Friday, December 15, 2006

off to mexico...

the family and i are off to mexico, specifically puerto vallarta for two weeks of relaxation and fun...this will be our daugther's first big trip and we're looking forward to all the other "first's" that will transpire...

as a result fusedlogic will be closed for the holiday season....

here's wishing everyone a fabulous holiday season with lot's of fun, happiness and relaxation with friends and family...

be safe, drive responsibly and look for the odd entry during our stay down south....

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

i live in seth godin's world...

taking names and kicking butt...then taking even more names...that's seth godin's world...and i'm all for it. you'll appreciate his no holds barred approach to holding businesses and business people accountable to you and i the consumer...

way to go seth...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

die...sears...die...

so my wife and I are shopping for a new bed...not something one does all that often so we as prudent consumers decide to educate ourselves and do some research...

my wife was leading the charge on this, phoning around, surfing the net and finally went out to take a look at a couple of models at different places. one of the places she ventures to is sears...

a long story short...one lady at the south edmonton common store tells my wife over the phone twice at home and then again while when dialed from the sherwood park store...that the model she's looking for is on for what was basically half the price of everywhere else she was looking and this was confirmed by the sears representative standing right beside her when she made the phone call from a competing location.

both my wife and the rep standing by her couldn't understand why the south edmonton common sears dork on the phone wouldn't provide a model number...model name or any specific information other than to say this is the one and it's half price, so the only way for my wife to get any further along was to get my daughter back in the truck along with my mom and drive the 20 minutes over to that location and physically talk to this person...

when my wife get's there...none of the staff at the south edmonton common sears location own up to saying anything of the sort...apparently my wife, my mom and the lady at the sherwood park sears location were completely mistaken and their was no mention of that model bed and certainly not at half price...

first of all not knowing me or my family one should consider this...two women with a child walk into a store claiming they were just told about a special sale price, and completely expect to get it...only to be told that the model isn't on sale at all and that the conversation on the phone didn't include any mention of any sale price...my wife must have been on glue...

dig a bit deeper and we find out that there have several complaints about the south edmonton common location and sears refuses to do anything about that particular manager and his store...

in fact, ruth from sears head office calls our house today to tell my wife that after an investigation, what the south ed common staff are saying isn't what my wife is saying and there's nothing that can be done...meanwhile, my mom has recieved an apology letter and gift cert for how poor experience at that location...my wife nothing but attitude on the phone and made to feel as if she completely fabricated the entire episode...

we don't care that we didn't get a gift cert, actually we're thankful...we'll never step into another sears location of any kind and our lives will be far richer for it...

sears is still the dinosaur i said it was months ago and they continue to prove it every day...

die sears...just lay down and die......get bought out, be DISMANTLED and cut up for scrap...

Friday, October 20, 2006

bob stumpel...

using a new social networking site called openbc i've been familiarizing myself with the system and protocols. one of the folks i came across was bob stumpel and he has his own blog which i think sums up nicely the reason for considering why one should join....

Friday, October 06, 2006

1 million lives changed by mandate. amazing.

there it is in black and white. the new mandate. amazing. for fusedlogic.

fusedlogic is now offering a brand new business acceleration framework or "performance architecture" called mandate. amazing.

this is our primary service offering and the above statement communicates what we intend to do with it. i would like to accomplish that in under (3) years and so that's our timeline.

in order to get the job done we need to employ several different tactics. our primary approaches will involve alliance building and effective partnering...

we've been working on this for some time now and so many alliances have been already identified and when we're successful in structuring those deals they'll provide more than the 1 million lives target i believe...we just have to be persistent and diligent.

this is incredibly exciting for me personally as this is the culmination of a couple years of work and now that's its finally ready for client consumption i feel like i've already won...

stay tuned...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

change the rules...

many business owners are so busy working "in" their businesses everyday that they can't stop to take a breath...let alone work "on" the business.

take time out of every day to work on changing the rules...being the best at what you do is great...being the only one who does what you do is the pinnacle when you execute...

think about changing the rules...there are real gems in those thoughts, take a risk....the next big thing in convenience stores, coffee shops, print shops, restaurants, car washes, dry cleaners, retail stores, is just around the corner if you stop to look.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

follow-up...

i always find it interesting when people who should follow-up don't...

i've seen so called top firms lose huge business simply because they didn't go out of their way to follow-up a first contact effectively...

for example, the next time you're at a networking event of any sort, always ask if you can follow-up with each individual you meet and then....actually do it.

the way to build up an impressive network or rolodex is to follow-up and continue to build relationships.

is this a new concept? of course not...so why is it still a lost art???

many business owners have the attitude that they'll only follow-up if they sniff an immediate deal...wrong. in a five minute conversation it's a rare occasion when one is able to truly pre-qualify someone and determine whether their widget or widget service is perfect for the prospect...anyone who is involved in large complex sales cycles will immediately agree with me on this point.

in addition, it's also impossible to assess who the prospect knows and the circles they travel in, this is the real gold. everyone is a potential sales person for you, if you properly cultivate that relationship...

prejudging and not following up is a mucho bad habit...so break it and start doing the little things better, like returning phone calls, emails and try using a pen and paper to write thank-you notes...it's so odd these days that it may even set you apart...

you'll be amazed at the difference it will make in your business opportunity traffic and deal flow.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Janet Mayfield...as a wo-man thinketh...

it was the 19th century author of as a man thinketh, james allen,who wrote "our life is what our thoughts make it. a man will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him." - james allen

change your state of mind to change your results...either with people, problems or other things that impact our lives daily. that's what i take from this passage and i believe that if more people did this the world would be a happier place in general...

the inspiration for today's entry comes from my good friend Janet Mayfield as she sent me this passage this morning...no doubt while over looking the beautiful lake she lives a stones through away from.

i have a tremendous amount of respect for Janet, who is by the way, the most positive individual on the planet, anyone who knows her say's this about her....hence my nickname for her..."Janet from another planet"....

in addition to keeping herself busy with feng shui consulting and public speaking engagements, she spends time with her husband Randy in the mountain passes and meadows that are her back yard, observing grizzly bears in the wild...very cool indeed. i've been encouraging her to start her own blog...she says "she is still considering exactly what to say"...a very typical Janet response...

so i continue to wait patiently, anxiously even...waiting to read her first entry. i will know when that moment arrives that since it was so important to get exactly right, the subject matter will be amazingly important to her and so that fact will make the experience all the more impactful...(no pressure Janet).

both Janet and Randy are really great people who put other people first every chance they get and my wife Tracy and I are very grateful for their friendship...


have a great sunday...

Friday, September 29, 2006

they called me back...

yesterday a message was left on my cell phone from shawna at petersen pontiac...she was calling to let me know that she had talked with the service tech...this is a follow-up from a previous entry...

she said that the tech explained to her that there was less than a half a tank of fuel, (some will remember, that i told her i had a 1/3 of a tank) so that matches...

the service tech also suggested that maybe my fuel tank sensor was working poorly and providing me with an inaccurate reading...so that will have to be something i guess will need to be followed up on...

there was no explanation as to what happened to my fuel...the implication was that i was mistaken...

shawna communicated that she was sending me a free oil change voucher for my trouble...

i see a glimmer of hope as a result of two things, (although i'm not sure it's enough to change my current view of how the entire experience from very start went...) the two things are the fact that i actually did get a call back and that she is attempting based on what i'm sure is a limited capability trying to rectify things and lure me back for more work...

to be clear...i don't believe this is an amazing level of service rather a minimal level of service follow-up...there's still clarification required as to what exactly happened with my fuel but i'm not going to pursue that...

part of the reason companies get away with minimal service levels and service responses is because we as consumers continue to support these mediocre efforts...

after having talked with a few people who have had an opportunity to deal with pp, there were both positive and negative experiences...the (2) negative ones could have easily been avoided in the minds of the customers i had stumbled across, (hardly conclusive evidence i know)...still where there's smoke....maybe pp will change and get better, maybe they do care...i'm sure some over there do...

i'm going to let some time pass before i even consider the next step regarding pp, i'll consider going back but i may also take this opportunity to try another dealer...we'll see.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

let's talk amazing...

in preparation for the really fun evening i had tonight at the edmonton chamber after business mixer i had to employ the skills of several hard working people...

i want to say thank-you to some amazing companies who did a lot of great work in a very short period of time and at a very reasonable price to make sure that fusedlogic and its brand was well represented.

Thank-you to lynn schroter, owner and ceo of direct digital imaging - sherwood park. 780-410-1772 directd@telus.net lynn put together my sign and coasters in record time and for a terrific price...lynn is a fun person and we always have a great laugh when we get together...these guys know the sign business, they're reliable and go out of their way for their customers...

Thank-you to loretta francis, sherwood print and copy in sherwood park. 780-417-3434 loretta@sherwoodprint.com loretta printed our postcards and Mandate. Amazing. booklets, she did this with great care and attention and very fast...these guys know what they're doing...for digital printing there's no one better.

Thank-you to kathy and chris at tyleen sportswear for the last minute embroidery of our mock-t's and jacket. kathy took the order on friday and delivered today right on time, they ensured that i was happy and that the job was done right...i'll make sure i go back and that they also get all of my client's business too...

Thank-you to jeff and animikii design services. jeff is a highly skilled designer who put together the layout for my sign and postcard. jeff is a great listener and a fast, accurate and creative designer, the value of working with such competency is huge...

Thank-you to all who visited the exhibit tonight, i'll be following up with each of you.

also, jamie from redshark, you've won a very special fusedlogic t-shirt as a result of tonights business card draw...i'll ensure you get it...

thanks everyone for the amazing service and for the great night of networking....

Monday, September 25, 2006

dealerships...

under the guise of strong customer service the car dealers that i've been in contact with rarely actually get it right, certainly their service has not been amazing.

take my most recent experience with petersen pontiac. my vehicle was brought to them and to their credit, they did a great job of getting my vehicle into the shop quickly...diagnosing the problem and then fixing the problem all in about 5 hours total time.

originally the service person informed me that pp was booking into next week (this was taking place last thursday.) so they did a great job in making my vehicle a priority.

here's where it all falls apart.

after showing up on time to pick up my vehicle, the paper work was not drawn up correctly...it had me paying for the $923.00 in repairs. those repairs by the way...replace a fuel pump and fuel filter....some will feel that this is acceptable pricing and those who do probably enjoy those bills...thank-goodness for warranty's that's all i can say when their shop rate is $112/hr

so i wait for an additional 25 minutes for my paperwork to be completed properly. i'm to cover the costs of the fuel filter...$100.49 for in reality a $10.00 dollar item installed in 20 minutes...

i then go to leave and see that my fuel gauge is showing empty or so near empty that i would never attempt to travel anywhere except directly to the closest gas station...the needle was on the red line...now when it was towed over there in the morning i had approximately a 1/3 of a tank...with my vehicle i've learned to watch the fuel carefully...and with the way my tank is, when it's low, it's a crap shoot on whether you make it to the gas station...even parking on an incline forces the fuel to settle so that it won't start...why i am saying this is to demonstrate that i NEVER let my tank get this low because of finding this out the hard way ONCE...

now many of you will already know that many fuel pumps are actually located inside the fuel tank and so in order to work on this part, they have to get inside that tank...so what do you do if the tank is full or in my case has 1/3 of a tank...well you have to drain part of the fuel...now pp says they would lose no more than a litre of fuel at most...except the evidence suggests otherwise.

here's where things get stupid...it becomes my word versus their word...i simply want the fuel in my tank replaced, not once did i suggest that anyone "stole" the fuel. this was simply part of the process and i only want an explanation and the fuel back...first if this was par for the course on a job like this then i should have been informed ahead of time that i was about to lose all my fuel and that they had no intention of putting it back as part of the process. or an explanation of the fact that in my case things went differently due to unforeseen circumstances and that they were at least apologetic...

neither happened...instead i was IMMEDIATELY made to feel as if i was looking to scam pp and get free fuel out of the deal...the service person at one point even said "how do you suggest i deal with this, take money out of my pocket so you can go buy gas?"

i told her "there was no need to make this personal"

i understand that there probably are a fair amount of people out there looking to take advantage of others...i'm just tired of people jumping to that conclusion first...it shows a mistrust for the customer and it never ends well...how about a "can do attitude instead of a can't do it because you must be lying and trying to scam us attitude."

the service person says to me, "do you want us to take a reading from the computer to see how much fuel was in the tank before we worked on it?"

i said, "absolutely, if you can do that then do it, that would be perfect."

so the service manager comes over with his computer and after punching a few buttons he says to me "it says here that your tank capacity is 89 litres and you currently have 13% of that capacity in your tank."

well, first of all i thought, thanks for wasting even more of my time...as that will do little to comfort me standing on the side of the road on the crest of a hill...if i make it that far...sure enough that almost happens...

also, my tank actually holds a hundred litres because i've put that in and when i went directly to fill up i put in 87 litres. so somewhere along the line their math doesn't make sense...not to mention that fact that manager boy missed the entire issue to begin with, most likely because his staff member didn't communicate properly.

so the end result was I was tired of being the honest guy who was being accused of making accusations when all i was doing was providing them with a chance to ensure that in some way i was completely satisfied with the experience...what are we talking about $25.00 in fuel? their service records would show that this was not my first visit...

and for all of you saying to yourself, yeah and if they gave away $25.00 worth of fuel to everyone, suggesting the cost of such a move would be prohibitive...

to which my response is...probably the best marketing dollars they could have spent...in fact, it should be a rule...no vehicle leaves with less than a 1/4 tank and evey vehicle is washed, looking and smelling clean before it leaves even for oil change customers...now the accountants will be up in arms and for all of you who allow an accountant to actually run your organization, your costs will almost certainly be in check and your customer experience will also suffer for it...

this idea is way more effective spending of marketing dollars than another cheesy radio jingle, discount car ad's and a marketing slogan that clearly isn't worth the ink in terms of actual experiences.

this is the difference between amazing buzz and run of the mill mediocre marketing...it sends a message "we're different, we amazing and we'll prove it with every action, evey time..."

NOT pp's approach i assure you. these guys did nothing but waste my time from the moment i got there to pick up my truck with no apology, in fact, the service person even suggested that the reason her paperwork wasn't in order was because i didn't use the rental car and that had to be removed...a partial truth and not the sole reason the paperwork was inaccurate...remember warranty work versus paying the huge amount? the fact that she also forgot to remove the rental car was just another example of her sleeping at the wheel...

during the last part of this discussion, i was surrounded, including the service person, saying..."i didn't say that!" it was duck and cover, protect our butts and make sure there were witnesses to the event...

not once during this entire situation was i made to feel as if i was important, or that they actually cared about making sure i was really happy...they didn't smile, their language and tone was accusatory and defensive...

i told the collective crowd "this is continuing to be a complete waste of my time." to which the service manager said, "well, we better let you get going then." and the service door went up immediately...

al petersen is the "dealer principle" and his marketing slogan is "al cut's the mustard everytime," on his mustard bottles throughout his building it says..."we're not completely satisfied until you're completely satisfied." well, that was not the approach i experienced in this case...al sits in his office upstairs and rarely spends time on the floor of his dealership, the reason i know this is that when you observe his staff it's evident that his marketing slogan is exactly that...a slogan that holds little in the way of influence on daily customer interaction and even though there's this blown-up version of a customer survey in the service area, i certainly wasn't offered one this time and actually i've never been offered one in my past experiences either...

(al, if you really want people to fill these out, make them available...)

one final note...the service person told me she would speak with the service tech who worked on my vehicle the next morning to find out what happened and call me with the results of that discussion because she felt bad for how she handled the situation and she didn't want things to end on a bad note...admirable...

i'll give you one guess as to whether i actually got that call...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

deb barnes...

i wanted to say hello to deb barnes of chaos consultants out of spokane, wa. we didn't get a chance to chat when i was down there last week but hopefully the next time...

by the way, if you want get to know an amazingly powerful conference organizer, business person and generally all a round great mind...give deb a call...

cheers deb good luck with the television show....call me when you have a moment to breath.

i'm so upset....

i'm so upset with petersen pontiac right now i shouldn't write at the moment because i may not be completely objective...

so i'm going to sleep on it and i'll get back to you on this when i've allowed my anger to subside...

bottom line my customer experience at petersen left me feeling not only like i've been massively ripped off but....ok so this is where i stop...

Monday, September 11, 2006

remembering...9-11

i was standing in my office in st. albert, it was early in the morning...and someone in my office told us to turn on the tv to cnn...the north tower was already on fire...i couldn't believe it...

a colleague of mine was to have a meeting on the 9th flr of tower one at 9am that morning and he was running late...i knew he was there and phoned him on his cell phone,i couldn't reach him, so i called his office in ontario and spoke to another colleague...apparently, the colleague in ny was just coming out of the subway tunnel and said he could see the tower and all the smoke...he said he wasn't going any closer and that he couldn't get his ny business contact that he had the meeting with on the phone...

so he was standing on the street corner and the fella in ontario told me that he could hear the sirens on his end of the phone call...we exchanged comments about how unreal this was...our colleague now in ny said he was going to get out of there and commented that he didn't think he would be able to get back to ontario through buffalo that day....just then the second plane crashed into the second tower...apparently our colleague yelled and said there was just a large explosion...but from his vantage point he couldn't tell exactly what happened...and for some reason...his cell phone quit just then and my colleague tried but couldn't get through...all he got was his voice mail...

the next time i spoke with my colleague who experienced 9-11 in manhattan was when he home a day later....

there were many brave people that died that day...none of us should ever forget...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

tim horton's...

tim horton's (t.h.) what is the lure behind this purveyor of coffee and donuts? is it the coffee slang you use to order with....double, double - referring to (2) cream, (2) sugar typically in the large sized cup? i started drinking the coffee without the sugar and only (1) cream, i can tell you my taste experience is far less interesting now... apparently it takes a tanker truck full of sugar for a decent taste, exaggeration? maybe.

ok, not the coffee...maybe the lure is the donuts, are they warm, typically not unless your timing is such as to get them straight out of the warming device from the back...are they fresh? Well in most cases my opinion is that they sure don't melt in your mouth like a really fresh donut does, there are other donut makers who really go out of their way to ensure this is not said about their product line, krispy kreme maybe one, although admittedly i have not had the level of experience with them due to location and frankly due to health reasons i don't actually eat donuts with any frequency, i'm more into ordering a bagel, crossaint or occaisonal muffin and i would give those items a pass, not exceptional but passing grade...not the coffee without sugar, not the donuts either....

it must be the smiling faces and warm welcome...that definitely used to be something i could say was a bit of a normal and consistent occurrence. not any longer. now just like a myriad of other retail, service driven companies, smiles and courtesies are more rare. certainly not the mantra at every level of customer touch point. being busy is no execuse not to smile, say sir, miss, and a have a fantastic day...either

not the coffee, not the donuts, not the smiling faces....then it has to be the fact that they are the fastest in town bar none....the short line-ups and when the line does get longer it has been properly anticipated by management and by design, the details of directing all foot or vehicle traffic has been addressed for maximum efficiency, there's evidence that someone from headquarters in oakville actually focused on the "customer experience" from every single aspect and in fact, that's all they do every single day...staffing is cranked up, processes have been adapted and improved so that every "t.h.'s coffee customer experience at every location is amazing.

all of which would be immediately evident because we as customers are in and out in a jiffy regardless of location, time of day or day of week...after all...it's only coffee, donuts, toasted bagels, soups and sandwiches right...not steak and lobster, other fast food businesses at least despite sub-par products are at least making it evident they want to be really fast...

i bet if we were to sit in a board meeting at t.h., the statement would be made that "here at t.h., it's the ceo's job to ensure each and ever t.h.'s coffee experience is a memorable one." not nearly far enough for me but it would certainly be a start...and this might be the case in reality if mr. paul house realized that his share price could be positively effected by making that his and the company's mandate. amazing.

am i being too harsh and expecting too much, many of you would say absolutely and my response would be WAKE UP! when did mediocrity become acceptable?

when did expecting a great cup of coffee, a fresh donut all delivered with a sense of urgency as if the person doing the work actually gave two hoots and polished off with a smile become too much to ask?

there's now two issues we're discussing here, our willingness to accept, in fact to pay t.h. (and others) over and over for mediocrity as the norm and the level of execution at tim horton's and who's responsibility it is to change it...of course i'm showcasing tim horton's but there is an infinite list of companies that fit this ill-fated category.

my theory on why the general public is willing to accept mediocrity will be saved for another time, today it's all about timmy's and their band of lack lustre processes, managers, franchisees and employees all wrapped up in a corporate culture that is more than starting to show signs of weakness and inconsistency...a product of success that mr. house and gang were ill prepared for.



seismic, cosmic change to mandate. amazing. time....
why?
choose your legacy mr. house...
i helped to take a successful privately-held company public and we opened lots of stores and blah, blah, blah......and i personally made a tremendous amount of money delivering a mediocre product and mediocre customer experience to millions of people. ---- your current cookie cutter career bio...and oh ya, we also felt good about ourselves because of our foundation too...
or
at t.h. -- we owned the entire coffee business, by first delivering "fair trade coffee only", second, my team and i were the catalyst that completely revolutionized the retail/service coffee industry by creating the most amazing, highest value, fastest and by far the friendliest coffee customer experience on the planet. i, personally was recognized for creating such a ground swell of intense pride within our organization among our team members for the job and our customers that we were recognized as the #1 employer on the planet by countless sources around the world the entire time i was ceo and for years beyond...not to mention that i ensured our foundation provided well over one million scholarships to those children in dire need, rather than fostering a quest for a better future by simply taking them camping (nobel effort to be sure), that wasn't enough for us, so... we actually delivered the tools for a better future...
give me a month with the top brass and i'll whip them into shape, have them so focused on the new mandate. amazing. their heads will spin...want to change things...simple turn every single manager's bonus structure and compensation including mr. house (ceo) into a straight commission based program dependant on the number of times a customer comments on how amazing the experience was at tim horton's...radical, you bet...want to hear whinning, this will sure showcase the slackers in your organization but fast...imagine the amount of creativity and energy now put into making sure we as customers are treated like...human beings, to be respected, pampered even (don't we deserve that?)...each and every time. the fact that this is so unusual is the competitive advantage...if customers are willing to waste time in long lines for the current experience imagine what would happen if this was to change?
oh oh, then mr. house would have to devise a new ground shattering super-efficient methodology for serving his coffee and goodies (paul, just call me and we'll head to see the folks at m.i.t.) ...i sense a market shift led by t.h....then again...no not really, remember who we're talking about here, the proof is in the pudding...if they were so concerned about us, even the simple things like a smile everytime, would be changing and improving today...
mr. house, you need to be an evangelist for mandate. amazing. if you're not up to the challenge for the good of your customers...and dare i say your shareholders...step aside, i'm sure the company can cross train you to be a technician else where within the organization on some level...harsh? yes! and that's what it takes sometimes to really make a difference and to commit to mandate. amazing. why waste your time on the planet being mediocre???


the on the ground, in the trenches culture at t.h. does not reflect strong service. why? they're a victim of their own success. open a t.h. and you're guaranteed a steady volume, regardless of where you are. so does one as the manager/franchisee really have to lose sleep about how many times a smile is cracked at the till? nope.

i look at my experience at t.h. as a learning experience, that's the only reason i continue to go there. they're a case study in how processes must adapt to growth, how managers must be constantly vigilant in analyzing the "customer experience." i'm willing to bet that those two words are not in the managers training manual...

t.h. has not evolved and in fact, i believe as successful as it is despite the above statements, it's actually losing money every single hour of every single day...the exact amount will fluctuate with each individual operation because there is the odd excellent manager/franchisee within the organization...

they're simply out-gunned and overwhelmed, the big headquarters of a now public company is too far in the clouds, does not have the perspective or creatively focused culture to realize or operationalize it...now as is typical worrying more about share price bounce than the customer experience. logically, i know they pay attention to some of these things...but it's a mediocre effort in my opinion...with their resources, they should have enough juice to be able to combat the long lines and substandard product issues.

t.h. - mandate. amazing. that should be their singular goal in life every day...take back control of the customer experience, instead it's being dictated by volume, outdated processes and a lack of a deep down, penetrating cultural essence that says we can't wait to make every coffee order an experience to behold...sound silly??? sure, if what you are wanting is a mediocre experience...if that's your goal in life...

as consumers, we put up with it, we get tired of demanding better, companies ignore us, we keep paying them to ignore us by buying their product/service. managers get tired of being diligent with their employees, holding them accountable for fear that they'll quit...guess what not only does mr. house have to be an evangelist for mandate. amazing. but so does each and every manager and each and every employee...a tough job, the skeptic would say an impossible job...only if you buy into that negativity...it is a choice you know???

let's help the t.h. managers out....try this, anyone with a computer/printer combo, that's probably nearly all of you...purchase a package of those do-it-yourself business cards and then print on them the following statement...


your service today -- lousy...take some pride in what you do, smile and show some respect...ultimately without customers...you'd be out on your ass.



on the back of the card...
by the way one of these cards will be given to your manager as well.....with your name on it.

or any similar type message you like. then once you've finished the transaction, and nothing has been spit in your breakfast, you can leave a card to smarten them up and let them know we do actually want better...accountability is what it's all about...

as far as t.h. goes...i believe that their hearts are generally in the right place and that they're good people, why else would i spend a large chunk of my sunday on them...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jim Peplinski...

i was called out of the blue the other day by Lisa LeJeune, an account executive at Jim Peplinski's Leasemaster.

apparently, i was driving around sometime ago and she wrote down my business number off the side of my vehicle and cold called me. being the type to never pre-judge i agreed to meet her this morning for a coffee. what i found out was that she is a highly skilled and talented individual that used to work for the royal bank as a personal banker. she found that she didn't like the banks tactics as it related to encouraging customers to take advantage of added debt focused vehicles such as lines of credit, credit cards, overdrafts and so on even though it wasn't in the best interest of the customer' s financial future, only to be pressured from the big fish in the little pond for not having pushed these products harder. so, she did a very brave thing and took the leap, leaving her position on moral grounds after 6 years of investment (pun intended) and landed a new position with a solid company that in her words has a moral centre in the form of the ex-calgary flame's leasing organization and is very happy about her decision to move.

way to go lisa...thanks for your time today...keep on expanding your horizons on your terms...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

excitment....

so as i assisted a dear friend employ some new technology in her business yesterday, i really enjoyed watching the excitment build. as the installation disks passed by one by one and the configuration of various new hardware pieces was completed, you could see the possibilites appear in her mind.

growing a business can sometimes be just that simple. employ new and simple technology such as flash drives, web-cams, and unique video composition software and a non-techie comes alive.

this is the moment i drive for in every project....light bulb switched on and burning brightly....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

ghandi...

he said, "be the change you want to see in the world."

many understand this statement but only a rare few actually live it. you can always tell those companies or people that understand business is infinitely more than just dollars and cents. they actually operate like they have a heart. they use terms like people, friends, human beings instead of consumer, customer, client. that's a hard habit to break believe me, i fall into the routine from time to time...

i suffer from wanting to help people almost too much. my life is filled with times where i can see the issue as clear as a mountain lake and the same goes for the solution. i look for turbulence and a new course out of it......and from time to time i find that the person who would benefit most from this new path is not listening. that's my frustration, i see families, and whole companies that could benefit as a result and yet, no go. so, i deal with that frustration internally and understand that everyone is on their own path and timeline and that i simply can't help everyone...that used to bug me way more, today, i'm really focused on the early adopters, those who are open to learning, experiencing and changing...i look for sponges....

just recently i suggested to a potential business friend that he should consider taking a look at his "customer experience." i said it differently than this...but you get the idea.

this guy is a decent and honest small business man who's just overwhelmed and he's making some tactical and execution errors on various business decisions relating to service, it's starting to show, complaints are surfacing, balls and plates that were once spinning are dropping. these errors follow a pattern within his personality and how he views the world around him; he doesn't consider it to be a serious issue. we all have these moments and traits, it's part of what makes us unique and i wanted to help him understand the pattern, of course that's in part what fusedlogic does and we always start with the people...

he didn't see value in what i was saying obviously because he brushed me off, now that's not the first time this has happened to me and i know it happens to everyone occasionally.

sometimes and often it's me...my approach, my personality, my breath who knows and sometimes it's their fear, it's timing, it's money, there can be a myriad of issues that get in the way. ultimately though...it simply wasn't painful enough for that person to want to focus on it and there's a fine line on how far to take the conversation without offending someone. (remember i said it's often me...that's because i rarely tip toe over this line, usually i drive a truck over it at high speed....something...that as i get older and develop patience is getting easier to avoid)

when things go right however...it's magic. i believe in an ancient chinese proverb that i'm sure you've all heard before..."when the student is ready, the teacher will appear." i've seen this the moment it happens many times and it's very exciting to watch...the theoretical light bulb above the student goes on in slow motion as if the actions of a light bulb turning on takes minutes rather than a millisecond...very cool experience and one i'm addicted to. i imagine in my head that i'm going to walk over flip on a light switch, and watch...

so instead of getting frustrated by the one that got away i strive and focus on helping the next person (who's a sponge) reach the launch pad so they can rocket to the next level...and by doing so i accelerate too...

i'm listening to ghandi as well as the voice in my head and by doing so, in my own way, i suppose "i'm living the change that i want to see in the world"... maybe i suppose so is that fella who brushed me off and if that's the case...that's just fine with me...

by the way, i found this site called audible for audio books, i think it's pretty cool. also another cool site... summary was referred to me by my dear friend lori colborne of lsl marketing.

have a great sunday...

Friday, August 18, 2006

intellectual capital...

capturing intellectual capital from within your organization is critical and many companies do not have a plan to capture the potential torrent of crazy smart ideas your employees typically keep to themselves....here's an attempt by IBM to capture ideas and spur on an exchange with 100,000 employees......

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

perspective....

don't stare at the finger....or you'll miss all that heavenly glory.

- bruce lee

Friday, August 11, 2006

31.5% of the world in 3 years...

so if you're not an avid, crazy intense blogger, (i'd put myself in that category) then you most likely do not really understand the rushing torrent of activity that is the blogosphere....(blogosphere - the community of bloggers around the world)

it might surprise you to know that the prediction made by some is that in approximately 3 years 31.5% of the world's population will be blogging...that's a large amount of opinions and information coming from individuals and companies alike wouldn't you say? never before has the planet ever experienced such an ability to communicate...hmmm, must be a business opportunity there somewhere...(pardon my capitalist mind)

to find out more about how things are flying along and his view on the state of all things blog take a look at david sifry's blog, he's the ceo of technorati, a popular blogging hub...

technorati tracks 75,000 new blogs every day...imagine you could capture the attention of the blogosphere, how might you do that? something hugh macleod, a well known blogger at gapingvoid has been promoting for sometime is unusual and engaging content supported by what he calls a "global microbrand." in his case, he has a few loyal clients who have paid him enough to buy a pint now and then to talk about their brands on his blog...they include stormhoek wine, for example, you'll see hugh lending his type of in your face humor and blog intelligence to their brand, clearly....it's working. as here i am referring to a wine i've never consumed yet they've got realestate on my blog for free.

by the way, my inspiration for some of my cartoons and one pagers have come from hugh macleod's brand of business communication on the back of business cards....a great idea he executes flawlessly.....way to go hugh, thanks for the inspiration to push myself into new territory and for the removal of boredom at least for myself....

now even though almost no one reads my ramblings the concept is still valid, your eyes are being exposed to a global micro brand for free all because of passion for blogging and the free will - open communication blogging provides.

this is already a massive force to be sure and it's only going to get more powerful....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

impossible dreams...

why do corporations set goals they can almost always easily acheive? not only corporations but of course the people within them...government agencies are especially adept at doing this so they get their bonuses...

paradigm shift - dream impossible dreams and see just how much you actually accomplish. people have been programmed to be mediocre, why do you think we're so impressed with those characters that rise above the crowd? wow, unbelievable, incredible acheivement, freakin amazing...rare comments for most of the working stiff population...why does it have to be that way? laziness, fear and complacency all contribute to a society of mediocrity...snap out of it!

over the coming months you will experience my journey as i explore the outter edges of consulting, business high performance, life achievement and personal development. i will be pushing myself and my team as hard and as far as we can possibly go then set up for round two and push even further, squeezing every ounce out of every day, every project...i'll keep you in the loop as we collectively experience all sorts of emotions, set-backs, huge successes and new levels of consulting existence....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

easy come easy go...

t-shirts are gone! actually i've sponsored a charity event and outfitted the entire volunteer staff with t-shirts, the rest are all spoken for and i guess i'll have to order some more...

other than that i've been extremely busy and so time management is critical like it is for most business people. we're working on a really cool project proposal and it's exciting as well as a crazy amount of work, with all the research and effort all i can say is we're going to be very well prepared. right down to personality traits of our potential clients...since i believe that effective partnering is in the personality details...one can never have too much information regarding the personality type of your client and what goes on in their head...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

t-shirts are in...

come and get'em while you can...the first ever fusedlogic t-shirt. i don't know why i haven't made some prior to this...

actually, that seems even more strange when i tell you that the first ever company this serial entrepreneur ever started was a t-shirt company at age 18 with my first ever business partner cail johnson. complete trial and error. however, we did get our designs into the largest mall in the world...and we did get lots of compliments on our work.

too bad that low margins but more importantly lack of marketing savvy killed the deal. we simply didn't understand the big leagues in terms of textiles.

really, we just had some things to say in ink on cotton, and when that was done it became more like a struggle. what we really needed at that time was a mentor who understood our plight and who got the whole reason for being a t-shirt company.

this was a great experience for all sorts of reasons, in fact, we did accomplish our dream which was we wanted to be successful enough to be walking down the street or in a mall and actually see one of our designs on someone we didn't know...that happened to our friend and to us separately. we were very proud and were reminded of why we put all the effort in.

actually, i bump into people from time to time who still have our shirts and other items such as shorts and sweatshirts, they still rave about them, they have some holes in peculiar places now but that's what happens when you were your favorite shirt all the time...

our best selling t-shirt was our "ginormously canadian" and for all of you who have never heard of the word "ginormous" it was a derivitive of combining - giant and enormous.

anyway it was fun to go through the process, maybe i'll continue to reminisce and do some more...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the consumer brain...

so tell me...just how well do you understand the brain of your consumer?

any idea how they interpret and make meaning of your product or service, company, people, overall experience?

it's been said many times that logical thinking may help consumers understand what you're selling but emotion is what moves them to buy. so if that's the case, how much time do you spend on evoking an emotional response regarding your product or service?

here's an idea that may help provide you with better overall results. become a student of the consumer brain and more importantly become incredibly well informed as to how your customers "consume life"...in order to better understand where your product or service fits in.

quite frankly my idea of "evoking" is more like "provoking" an emotional response, you see i'm sort of an in your face (still nice and giving guy) but nonetheless in your face "type a" personality and so i tend to provoke responses, this can be positive and negative, but at least i'm getting a response rather than being ignored. for my business to succeed i must help people understand what's below the surface at fusedlogic, what's at the heart of who we are, what we do and why we do it; matching that up with the goals, aspirations and vision of our clients is crucial. once they realize that we fight harder than anyone else for what they need, believe in, and envision as success they simply can't afford to not have us in the room working for their team.

the question for fusedlogic becomes what method of communication do we use to get them to understand how and why they should consume our service. only after we understand what our consumer's brain is thinking will we know the answer to that.

people and our clients in particular, like to associate with winners or companies they believe will help them win big and more often. that's what we do. we provide strategies that enable our clients to win big and win more often and we're relentless in our pursuit of the absolute best solution for our clients.

you see that's typically what our consumer's brain tells us, "we want to win." "we want to change our results and we need your help to do it." "we need someone to work exhaustively at making us better at what we do."

when "consuming life" and we're not in the room, our consumer's brain can sometimes be scratching itself looking for solutions, ideas and inspiration - often too close to the situation to be objective. understanding that, allows us to, on behalf of our clients...eliminate that frustration, wasting of time and resources, to which they are very appreciative.

so start a crusade...focus on a deeper understanding of your consumer's brain, observe them consuming life when not using your product or service, get out of the office or shop, be creative, ask, listen, capture all the results of your research and then adapt your process to fit the new data...

thanks for taking the time to read this and please let me know if you thought this was helpful...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

spark camp...

i'm thinking of holding a new and interesting seminar or "unseminar" series called "spark camp." it's based on a concept that is taking off in the u.s. on a much larger scale where the participants dictate the topics for discussion and actually present the concepts or ideas to the rest of the group. here's an article with more background on the concept.

the group would start by determining their own topics for discussion within the allotted time frame. once chosen the originators of each idea or concept would then get the discussion going with all participating and sharing. this is all done on the fly and so each time there will certainly be a fresh set of exchanges and opportunities to learn and share ideas...

if you'd like to participate in an event like this and you happen to be in the greater edmonton area, email me and let me know.

walter@fusedlogic.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

turning creativity into a formula...

even the largest companies on the planet struggle with generating ideas that can be turned into a profitable product or service. commercializing a new technology or business concept is one of the toughest things to do...

so what can a small business with a fraction of the resources do to stay competitive? most business owners don't look immediately at their staff for inspiration, however, you should realize that you have thinkers right in your organization that might have the next cool product idea. let them express their ideas to you and reward their creativity.

if you're a one person show, then take a retreat and bring along your trusted advisors. taking time away from daily operations can really help you gain perspective.

taking time to listen to others regarding your business is time well spent. you'll find that not everyone thinks about what you do the same way and that can lead to innovation. once you think you've found a new idea you want to expend resources on, focus on structuring a formula that is centered around repetition and always remember to have fun coming up with that next big idea...

Friday, July 21, 2006

eyetalk studio....

i had a great meeting and discussion with marion mcfall of eyetalk studio yesterday who impressed upon me the need for audio on my website, fusedlogic.com although she complimented me on the use of white space on my site and overall simplicity and ease of use. thanks for the kind words marion....

i agreed that use of podcasting for example would provide a more interactive feel and usefulness to my site, unfortunately for me i'm using a content management system that does not allow for the uploading and organizing of said audio files....so i guess i'll have to wait until they develop something for me that will, despite that i'm quite happy with the usability of the system

eyetalk is just that, focused on graphic design and voice talent related services...check them her or rather her company out here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

it just takes a single thought...

i always say that we can change the destiny of a company with a single thought...of course there has to be follow through on that rare idea but you get my point...

i read an article yesterday in the globe and mail about the deal between nortel and microsoft...this is a huge deal for for both companies but especially nortel, they've got some work to do to reinstate themselves with some credibility...some of the conversations i'm having with them are very interesting and they are absolutely open for business and eager to work on new ideas and concepts...i've found my experience with them to be terrific.

this deal shows the importance of having a strong strategy in place and the committment to execute. clearly this relationship is getting stronger over time...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

mentorship could be key with gen-y...

the word is out on generation y. retention in the "talent economy" is job one and many companies have yet to figure out how to get in the head of what many call the "entitlement generation."

turnover is at an all time ridiculous high, it suddenly became ok to be seemingly unreliable in terms of your work history. fresh out of school and still wet behind the ears the consensus is, here comes easy street. gimme, gimme, gimme or i'm gone is the mantra of so many recent grads, these guys have to be pleaded with just to have them show up for a work shift on a regular basis, as was the story from someone i talked to the other day.

without going into all the parenting issues i believe that are partially to blame for this epidemic of "jump shippers" ....i refer now to the whole self-esteem movement where kids get trophies for breathing and figuring out how to tie their own shoes at age ten. i suggest maybe expecting more of our kids in terms of effort, commitment and serious accomplishment before the acclaim and fan fare come rushing in. as it was for most gen-xer's or the even less forgiving baby boomers....without going into all of that...i do believe there is something positive to extract from this dilemma. however, i still reserve the right to shake my head at grade eight graduations...

as is usually the case when the scales are tipped overwhelmingly one way or another the market must shift. i came across this la times article and i think it provides some decent insight and solutions to this annoying, expensive problem that is without question here to stay.

bureaucratic process...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

2 more to go...

the oilers have just two more wins before they can lift stanley's mug. i know they can do it. keep the pressure down low, keep them looking over their shoulders, shoot from everywhere and crash the net at every opportunity. the oil need to dictate the play and win every race to the puck. most importantly stay out of the box and convert more pp chances into goals.

I know that next monday the oilers will be lifting the greatest trophy in sports......

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

blog interrupted...

being busy isn't much of an excuse but it's all i've got...things are only getting more intense. persistence, focus, creativity and just plain hard work is allowing fusedlogic to grow. we're still looking for cool people to join the team, in fact, that's the toughest challenge at the moment.

on another note, i'm concerned about the oilers and the hole they're in. we'll see what they're able to accomplish on wednesday night. hopefully, they can get more shots from increased pressure down low. san jose is playing the oilers game, they just seem to want it more, winning more races and battles and that's the key so far for them, we'll have to turn the tables tomorrow night...

Monday, May 01, 2006

boycott exxon...

ok, so coordination to not buy fuel on one day is a lame plan and it didn't work. so how about just boycotting esso and petrocan forever. cut up those goofy points cards after you drain them and then never go back.

let's start a PRICE WAR of our own. don't stop buying gas completely, just stop buying from esso and petrocan and once their volumes drop enough, lower prices will follow to entice us back, all other gas retailers will follow suit. also, reduce your consumption a quarter tank or more if you can a week, look for ways to use less by planning more of your driving, and when buying fuel only purchase half a tank, rather than fill up all the time.

the market drives the price, not exxon, take the power back.

in addition, start writing your congressman, senator, mp, all politicians that have they're hands in the tax jar and help them understand that enough is enough. being taxed ontop of tax is always ridiculous but even more so at these retarded gas prices.

exxon, shell and others are absolutely guilty of closing down refineries in the u.s. so that they can manipulate the amount of refining capacity which drives up prices. remember that, these guys are absolute rip-off artists.

so take your 1 million esso or petro points go get your chocolate bar with them and then cut up the card at the counter letting them know you'll never be back because they're prices are too high.

cut the cards, cut the cards, cut the cards......

Thursday, April 20, 2006

step up and be bold...

when faced with a life changing opportunity that requires taking a risk...what happens? many turn and run, a few step up.

what do you do? where does your fear reside? how must does fear control your business mind?

too many allow fear of failure to control and restrict their accomplishments. stop it. let loose, if you fail so what, everyone fails at some point, though not always because of pushing limits. playing it safe is a waste of the gift you've been given. take more risks, engage the world, people may hate you, they may love you, what's important is how you view your life when you look back. be proud and don't waste a minute of it worrying about or trying to avoid failure. all great business people fail, because they're constantly pushing limits and boundaries.

the key for me is to learn and not make the same mistake twice and have more wins than losses. too many companies steer away from greatness rather than focus on it. seize greatness. be amazing at what you do and make sure the customer is completely amazed by what you're doing.

let your staff be great, give them support in being great. your corporate culture should be about seizing greatness.

as an employee make seizing greatness your internal politics rather than job survival mode. good isn't good enough. great and freaking amazing is now the level you operate at. all those slackers out there will be upset at you...they'll call you an overachiever - exactly. internally you can feel sorry for those losers because you're on a different path and boy is it cool. separate yourself by being outstanding. promotions await those who do the job so well management looks at them as completely under utilized and moves them up. Be bold and if you can't be bold in the organization you're in then leave it to be bold somewhere else.

how great can the job be if all you do is duck your head and play it safe, while you avoid raising your hand at the back of the class. this is a talent economy, the power is in the talent not the corporation.

when an opportunity for greatness comes your way - SEIZE IT!

people still need to be reminded to do this sometimes...and a few meetings over the last week has brought this thought to light.

Friday, April 14, 2006

transcendant organizations...a simplistic look

alright, we've agreed that innovation is necessary. how then does an organization focus on actually implementing the idea of ideas? motivating employees to be creative, inspiring free thought is only the first step. what processes should a ceo implement to allow this corporate culture to form and take hold so that it actually produces revenues and makes a difference in the world?

it starts with the leader of the organization; that's a given. beyond that let's remember what type of environment we're working with here. one most likely filled with an under current of fear, politics, greed, gossip, bullying and lacking trust. i've worked in these types of environments and it taught me to make a decision, either keep my head down or if i intended on moving up the ladder then play "the game" better than the next person. (now, not all organizations are like this of course.)

i wasn't interested in doing either of those, in fact, i was more likely to tell the no-mind, applehead always in survival mode supervisor to get lost; so my large corporate career was short-lived. that was an easy choice as i had my self-reliant personality to fall back on. i have always been predisposed to indulging my entrepreneurial spirit rather than the corporate lifer direction. (not that there's anything wrong with the corporate lifer.)

"ok team, now we're innovators." if only it were that simple. typically, the ceo designates a person or team to handle the idea of ideas. the idea team is given expectations, a timeline and some resources. now what? how does that organization actually extract the intelligent essence of the next big thing so that it will flow flawlessly into the product pipeline? which thought provoking gems are to be implemented and which are too risky? there's a myriad of questions and issues that arise, this is where the real work begins and where most fall short.

to aid in this, i like to suggest removing all the corporate baggage possible and start a spin-off organization. operating almost autonomously from the corporate mainstream in daily routine but still reporting regularly for accountability sake.

here are some examples of parameters for such a team and their ideas.

parameters:
- it's about the talent.
-the people and the idea must be able to change the world.
-the more people positively impacted by the project the better.
-high intangible benefit factors past revenue.
-must have strong attributes for a completely new direction.
-must be extremely difficult and incredibly challenging.

now this criteria can certainly be modified, no matter what though, keep it simple, keep it large scale and find people with big hearts, big brains and big passion to execute. you may want to perform personality tests on these mavericks to analyze the balance of character traits, types, creativity, detail orientations, levels of aggression and so on. the mix you're looking for is certainly heavy on the whacky talent side. support these guys with incredible design capabilities as well as exposure to cultural diversity.

ensure that this idea tactical team is able to extract observations and opinions from some of the smartest minds on the planet, capture everything. absorb information from scientists, futurists, psychologists, students, mathmeticians, artists, musicians. focus on the person rather than the area of expertise, some of the greatest ideas may be in the home with parents or groups of mothers solving a specific problem as they see it in the everyday world. dynamic interaction with this diverse group provides the tactical team with perspective not normally oozing from cubicles. attempt to build a living and breathing lab.

regardless of what happens you must expect criticism, that's just human nature. i admit that i'm very critical of well...corporate dinosaurs (don't get me started). you know, the status quo morons who love to play it safe with proposals and plan after plan. there's actually a saying in the provincial government where i live, "no one's ever been fired for hiring ibm." now isn't that brilliant? i'm aware of several ibm debacles.....well that's another rant.

even companies like apple who are known for set the world on fire innovation are criticized for other reasons like processes or lack of redundancy past steve jobs, i refer an article by Alan Deutschman, a Fast Company senior writer. he has decided that his true idea of a transcendant innovator is w.l. gore & associates. a good choice.

ultimately, you must trust and know that you are brave, remain committed to your true passion and purpose, regardless of what negative thoughts come your way. those leaders and organizations that adopt a true sense of bravery towards innovation and re-inventing their companies will find a way to get the job of changing the world done.

some well-known if not expected examples of these types of organizations. do you think these companies in some way transcend the rest? ideo, thenorthface, 3m, microsoft, virgin

you'll notice they're all large and recognizable organizations with substantial r&d budgets. i'm however most excited about the opportunities for the small and medium sized innovator to transcend their competition still sleeping at the wheel; that's where most of the fun is happening in my opinion.

interesting companies to watch:
webaroo, inphase technologies, brainsonfire eurekster


and so what if after all this you believe you simply can't afford to start an idea tactical and implementation team?

well, then you knock on our door....http://www.fusedlogic.com we'd be happy to blow the doors off of your particular market space with you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

more non-disruptive disruption...

incremental change: wrong - start over



moderate improvements: wrong - you'll be out of business shortly



too much change: wrong - adapt, rapid change is everywhere, can't handle it, either you'll be replaced by someone who can or the company will be replaced



still today, many companies, their management, staff and corporate culture are on the left side of the argument above. why? fear! fear of losing and "disrupting" the simple existence they have developed for themselves. there's safety in boring numbers, predictable revenues and so before i start sounding like an accountant/consultant from some very large dinosaur where i spend most of my time on the bench as part of a bloated organization, promoting the idea of those boring numbers through some goofy framework, chanting "mega hours billed." i'll stop there.


shareholders don't take well to disruption, "unless" it puts money in their jeans right? so how to be a disruptive leader without erroding consumer or shareholder confidence? hmm well if you're a dinosaur like sears, there's no hope for you. do you think shareholder confidence is shaken when these guys are talking disruption? no way, they're expected to do exactly that, in fact, the market would be shaken if they didn't act with disruptive intent.

sears....what will the retail environment look like in 2031? no idea? didn't think so.

sears....what will the hottest 10 products in 2031 be? once again no idea? yeeeaaahhhh, we're going need you to go ahead and die now, ummmk? thanks. - no, thank-you bill lumbergh

sears....how will retailers respond to the "next" plugged-in generation? you're dead well before you'll ever find out.

rather than do what many large corporations are doing at the moment, which is turn good people who don't know any better and with no idea on how to innovate into V.P.'s of corporate innovation, you should think about finding the whackiest, most unusual and original creative thinker on the planet, better yet put a team together, search the planet for them and get them out of the office to explore the world's technology innovators that have little or nothing to do with your business today.

then match them up with behavioral scientists and experts in human factor engineering and cut them loose.

rethink sears - think skunkworks? why? because you're already the retailing equivilent to this other dinosaur who I'm ashamed (i own a gm) to say is also losing their war. When regis says "buy american because we can't afford to let gm go under." hmmm it's possibly too late. dinosaurs don't turn on a dime with the leadership that got them there in the first place. that's why they're dinosaurs.

here are some ideas to get you started sears.

hover chair - furniture that hovers on a cushion of air and at the same time filter's the air into fresh spring rain smelling almost edible air, resulting in reducing a child's chance of getting asthma.

nano-fibre upholstery materials, why? why not?

how about tool boxes with some sort of memory material built in that adapts to the tool, holding it in place and can strengthen the tool's structural integrity while not in use.

nano-tube tools, why? why not? too-expensive, how do things too expensive today eventually reach the market....uh innovation!

how about one battery for life for all power tools, corner the power market, it already exists go find it, commercialize it and make it ubiquitous.

garden shed that adapts to the available space in terms of size, with wall material that can morph and act as a green house with a voice command, upgrade with solar power generation technology to power the house.

make the tool box a communications and diagnostics station with phone, tv and wireless internet capabilities built in. or if you like forget the wireless and embed webaroo and allow the home mechanic to surf offline. that could almost be next years killer product technology-wise.

expand the idea with embedded voice activation, the tool box should be able to perform diagnostics on any vehicle within range and report to the owner on the exact steps on solving the mechanical issue along with a list of which sears made tools are missing from the tool-box but are needed to complete the job, then order them for immediate daily delivery on that ridiculously expensive sears credit card account. this would also go for your appliances, you remember those don't you, your lousy service delivering appliances to my home and then how you dealt with your mistake is how we got here in the first place.

how about the sears diagnostic robot?

oh, i know what some of you might be saying, but sears is a retailer primarily not a product developer. i think both sears and i would disagree with that comment and besides do you think that the really cool product developers are going to choose boring sears as their #1 retailer of choice? not on your life, they're not now why would they in the future?

sears...your store concept is dead, there are others out there doing it better and more on the way with retailing concepts that capture the mind, body and soul. no amount of tv shows will turn that tide for you. a complete rebuild is the only thing that will.

any way the point is rather than simply making an attempt to look like you're innovating (sears you don't even qualify here) - commit to it 1000 percent. fire up the disruption engine and hit the big red flashing button for launch...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

non-disruptive disruption........

the concept of disruption, at least how my simple mind understands it, is to promote change, creativity, innovation and passion for pushing limits. (again, the most simpliest of definitions)

does purchasing a piece of innovation management software push you into the category of "disruptive?" maybe, if you were so boring and uninspired before that this brilliant IT strategy was a revelation among your ranks. maybe, if by "disruptive" you mean a slightly elevated voice at the kitchen table during dinner time.

disruption has become so common place that even dilbert has taken his shots at the concept. is it really common place? or have just a small segment picked up on the bandwagon? how many corporate executives use the word at all in their daily lives?

when you consider that droves of mediocre mid-level managers are being replaced by software implementations and automated processes and will soon be blogging about how unfair it all is and how they didn't see it coming.

well, if you don't see it coming then boys and girls you deserve it.

my answer to my previous question is NO, purchasing innovation management software does not qualify you are truly disruptive. understanding that you work or operate a dinosaur, like sears is the first step, then create a culture of change and innovation, only then can software tools which help you organize your thoughts and ideas into usable and actionable items that produce revenue have a suitable role.

sidebar: i don't believe there's enough disruption in the universe to help sears, no amount of seemingly donated furnishings on television will do it. at the end of the day, sears and companies just like it are missing the boat and others will out perform them and destroy them. i believe the real disruption revolution hasn't yet begun, despite the ramblings of dilbert and dilbert-like bloggers out there...more to come on this topic....down with corporate dino's.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

on a mission...

i hear all sorts of different responses when i explain that fusedlogic is on a mission to take on the toughest challenges possible, and of those, we prefer ones that will change the world.

some sneer, some laugh outright, other's go hmmmm as they attempt to figure out a challenge that might stump our organization but the majority just stare back with this blank stare not sure what to say or how to react. when your day is spent selling a commodity, for example, maybe you're a web-developer, a financial planner, insurance salesperson or even a real estate agent, you have a tough time relating to "change the world." that of course is precisely why they're not our target client at all.

progress: amazingly and also expectedly, we're finding what we're looking for, highly cool large scope projects that have tremendous potential to change the world with an innovative approach and a lot of creativity.

the key: we're focusing on our strengths, and continuing to eliminate all those opportunities that are frankly, a distraction from changing the world around us on a mass scale. anything else interesting to us is filtered through our xcelerator program for small business and that has some specific engagement parameters attached, if it doesn't fit there - than we pass altogether.

fun times; there is a client we've had for sometime and he's almost certainly on to a product that might just revolutionize the way the oil industry does part of it's business. (sorry confidentiality prohibits me from expanding on what exactly we're talking about) However, this product could be a killer app on the production side of things. CHALLENGE: this little company may have a tiger by the tail and is ill equipped to take it global. enivro-friendly, increased production, low-cost, everything oil companies dream of.

time to create the plan for world domination, now before you get any ideas for another bond film script, keep your keyboard in neutral. there isn't any corporate espionage planned here, or market manipulation, just straight forward "honest" capitalism and commerce - once some tests are complete and the good news is confirmed that is and that should happen next week.

however, one very large oil company is on board regardless. so the mission is get this product in the hands of as many oil companies on the planet as possible starting with a two person operation without getting eaten alive. sounds like fun and we can change the world for the better in numerous ways just with this one project alone. life is pretty spectacular.

i won't bore you with all the details of negotiating deals for this product and the time, effort and resources required to make it happen. the commercialzation process is part of the super fun part, that's a strength of ours for sure.

Monday, April 10, 2006

passion like richard...

many people in business today would say they have passion for what they're doing. however, when you sit and discuss passion at length with them, the boundaries of their passion become rapidly evident, almost the central focus.

do we need some type of boundary? sure, but not as close to the centre as you might think, and not as stringent as you would like either. i look to align my firm with projects and people who have already demonstrated that their passion boundaries are further a field than most, and yet they still have a way to go. why? because i've virtually eliminated my boundaries for passion regarding my business and our clients, they're well beyond most other's comfort zones. for a business relationship to form strong ties, there has to be a working appreciation for the really passionate business journey that's about to start.

that's where we as an organization must position ourselves in order to be amazing and extremely effective. we leave others to their business planning projects, instead, we look for the toughest challenges we can find, and the most passionate people to work with. changing how education is delivered, influencing how certain market segments learn about being an entrepreneur, green energy, broadband in new ways and new areas, we focus on world changing projects and you need incredible passion to accomplish work in these areas. evolving business by pushing boundaries is what we're all about.

ask yourself, just how passionate you consider yourself to be about what you do every day. what if you let go of the restrictions, how would this invigorate and affect your corporate culture? energizing your corporate culture can lead to terrific new accomplishments.

do yourself a favor and hold a competition within your office, have everyone count the number of times the word "can't" is used. more often than not, that word limits everything from revenue to innovation and everything in between. are you the "can't" company?

stop using "can't" as an excuse to fail. start being more passionate about the word "how." how can we push further, reach higher......

do you have a passionate corporate culture?

how often do you laugh? what about your staff?
is creativity a core skill for you and your team?
is work defined as an incredible experience for your customer? shouldn't it be?
is energy abundant or in short supply?
what is your fuel?

organizations that don't restrict passion in their people ultimately will win more. let your staff exude passion. let them run with inspiration, innovation should thrive and that leads to marketshare increases; once you figure out how to channel that new found passion, the sky's the limit.

you may someday soon be asking yourself, so why does the sky have to be the limit? now you're thinking passionately like richard branson and how can that be a bad thing....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

accountability....

often in life we are forced to deal with people who refuse to hold themselves accountable.

i'm not one of them, and my clients i believe respect that about me and my firm. i'm by no means perfect, after all, i'm human. how we deal with mistakes or the perception of a mistake says alot about our character as a person and as a business.

for example: in your opinion, if a company you have employed to perform a task or was asked to supply a product to you and they fail to do so as agreed, what would you expect them to do if anything to address the problem?

I recently orded a hundred pens of the more expensive variety from a local promotional items company located in my area of Sherwood Park and they were shipped to me with many of them being dry - they didn't work right out of the box. I unfortunately didn't find out the extent of this problem until after having sent out approximately 60 pens, they started coming back to me and people made comments about being given a faulty or bad pen.

in your opinion, do you think this has in any way affected my corporate brand? why or why not?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

our 6th year in business....

fusedlogic has just passed its 6th anniversary as a company this past weekend, and i was reflecting on some of the incredible work and the amazing people we've collaborated with over that time.

the firm has really come along way, despite our focus to not grow in size for most of our existence up to now at least; it was the right decision for a healthy life balance. that said, we still managed to engage in very interesting projects with interesting people, which remains true today.

in fact, that statement has matured and expanded into identifying the toughest business challenges we can find on the planet. this expansion of thinking has led us to identify work primarily outside our local area and in the u.s. as well as india. we've also developed relationships with companies and organizations in china, russia, pakistan and the uk.

if there's anything that i've personally taken away from the past 6 years, it's that people are generally good at heart but sometimes and more often than one would think, they lack passion and purpose; these people are bored, their business lives devoid of excitement, their tired and overloaded with information. that sometimes is the toughest challenge we can find, to inspire those who are empty inside and searching for answers and do it in a way that develops trust in the process and in us.

it's true that in this life you meet all kinds of characters, some incredibly positive and even some less than honorable. in fact, even though we're stronger than ever and looking for incredible people as staff on specific projects, it hasn't been all laughs and giggles.

we're luckier than most to be able to say that after 6 years of operations we only have one organization that owes us an unpaid debt (its been years and we've been very patient).

interestingly enough they have plenty of cash to continue operations with staff, an office, expand through the start of a new joint-venture business and have pulled the wool over the eyes of another local firm to accomplish this. actually if you knew who i was referring to and many of you in alberta are becoming more aware of this company, you'd recognize as i do, that this is simply a lack of maturity and integrity. this group has someone younger than most as an executive who thinks of himself as well...he thinks pretty highly of himself and his accomplishments we'll just leave it at that. will this group ever pay the debt they owe? most likely not, this sort of thing seems to be in their collective nature and a small segment of the market who has dealt with them usually finds this to be true, especially if they're owed funds for work completed. in one case my firm was affected simply because of association with these guys, not good on the karma front.

in business we all come across these types of people and i'm sure that many of you have at one point had to deal with either dishonest or simply ignorant folks who refuse to own up to their obligations. so what do you do? sue them? well this number is certainly enough to warrant that and at the same time one has to fast forward to the point where you realize the only one who truly benefits from that action is the lawyer. thankfully should i decide to take action on this issue i have a tremendously capable law firm. one of the relationships a company of our age inevitably develops as a matter of course.

enough of the bad, i'm extremely gratified to continue to find that people are incredibly receptive to what we're doing and recognize the high quality of work, fusedlogic's business model is very unique and things are heading exactly where i want them to go. yes, 2006 has already been a fantastic year and the best is just around the corner.

over the years some have referred to me personally as a delivery mechanism for tough love, that i'm direct, in your face, even aggressive. well folks, walter schwabe and fusedlogic are certainly not going away, in fact we're growing and if tough love is what you require so that you are phenomenal at what you do, you can expect the heat to be turned up over the next 6 years.

our firm is pure creativity, innovation, big ideas, big deals and illumination, sure we've got detail guys but we keep the somewhat stoggy bean counters and mba types at the back of the bus. we're much more about pushing your limits and expanding what you think is possible, showing you how ready you are for amazing business results.

example: imagine for a moment your business is incredibly successful, now imagine a firm comes along and with a change in perspective helps you to see.

where once you believed that you were kicking butt, with your improved business vision you now recognize you're actually only tapping into 20% of your capabilities and then this firm provides you with clarity on how to capture the other 80%...then rolls up its sleeves and does the work with you to ensure success.

wouldn't that be worth something to you? wouldn't you want to start that work immediately? many business owners are saying "absolutely, we can't afford not to, how can we continue knowing we may be leaving 8 out of every 10 dollars on the table."

i agree 110%....

Monday, April 03, 2006

lousy corporate communications...

for many people and corporations doing business online is a revelation. unfortunately, for a large segment of the online business community, they have forgotten to ensure that excellent customer service rules the day.

common mistakes often include poor and ineffective communication within daily online communiques with customers. for example, when emailing a customer who has just purchased your product or service online ensure it is pleasant and THANK THEM for their purchase. you'd be amazed at how often this simple gesture gets overlooked. many times it's a result of outsourcing the payment system to a third party such as paypal who cares less about how they represent your company and more about pushing new accounts.

I was recently purchasing a gift for my wife online,

here's an example of how NOT to communicate with a customer from my recent transaction:


"Dear walter@fusedlogic.com,
vendor industries (sales@vendor.com) would like to be paid through PayPal.
Pay vendor industries now with PayPal!"


keep in mind that i'd already paid for my wife's gift and had printed off a confirmation of the transaction. so when i read this, my initial thought was it reads as if i've not paid them at all. and in fact, with the use of the word "now" it almost comes across as if they're demanding payment.

i have to assume they're not that stupid, so most likely what's really going on here is that paypal has sent me an automated email of some sort from the vendor's perspective and they're attempting to promote their payment service.

a poorly executed way to encourage me to set-up an account.

further down in this particular email, paypal goes into the fact that i owed another $2 for shipping that the system didn't bill me for. the system was set up for my canadian information yet the extra shipping costs associated with shipping to canada was not anticipated. another example of poor programming, and inefficient systems.

lousy execution, and you and i both know that this is done a million times a day - hello lost revenue.

i've removed the actual name of the vendor so that they don't get any advertising benefit for doing a poor job of paying attention to their corporate communications. the truth is they're clueless as to why this would be a problem. however, since i've told them i would write about this issue today, they're now aware and will hopefully learn from their mistakes.

terrible online customer service was a large contributing reason for many dotcom failures. lousy support, lousy communication skills, poor response times, large waste of the customer's time through inefficient billing systems all contributed to poor sales outcomes and down went huge operations. in part because they all focused on the really cool technology and forgot that it would be paid for by really cool customers whom they forgot to treat with respect.

focus on the customer experience at all times, the better you understand what the customer goes through and what they deem as important; the better your business will do.

and always keep an eye on how third-party vendors communicate with your customers, they can do serious damage without you knowing it.

this issue is worth millions of dollars in revenues lost or gained...you have to decide what side you'd rather be on...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

convergence....

the word convergence has really come into it's own the last couple of years. what does it mean in the context of technology?

connected anywhere, any device is a great start...using voip on your laptop while using an embedded webcam at a hotspot and simultaneously working on a document with your global team at a wiki site, then once you're done your $4 nonfat, half-cap.....blah blah blah you can switch to bluetooth and a cell phone to continue that work with hardly skipping a beat.

business is changing because technology is changing the way business is being done and has been for over a decade now, this is an obvious statement and you have to ask yourself. how have you changed your habits and are you keeping up? do you care?

really, convergence means flexibility and speed and ultimately opportunity for those who can leverage it. there are two groups in the convergence world, those who embrace it and those who don't. let that sink in and consider what side you're on, soon however, you won't have a choice, life will have converged....it's enivitable. web2.0, wireless, voip, podcasting, holographic storage, wind-up laptops, entire hardrives on a usb so all your work is plug and play and virtual, highly cool.

i predict that one of the toughest challenges we'll continue to have is actually escaping to a place where we can be entirely off the grid...a pipe dream i know.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

picking on big companies...

i've been picking on large companies of late and for good reason. despite the fact that large businesses have a tremendous amount to offer the marketplace. they move too slow, they cling to old practices and they can't help but stumble all over themselves. words like cool, strange, free wheelin ventures are too dramatic, too wild card, too risky.

also, i feel there's a difference between wealth and graceful wealth. operating with honor and being solely motivated by greed, trampling all over the customer. time to break new ground, break the mould, change may not be enough. making mistakes is where it's at.

when skiing or snowboarding you can always tell the ones who are pushing their limits, they're the ones falling down. pretty soon they don't fall over as much, so they look for a steeper pitch and then a high cliff to jump off of.

time to let loose....push limits, stop looking for incremental advancement and blow the doors off expectations. even small and medium sized businesses could be better at this, they have to be if they really want to grow. large business on the other hand is still much more about moving in inches.

some do get it, and more are getting it everyday. and it's getting easier to identify the ones who don't get it...those guys i will continue to pick on. sears for example.........

Friday, March 24, 2006

now here's to all of you mid-level managers.....

who just "got it." my question to you, are you going to stay in the cubicle with a the new job of paddling up river under the guise of creative expression and renewal.

or are you going to take your act to the marketplace and start-up a new highly cool micro-competitor?

hmmmmmm......i know which i would do.........come on champ, you can do it.........

new definition of a mid-level manager.....

how do you turn around a division that's struggling?

tap into the intellectual capital that already resides in the division way more effectively, allow them to run free a bit. you know who i'm talking about, those mid-level managers for example, who have really no authority whatsoever to sign anything that isn't spoon fed them, all the while sucking the life out of the division.

they know they're working for a dinosaur where most of them sometime soon will be looking at their box of dusty desk ornaments and useless corporate squeeze toy collection on the steps of the office tower they used to spend a lot of time in and wonder, "now what?"

there's so much waste to eliminate, processes and divisions are being streamlined, it's no longer acceptable to have decisions and documents sit on a mid-level manager's desk for a day or two. nope, not even for hours, so one large drain on struggling divisions is...you guessed it, mid-level management and the processes they're tied to. am i saying anything amazing here - no.

however, here's a couple ideas on what to do with that intellectual capital, set them loose on figuring out how to generate profit, turn them into a tactical team of creative geniuses and let them sit and think about how to provide amazing customer service, amazing process improvement, amazing next generation solutions for supply management. they know your business extremely well from their perspective. they can tell you why there's an exodus of staff, why legacy systems aren't working. capture their idea's as effectively as you can.

make highly cool creativity their job and remove the no-mind decision processes and tasks from their desk and insert that into software. sprinkle these tactical teams throughout your organization and give them resources, provide them with a portfolio to attend to, then switch it every quarter for a fresh look at things. here's a thought, send them to spend time on site with your customers observing processes and daily business, unite your services with customer needs more effectively. careful, if you keep that up, these guys might just increase revenue for you and cut fat.

not only will these staff members become so well educated about your company and its customer base, they will finally be challenged and rewarded enough to potentially keep them from jumping off a bridge or jumping over to a competitor. you were probably going to have to let them go at some point and in an environment of human resource shortages too, that's the dinosaur way of solving the problem.

don't just cross-train, extreme cross-train, then listen and then act.

sears........continue not to listen.......please........