Each TED talk lasts 18 minutes, and some are worth every second of undivided attention. Consistent with Manylogue’s purpose to “…spread thoughts and ideas about doing business and running a business”, this post will draw relevant insights from a few great talks during the recent TEDxAthens event.
Look inside for solutions – look outside for problems
Juliano Tubino’s points sounded familiar to those of us following the technology business: the extreme lows in the business cycle offer fertile ground for new ventures. As he pointed out during a subsequent conversation, spin-offs are particularly promising. Financial Crisis, meet The Innovator’s Dilemma: If a company is not positioned and organized properly to meet new goals, it should either change — or give birth to a new entity that can start from scratch.
What resonated with me from Rory Sutherland’s talk was how easily we can mistake the forest for the trees. For instance, the company which invested large sums of money to improve a key metric from 98% to 99%, believed it was focusing on its customers. However, it turns out that these customers perceived this metric at 50%. In other words: you cannot improve what you cannot measure, especially if it is your customers’ experience!
Balance vs Entropy
Having followed Konstantinos Daskalakis’ views on mathematics and game theory for a while, I was enlightened when he used the word “balance” in a macroeconomic context. Konstantinos’ thesis, that our “systems” cannot even approximate balance, sounded thrilling when viewed from the viewpoint of a competitive strategist. Balance can be lethal for profits, as it is for the sheer joy of disrupting the status quo. The best antidote is orchestrating actions that introduce asymmetry into the competitive landscape, and create value in true “Blue Ocean” manner.
The crowd of 7 billion
On the surface, Joe Trippi and Matina Stevis could not appear more different. However, they sit across the same imaginary table of public policy and social media. The rules for this table are set by the power of the crowd, which can win elections and shift global markets. In business, most companies have opened up to the public via social media, but very few have gone beyond ticking the checkbox. It requires a radically different approach to actually listen to the market, but also to ignore the voices that are irrelevant, no matter how loud.
Finally, Nikos Mavridis took the notion of crowd-sourcing even further, by combining it with artificial intelligence to resolve complicated issues. In the era of “big data” and “internet-of-things”, business analytics can make the difference between analysis and paralysis. However, as Nikos demonstrated, lacking the right structure and the right people to filter through it, all this insight may turn into standard deviations and pretty graphs. And you know that these are great for blog posts, but not for running a business.
What do you think?
There were too many great talks to cover here. If you attended the event please feel free to bring forward any other business insights.