Notes from NYC, with Davos bits

There is so much I want to cover and I haven’t kept up with posting that this is my ‘catch up catch all’ post after New York. First, I want to send a shout out to my newest reader, Mishti, who, I may add is a senior finishing up her premed at Harvard. Mishti, I don’t know if you wanted your last name out yet, so I’m keeping it off the record, but I’d just like to say that if the smartness of your readers reflects well on the writer, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rita G Patel, who apparently lurks here more than she comments 🙂 wrote me a wonderful email and invited me to meet her while I was in NYC. I couldn’t make it this time, but for sure the next time, as she is yet another brilliant young designer who in the words of the FORTUNE Innovation blog aka InnovationInsider,

Rita Patel’s winning entry, which described how HSS Ventures in New York has created an open source business model within the healthcare industry, was judged as the best overall entry by Douglas Rushkoff.

Moving along to Davos in the blogosphere, these are some of the posts that caught my eye but I wasn’t able to post on, so I’ll just comment here.

This post
by Geoffrey Moore caught my eye, very thoughtfully written, here’s a snippet,

One of the things I love about coming to Davos is that the perspective
is Euro-centric, not US-centic, and everything looks different when you
change the lens. 
[…]
Specifically, a key theme of the conference is one that is central to Dealing with Darwin, namely the
commoditizing impact of global competition driving the need for a more
innovative enterprise.  Surprisingly to me, this appears to be a
predominantly American idea.  Europeans tend either to deny the need
for a radical response or shirk the issue because they know their
country cannot mount the political and social will to embrace such
change.  Meanwhile, the Americans are scared witless, don’t mind saying
so, and are casting about for more effective alternatives.

Some food for thought there indeed, and I have an inkling I maybe returning soon to some of the issues Moore brings up in his post. Other Davos blogging that was notable, imho, was this post by Mark Vamos, Editor of Fast Company magazine, accompanied by my requisite morsel,

First, he said, you concentrate on making something cheaper than
anybody else. And when you can no longer make something cheaper than
anybody else, you concentrate on making something better than anybody
else. And when you can no longer make something better than anybody
else, you concentrate on making something different than anybody else.
That’s the innovation economy.

Succinctly put indeed! Thank you Mr Vamos. I feel like I’m kickstarting my very own personal innovation economy, quite inspiring, really.

And while there’s much much more, I want to end this particular post with this link to an article in the International Herald Tribune, aptly titled "At Davos, ‘the world’ means the West". Read it through, here’s a smidgen,

The low profile at Davos of these East Asian innovators and of their cousins from prospering Southeast Asia, who collectively own of $1.5 trillion in Western debt, stood in sharp contrast to the India/China obsession.

As an Indian passport holder who lived in multicultural Malaysia until 18, visited Nepal, Thailand, Singapore (frequently enough to feel at home), Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and let’s throw in Australia for proximity’s sake, a global nomad who has 7 GCE O and 2 A Levels and an American High School Diploma, the thrust of this article really resonated with my penchant for cross cultural inclusion and particular perspective. There will definitely be more along these lines in forthcoming posts.

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One Response to Notes from NYC, with Davos bits

  1. niblettes says:

    Your quote from Mark Vamos grabbed me. Unfortunately not it a good way. The progression of the basis of competition as presented is backwards. To paraphrase an old idea…
    Products compete first on functionality. Once that has stabilized they then start to compete on reliability. Once that has stabilized they then start to compete on convenience. Once that has stabilized they then start to compete on price. And that’s the beginning of commoditization.
    These days the customer experience is insinuating itself into this model as a new basis for competition, and provides some great new opportunities to stave off commoditization by providing customers with new kinds of value.
    So I think its backwards to suggest that one starts with a price advantage and when that erodes one has to make their product better (better suggesting improvements to either reliability, convenience, since new functionality results in “different” and not necessarily “better”).
    Once you’re completing on price possible improvements to reliability or convenience have largely been exhausted (or at least the market’s hunger for such improvements has been). So the only option for most of the players in a commoditized business is to redefine their products with new functionality or new experience, and start the whole cycle over again—not step backwards through it.
    (I’m sure there are some anecdotal exceptions, but this general pattern is rather consistent in product development).

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