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Showing posts from November, 2017

Kacharagadla Featured Article

The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

Twelve Business Books to Read in 2017

Reading recommendations from the Stanford GSB community. A reading list of books written or recommended by Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni and faculty: A good book is like food for the soul. When you want to curl up by the fire with a truly great one, look no further than this list furnished by members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

If you've got an entrepreneur or two in your life, these might make good holiday gifts, too: 1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, by Jim Collins Collins and his team did a rigorous study of businesses that excelled as compared to those that stayed mediocre. In his words, "Some of the key concepts discerned in the study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people." 2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz Cofounder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz keeps it real in this practical book…

Digital Businesses: The Metrics That Really Matter

User-centric firms should identify and track the core actions that can make or break their businesses. Traditionally, executives have used standard metrics, such as cash flow, inventory turns and operating income, to get a broad sense of the health of their firm. However, the game has changed with the rise of digital business models centered on the user. New metrics need to be devised based on the core user actions that drive value creation in such models. Threadless, an online T-shirt retailer, crowdsources its designs from a community of designers and curates the best designs through a social rating mechanism. Threadless relies on two core user actions: the upload of new designs by designers and the voting on designs by the Threadless community. A failure by the community to provide adequate feedback on designs would discourage designers from uploading new ones in the future, leading to a downward spiral. To ensure a healthy and scalable business model, Threadless needs to actively mi…

The 3 Es of effective board leadership

A study of successful board chairs across countries shows how they engage, enable and encourage boards Boards of directors often get media attention when something goes wrong. The board of VW, for instance, was recently in the news after it received a terrible corporate governance rating based on the 2015 emissions scandal and its fallout. Examples of how not to behave as a board are easy to come by.
Yet most boards are not like VW’s because they use good governance to work well. To find out what makes a board chair successful, the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative conducted 74 face-to-face interviews with experienced board chairs to produce a research project spanning nine countries – Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Since boards of directors are not always transparent, and the role of their chairs doesn’t come with a handbook, we hope this report will shed light on the workings of board chairs. Board chairs sh…

30 Under 30 In Enterprise Tech: Reinventing Business With Artificial Intelligence

In 2016 Alexandr Wang, 20, took time off from his graduate computer science studies at MIT. He headed to Silicon Valley to join his friend and fellow developer Lucy Guo, 23. Two years  earlier, Guo - a 2014 Thiel Fellow - had left her senior year at Carnegie Mellon to pursue her own tech career.  Now, little more than a year after Wang left Cambridge, the two are leading a $4.7-million startup. Scale, “The API of Human Intelligence,” serves such giants as Alphabet, P&G, GM Cruise and more.
From high school dropouts to Stanford Ph.D’s, most of the Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 Class in Enterprise Tech are augmenting Artificial Intelligence with indispensable human skills. Both Wang and Guo have substantial experience in tech, including stints at Snap and Quora. So they know that despite the considerable hype AI is, as they describe it, “not ready for prime time.” And, like much of this year’s class, they took risks to create something new. Scale offers immediate access to human-powered s…

10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Social Media Content for Your Brand

As a brand, social media is one of your biggest assets. Here's some advice from the experts at VSCO. As an entrepreneur or small-business owner, social media should be a top priority. From promoting your products to building a community to developing your brand's voice -- the benefits of having a solid grasp on your business's social media presence is essential to the success and appeal of your company. But don't worry, you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on fancy equipment or hire a third-party agency to do it for you. But that doesn't mean just throwing a bunch of random pictures up on Instagram either. Instead, it's important to be thoughtful, listen to your audience, learn a few quick and easy camera tricks (yes, you can use your smartphone) and eventually, build a voice, a community and a large following. To help you achieve all of these things, we've brought in some help from photography app VSCO's Kendal Kulley, an assistant editor and …