Why did you write it there?

Less is more:  “I know that half of what I spend in Advertising is just wasted money. The problem is that I don’t know which of the two halves is the right one.”

Just landed at Malpensa airport eventually I saw an advertising that got my curiosity, but a question rose to my mind suddenly: "Why? Why did you feel it was the right place to place your message?" Then another one: "What damn did you write there??"

I think sometime people forget the adv pillars:

Less is more” -  Being focused, write a minimal message that keep user’s interest!

Unique Selling Proposition” - Only one, very good reason that creates distintive value.

Be Remarkable” - Think “out of the box” in order to be read.

Think like your client does” -  What does really make the difference in the client’s mind?

Continue reading "Why did you write it there?"

Theranos. A strange world where burglars win…

From 4.5 Billion to nothing …

Forbes admitted: we were wrong: “Our estimate of Holmes’ wealth was based entirely on her 50% stake in Theranos…

Is Elizabeth Holmes a hero or a thief?

Last year, Elizabeth Holmes topped the FORBES list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Today,  FORBES is lowering their estimate of her net worth  to nothing. Theranos had no comment.

 Forbes admitted: we were wrong. Any apologise, no sorry, just: “Our estimate of Holmes’ wealth was based entirely on her 50% stake in Theranos…” then  Theranos shares are not traded on any stock market (now); private investors purchased stakes in 2014 at a price that implied a $9 billion valuation for the company…” then “FORBES spoke to a dozen venture capitalists, analysts and industry experts and concluded that a more realistic value for Theranos is $800 million, rather than $9 billion” then  …It also represents a generous multiple of the company’s sales, which FORBES learned about from a person familiar with Theranos’ finances”.

 Here are three reasons FORBES lowered our estimated value of the blood testing company:

Too much is unknown. Everything but the $9 billion valuation is secret. Theranos said it would replace traditional blood tests, in which a needle is used to extract blood into a vial, with machines that could do dozens of tests on a drop of blood taken from a finger. But it has presented no data proving its systems work.

Theranos has not delivered. Holmes has been promising to publish data for six months, but hadn’t submitted a single paper as of April. She initially presented the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a single test for herpes virus as proof that her technology worked…

Theranos’ target market may not exist. Theranos, which charges less per test, would need to dramatically improve margins on its tests, as well as get many more people to take its blood tests. 

What world we are living in, where a 19 years old girl can fund a corporation, get millions from professional investors and before turn 32, get valued billions without a proper control on what she is really doing?

We can’t say here if she is guilty of fraud or what really happened there, we can only see how the world of finance has skyrocketed Holmes as an entrepreneurial hero without control. Now that controls are in place it seems that it was a fake. Yes, a whole fake, not only something missing or some mistakes, the technology that would have overcome the classical blood test method it seems that simply hasn’t been developed yet, probably is not possible and if also it could be, the business model won’t work. Does it look like another “Enron”? Is she another Jeffrey Skilling? Clearly it seems that America is the country of freedom that really allows pirates entrepreneurs gathering billions from private citizen like Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987) or Leonardo di Caprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (2014).

Maybe people need to believe in someone good and successful to which rely and simply invest their money with no hassle. Elizabeth Holmes was perfect: a young pretty girl from a wealth family, no degree but a bright idea (no matter if that idea can really work), strong and brave and a very good communicator. 

The American Dream: be smart, get success and become rich. Meanwhile this dream glimmers for people, is not clear how it attracts also professional investors! How can it be that professional investors put their money into an enterprise without having enough control? $724 millions is not a tiny amount, and that investment has boosted the company to rise $9 billions of “value” on the stock market, gathering money form non aware citizens that rely on the finance world, the same financial world that has already created the “.com” bubble once at the end of 20th century and then the “real estate” bubble up to the 2008. That “financial industry” that now owns Preferred Shares of Theranos Inc.: if something is wrong venture capitalists won’t lose their money.

There are millions of young people out there that are attracted by the dream of developing their own business, many of them are honest and good guys and girls that simply rely on the opportunity to create their future. For the most of them it is pretty hard to find the money to support their ideas. What really helps, in getting investment into someone’s business today, is the ability to communicate and be persuasive more than anything else. The more you are able to persuade people, the more investors you will convince, the more money you will get. And persuasion, as Robert Cialdini taught us, is not based on real facts, the art of persuasion relies on the communicative ability not on the real elements that make you right. 

Venture capitalists seem have the Saint Graal of the knowledge about business, they seem judge properly ideas and business ventures in order to be safe about their investments. Now, if the charge to Elisabeth will be confirmed, the situation seems slightly dark: the venture capitalists didn’t know about the fraud? If so, the only reason could be that they are incompetents and the system doesn’t work - but we were already aware of it having watched those movies -. On the other hand if the venture capitalists were well aware about the big fraud, it means that they have got the advantage of keeping safe their investment and those money boosted Theranos’ shares value up to $9 billions.

Among all those millions of young who are building their future by developing honest businesses, there are some of them which are only focused on make money, no matter how. And, it seems, there is a system that make profits on them. No matter what they do. Is this the American Dream? Just make money not matter how?

Probably the bad and the good are hard to share properly: no system is perfect and there are around the world even worst systems in managing economies and citizen freedom, but we could learn by the failure of the american system and create a better environment in which freedom doesn’t go without control. Like an old Italian motto says: “Trust with no control is faith, and I don’t believe either in God.” Maybe Americans are too religious… 

Unfortunately America is going to vote for president nowadays and Donald Trump seems having possibilities to win, and this month United Kingdom is going to vote for leaving Europe: the Brexit. If those two results will be achieved probably we will see a dark time furthermore. Rumours say that Donald Trump is a shark in making money - do you believed he was a priest?- What values he will bring into politics and social issues it’s something that nobody knows, but some can already figured it out.

And what will be about the UK economy if this country won’t belong to Europe anymore? Who will buy property in London to sustain building industry and property value that made British so rich? How the financial market will work outside Europe?

Then yes, we should be able to invest supporting new ideas and rewarding innovators for their contribution to improve our lives, but our societies can’t allow any shortcut to become rich. More, be rich wouldn’t be the target of the life, have a life rich of love, emotions and happiness can be the life’s goal. That’s the change we have to nurture into people minds.

Cerco persone…

Looking for someone…

When we really look for someone to hire very often we struggle in searching the person who fit our requirement. It happens for almost any kind of job, level and wage. Why it happens? What are the skills that are so difficult to find? 

 

 

Cerco Persone in Gamba” I known the owner of this small bar in Italy. At that time he was struggling in find someone to hire, every day he had several interviews, he also hired several people but after a while they went away or he let them to go. “Finally they have ONLY to get clients’ orders and bring drinks to the tables…” he said. So the searching notice appeared on the high street: “I’m looking for SMART people” he wrote.  Many “people” later the bar owner left his business. 

My friend the British gentleman wouldn’t agree with me. Last Sunday we spent amazing time together with our families and in the very little time we talked about business he stated: “I struggle in finding good people, I receive CV almost every days, I do not read any of them, I have no time for it, I just read the presentation letter, if it catch me then I think to proceed, otherwise…

My friend is a real British gentleman and knowing him a little I can say he is a beautiful person. He is educated, skilled and proud of his work. His company near Nottingham employs some dozen of person who arrived there from many part of the world and they work happy in this good, almost centenarian, company. I can say he is a good person to work with.

The bar owner wasn’t so smart. He was well known in the town to be almost crap, bossy and not educated at all. He is the boss you won’t ever want to work with.

In some way neither the British gentleman nor the Italian bossy barman have really been able to find good people to work with. In the other hand how many employees we all known that struggle in finding a job? The situation is the same in that position too. 

 

WHO IS WRONG?

To find the right people to get along is a tough matter, we can see it with the OnLine Dating industry that makes money on the need to “find the Soulmate” that very few of us really find. Or the Recruiting industry that makes millions just matching employer and employees. We can only say that sometime clarify the requirements and be able to build the relationship carefully can help, if not in finding the best people, it definitely helps in adapting people each other, to create a common sense and a reciprocal acceptation, the possibility to enter in the other’s shoes and life, to share deep intentions and beliefs, understand the person means to become able in seeing the beautiful that this person can bring on the table. This is not “the shortcut for solution” when things are so complicated the solution can only be reached with a more complicated process. 

Maybe to become aware that the “perfect Soulmate” doesn’t exist could help in creating a process that allow normal people to fit each other. In this way one idea arrives from the almost new movement Poliamory. This idea has been developed mainly over a big assumption: “Because the perfect soulmate doesn’t exist, I can develop a relationship with more persons in different fashions and intensities and for different reasons, but at the end no one partner will be so perfect to fulfil the whole of me”.  You can agree or not, but this movement takes things seriously. In my opinion we could find the soulmate, but if you just wait for he/she that appears into yours living room I’m afraid your dreams won’t become true.  

Obviously your “partner”, in life as well as in business, has to fit some (basic) requirements, but the more requirements we set the more difficult will be to match all of them. The result will be that even the potentially good ones won’t fit.

Instead to set many requirements in order to clarify what we want, become able to define clearly just fews important requirements that are fundamental would be a good method for the searching process. It will become important to be aware of what those basic pillars are and why and how over them we are able to build a win-win relationship that create value for both parties.

That’s not something that works one way only: both parties have to be able to set their own requirements patterns properly. Here the point: you couldn’t build a win-win relationship with a person who doesn’t know what he/she want.

 

It is what Peter Senge has called Personal Mastery: the ability to know ourselves and know how interact with others and the environment around us in order to achieve better results.

The Italian barista was the first who lack in Personal Mastery so he will find harder to get along with someone else properly, at least in his business. My British Gentleman friend has a good level of Personal Mastery and actually he is working with many people very well (and he has a wonderful wife and children too). His issue in finding good person to work with is more connected with the lack of Personal Mastery that he notice in many people in the job market. 

But this lacks in Personal Mastery is not just related to the countryside. Here, in the Greater London Area, a city of almost 15 millions of residents, the lack in Personal Mastery is even stronger. The high pressure of the stressed life and the high speed in doing things definitely affect the requirements’ pattern for both parties, workers and business manager as well. A lack in public education, a lack in training offered by companies, a huge amount of time just waste in commuting, the high pressure due to high life’s cost make the life of  anyone harder and harder. Only the good …survive!

 

Zygmunt Bauman in his “Liquid Modernity” shows how the investment in getting skills in advance has no more value because you don’t know if those competencies will really be useful in your life. Things change so fast in this liquid world that even good, valuable knowledges become soon out of date. This is a powerful disincentive in spending time, investing in building up great strong abilities BEFORE you are required to have them.

And the problem become bigger and bigger: if having the right skills in advance is not possible, what skills people must have to be able to get along each others properly? 

the fifth discipline

We won’t go into them now, any minimal list wouldn’t have sense without a proper explanation, but the meaning would be clear now: we have the solution to find right people: creating them. We have to invest in building the proper relationship working hard on its development starting by some good qualities: that Personal Mastery. As a society we have to set the possibility to anyone to develop his/hers own Personal Mastery as a standard, not only get knowledge.

A society that is able to help people in developing Personal Mastery is not an utopia, it’s something that Novo Nordisk , the company that has the best CEO in the world (HBR November 2015) is already doing.

The best environment that allow employee to growth properly and nurture their Personal Mastery is what Buurtzorg the Netherland based healthcare organisation is already creating day by day.  (Strategy + Business July 2015).

The Personal Mastery is something that my friend Jurgen Appelo with his “Management 3.0” is bringing into companies around the world pursuing the enhancement of the people management methodology that would allow people to become able to master themselves better and better. His collection of good practices in managing teams and persons is aimed to get better results; and better results depend by persons; and people achieve good results when they live and work better and smarter… When they become able to develop  their own Personal Mastery.

The Personal Mastery is what we have to enhance in people at any level, this is what our society should incentivate to nurture and develop in each person, this is what companies have to support has organisational effort to become real Learning Organisations. Personal Mastery will allow us to create relationships that work and through them get along each other much better in life as well as in work environment.

Inversione di Marcia

Franco Tagliente, un collega legato ai miei esordi nel marketing, 1986. Un'altra epoca. Franco  era un consulente affermato già allora, io iniziavo appena. Un suo scritto di allora mi fu di grande ispirazione: La Scoperta del Marketing.  ( in questo blog )

Oggi ci ritroviamo con Franco a discutere di Decrescita e di un Marketing completamente nuovo, un marketing etico.

Io e Franco abbiamo sempre operato eticamente ed oggi crediamo che questo non sia più una scelta, ma una necessità.

Qui il suo testo sulla opportunità di rivedere il marketing.

(mia è la grafica, mentre è sul set di "U-Turn" la foto di Sean Penn e Jennifer Lopez)

Grazie Franco.

Qui il testo Completo in pdf

 

Landing Project aimed to Italian companies

Non sempre gli atterraggi vanno lisci come si vorrebbe.

In termini di business, raramente un nuovo mercato si presenta come una pista ben asfaltata: una runaway liscia e senza ostacoli. Mentre un atterraggio di fortuna comporta molti rischi, uno adeguatamente pianificato permette di conoscere il “terreno” sul quale si intende scendere ed evita capovolgimenti.

Here the article in Italian: Landingprojects