Practicality, Disintermediation, Transparency & Crowd-Sourced Innovation
Our company, Matchnode, is a growing digital marketing agency in Chicago offering an alternative to the Starcoms of the world (across the street from us). We have a belief (borne out by the data behind the success of…
Megan McArdle on the tendency of companies, especially large ones, to choose not to hear dissenting opinions — or worse, to silence them:
Why did they try to shoot the messenger instead of listening to the message? One answer is that’s what organizations do—especially dysfunctional organizations. As a young IT consultant, I sat through more than one meeting where we, or someone, tried to stop a client from doing something obviously crazy. Usually, the result was that the client did something crazy, and that someone went looking for another job.
Doctor No, that grating in-house critic, can be your most valuable employee—if you can make yourself listen. That’s surprisingly hard to do. Organizations exist for the purpose of doing stuff. That’s what their staff is hired to do. The guy who says maybe we shouldn’t do that stuff—or the stuff we’re doing isn’t working—is not very popular. There’s a large body of literature on dissenters, and it mostly tells you what you already know if you’ve ever been to a project meeting: Nobody likes a Negative Nancy.
Which is too bad. I’ve argued before that every company should be forced to have such an employee — and ideally one who is very high-ranking.
McArdle goes on:
You don’t want to let the perennial Voice of Doom kill every project. But if you listen carefully to the Voice of Doom, you’ll find he’s giving you something extremely useful: a list of almost everything that can possibly go wrong with your plan. Think of the VOD as your defensive coordinator, identifying all the holes you need to plug, and backup plans you need to have in place, before you launch. Instead of ostracizing your Doctor Nos and asking them to kindly shut up, why not give them a designated role on the team, telling you what’s likely to go wrong, and then pointing out when it is?
Exactly. There is no downside to hearing the negative view. But there is potential upside. And there is plenty of downside in not hearing it.
Reminds me of when I was told I didn’t understand the NCSA (my old job) business model by the CEO. I understand the scumbag selling scrap on the phone model all too well. It’s going to die.
Like their previous collaboration, Qplay involves a box that plugs into a TV — a tiny $49 box this time, looking a bit like a skinny USB hard drive — and a service that helps you find stuff to watch. But instead of tapping broadcast TV, Qplay sifts through free videos available on the Internet, using social cues to find specific videos. And rather than giving you anything akin to TiVo’s iconic, peanut-shaped remote control, it lets you control your experience using an iPad app. You can watch videos on either the TV or the tablet.
Qplay aims to provide you with videos of interest without ever forcing you to hunt down a specific video. It organizes them into something it calls a Q — a continuous stream of items on a particular theme, which it strings together no matter where it found them. As Flipboard does with text content, Qplay gets some of these feeds by scanning Twitter accounts: For instance, there’s a Q made up of all the videos The Verge has tweeted, presumably making for good watching for tech enthusiasts. As you watch videos and tap the Like icon, the app uses that feedback to help it refine what it shows you.
To say a lot of folks have tried (and failed) to nail this experience would be an understatement. But I do believe they keep trying because there is something there. It’s no longer that the web lacks good video content — there is now plenty go great content — but the presentation still lags far behind the lean-back experience of television. So I think Qplay is aiming in the right direction.
Having to constantly think about what you want to watch next in all but the most lightweight way (changing the channel) in a non-starter. As is using your entire tablet screen to show content, meaning you can’t do anything else. The river of curated content streamed to your television seems like the right approach as long as the curation is truly excellent. In a way, HBO is simply the best curator in the world right now. The question is when that world changes.
HBO is the best curator of content? I still prefer a crap USA reply of Fast 6, Gone in 60 or Oceans 13 to any artistic nonsense
True story: this evening, I found myself at a Comcast event. I drank the free booze. Had some hors d’oeuvres. Watched some 4K Super Ultra HD.1 Grand old regular night.
Here’s the thing: the people who work at Comcast all seem nice enough. They are human beings after all. And I’d never begrudge anyone from earning a living. But Comcast as an entity is like a horror story of regulation gone bad.
The Yanks buying the Sox would help competition. Two giants driving up the price for everyone else doesn’t help the small markets. You could argue that a larger Comcast is MORE likely to take on ABC/ESPN and the real drivers of cable cost, the content producers.
Google, which became the world’s largest online advertiser through its dominant search engine, had a higher market capitalization during intraday trading today before falling back at the close in New York to a value of $395.4 billion compared to Exxon’s $395.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Apple had a market value of $463.5 billion. Software company Microsoft Corp. is No. 4 with $303.5 billion.
Technology companies are establishing themselves as key players worldwide as they disrupt industries from retail to finance. Google, which went public in 2004 — 84 years after Exxon — has benefited from consumers moving to online services and content, a trend that’s being accelerated by the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets.
I suspect we’ll see quite a few more tech companies ahead of Exxon in the coming years. Progress.
First of all Exxon is a tech company. Secondly, why is a larger market cap considered progress?