Saturday, September 29, 2007

Daniel Porot

One of the greates things our Career Center did is getting Daniel Porot ( to our class.
Playing with his career guide I've found a wonderful exercise.
List the talents you have.

Mine are listed below:
1. Challenge myself
2. Make fun of
3. Negotiate
4. Discover
5. Present
6. Set goal
7. Coach
8. Keep going
9. Analyze
10. Put into words
11. Balance
12. Structure
13. Manage resources
14. Repair
15. Organize oneself

upd. have done it forthe second time

1. Make fun of
2. Customize
3. Coach
4. Negotiate
5. Balance
6. Communicate
7. Analyze
8. Develop
9. Present
10. Explore
11. Put into words
12. Find a solution
13. Improvise
14. Keep going
15. Find instruments

resilence to criticism

One of the biggest mistake of entrepreneurs is having pink glasses when reviewing own business and idea. I'm the best, others are sucks. Or I have a unique proposition, nobody can give this to you. This leads many of businesses to a failure.

Then a person becomes professional, he/she tends to be more resistant to critical views. In my humble opinion, professional is the person who can still open his/her mind to a new information or view rather then pushing own idea. It's ok to have a stron belief into own idea - that's a reason why you have it. In the same time critical review of the idea can improve it a lot.

Many people understand this position in their own manner. Recently I've seen several examples of making a public access to the document asking for idea/presentation/business evaluation. Wow! Those people are open to criticism, I thought. But then I've read all the comments and authors reaction to them. Resistance. Normal reaction is 'Tastes differ' (universal answer to someone's opinion), or 'What can YOU say to me?'. The person posted the document for discussion therefore has a different aim. Instead of asking for an opinion he/she asks for approval, bragging.

I'm not good in listening criticism to my job. I take everything too personal and prefer to blame person who gives criticism of lacking critique skills. Sometimes it is true, but not all the times although I prefer to exaggerate a lot and count all the cases of criticism I don't like to the lack of skills. And I'm also awful in giving criticism meaning that I try to find weaknesses without mentioning strenghs. When I don't like one job from the person I tend to perceive other his/her jobs in a worse way.

So, here are some rules and exersises I use to be less critique resilent and give a good criticism.

While asking for a critique:
1. Try to evaluate your job without bias. Think about target audience - what are their interests and do they find benefits in your message. Do they have an answer on the question 'What's in it for me?' Make a list of their interests and answer if your documents brings your idea to fit them.
2. Count to 10 after making suggestion about criticism given. Think about the person's interest of giving this critique to you. Is there good sense in his/her comment? What will change if you make suggested chnges? Are they for good or for bad.
3. Remember, those comments are about your document/idea, not about yourself. They doesn't reflect your skills/talent in full, just a small piece incarnated into this document/idea.

While giving the criticism.
1. Evaluate the job, not the person who made it.
2. Make a list of strenghts and weaknesses. Try to provide an even quantity of comments on each part. If you can't provide one of the parts, think deeper.
3. Think out the words you're making criticism. While making criticism, ask yourself about your interests. And interests of a person asking for criticism.
4. Never give criticism when not asked. In ideal world give criticism only if they have paid for it)))

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

market research use

Here is the link between three key indicators we can withdraw in marketing research.
Brand awareness should lead to purchase intention and this, therefore, should translate itself into marketshare. By identifying the problem, we can find the right tool fot solving the problem.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Two essays about startups.

How to make wealth
Why not to start a startup

Both by Paul Graham.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Building business workshop class

A piece of advice to entrepreneurs.

Know the price of everything. Every moment of entrepreneur's life is making decisions of price and quality. Know the range of prices. Look into maarket capitalization of any company. Know the GDP of the countries you're connected with.

Guessing is the half of life of entrepreneur. If you obsessed with accurate numbers, you'd better be rocket engineer.

Spain is the most successful oof least ambitious countries in the world.

In business it's all about balancing content and emotions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Building business workshop

I have just got the assignment for BBW of Martin Varsavsky to develop a business project. Since group work is not allowed, we're not presenting the one we have for venture lab.

I have limited time to find idea, discover business opportunity and develop a business plan (financials, marketing).

I openned a special weblog for this purpose to describe the process.


Friday, September 14, 2007


Change management, Peter Gil.

Money is the margin you can make on the top of existing technology.

The window of opportunity is opened for a limited time. It's not enough to see the window, you need to know the way how to convert this opportunity to money quickly.

S-curve of product/team life cycle: there's no natural travel along the curve. Crisises are inevitable. But you can make proactive change to reduce initial investment stage and have a smaller payback period.

Teams roles: there are different models for group behavior description. One of them position individuals into 4 basic group according to their preferenses - explorers, organosers, controllers, advisers (tecnique developped by TMS). Positining yourself into this map means that 75% of people around you are different and perceive reality and make suggestions different.

Any strength taken into extreme is a weakness. Any strength you don't take advantage of is a weakness.

ps. Peter Gil is the owner of MDT (

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Since I'm taking two courses on decision making this term (one (msrketing strategy for DM) is finished, I posted some takaways and promised to post more), I'm going to elaborate on this topic.

We started with the very basics. One maim takaway from Drucker's article about DM is "A decision with no action is just a good intention".

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

marketing strategy for decision making game

Well, the first course of electives has just finished. 15 sessions in 5 days with market simulations. 6 groups competing in two markets, starting with 2 products (similar for each group, 2 different segments). We didn't manage well - I'm not experienced in those types of games, but we made several remarkable mistakes to be mentioned and got lot's of experience. Basically, we learned how to manage a company with small budgets and were recovering every time after crisises. At the same time we launched successfully the product to a new market (correct strategy, but rather low profitability).

Some ideas.
- When all the companies have the same products, the only difference can be made by the strategy is by advertising (influencing perceptions) and allocating salesforce. First is good for pull strategy (influencing ultimate consumer), second is for push (working with channels).
- When a company start launching differentiated brands, it is important to fit into segment needs/requirements (price is included). The closer the better.
- Products become obsolete, segment's requirements are changing, and marketing is all about managing perceptions.

Pricing strategy.
- Wrong pricing can kill very successfull brand (specially when it is become obsolete). The leading on the segment can turn to total loss with one wrong pricing decision. Our wrong-priced brand couldn' recover even after drop in price and remarkable (for us, not for competitors) budget.
- While launching totally new product pricing can be made upon estimates from the most similar products margins.

We also can have a remarkable market share, but low net contribution due to higher base cost and lower margin. We did it several times until discovered the problem. Common truth, but dramatic consequenses.

Managing small budgets:
- You always need to think in advance. Investing in rnd now will require a launch money. Is it possible to manage bigger brand portfolio with existing money? And with projected profits and budget? Sometimes we postponed launching and product become obsolete.
- It is better to have less brands but well positioned rather than to spread small budget among several promosing but not very profitable brands.

One more thing. We tended to create more advanced products that exceeded segments needs. Therefore we were less competitive on price (due to less margin). How could I forget about example of perfect tent - if you create tent with best materials and techs, it will cost you around 5000 eur (don't remember when and how we made those proximations), that's why producers normally go for simpler solutions.

One more remarque upon using marketing research data will follow if I can insert table.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

marketing strategy decision making

The very first subject on electives for me is marketing strategy for decision making. We´re playing multyteams´game - market simulation. The very first round my team finished as the last one. Although we did quite a normal job (I can´t say that the job was good though) in terms of market contribution (at least it was positive and better than in previous perion), when being compared with others and with market figures (growth, for example), we showed the worst performance.

During my job as product manager I was always feeling that all product category´s growth is not enough, we can make it better by paying more attention, assigning more salesforce etc... But I just didn´t have any benchmarks - this information for different competitors is closed in Russian market.

Sometimes you need to run very fast just to stay at one place. But how fast should you run, you can understand only while looking on milestones.

back from vacations

I was on vacations last 5 weeks, that was very intensive (3 countries - Germany, Russia and Turkey), lots of events... and notes. Now I´m back to school, my laptop is on maintainance and I don´t have russian keyboard, that means my russian weblog is temporary pending, so I´m going to put everything I took notes on here.

Hold on!