Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in September, 2015

Endless Encores: A Brief Excerpt on Profits

By on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

With the September 22, 2015 publication of my second book, Endless Encores, I wanted to share a few excerpts to catch your interest. Published by The Story Plant, this is a business parable about People, Products, Profits—in that order. This excerpt is from the chapter about Profits. ♫ ♫ ♫ There was a modest rumble in the room. A flight had been called. It was not Daphne and Paul’s flight to Los Angeles, but both were heartened by the rustling of computer bags and rollaboards around them as fellow passengers-in-waiting began ambling to the door. It had been a long night, but now it appeared the delay would not go on forever, nor the conversation. “We have hope,” proclaimed Paul. “We’re going to get out of here.” “Hope is the strength that keeps us going,” said Daphne, watching people around her happily begin to leave the airport lounge. Since their flight wasn’t leaving, she had no reason to follow them, but she knew her remaining time with Paul would be limited. “When you set out to determine strategy, how do you think about building the business so it keeps growing?” continued Paul. “No sane executive wants to lead a company into the Dead Brand Graveyard, yet so many end up there. Suppose they have the best people and the best products. How do they get their head around a business model that is going to both work now and expand into the future?” “That’s the greatest enigma of all,” answered Daphne. “You have to think about recurring revenue alongside new revenue. Some transactions have to be there without your prodding, so you can add new transactions on top of them. If you’re going to spend money to acquire new customers, you have to balance that with what you’re spending to retain the ones you have. If all you do is spend to acquire new business, your margins will be perpetually squeezed. No fun, I assure you.” “My boss says that all the time,” agreed Paul. “If every year you start the P&L from zero, it’s virtually impossible to grow. You have to know there is some business already on its way from your catalogue of products, and on top...

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Endless Encores: A Brief Excerpt on Products

By on Sep 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

With the September 22, 2015 publication of my second book, Endless Encores, I wanted to share a few excerpts to catch your interest. Published by The Story Plant, this is a business parable about People, Products, Profits—in that order. This excerpt is from the chapter about Products. ♫ ♫ ♫ Paul’s phone dinged. It was the text alarm. He was afraid to look, but he knew the Band-Aid had to be ripped off in one pull. He turned over the handset so they could both see it at the same time. The text read: “We’ll talk when you get back.” “I’m not off the hook,” grumbled Paul. “Not even a little.” “Did you expect you would be with a simple text?” asked Daphne. “He’s your boss, not your father. How much did your company invest in the sequel?” “Millions. We’re not going to lose all of it. We may not lose any of it. We just aren’t going to make the kind of money we made on the original. Sequels in my business are supposed to do better than the originals as the brand and market expand. Everything we do can’t be a winner.” “Would you let Randy or Helen off the hot seat for mediocre performance with just a text?” “No, of course not,” said Paul. “I would remind them that there is no growth without risk, that we have to be willing to try things and fail, but when we fail we have to learn. It’s not failure if it’s learning, but there has to be learning. You have to capture that learning and harness it.” “I suppose he’ll say something to the same effect,” said Daphne. “Of course, I’ve never met him, so you never know. He could mop the floor with you to make him feel better.” “Thanks, I feel so much more chipper,” grimaced Paul. “You should,” said Daphne. “Think about the opposite spectrum. Suppose you weren’t willing to risk failure and learn. Suppose you devoted all your energy to protecting the status quo. Think of a company that isn’t around anymore that tried that trick.” “Kodak comes to mind,” said Paul. “I read somewhere that they developed the first digital camera in 1975,...

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Endless Encores: A Brief Excerpt on People

By on Sep 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

With the September 22, 2015 publication of my second book, Endless Encores, I wanted to share a few excerpts to catch your interest. Published by The Story Plant, this is a business parable about People, Products, Profits—in that order. This excerpt is from the chapter about People. ♫ ♫ ♫ It was getting late in the evening, and as yet there was no additional update on the flight departures. At this point Paul was sort of hoping it would go that way. To leave this conversation unfinished was not something that held much appeal. “What don’t I know that I wish I knew?” asked Paul, knowing that didn’t exactly come out right. “We put everything into this new game, everything we had to give, but the end result isn’t flourishing.” “Seems like we’re making quick progress with that wall,” prodded Daphne. “The truth is, you already know everything you need to know. All I can do is perhaps get you to rethink it in a different context. Take me through the project from the beginning.” “The good one or the follow-up?” asked Paul. “Why would I want to retrace the path of mediocrity?” replied Daphne. “The good one, the big winner—where did you begin with the original Ethereal Gaze?” “We started with a pitch. We’d been kicking around this concept for a few years, the idea of an enormous war game, galactic in scope, but without a lot of weapons—without any bullets, or tactical bombs, or spleens exploding, any of the normal shooter stuff that was leaping off the shelf. We said we’d try to do it with clever ideas of strategy, mind-blowing graphics, a full symphonic soundtrack, and characters that made you believe they were real.” “Sounds visionary, heck of an agenda for a library of program code,” lauded Daphne. “You even went against the grain and tried to build something that wasn’t a proven big seller. But tell me, and I sort of asked you this before but it is worth repeating, who is we?” “We, the team,” answered Paul. “The core design group, the people I see every day who completely know this stuff, who come up with the ideas that make it happen.” “Cool, got it,...

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