How Google Works: Hire the Right People

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Hiring the right people is difficult.Finding someone you can trust, delegate tasks to, and who is able to manage part of your business’s; everyday affairs is an inherently difficult task — especially when there is no specific science or exact strategy to turn to.

However, one company is revolutionizing the approach to hiring: unsurprisingly, it’s Google.

Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, explains the company’s innovative and in-depth hiring process in his book, How Google Works. Google has always been known for their successful hiring practices, but thanks to Schmidt’s book, the company’s analytical and structured approach to hiring is gaining traction with businesses across the nation. Max Nisen, a reporter forBusiness Insider,argues,

“Google likely sees more data than any company on the planet. And that obsession carries through to hiring and management, where every decision and practice is endlessly studied and analyzed.”

But what about Google’s strategy makes them so successful? Let’s explore some aspects of their hiring practices and find the takeaways that can benefit any company.

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iTunes: Where Does Innovation Come From?

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Obstacles make for great innovations. When something can’t be done, there is likely a great mind working to prove that wrong. The Wright brothers were scoffed at for their ideas on flight. Both Henry Ford and Bill Gates were ridiculed for thinking automobiles and computers should be owned by all. Innovation doesn’t come easy, but there is inspiration everywhere we look as long as we know what to look for.

Walter Isaacson’s new book The Innovators centers around the great minds that created the internet and computers that have irrevocably shaped the modern world. The visionary ideas of innovators like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs gave rise to some of the disruptive products that revolutionized the way people live. I want to explore the story of one of Steve Job’s greatest creative leaps, the obstacles he encountered, and the reverberating effects it had on the marketplace and the world.

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Two Types of Customers Who Are Pivotal to Your Product’s Launch

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It's been said again and again, both on this blog and elsewhere, that the only surefire way to successfully launch a new product or brand is to listen to what customers say they need and then give it to them. No matter how innovative the product, it won't sell unless it addresses a need in the market. As an addendum to my recent posts about market research, I'd like to talk about what comes immediately after. Once we have proof of concept and a working prototype has been developed, we get to interact with potential customers on a less theoretical level, and they still have a lot to teach us.

What types of customers are these? What role do they play in our product's ongoing development? How can we utilize their feedback? All of these are questions that business owners have asked, and we have the answers. 

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Predicting The Future: Innovation Inspiration From Science Fiction

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Innovation is a funny thing — impossible to quantify, replicate, or pin down. And inspiration often comes from the places we least expect it, although if we train ourselves to look, we can get better at finding it. I'm fascinated by examples of successful innovation and how we can learn to emulate the behaviors that led there. We may not be able to get the same results by repeating the same steps, but I'm convinced that creating a mindset that is receptive to all of the clues the world offers can lead us to a place where innovative ideas are readily accessible to us.

One interesting (and perhaps unexpected) place to look for inspiration about the future is science fiction literature. One of the world's oldest and most notorious genres is also sometimes known as speculative fiction — because it speculates about future cultures that could arise as the result of technological leaps. Whether or not you enjoy science fiction as entertainment, you should be able to appreciate it for its ability to look into the future and its track record for predicting the evolution of the human experience.

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The Starship’s Failed Launch: Lessons Learned from One Product’s Failure

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As we pointed out in the previous blog, a thorough market analysis helps take an idea and turn it into a successful reality. Companies like Chipotle and Starbucks, who identified underserved markets/niches in their early stages and developed products that cornered those markets, are examples of this. The examples of success are everywhere, and for obvious reasons — they have staying power. 

But what does failure look like? What does it look like when a company moves forward on the basis of insufficient, faulty, or biased market research? We've explored lessons that can be learned from products that failed before, but there's one more major failure we wanted to address. 

Consider Beechcraft's Starship: after 5 years of planning, hundreds of thousands of hours of paid labor, and over $300 million in R&D costs, Beechcraft only sold a handful of units, resulting in tremendous losses. What mistakes did Beechcraft make when developing the Starship and how can we learn from them?

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Understanding Your Market: Analyzing and Applying Market Analysis

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So you've got a great idea for a new product or service. Great! What do you do next? Consider the market. Is your idea compelling only to you, or does it solve a real problem that others have as well? Is there another company doing something similar? How has the market responded to them? There are many, many questions to ask.

In order to answer these questions (both for yourself and any potential investors or partners), it is essential to conduct in-depth, exhaustive market research before launching a new business or product. However, the complexities of locating potential customers, analyzing competitors, and forecasting future trends can be daunting and, as a result, some companies choose to skip this step or only gather data that confirms what they want to hear.

Don't make this mistake! Conducting in-depth market research is vital to your company's success, and it can be easier than you think.

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The Art of Listening: Perpetual Innovation

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True innovation is difficult. If it wasn't, anyone could be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. In INC MagazineMauro Porcini, PepsiCo Chief Design Officer, explains that “nurturing growth and true innovation means taking risks.” The word “risk” invokes thoughts of danger, pitfalls, and fear. However, the most successful companies are constantly innovating, evolving, and upgrading as the market demands

Almost every discussion of innovation mentions Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but I want to discuss an unlikely company that I consider to be a master of successful, successive innovation. Most of us first become familiar with their products in grade school. Fiskars (yes, Fiskars!) created its first pair of iconic orange scissors in 1967 and now, 48 years later, the company still has fresh ideas.

Fiskars' secret: listening to customer feedback when creating new products. How can other companies learn from their success? Let's explore a few simple yet effective strategies for applying customer feedback when innovating.

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