I am Mikal Lewis, a Seattle based Product Leader and entrepreneur. This blog focuses on the intersection of philosophy, design, and business strategy specifically as it relates to technology.
Growing up in Baltimore, I got in a lot of fights – more than I’d like to admit, but probably fewer than my memory serves. One particular fight, at age twelve, stands out in my memory.
In my neighborhood there was a pecking order. And I, a skinny kid with an undersized stature, needed to cement myself at the top of my crew
Way back in the 20th century, 1994 to be exact, a price war was raging between the Daily News and the New York Post for the price of New York’s Daily Tabloid Newspaper. The lessons of this exercise in game theory provides insight into the ongoing console wars between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. In addition, Sony’s CES announcement that it will not be launching PS4 at the 2012 E3 conference (E3 is the video game industry’s largest conference) is one of the best illustrations of game theory seen in recent years.
A few weekends ago, I watched the movie version of Freakonomics (available on Netflix instant streaming here). Except for the film’s final section, “Freakonomics: The Movie” covers exactly the same topics as the first book in a more digestible format.The final section covers a test conducted at a Chicago Heights High School, exploring the question: “Can a ninth grader be bribed to succeed?”. (Note: in discussing the ideas presented, I will discuss a few ‘spoilers’ from the movie).
Without going into too much detail, the test identified underperforming students and enlisted in a program which enabled them to potentially win
‘We dropped our shorts to make more money. Hope you don’t mind.’
(this excerpt is a bit lengthy but I find the in the trenches Starbucks anecdote interesting, hopefully you find it worth it!)
. . . Now, Starbucks was hiring hundreds of specialists from the outside, many from management positions at Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other fast-food chains. When I joined the company, we made fun of those companies. Now, just three years later, we had been forced to hiring them. But bringing them on staff also meant changing the culture of the company, and in doing so changing the heart of the brand.
I recall . . .
As an intern sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry leading up to the 2004 Presidential elections the company I was working for had its sales force in a stupor. Everyone was deathly afraid of Kerry being elected. The consensus was that if John Kerry was elected it would mean death for our jobs.
Second post in the ‘Is Nook a Kindle Killer?’ series by Mikal Lewis.
At the conclusion of the last post on Barnes & Noble’s strategy I wrote:
What I would do if I was Barnes and Noble:
- Discover what business you’re in. You’re not in the book selling business. You decided that long ago when you let Amazon run away with online book retailing. . .
While this follow on has been delayed- lets resume there.