Breaking the “Curse of Too Much Knowledge”

A great passage from Jeffrey Fox’s best selling first book How to Become CEO has stuck with me over the years. Fox recounted how one of the U.S. automakers, desperate to improve gas mileage during the 1970s energy crisis, called on its engineers to redesign its cars to be less heavy, improving gas mileage. But veteran engineers insisted that just couldn’t be done. Doing so, they said, would be unsafe, impractical and impossible. They were wrong.

The automaker brought in younger, recent engineering grads with less experience, who proceeded to shed hundreds of pounds off the cars with no adverse safety impact. The new engineers were successful because they were not constrained by preconceptions; they didn’t “know enough” to conclude the task was impossible!

The Man Who Knew Too Much (classic 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film)This story is a great example of what my business friend and colleague Neil Baron calls “the curse of too much knowledge.”

Neil Baron is managing director of Baron Strategic Partners, a business management consulting firm with experience in developing value propositions. I have known Neil for a few years now and have enjoyed many of his presentations at past ProductCamp Boston and Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) events.

Recently, Neil led a Creating Compelling Value Propositions workshop, for which Tench Forbes wrote up a great summary for the BPMA website. During that workshop, Neil said the ‘curse of too much knowledge’ is a major inhibitor to successfully creating a value prop that resonates with prospective customers. From the BPMA summary:

A big challenge is that we assume that our customers know as much as we do about the product. Our own knowledge gets in the way. Companies have an advanced understanding of the technology because they live with it every day. Customers, even those with PhDs, are not at the same level of expertise. This makes it hard for vendors to relate to their customers. It is nobody’s fault. It is just how our brains are wired.

Neil then offers a solution which happens to coincide very closely with how that US automaker lightened the weight of their cars:

Often the problem of too much knowledge can best be addressed by bringing in an someone who does not have the same level of knowledge as your team… The key is that they have the ability to question your assumptions about your product and your customer. (emphasis added)

This is very similar to advice from Michael Roberto’s book Know What You Don’t Know (a longtime favorite of mine that I happened to recently turn Neil on to as well!). In his book, Michael Roberto agrees with Neil that managers need to “seek out the youngest and the brightest inside and outside the organization” to “gain access to a different worldview” about your products and markets. And these two additional suggestions to get unfiltered points of view appear particularly relevant to breaking the curse of too much knowledge:

  • Seek-out-unfiltered-information-go-out-to-peripheryGo to the periphery. Communicate with co-workers in distant geographic regions, units exploring new technology and groups or ventures outside of the firm’s core market. Focus on the disconnects between what people living your products every day versus the “periphery” of the business.
  • Talk to the “nons”, as in speaking with non-customers, non-employees and non-suppliers; those who do not interact with the company, whether for a particular reason (why?) or simply being unaware of your organization. What are their reactions to your product and value prop? Do they “get it” and express some interest in it? If not, why not?

Neil Baron offers a very thorough process in his value proposition workshop to overcome the curse of too much knowledge using tools and techniques based on cutting-edge brain science from MIT. Similarly, Michael Roberto’s book also addresses the root causes of barriers to getting fresh, unvarnished perspectives on products and customers, some of which also involve brain science (confirmation bias) and others rooted in the unfortunate reality of “palace politics” (pressure to conform; advocating for one’s own best interests).

A clear first step forward is to simply accept the paradoxical notion that we as product marketers and product managers just might not “know what we don’t know,” while at the same time “knowing too much”!

If you liked this article, you may also like:

“Collective-We” Firms Eat “Exclusive-We” Competitors for Lunch (and How to Become One)

Marketers: What’s Your Fastball? What’s Your Curve Ball?

Today’s “New Rules” Marketing Organizations Run Like Winning Football Teams

 

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Posted in Product Marketing, Uncategorized

Not Every Picture Tells a Story: Keys to Effective Business Storytelling

An appropriately told story has the power to do what rigorous analysis couldn’t: to communicate a strange new idea and move people to enthusiastic action.

~  Steve Denning, “The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling”

Business storytellingPanorama Software has just recently launched Necto 14, the newest version of its business intelligence software. In addition to many other new features, the company describes Necto 14 as being “visual, using infographics, graphic visual representations of information, to present complex information quickly and clearly; creating business stories that every business person can understand” (emphasis added).

I find this messaging to be exciting as well as timely, as I believe BI systems have not done nearly enough to enable business storytelling. But that should change in 2014, as BI author and thought leader Cindi Howson recently wrote:

The concept of storytelling is increasingly appearing in BI products whereby information and analyses are presented to support a decision-making process, a bit like PowerPoint.

Watching the Necto 14 online demo, I found some of the sample infographics told stories better than others. For example, does the following infographic-style chart quickly convey its intended business story(ies) more effectively than a more common variety of chart or data visualization? What do you think?

necto-demo

Regardless of your BI presentation solution of choice, it’s important to note that “business storytelling” is not synonymous with “infographics” or “data visualization”. BI tools can slice and dice data in a multitude of ways, but may not necessarily reveal any sort of causality. (More on this in a moment…)

Also, improving your business storytelling does not necessarily require advanced data visualization tools. Any organization can take a the first step towards better storytelling by following universal best practices when creating even the most simple chart. Data consultant and author Thomas C. Redman recently wrote: “As Edward Tufte advises, label the axes, don’t distort the data, and keep chart-junk to a minimum.”

The next step Redman recommends is also very simple: annotate your charts. “While annotations do not replace a well-told story [told by a speaker in a live meeting], they do give the reader some inkling of what’s involved.”

Consider the “before” and “after” charts (below) cited by Redman in his article. The annotations in the second “after” chart go a long way to tell a story how the company’s efforts to improve customer data quality were successful, while still in the form of a basic chart:

Image

Image

Looking at Redman’s “after” chart annotations more closely, they are not just helpful notes; they also comprise a second set of data (the key milestones of the company’s data quality program – by month), correlated with the monthly data quality measures. As a result of this data correlation, a time series cause-and-effect story emerges, complete with a beginning, middle, and (in this case) a happy ending: a once-severe and pervasive customer data quality problem has been solved.

This leads to a key point: the most compelling business stories are those that present strong correlation-causation relationships across many disparate yet complimentary sets of data.

Perhaps you have seen Charles Joseph Minard’s incredible 1869 data visualization of Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Minard was given the well-deserved contemporary recognition for this work by Edward Tufte in his acclaimed 1983 book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, noting “it may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn.”

Charles Josepn Minard's Chart of Napoleon's 1812 March to Russia (1861).

Source: Scimaps.org. Click map to view/enlarge image. See also: http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters

Minard painstakingly correlated multiple data sources, including the movements of Napoleon’s army over time across a map – marching to Moscow and then retreating from it – with the (rapidly narrowing) thickness of the line representing the number of Napoleon’s men, falling in battle as well as from deadly subzero temperatures reaching -30⁰ F/-38⁰ C. Minard’s data sources are brought together in a very moving visualization that tells the tragic story of the total futility of Napoleon’s Russian campaign and the misery of his soldiers culminating in overwhelming casualties that wiped out the Grande Armee.

Fast forward to today: Big data infrastructures and analytics hold huge potential to not only visualize and tell the story of the loss of life from violent conflict in hindsight, but also develop narratives that prevent global violence in the first place. This vital global goal was outlined in a recent Foreign Policy article: Can Big Data Stop Wars Before They Happen? Author Sheldon Himelfarb cites three key trends justifying optimism that the answer will become a clear “Yes”.

First, Himelfarb points out the increasing amounts of data being generated by more and more people through digital devices; and second, our expanded capacity to collect and crunch data like never before. But his third observed trend may well be the most critical to developing a clear story based on the root human causes that fan the flames of world violence:

When it comes to conflict prevention and peace-building, progress is not simply a question of “more” data, but also different data. For the first time, digital media — user-generated content and online social networks in particular — tell us not just what is going on, but also what people think about the things that are going on.

Excitement in the peace-building field centers on the possibility that we can tap into data sets to understand, and preempt, the human sentiment that underlies violent conflict.

Thankfully, the stories we want and need to tell in our respective organizations don’t fall into this same literal life-or-death category. However, storytelling that moves a business forward demands the same utilization of as many varieties of data as possible – structured and unstructured, internal and external. Doing so will require rapid, powerful data integration capabilities. This wider spectrum of highly diverse data sources must then be combined with clear, user-friendly data visualizations that convey understanding, empathy and a sense of urgency to take timely, opportunistic, successful action.

 

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Posted in Business Intelligence, Uncategorized

When the Right People Correlate the Right Information, Expect a Masterpiece

“All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.”

The remarkable gentleman who said this quote, Arthur Aufderheide M.D. (1922-2013), certainly lived by these wise words.

Dr. Arthur Aufderheide

Dr. Arthur Aufderheide (2008). Source: umn.edu

An energetic man with an innate curiosity of the world, Dr. Aufderheide was a medical school professor for the University of Minnesota who founded an entirely new area of scientific research: paleopathology – the study of the spread of diseases in ancient civilizations through the forensic analysis of mummies (or, in simple layman’s terms, think of it as CSI: Ancient Civilizations !)

Aufderheide pursued this unique research with gusto for three decades, traveling the globe locating and examining mummies, in the process defining best practices in the scientific examination of mummies taught and practiced around the world, while also aiding present-day understanding of the spread of diseases. His research would also rewrite history; for example, Christopher Columbus did not infect the native peoples of the New World with fatal diseases brought from the Old World as historians had long assumed; Aufderheide’s research revealed tuberculosis was prevalent in the Americas five centuries earlier.

Aufderheide’s innovative research revealed new insights by correlating new data drawn from new sources that had been waiting for centuries to be discovered. I believe anyone involved in business intelligence, big data analytics and enterprise information management can easily appreciate this.

Just as important: Dr. Aufderheide was the perfect person to make those new correlations. You see, Aufderheide came up with the idea for his unique research by combining his decades-long knowledge of disease with his many personal interests in archaeology, anthropology, outdoorsmanship, world travel and native cultures – the perfect correlation of his passions, interests and expertise. His research was so successful, inspirational to his students and earned the recognition from the global scientific community because he absolutely loved doing it – right up until he finally retired at the age of 86.

Of course, Dr. Aufderheide made a living doing this work, but he could have also “made a living” (as in “work for the money”) by remaining in his original career as a hospital pathologist, a job he no longer found fulfilling. Instead, at the age of 55, he wisely made a career change into academia. Had he opted to just “tough it out” in his old job, counting the days to early retirement, it’s safe to say his remaining life work would have been unremarkable at best. By the same token, a different university professor who found his work just as unrewarding most likely would have accomplished very little in the way of new meaningful research, even if he was given Aufderheide’s idea!

I see two key business takeaways from the story of Dr. Aufderheide and his successful life work.

First: Organizations that have an authentic culture of genuine passion for its mission will inevitably outperform competitors that don’t, even if those competitors are bigger with much deeper pockets.

Companies with true passion for their mission encourage constantly thinking and asking questons about the business

Source: iStock

This is true for a couple of key reasons; for one, passionate companies will only hire people who will share their passion. At a recent open discussion event at General Assembly Boston, start-up founder and CEO John McEleney emphasized the critical need for start-ups to hire with great care. You must “have the right people on the bus” and keep mediocre players out of the organization, by requiring any new potential hire to be sponsored/referred by an existing employee. Product Management executive Gopal Shenoy agreed, adding that former SolidWorks CEO John Hirshtick often said that “hiring is the most important thing you do in your company” – and expected managers to cancel any scheduled meetings if they were asked to interview a job candidate.

Also, while just about every organization wants to claim they fall into the ‘passionate’ category, many end up paying mere lip service to the concept. In contrast, the leaders of truly authentic passionate organizations empower managers and workers to passionately – and freely – pursue the company’s mission to the fullest without the drag of company politics, turf wars or internal arguments. Otherwise, an organization will end up with a lot of people just working for the money.

Second: Organizations with genuine passion for its mission have a substantial innate advantage when developing and/or utilizing technology. They will uncover more/better/faster new data correlations revealing new business answers drawn from new big data, information management, data analytics and other technologies. This is because they will relentlessly ask more new, piercing questions about their business.

And because they are free from the palace politics as mentioned above, those questions are not only asked freely, but also actively encouraged by leadership without judgment or blame:

Finally, I encourage you to check out Simon Sinek’s viral TED presentation related to this topic if you haven’t seen it yet (or if you have, definitely well worth watching again!):

Well, that’s definitely describes the kind of organization I’d love to work for. How about you? ;)

If you liked this article, you may also like:

Collective-We Firms Eat Exclusive-We Competitors for Lunch (and How to Become One)

When Performance Metrics Attack! Complete, Agile BI Requires Going Beyond Just the Numbers

“I’d Like to Have an Argument, Please” – An Innovation Message from Monty Python

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Posted in Business Intelligence, Information Management, Innovation, Knowledge Management

Why the Question “Is Your Product a Vitamin or a Painkiller?” is a False Choice

I recently read an article posing the well-known sales question, Is Your Product a Vitamin or a Painkiller? by George Deeb. It’s a good reminder that it’s better to be selling a “painkiller” technology product that relieves acutely-felt, pervasive business problems, rather than a “vitamin” product that offers some lesser, more specialized value.

I agree with Deeb that it’s much harder to build a large, scalable business around vitamin products than painkiller products, but a product-as-painkiller is not the ultimate or best product offering either.

In other words, the question “Is your product a vitamin or a painkiller?” is a false dichotomy.

The issues of trying to sell a vitamin product are described quite well in Deeb’s article. But painkiller products have their own issues. For example, one of the most frequent and frustrating “competitors” to a painkiller product sale is “none of the above”: To the sales manager’s chagrin, the prospect decides that while the business pain is real, alleviating the pain simply isn’t worth the effort. And the prospect just slogs along with things as they are, somewhat like Norm of Cheers:

In a real world example, business intelligence thought leader Neil Raden once recounted how the BI system he had implemented revealed acute “pains” in multiple business areas of the company. He proposed a prescriptive plan to resolve those issues, only to get brushed off by corporate executives. It seemed a lot like a frustrated doctor trying in vain to persuade a chain-smoking patient indifferent to his own health.

Meanwhile, new enabling technologies march on: painkiller products that once justified a huge capex in on-premises software, servers and services (CRM, marketing automation, legacy BI) are now offered inexpensively on a SaaS basis (SFDC, Marketo, GoodData) with more to come. In other words, more and more painkiller products are becoming available at lower “vitamin-level” cost and simplicity!

Another issue I have with painkiller products is they implicitly assume a business status quo. Consider Polaroid in the mid 90’s: like scores of other large companies then, Polaroid jumped in with both feet into ERP, the ultimate painkiller technology of its time. Polaroid even won major awards for its top-tier ERP implementation. While Polaroid’s ERP no doubt lightened many business pains by optimizing inventory, purchasing, quality control and such, meanwhile the company was failing miserably with new products and not addressing the deterioration of its instant photography market to fast-growing digital cameras. By focusing inward on business efficiencies, management probably became even more insular. I recall reading a Polaroid executive praising the company’s new efficiency of its instant photography “core business.” Not long after, in 2001, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy, with most of that “core business” long gone.

Clearly, while the cessation of business “pain” is important, such efforts are no substitute for the ultimate purpose of a business, as memorably described by Peter Drucker:

There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.

Drucker further elaborated:

Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs…

To Drucker’s point, I believe that we are still quite early in the use of technology to enable highly effective, personalized, creative marketing that engages prospects and leads them into becoming customers. And the use of technology to help inform innovation efforts is even further behind. Again, quoting Drucker (this from his 1998 essay The Next Information Revolution):

Half a century ago, no one could have imagined the software that enables a major equipment manufacturer… to organize its operations worldwide, around the anticipated service and replacement needs of its customers… But [information technology has] had… no impact on the decision of the equipment manufacturer concerning which markets to enter and with which products…

For top management, information technology has been a producer of data [for operational tasks]… Business success is based on something totally different: the creation of value and wealth.

This requires risk-taking decisions… on business strategy, on abandoning the old and innovating the new… the balance between the short term and the long term… between immediate profitability and market share.  These decisions are the true top management tasks.

The technology products that will reap the greatest financial rewards will be those that address those “true top management tasks” that Drucker noted – which I suggest comprise a third category of products that go beyond both “vitamins” and “painkillers.”

To this key point, there is exciting potential in new big data technologies, for example, that enable a whole new level of insights into markets, products, customers and competitors by leveraging all forms and sources of information. (Please check out this article for further reading, including how Peter Drucker foresaw today’s big data revolution back in 1998!)

So the question “Is your product a vitamin or a painkiller?” is indeed a false choice, and businesses that rely on painkiller product revenue are at more risk than they might realize. It is critical for technology vendors to develop a superior third category of products that go beyond helping customers simply perform today’s operations in a “pain-free” manner, to also help leaders wisely grow revenues in new markets with new products (innovation) – and also spread the word among buyers of these new innovative products in the most targeted, engaging manner possible (marketing) in ways that far outperform your competition.

Artwork by: BTimony (click to see original)

Source: BTimony (click for original)

The last question is what exactly to “call” this key third category of products beyond vitamins and painkillers…

I think “cure” is a misnomer (a cure for what, exactly?)

What about… “steroids”? (I don’t think so)…  Perhaps “miracle drug”?

“Popeye’s Spinach”?!

What do you think?

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Posted in Innovation, Product Management, Product Marketing

Collective-We Firms Eat Exclusive-We Competitors for Lunch (and How to Become One)

Poorly managed organizations are likely to function – or, I should say, malfunction - with frequent use of the exclusive “we” – a divisive verbal tactic also known as the royal “we”. I suspect most business people can recall being on the receiving end of a ham-handed exclusive-we remark from a defensive boss, such as:

We don’t do things that way here.”
“Will you stop asking so many questions? We don’t tolerate ‘fishing expeditions’ around here!”

“I was about to say ‘WE don’t do THAT here’, but our last paying customer just fired us… so now WE don’t do ANYTHING here.”
Image by HikingArtist.com (CC)

The speaker is clearly excluding the person being addressed from the pronoun “we” to stifle communication. Such communication is also a sign of a dysfunctional exclusive-we culture, in which information sharing is discouraged in favor of information hoarding. Exclusive-we organizations will struggle to so much as acknowledge business problems before they become undeniable crises, leaving managers in constant ‘fire-fighting’ mode. Hardly a recipe for business success.

Successful companies use the word “we” a lot, too – but in an opposite, winning manner:

“What should we be doing that we aren’t doing now?”
“These questions are important. We need to be able to answer them.”

What a difference! This time the speaker is invoking the collective “we” to equally include the person being addressed, as well as everyone in the room, and literally everyone throughout the entire organization.

Leaders in highly successful organizations naturally speak and act from a collective-we perspective. Even better, they build a collective-we culture, actively encouraging and supporting information sharing and collaboration. Doing so transforms a company’s collective-we into a powerful company asset capable not only of quickly solving problems, but also proactively finding them – and, in the process, leaving hapless exclusive-we competitors in the dust.

Know What You Don't Know by Michael RobertoMichael Roberto, a leading business leadership authority whose excellent book Know What You Don’t Know I have written about previously, repeatedly emphasizes the vital need for organizations to develop problem finding skills. Roberto recently commented about new technologies that enable internal crowdsourcing (aka the collective-we):

Crowd sourcing can work inside of a company too, and we’re seeing more and more companies doing that; particularly global companies that have people spread out around the world. They’re using [new] tools to get people sharing [information] across different silos. So to me, that’s one of the most really fascinating developments that’s happening.

Eliminating information silos is the critical prerequisite to becoming a collective-we organization. Specifically, you must be able to freely unify all related information, from databases with text-based content, bridging the disciplines of business intelligence and knowledge management. Interestingly, Gartner just recently referred to this essential unifying technology using the older 3-letter acronym: Enterprise Information Management (EIM).

In an interview recently tweeted by leadership management and consulting firm Linkage, Michael Roberto shared valuable insights on effective problem finding that further affirms three major ways in which unified enterprise information management is a key technology enabler to build and leverage an organization’s collective-we:

Organizations must frankly answer, “Why did we fail?”

I think one really good way to [start cultivating problem finding skills] is to take a look at a failure that took place in the organization. Ask yourself, “Could we have seen it coming… were there some signals we missed? Why did we miss them?”

Organizations that have undertaken such “candid self-assessment” have discovered that they had been acting based on an incomplete informational picture that was indeed missing critical business signals. Such signals reside within trends in KPIs and metrics drawn from data warehouses and databases, as well as unstructured content (free-flowing text residing in document repositories, SharePoint, wikis, file servers and external websites).

Boil large quantities of information down to what really matters.

[In the] old-school way, you built a big report, you put it in a binder and it collected dust… the answer is not a big report. The [real] answer is three bullets… the couple of takeaways – and technology can play a role in helping to share those. But the most important thing is boiling it down… If you (have) a 100-page report… no one is going to read it.

Good organizations are already adept at boiling down large volumes of data into KPIs that can be trended over time, but that’s not enough. It is also important to mine “those key takeaways” from every “100-page report no one is going to read” through natural language processing (NLP) and text analytics, including extraction of entities (such as names, products, places), key phrase extraction, entity normalization, content classification and more.

It’s also important to note a unified EIM system will then present the user with the most relevant information related to the issue at hand, and not just a long laundry list of documents to sort through. As a result, “those key takeaways” from every “100-page report no one is going to read” will be discovered by users whenever they are needed to help directly address any given matter at hand.

In an intriguing real worldexample, a level 1 IT support technician for a leading financial services firm successfully resolved a serious enterprise application failure incident with no known workaround in the first call: the company’s service knowledge management solution surfaced an ideal resolution buried within a 100-plus page application development transitional document, written by one of the original Indian programmers.

Few people probably ever read the entire document, or even knew it existed; and yet, the company’s unified information architecture empowered the company’s collective-we from halfway around the world to fully leverage the problem-solving value within that document when it was needed.

“You can’t chase down everything”… so let EIM technology chase it down for you.

You can’t chase down everything [every piece of information for every possible issue]. I think that part of the job of the leader is to be able to prioritize… [and] recognize that you have talent around you that can help you.

The same financial services firm also integrated key information about their own employees, particularly areas of subject matter expertise and current areas of research. Through such “expert finder” capabilities, a worker within a global organization can find and reach out to fellow co-workers for help down the hall or anywhere in the world – once again, empowering the organization’s collective-we to cross international boundaries.

A collective-we organization fully leverages the power of the collective intelligence of the entire organization; its internal crowdsource of knowledge and expertise, including trusted partners and external resources, to solve business problems, and, even more importantly, find business problems before they become serious issues.

Note: This article is an updated version of my article originally appearing on the Attivio website.

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Posted in Business Intelligence, Information Management, Knowledge Management

Big Data Wisdom, Courtesy of Monty Python

Monty Python and the Holy GrailNote: This article was co-written by Mike Urbonas and Rik Tamm-Daniels.

One of our favorite parts of the hilarious 1975 King Arthur parody, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the “Bridge of Death” scene: If a knight answered the bridge keeper’s three questions, he could safely cross the bridge; if not, he would be catapulted into… the Gorge of Eternal Peril!

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to most of King Arthur’s knights…

The knights were either stumped by a surprise trivia question like, “What is the capital of Assyria?” – or responded too indecisively when asked, “What is your favorite color?”

Fortunately when King Arthur was asked, “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” he wisely sought further details: “What do you mean – an African or European swallow?” The stunned bridge keeper said, “Uh, I don’t know that… AAAGH!” Breaking his own rule, the bridge keeper was thrown over into the gorge, freeing King Arthur to continue his quest for the Holy Grail.

Many organizations are on “Big Data Holy Grail” quests of their own, looking to deliver game-changing analytics, only to find themselves in a “boil-the-ocean” Big Data project that “after 24 months of building… has no real value.” Unfortunately, many organizations have rushed into hasty Hadoop implementations, fueled by a need to ‘respond’ to Big Data and ‘not fall behind.’

Read the rest of this article on SmartData Collective.

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Posted in Business Intelligence, Information Management, Innovation, Knowledge Management

Marketers: What’s Your Fastball? What’s Your Curve Ball?

With the “new look” Boston Red Sox off to a fast start to the 2013 baseball season, and in anticipation of Opening Day at Fenway Park, I was reminded of a Kalido blog article with a great baseball analogy that has stuck with me, which nicely compliments some good Marketing advice from a friend of mine.

Steve Dalkowski. Source: SportsHollywood.com

Steve Dalkowski. Source: SportsHollywood.com

Writing for the Kalido blog, Mike Wheeler introduced Steve Dalkowski, probably the fastest pitcher in baseball history, whose fastball was routinely well over 100MPH, with top speed estimates as high as 125MPH. Dalkowski struck out 1,396 batters in just 995 minor league games in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

Unfortunately, Dalkowski’s incredible fastball was also incredibly unpredictable: He also walked 1,354 batters and won only 46 of the 236 games he started.

Mike Wheeler’s point was that focusing on raw speed at the expense of reliability is unwise and self-defeating, whether you’re talking about a super-fast pitcher with no control, or super-fast data delivery without the controls of (Kalido) data governance.

But there’s much more to Steve Dalkowski’s story – with a related Marketing lesson as well. Read more ›

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Posted in Marketing, Product Marketing
Welcome
Mike Urbonas

Mike Urbonas

I create and deliver strong product positioning, messaging and sales enablement that drives sales leads and revenue. I strongly believe in the power of enterprise information platforms, big data analytics and business intelligence to help transform an organization.

I live just north of the great city of Boston with my wonderful wife of 25 years and our two awesome daughters. Love good beer, good coffee, good books, the outdoors, fantasy football... Dyed in the wool New England Patriots fan.

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