We’re on a Journey to the Vanishing Point: Google’s Project Glass and Why You Should Care

It started as a rumor.  It rippled through social networks.  Then came stories by Nick Bilton at the New York Times in December 2011, Seth Weintrab at 9TO5 Google and most recently again from Nick Bilton in a follow-up article about testing prototypes of “Google Glasses.” And Steven Levy at Wired recounted some deep history and added perspective and background elements about the project, now known as Project Glass.

Google CEO, Larry Page Sports New Google Glasses
(Flickr / Thomas Hawk)

This much we know.  According to many reports, an official demo video, and individuals who recently saw Larry Page wearing the glasses at a party, these high-tech glasses superimpose critical information and alerts as one interacts with the physical world, in realtime.  They are essentially a heads-up display for daily life. And if it catches on and moves beyond geekdom, it could be a winner in the interface wars. And no matter how much you want it, whatever you see is a prototype, not yet a product for sale.

But Google’s Project Glass is about more than a new mobile or wearable device – it’s about what we call the vanishing point.  Smartphones and tablets are only the first step on a journey to operationally merge the digital and physical worlds. Continue reading

Competition and the Elastic Enterprise: Business Platforms, Personal Biometrics and Strategic Options: Nike and FuelBand

How does a sports shoe manufacturer grow?  Well if it was the 1980s or 1990’s, you would get sport celebrities, use high technology materials, create great designs, diversify your merchandise, and go global with sales and manufacturing.  Nike did exceedingly well with that model.  Today you still do all of that but you do more…

If you’re at the top of your game, you “just do it,” differently.  You do it as an elastic enterprise.   Nike is well on its way to becoming an elastic enterprise.  And it’s already reaping the benefits of an elastic strategy with a robust strategic options portfolio.

Nike’s FuelBand, a recently launched high-tech electronic wristband, is another component in Nike’s elastic journey that highlights its strategy. Continue reading

Competition and the Elastic Enterprise: The Advantage of Elastic Strategy and Strategic Options Thinking – The Case of Apple TV

We think a key ingredient of sustainable future business success is an elastic strategy with a strong strategic options portfolio.  There’s a classic example of that out there right now – Apple TV.

In Walter Isaacson’s celebrated biography, Steve Jobs, he quotes Steve Jobs as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use…  It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.”  But what got the world talking was, “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

Among all the products that Apple is pursuing it still has time for television.

Going further into TV would involve a major multi-pronged strategy.  It’s about capitalizing on the competitive advantages that Apple has developed and has as an elastic enterprise.  Let’s take a closer look.

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Competition and the Elastic Enterprise: What Barnes & Noble Must do with Nook

I admire Barnes & Noble. The company has guts. I most admire Barnes and Noble’s (B&N) ability to reinvent itself. In fact its recent success with its Nook digital business put them on a path to become an elastic enterprise. So why did a company that I admire for its moves to greater elasticity lose 30% of its stock value in a single week?

Well, B&N’s Nook business has been a mixed blessing. The Nook business revenue is growing at double digits but so are expenses. Such performance puts the entire company in the red. To make matters worse, the Nook business requires more investment and is unlikely to be profitable anytime soon – despite its meteoric topline growth.

In the first week of January 2012, B&N management rattled its investors with a one-two punch: downward guidance and an announcement that the company would explore its “strategic options” regarding its Nook digital business. Shares of B&N stock (NYSE:BKS) plummeted. Continue reading

Just Added Chapter 3

We’ve been extremely busy finalising the Elastic Enterprise and that meant the proof reading of Chapter 3 went onto the back burner. However, it is now available – please go to the online version where you can also download a PDF. Thanks to everyone who has so far sent us emails and argued with us over omissions as well as definitions and logic. We really appreciate it.

Much Ado about Apps – A Long Transformative Tail (Part One)

By now anyone who has a smartphone or a tablet also has an app, or rather, several pages of apps.  Apps are ubiquitous in digital life.

Apps alone can provide business benefit.  But apps plus a business platform, plus a business ecosystem, plus universal connectors can  position the enterprise to become elastic, primed for highly scaleable growth.

In this post we will describe how apps are being used to create elasticity through the customer ecosystem, improving customer engagement, customer experience and customer innovation.  In a second post, we’ll describe how apps are used to make the enterprise more elastic through different ecosysstem communities.

"Fruit Seller"

” Fruit Seller” Louise Moillon, 1631

Let’s start with the customer ecosystem.  The Baroque era, 17th Century painting by Louise Moillon, “Fruit Seller,” captures the essence of the merchant and customer relationship.  The customer contemplates the basket of fruit and considers whether the product might fulfill a need.  The painting embodies the customer lifecycle, as it has existed for eons, in one dramatic and artistic moment.

But today, the customer ecosystem expresses the dimensions of customer life in a highly connected world.  Customers talk with other customers.  Customers talk with competitors.  Customers share experiences about products.  Customers help other customers.  And in some cases, customers help companies make products and services better.  With the right app strategy an enterprise can engage the customer in ways never possible before, transform their company and create a long tail for competitive growth.

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Walmart and The Power of the Business Platform

Walmart, Kosmix and @WalmartLabs

Walmart is no stranger to the power of business platforms. Walmart was one of the first companies to invest heavily (estimated at $300 Million in 1989) in a business platform as a means to empower radical business growth. Walmart used its integrated logistics business platform to grow from roughly $44.9 Billion in 1993 to over $400 Billion today. Since 1993, Walmart has extended that business platform to create a far-flung and engaged business ecosystem with thousands of supply chain partners.

But, Walmart has not scored well in Internet retailing, nor has it effectively incorporated its customers into its business ecosystem. While Walmart is the undisputed leader in terrestrial retailing, it lags in digital marketing and digital retailing.

That may be about to change.

Continue reading