Best Google / Alphabet coverage I’ve read

Includes this and many other insights:

Alphabet’s plan to report Google’s results on a standalone basis will likely reveal that the search-and-advertising company investors have bought stock in is, absent the financial blackhole of Google’s moonshots, doing even better than most suspected. Unfortunately for said investors the additional clarity will only serve to illuminate just how much money is not being returned to shareholders and is instead being spent by Page and Brin on what they think matters. Will investors trust Page to spend it wisely?


Now that’s what I call a pivot!

Now, I think the word “pivot” is way overused – but what better example of a pivot is there than this!?  How do your so-called pivots compare…?

The sensational aspect of the current Mockingbird/Watchman kerfuffle centers on Harper Lee’s radically different characterizations of Atticus Finch in the two books, specifically the less-than-knightly portrait in Go Set A Watchman. How could America’s avatar of decency turn into a racist? Why would Ms. Lee do that? Has the hero of To Kill A Mockingbird been tarnished forever?


To me, that’s not the story at all.


Since Watchman was written before Mockingbird (even though the time period in the book is later), Harper Lee did not “change” Atticus. The characterization in Watchman was the original. It was her first shot. It was Atticus 1.0.


The real story, if you ask me, is that Harper Lee rethought, reconceived, and reconfigured the Atticus of Watchman into the icon of honorableness that he became in To Kill A Mockingbird.


Think of that for a minute from a writer’s point of view. How hard is that to do? I can think of few things that are harder, not just from a practical point of view (the work, the recasting, the reimagining) but from a psychological perspective. How do you manage your emotions? How do you submerge your ego? How do you let go of expectations?

Source: Writing Wednesdays: Atticus Finch 2.0

I’ve read The Lean Startup, and I’m also familiar the reasons a mechanisms of true changes to strategic direction.  But most times I hear somebody say “pivot” I can’t help but think they are really just re-tracing their footsteps.  So what if you pivot, then pivot again, then pivot again and end up back where you started?

It’s all about what you learnt along the way if you follow the mythos.  But you’d better be congratulating yourself on what you’ve learnt if you’ve ended up back where you started – because it cost you a lot of time and money to get there (again).  Let’s not forget that sometimes you can apply what you’ve learnt before you start, and sometimes it’s better to call a mistake a mistake before you re-charactorise it as a “pivot” to try and sound hip.

Real pivots burn bridges – in fact, is it still a pivot if you can go back to it?  Don’t forget if you’re not going through the whole lean startup cycle (build, measure, learn, etc) you’re not making an informed pivot, you’re just arbitrarily changing your mind.

Simple rules to direct your mobility spend

From my old notes. It should be a simple process to identify the opportunity space for innovation – in mobility for example – whereby a quick view of the total potential set of benefits can be identified.  It’s then just a matter of investment priorities and execution. Simple, right?


Diet versus resource use

I find this interesting. The meals themselves have changed dramatically – but from the graph the resources haven’t changed that much at all. It seems like all theses grains for example are now just spread out into our meats etc. Same too with the less palletible meats – used industrial food processing perhaps. 

“Diet. We have a tendency to romanticize “the good old days” of fresh foods and home cooked meals. Yet when you look at what the majority of people were actually eating on an average day in 1930, it looks considerably less appealing: fresh vegetables in season, yes, but the rest of the year it was grain, milk, more grain, beans, and cuts of meat, like salt pork and calf’s liver, that most Americans won’t touch today. Bread and milk was an actual meal that many people ate for supper, and not because it was homey and charming, but because most people could not afford the rich diet of the modern American.”  

Graph also from above article:


Boardroom Seminar – The Information Side of the Enterprise Design Equation

This is the topic I have in mind for the June boardroom seminar. I’m not planning to start pulling together the presentation until we agree this is a suitable topic for a seminar. So can you please let me know if it makes the cut? 

 Topic: The Information Side of the Enterprise Design Equation Summary (early draft):

“In the last 40 years the IT industry has grown from being essentially a hobby to being the driver of competitive advantage and customer intimacy. “Digital” is the new way to engage with tech-savey, mobile, millennials who switch brands faster than you can update your apps.

But the way we deliver technology-enabled business transformation still treats technology as a hobby, and customer experience as a “user problem”. Large corporations still spend too much of the program budget on planning, governance, and politics whereas a start-up would simply build a minimal viable product to prove their business model with real customers.

But the problem is deeper than that. Large corporations shouldn’t mirror start-ups. In fact, corporations who plan to compete based on what they can achieve in a 4 week “sprint” are destined to fail. Large corporations need to compete based on their core competencies and unique, hard-to-replicate capabilities – just like they always have.

The challenge is understanding that very little of what currently underpins a corporation’s competitive advantage is actually “hard to replicate”. It will always be easier to copy an existing business capability than it is to build it from scratch. Corporations can acquire people, process excellence, and technology easily and from the most competitively priced global markets.

The only exception is “information”. Organisations generate unique and specific information sets during the course of operating their day-to-day business. To the extent that each business is unique, the information that they produce is unique. With uniqueness comes competitive advantage.

This seminar will help you uncover the information that is unique to your organisation and to then exploit that information to your competitive advantage. It’s simple. It’s agile. And it’s deeply embedded into the way your organisation delivers value to its customers. Learn how you can drive value from your information assets.”


Matthew De George

Principal Consultant

SMS Management & Technology

+ Empowering Business

M 0416 275 237 matthew.degeorge

About SMS

SMS Management & Technology is a leading Asia-Pacific consulting, technology and managed services firm. DESIGN > BUILD > OPERATE

PwC and “The Faux-Agile Enterprise”

I love this:

If we just ensure “mechanisms in place for sensing potentially disruptive forces and taking advantage of them before the competition” (Strategic Responsiveness) and forget “ the company needs to be able to retool and rework the most necessary activities, often within a few weeks or months” (Organisational flexibility) we are missing the point of digital transformation.

I would suggest anybody who is purely focusing on improving “agility” – and forgetting the hard work of actual change – is in the “Faux-Agile” quadrant. You’ll recognise them by their constant “you don’t get it” refrain.