came away with a strong sense that, despite the surrounding news of a recession and a lack of surety for the immediate future, the tech world is humming along just fine.

The presentations covered a variety of topics (a personal favorite: Life Extension for Geeks) but the conversations on the floor outside the auditorium were equally interesting. Entrepeneurs, inventors, consultants, and tech company reps, all mixing together.

It was a striking visual of our tech economy at work and a sign that, despite a flagging economy, there is a lot going on and a lot about to happen. For a technology company the time is now to plan for growth. As the rest of the economy just begins to get back on its feet smart companies are planning for their success, investing in the right technologies and people with an eye to the future.

And that’s what I did this summer.

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Verizon’s 4G Service

August 17, 2009 Leave a comment

John Cook has reported that Verizon has successfully completed data calls as part of their testing of 4G service in Seattle and Boston.

Verizon’s service is a direct competitor to ClearWire’s WiMax service. Expansion of connection choices in the Seattle market can only be a good thing for consumers and businesses who are always looking for the next best thing at a good price (no news on price from Verizon though as the service is not slated for deployment until next year).

As people and business become more mobile, the timing for internet access that blankets an area is very good. Companies that connect people to people and opportunities to opportunities will be very welcome in Seattle’s climate of small business start-ups and consumers who value being connected anywhere and anytime.

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Microsoft Storefront Logo?

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

In February Microsoft announced the appointment of David Porter as VP of Stores. Porter, formerly of Dreamworks after many years as an exec at Wal-mart, will head MSFT’s new initiative to reach consumers directly and grow their brand awareness through the deployment of Microsoft products and services distributed through brick-and-mortar stores.

Today, online tech blog Gizmodo posted that the Redmond software giant has decided upon a logo for this initiative. Whether true or not, this is an exciting next step for those of us excited about Microsoft’s storefront initiative (the first two stores are rumored to be in CA and AZ).

As with Microsoft or any company, brand awareness and opening additional lines of communication are key for companies intent on growth. While many cannot deploy the same resources as Microsoft, they can think about who they are what they offer. From that point, it is a matter of following the path set and connecting the dots for their customers.

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NYC Experimenting with Bikes

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

In this article from today’s New York Times, the city is experimenting with a bike-sharing program along the lines of similiar ones in Paris and Amsterdam. The rise of these efforts in other countries coupled with interest from US cities (including Seattle) is an ecouraging sign from the perspective of climate change and traffic congestion.

These efforts are also an encourging sign of how people are more interested in sharing resources towards a common good that benefits them on an individual level. In business and employment trends, we are seeing a rise of partnerships for specific projects as well as more long-term strategic efforts.

This is especially true for small companies intent on growth. Those that are more open to sharing resources to a common goal are most often the ones that are also open to innovation. Being open can also mean having a business plan that one is proud of and good business plans are the by-product of good practices, vision, and, ethics. These are attributes and values independent of business and market fluctuations and they provide a company with the necessary cultural base to grow.

When you’re strapped for resources but you still have to grow in order to survive and thrive, sharing makes sense.

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WTIA – Xconomy Battle of the Bands

Last night, along with several other companies and the WTIA, ServerLogic co-sponsored The Exconomy Battle of the Tech Bands at the Pyramid Brewery in Seattle.

It was a great evening of innovative musicians and fun people from the technology community in Seattle. Kudo’s to the 5 finalists who all did a great job in wowing the crowd! They were:

Afraid of Figs
(representing MorphoTrak, Robert Half Technology)
http://www.afraidoffigs.com/

Between These Lines
(representing HP)
http://www.myspace.com/betweentheselinesrock

Indigo Soul
(representing Microsoft, Adobe, Caiman Consulting)
http://www.indigosoul.com/

Juda’s Wake
(representing Microsoft)
http://www.myspace.com/judaswake

Lions Ambition
(representing Boeing)
http://www.myspace.com/lionsambition

Equally as exciting was the conversation before and after the music. There was talk of a lot of innovation and upcoming projects and initiatives. People and companies are optimistic of their futures. A great evening!

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