Thursday, November 23, 2006

In Japan with HEC Digital Business Strategy



Yesterday we've open a new blog related to our trip in Japan.
35 HEC students currently pursying a master degree in Digital Business Strategy, will share their discovery of japan and of japanese companies (Internet, high tech...)

Please discover the new blog : hecjapan.blogspot.com

Cheers,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lens : Small is the new Big

Today I want to make a Lens on a very good book.
. As i've promised it to his autor.

. As Seth Godin is a real "friendly" blogger, answering students' questions very quickly.

. As one of his last book "Unleashing the idea virus" was the basis of many discussions between my binomial (Carl Hallard) and I, during 6 months of Business planning to create a Web 2.0 platforms editor (First platform launched was a intermediation platforms between the artists and the public, a myspace-like, we started in June 2005...)

The book i'm talking about is : Small is the New Big. Please find extracts in pdf of the books and feel free to comment it as i currently reading it too. More info

. The Intro : The intro.

. Small is the New Big : The title essay.

. How to catch a plane : Leave a little earlier...

. How does JetBlue sound? : It matters.

. What Good Marketers Know :
The classic checklist of what good marketers already know.

. The check is in the mail : 10 lies

. Do The Never : This is really short and really useful.

. Visualizing The Satin Pillow :
What does extreme customer service look like?

. Enthusiasts : What makes a fan?

. Verbs : Verbs! Actions! Gerunds!

I'll add my comments and understanding of those extract when it's relevant...


You can buy it there :

Monday, November 20, 2006

Myspace France VS WAT episode 2

New growth for Myspace France with no Marketing Budget.

Audience (October UV) :

. Myspace FR : 1, 214 Millions of UV
(officially launched in middle of August 06)

. Yahoo! 360 :
207 000 UV
(officially launched in middle of February 06 with no marketing budget
but integration on low Yahoo! portal)

. WAT :
194 000 UV
(officially launched in middle of June 06 with huge marketing
> SEM, Banners campaigns...)

Retention (October pages by user) :

. Myspace FR : 25

. Yahoo! 360 :
9

. WAT :
5

Myspace is growing fast without any budget. We can expect that Myspace will reach 1.5 millions of UU in November. The trend will be more and more exponential. All the 16-17 years old start to stop their their skyblog to become myspace members. Retention is far lower than on the US market cause most of the french users still in the Discovery phasis wich i think is sometimes during 3-4 months. It will result a huge growt in 2-3 months i think...

The WAT audience is mainly driven by Marketing ations (SEO, banners campaign...) as we can see that the retention is very low (5 pages viewed by user)

Bebo has no significant audience in the NNR panels (no french version launched yet).

Next Episode : RDV on 15 December for November datas!

Previous episode :
Episode 1 : September

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Brad Garlinghouse's Memo (Yahoo! Senior Vice President)

"Three and half years ago, I enthusiastically joined Yahoo! The magnitude of the opportunity was only matched by the magnitude of the assets. And an amazing team has been responsible for rebuilding Yahoo!

It has been a profound experience. I am fortunate to have been a part of dramatic change for the Company. And our successes speak for themselves. More users than ever, more engaging than ever and more profitable than ever!

I proudly bleed purple and, yellow everyday! And like so many people here, I love this company

But all is not well. Last Thursday’s NY Times article was a blessing in the disguise of a painful public flogging. While it lacked accurate details, its conclusions rang true, and thus was a much needed wake up call. But also a call to action. A clear statement with which I, and far too many Yahoo’s, agreed. And thankfully a reminder. A reminder that the measure of any person is not in how many times he or she falls down - but rather the spirit and resolve used to get back up. The same is now true of our Company.

It’s time for us to get back up.

I believe we must embrace our problems and challenges and that we must take decisive action. We have the opportunity - in fact the invitation - to send a strong, clear and powerful message to our shareholders and Wall Street, to our advertisers and our partners, to our employees (both current and future), and to our users. They are all begging for a signal that we recognize and understand our problems, and that we are charting a course for fundamental change, Our current course and speed simply will not get us there. Short-term band-aids will not get us there.

It’s time for us to get back up and seize this invitation.

I imagine there’s much discussion amongst the Company’s senior most leadership around the challenges we face. At the risk of being redundant, I wanted to share my take on our current situation and offer a recommended path forward, an attempt to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Recognizing Our Problems

We lack a focused, cohesive vision for our company. We want to do everything and be everything — to everyone. We’ve known this for years, talk about it incessantly, but do nothing to fundamentally address it. We are scared to be left out. We are reactive instead of charting an unwavering course. We are separated into silos that far too frequently don’t talk to each other. And when we do talk, it isn’t to collaborate on a clearly focused strategy, but rather to argue and fight about ownership, strategies and tactics.

Our inclination and proclivity to repeatedly hire leaders from outside the company results in disparate visions of what winning looks like — rather than a leadership team rallying around a single cohesive strategy.

I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular.

I hate peanut butter. We all should.

We lack clarity of ownership and accountability. The most painful manifestation of this is the massive redundancy that exists throughout the organization. We now operate in an organizational structure — admittedly created with the best of intentions — that has become overly bureaucratic. For far too many employees, there is another person with dramatically similar and overlapping responsibilities. This slows us down and burdens the company with unnecessary costs.

Equally problematic, at what point in the organization does someone really OWN the success of their product or service or feature? Product, marketing, engineering, corporate strategy, financial operations… there are so many people in charge (or believe that they are in charge) that it’s not clear if anyone is in charge. This forces decisions to be pushed up - rather than down. It forces decisions by committee or consensus and discourages the innovators from breaking the mold… thinking outside the box.

There’s a reason why a centerfielder and a left fielder have clear areas of ownership. Pursuing die same ball repeatedly results in either collisions or dropped balls. Knowing that someone else is pursuing the ball and hoping to avoid that collision - we have become timid in our pursuit. Again, the ball drops.

We lack decisiveness. Combine a lack of focus with unclear ownership, and the result is that decisions are either not made or are made when it is already too late. Without a clear and focused vision, and without complete clarity of ownership, we lack a macro perspective to guide our decisions and visibility into who should make those decisions. We are repeatedly stymied by challenging and hairy decisions. We are held hostage by our analysis paralysis.

We end up with competing (or redundant) initiatives and synergistic opportunities living in the different silos of our company.
• YME vs. Musicmatch

• Flickr vs. Photos

• YMG video vs. Search video

• Deli.cio.us vs. myweb

• Messenger and plug-ins vs. Sidebar and widgets

• Social media vs. 360 and Groups

• Front page vs. YMG

• Global strategy from BU’vs. Global strategy from Int’l

We have lost our passion to win. Far too many employees are “phoning” it in, lacking the passion and commitment to be a part of the solution. We sit idly by while — at all levels — employees are enabled to “hang around”. Where is the accountability? Moreover, our compensation systems don’t align to our overall success. Weak performers that have been around for years are rewarded. And many of our top performers aren’t adequately recognized for their efforts.

As a result, the employees that we really need to stay (leaders, risk-takers, innovators, passionate) become discouraged and leave. Unfortunately many who opt to stay are not the ones who will lead us through the dramatic change that is needed.

Solving our Problems

We have awesome assets. Nearly every media and communications company is painfully jealous of our position. We have the largest audience, they are highly engaged and our brand is synonymous with the Internet.

If we get back up, embrace dramatic change, we will win.

I don’t pretend there is only one path forward available to us. However, at a minimum, I want to be pad of the solution and thus have outlined a plan here that I believe can work. It is my strong belief that we need to act very quickly or risk going further down a slippery slope, The plan here is not perfect; it is, however, FAR better than no action at all.

There are three pillars to my plan:

1. Focus the vision.

2. Restore accountability and clarity of ownership.

3. Execute a radical reorganization.

1. Focus the vision

a) We need to boldly and definitively declare what we are and what we are not.

b) We need to exit (sell?) non core businesses and eliminate duplicative projects and businesses.

My belief is that the smoothly spread peanut butter needs to turn into a deliberately sculpted strategy — that is narrowly focused.

We can’t simply ask each BU to figure out what they should stop doing. The result will continue to be a non-cohesive strategy. The direction needs to come decisively from the top. We need to place our bets and not second guess. If we believe Media will maximize our ROI — then let’s not be bashful about reducing our investment in other areas. We need to make the tough decisions, articulate them and stick with them — acknowledging that some people (users / partners / employees) will not like it. Change is hard.

2. Restore accountability and clarity of ownership

a) Existing business owners must be held accountable for where we find ourselves today — heads must roll,

b) We must thoughtfully create senior roles that have holistic accountability for a particular line of business (a variant of a GM structure that will work with Yahoo!’s new focus)

c) We must redesign our performance and incentive systems.

I believe there are too many BU leaders who have gotten away with unacceptable results and worse — unacceptable leadership. Too often they (we!) are the worst offenders of the problems outlined here. We must signal to both the employees and to our shareholders that we will hold these leaders (ourselves) accountable and implement change.

By building around a strong and unequivocal GM structure, we will not only empower those leaders, we will eliminate significant overhead throughout our multi-headed matrix. It must be very clear to everyone in the organization who is empowered to make a decision and ownership must be transparent. With that empowerment comes increased accountability — leaders make decisions, the rest of the company supports those decisions, and the leaders ultimately live/die by the results of those decisions.

My view is that far too often our compensation and rewards are just spreading more peanut butter. We need to be much more aggressive about performance based compensation. This will only help accelerate our ability to weed out our lowest performers and better reward our hungry, motivated and productive employees.

3. Execute a radical reorganization

a) The current business unit structure must go away.

b) We must dramatically decentralize and eliminate as much of the matrix as possible.

c) We must reduce our headcount by 15-20%.

I emphatically believe we simply must eliminate the redundancies we have created and the first step in doing this is by restructuring our organization. We can be more efficient with fewer people and we can get more done, more quickly. We need to return more decision making to a new set of business units and their leadership. But we can’t achieve this with baby step changes, We need to fundamentally rethink how we organize to win.

Independent of specific proposals of what this reorganization should look like, two key principles must be represented:

Blow up the matrix. Empower a new generation and model of General Managers to be true general managers. Product, marketing, user experience & design, engineering, business development & operations all report into a small number of focused General Managers. Leave no doubt as to where accountability lies.

Kill the redundancies. Align a set of new BU’s so that they are not competing against each other. Search focuses on search. Social media aligns with community and communications. No competing owners for Video, Photos, etc. And Front Page becomes Switzerland. This will be a delicate exercise — decentralization can create inefficiencies, but I believe we can find the right balance.

I love Yahoo! I’m proud to admit that I bleed purple and yellow. I’m proud to admit that I shaved a Y in the back of my head.

My motivation for this memo is the adamant belief that, as before, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead. I don’t pretend that I have the only available answers, but we need to get the discussion going; change is needed and it is needed soon. We can be a stronger and faster company - a company with a clearer vision and clearer ownership and clearer accountability.

We may have fallen down, but the race is a marathon and not a sprint. I don’t pretend that this will be easy. It will take courage, conviction, insight and tremendous commitment. I very much look forward to the challenge.

So let’s get back up.

Catch the balls.

And stop eating peanut butter."

Brad Garlinghouse.

My comments :
You can't know as Mr Garlinghouse is describing the real day to day of Yahoo! ...
I won't add anything or quote some of the memo even if i would...

I will just say : "Yahoo! a new hope" ;)




Sunday, November 12, 2006

Myspace more influential than Blogosphere?

Across discussions with others bloggers, sometime they find crazy the fact that some people considers Myspace as important as the Web. They can't support the fact that the web consists of Myspace + others for someone... I think it could be realistic for some segments like 16-25 years old cause Myspace is likely to be Youtube + Photobucket + dailymotion ... in a certain way.

Myspace aggregates numerous specialized services but also events (concerts, party...) and mainly people, specialized or not (artists, public...). Myspace is likely to be the place for everything online for young boys and girls... They spend hours on, they need to stay connected... That's another social life, but not a dissociate one as secondlife.com. Real friends and Myspace ones are putted in the same place, sometimes a older friend becomes a Myspace friend only, and a Myspace friend becomes real friend... The difference between both is pretty reduced... That's one of the great success of Myspace!

Myspace is just beginning in France, (I'll publish audience results for October soon) but it's likely to become more influential and bigger than the blogosphere for sure within few months as it's now in the us. Whatever we talk about business or social impact. I'm pretty sure that's not a just a mode... You can't leave your myspace like your leave your blog. For young people, myspace is their online social visibility and they don't need be to Loic Le Meur to gain others' loyalty. Worst, it's like if you don't get myspace, you simply don't exist online...

It's very easy to stop blogging, cause the interactions with others are pretty limited in comparison to the work it needs to do a great blog. Myspace is totally different... For instance, i've never used blog on Myspace but if i stop to connect myself on, during a week, people ask why, they think i've got problems, some of them miss me...

It means there is a real link between life on myspace and real life.
You can increase your real life's fun, discovering new artists, new people, new places. It results you're having new life experiences.

I'm not saying that's not possible with a blog, i reach to meet new business partners, to discuss about business with others bloggers... I learn from that. But it's marginal as we're not 120 millions to do that with satisfaction on earth. Myspace is just piece of social life.

What about your point of view?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You Tube : The beginning of the End?

Ok as i allways see articles dealing with the legal issues and the monetization focus that impact fun on You Tube. Let's forget this.

You Tube / Google association is not Myspace owners friendly. You tube generates value on myspace yes, but now Myspace has set a you tube player like : The myspace video player.

In September, You tube was ahead of myspace with 44% of myspace profiles including You tube video versus 38% with the Myspace video player.

After the google's aquisition announce, Myspace decided to increase the push of myspace video. It is now promoted on Home Page and the player has been redesigned. Just over the following week end, this strategy increased the competition. The user can now make myspace video easy.



In october, You tube rank has already changed. You tube growth is slower than before. Now myspace is ahead with 47% (+99% in terms of volume MoM) versus 40% (+ 44% MoM) for You tube. Others players are sharing 12% of the Myspace network.

As a significant part of You Tube traffic is directly generated by Myspace users, is that the beginning of the end for You Tube?

Yes it can be, if Myspace team keeps improving the Myspace Video user experience.
But those datas could change sensitively MoM as Myspace users change their pages' content many times during the year and so innovation still a good lever.
You Tube already get most of the content, but myspace users prefers now to publish video with Myspace video. Myspace will never block You Tube on his network or it could be a strategic error...

For my part, i think You Tube have huge potential but i've allways said, Myspace one is far bigger! Myspace is the revolution of Web 2.0 even for You Tube!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

France 2007 : What i deeply want to see!

Ok, in few months frenchmen and frenchwomen are going to vote to set their new president. This article will not show my political point of view, i think it's not this blog's objective.
But what i deeply hope is a back to basics...

In the past, France sometimes inspired all the world politicaly (Separate of powers...) but today we don't respect even what we've created. We need to promote , encourage and pay sensitively the work, in addition to some of our realistic social advantages. Work can't be devided but needs to be multiplicated.

I hope we'll not see the extremists (I don't want SEO link between my name and his name) reach to have good ranking as in 2002 anymore. France can't be a shame's country. We need to anhilate all discriminations at work and in social contexts. Cause all citizens wich are qualified for a job should get it even if they're black and called with typical names.

One more things about Research & new technologies in france : Internet seems to be a gadget for french people... France must invest more and more on E-business to generate value on this main new technology. We can't spend our time to waste opportunity...
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