Hard is Soft; Soft is Hard; Repeal 2.0; The Passion Trap; Days of Disruption; Econ Recon

“The essence of strategy is in choosing what not  to do”

Hard is Soft; Soft is Hard

Tom Peters is one of the great management writers of all time, best known for his groundbreaking, “In Search of Excellence.”  Over a long career Peters has distilled and shared significant wisdom from observing a wide range companies.

In a recent short blog posting, he summarizes nearly four decades of work in six words: Hard is soft. Soft is Hard”  . This posting is a preface to a (warning: much longer) article by Mr. Peters, “Speed Trap: When Taking Your Time Really Matters.” Well worth  your  time!

Repeal 2.0

Mark Twain once remarked that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Those hoping to capitalize on the recent wave of marijuana legalization by a number of states may be hoping for the remarkable marketing history of alcohol to repeat itself as cannabis becomes legal and a mass market develops.

Marketing guru Seth Godin briefly retraces the history of alcohol marketing after the repeal of Prohibition (American’s 13 year experiment in banning alcohol, and legislating morality, that ended in 1933), and suggests that the marketing of pot may be very different than marketing booze. Some interesting insights here for all marketers, especially as regards branding and the real nature of the internet, in his recent blog post alcohol versus cannabis marketing.

The Passion Trap

“Follow your passion”  may be in the top ten entries for career advice. t may also be the most dangerous. This short article from Forbes, “Why Following Your Passion is Dead, takes this advice to task as nearly certain to ruin or at least damage lives and careers. The author’s challenge to Steve Jobs’ widely viewed Stanford Commencement speech advocating “passion following” is particularly well worth reading.

Read this before you change your day job to follow your “passion”…and share with the young people in your life before they take their first one.

Days of Disruption (Redux)

With all the disruption being wrecked on traditional businesses by newcomers with new business models, it’s important to remember that the disrupters are sometimes disrupted before they can displace their competitors. To wit: Movie Pass: This much touted start-up offered a monthly subscription model for movie fans which, a recent Washington Post article states “is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.”

This article offers three theories explaining why this business is failing that may help other would-be entrepreneurs avoid the same fate, or help existing companies think through the offering of a new product or entry into a new market.

Econ Recon

Mid-term Myths: Mid-term elections are always of interest, especially if they present the prospect of control of Congress being wrested from the incumbent president’s party. In the current extraordinarily charged atmosphere, the November elections will be even more energetic than usual.

The direction of the economy is often cited as a key determinant of the outcome of these races. But does the economy really pick the winner in such contests?    Connor Lokar of ITR Economics looks past the rhetoric to the data, and reality, around the economy’s effect on politics and midterms.  

Housing Hiatus: The overall economy is doing well but housing has been in a bit of a funk. Precursor of a recession…or is housing just getting its second wind? Economist Brian Wesbury provides his opinion on whether the housing hiatus is a problem or a sign of continued expansion.

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