A Business Technology Place

Solve it!

I carry a paper notebook with me through the work week to records notes, thoughts, and action items. I prefer not to take my laptops into meetings because it helps me stay focused on participating injustsolveit the meeting. The content of a meeting, or other interaction, is often the source of ideas or even blog posts! Typically I transform my notes into an electronic system or put them in a to-do list. As I was reviewing my notes from this past week I found this thought:

“We want a formula to solve our problems.”

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What would our business be like if every problem had a formula to follow for a guaranteed answer of success? That would be great. Sign me-up. Books are released every week with answers to common or recurring questions and problems. They give us checklists, rules, and procedures to find success. The ideas, the process, and the results make us feel good inside. It’s a prescription for success. Let’s get started!

But problems in life and the business are rarely that easy. A formula will give an answer and quite possibly a very good answer. But then I think if all the problems had a formula to follow to solve it, and everyone could do it, then there wouldn’t be winners and losers. Everyone should solve the problem every time. But you and I know that’s not reality.

The next thought in my notebook reads:

“Formulas and methodologies position teams for success but don’t ensure it.”

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I enjoy the experience of a good game of baseball. Recently I read the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. The book discusses the journey of Billy Beane as a professional baseball general manager who sought a formula to predict the baseball players most likely to succeed at their sport. With the help of some smart data analysts Bean did come up with a formula and it was used as the basis to build some successful baseball teams.  

But even with that formula there was more required. Even with the latest and greatest software development methodology more is required. Even with the dieting rules defined in that book more is required.

What the formulas don’t provide is the ability for someone to read current conditions before making decisions about the inputs and timing. In a business environment I’m thinking about conditions such as when people will be available for a project, when cash is available to fund an investment, or the opportunity cost for two competing projects.

I want to formula to neatly solve all the problems. But I can’t miss the requirement to read the context of the situation to augment the benefits of following the formula. I feel the skill to read the context of a situation and then execute the play is often times what separates a successful outcome from one that doesn’t meet the goals. Easy to say. Not easy to execute. There’s no formula for that.

Onward and upward!

Thought readings 1

Each week I capture, mark, and comment on blog posts and news articles around the internet. This is short list of three links that I think others will find valuable for their thought lives.

  1. The Book Every Analytics Professional Must Read by Douglas Karr at Marketing Tech Blog.  This post hit me in two my passion zones of baseball and internet analytics. I previously saw Moneyball as well and like the parallels Karr draws towards measurement of what really matters for your eCommerce store. Moneyball is on my “to read list”.
  2. 6 Tips for Improving Twitter Link Click Through Rate by Linda Bustos at GetElastic.  I like this examination of how to get a message more noticed. Whether it’s Twitter or some other medium this is part of the life of a marketer. See how many of these tips you are already performing with your tweets.
  3. Pinterest quietly profits off its users’ links by Laurie Segall at CNN Money. Pinterest has received a bunch of media attention lately. My first impression was a visual Delicious. As for making profits on links I think that most people respect making a profit. But the company should be transparent about it. Social networks like this are used by the choice of the poster and reader. They just need to know how the game is played.


Let me know what links you shared, tagged, or commented on this week.