Oct 7th, 2019

Welcome to BBS (Business Bull$#!%)

I am traveling a lot these days. And with travel come long hours in airports and sometimes airline lounges. And pretty much every time I find myself in one of those, working away (or just zoning out), I inevitably overhear someone talking loudly on the phone. You can tell within seconds that it is a “business call”. Words such as “strategic relevance”, “cross-reference” or “best practice” get tossed around. Clients get called names in a testosterone-fueled debate. And laughing ensues when the subject of firing someone comes up.

It is idiotic.

The best leaders (who happen to also be the most successful ones) are the ones who express themselves concisely and clearly. Who spend their time doing the work and not just talking about it. Who treat others with respect — all the time and not just when they are in front of them.

Be one of them.

Sep 5th, 2019

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From (Their) Children

Let’s talk about something different today: Education.

One of the most common questions I get after one of my talks, is a variation of “What shall I teach my children in this world of ever-accelerating change?” Inevitably I start off my response with some variation of me (somewhat) jokingly telling the audience that they should begin by taking their kids out of school — as most schools just don’t prepare our children adequately for the...

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Aug 27th, 2019

The Brands They Are A-Changin'

In the not-so-old days brands were about signaling and trust.

Signaling is what a brand stands for; the property you align yourself with when you engage with the brand. The once glowing and now shiny Apple logo on your laptop shows the world that you are one of the creatives, a rebel, a non-conformist, one of the others and not a Windows user.

Trust is a shorthand for your believing in the product quality...

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Aug 17th, 2019

There is Always Someone Taller Than You

If you have ever met me, you know that I am tall. Tall as in “really tall” — somewhere between six feet four and six feet five (or 196 centimeter for those of you who are on the metric system). I am also pretty skinny, which makes me look even taller than I already am.

Whenever I meet people (particularly here in the US) who are taller than I, they tend to be broad-shouldered —...

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Aug 3rd, 2019

Applied vs Theoretical Knowledge

At be radical we developed a framework to help our clients predict and prepare for technological disruption. One of the core tenants of the framework is the notion that as a technology matures, you have to keep following the development path of a given technology — not just theoretically but practically. You gain very different insights into how a technology really works if you actually work with it as opposed to reading up on...

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Jul 25th, 2019

A Tale of Innovators and Status Quo Protectors

Building on my last post on “Forget T-Shapes”, let me share a conviction of mine — one which I have built over two decades working for and with small, medium and large-sized companies.

The story goes something like this:

In the beginning every company is in exploration and discovery mode. Ideas need to be tested, products and service being created, processes being established. Once a company finds product-market fit it turns its attention towards protecting...

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Jul 22nd, 2019

Forget T-Shapes

For a while now folks (especially those loosely connected to people management) have been talking about “T-Shaped People”: The fabled creature which is both a generalist and specialist at the same time. A concept I never fully understood – maybe as I never really encountered someone who is merely a specialist or a generalist. My experience was always that people are good at something and generally interested in many things.

The concept is, of...

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Jul 14th, 2019

Sweat Your Fundamentals

Something weird is happening in startup land as of late. For some reason, I see more and more pitch decks asking for money, whilst completely ignoring any and every explanation of how the startup expects to make money. No explanation of the revenue model. No financial modeling. No profit & loss calculation. Not even one of the all-to-common revenue slides showing exponential growth resulting in world domination (and gazillion dollars being made). At best you...

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Jul 10th, 2019

Three Plus Two Is Six

On Monday my dear friend, collaborator and Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist Frederik Pferdt presented a riddle to Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier at a luncheon we both attended. Frederik asked all attendees at the event to close their eyes and listen carefully as he vocalized some seemingly simple math:

“One plus one is two.”

“Two plus two is four.”

“Three plus two is six.”

“Six plus two is...

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Jul 5th, 2019

Past versus Future: Fight!

In one of my talks I describe what we have come to call The Four Horsemen — four of the most common challenges incumbents encounter in their innovation/transformation/disruption journey. Horseman number two is “Leverage what you have”: The unfortunate tendency for established companies to make use of whatever resources they already have invested into, be it people, machines, tools or processes.

Startups don’t suffer from the Four Horsemen — no legacy, no problems. But when it...

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