Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for April, 2005

Projection Rejection

Posted by shannonclark on April 2, 2005

I left a long set of responses to a discussion on Fast Company Now about Projection Rejection.

(my comments there were posted twice due to a hiccup in my connection)

“To generalize a bit from Chris’ suggestions:

– Start with a clear understanding of what the situation is today. This may not be simple to achieve – try to look at what the drivers of the business are, what you can track and measure

– Then look to a discussion of what of those drivers of the business the innovation effects:

Does it increase the number (or potential number) of customers?

Does it expand services to existing customes? If so, will they pay for the additional services/features/functionality? (in many industries the answer may be no)

Does it help retain existing customers – i.e. cut down on “churn” or other costly changes to your customers?

Does it directly affect your relationship with customers? Note, not all innovations will, many may help you manage costs, retain employees, enhance productivity.

If not directly related to existing customers, what is the impact of the new innovation?

Building from that, how will you track and measure that impact over time? What is your starting point “pre-innovation”? (turnover of employees today, time it takes an employee to do a given task, productivity of a line of business, costs of current suppliers etc)

With the above questions answered, you can then look at what projecting forward the innovation could achieve, how to measure and track it going forward, and from that parameters of success. (don’t forget to include in your costs the costs/efforts involved in measuring/monitoring – which can in some cases be significent)

You likely can then start to look at qualitative discussions – is the impact of the innovation worth the risks and costs of the innovation? What is the downside of going forward (risking $x, spending time/attention, etc)? What are the upsides? What is the risk if you wait or do not go forward (in many industries, take cell phones, the risk of stopping to innovate is dramatic downturns in your business)

If it is so radical of an innovation that you are proposing that the current metrics of the industry no longer matter (switching from per-minute billing to flat rate in the long distance/telcom market – so metrics built up around # of minutes etc had a diminishing value) you will want to look carefully at what you are measuring (and projecting from) and look for the underlying reasons behind the old metrics when proposing your new ones.

– i.e. the old metrics tracked the drivers of top-line revenue, so to use the telcom model in place of minutes the new metrics would likely have to track # of customers, revenue per customer, “cost per new customer” and churn rate. Metrics you may have tracked before, but which had a different impact previously.

You’ll then move metrics like “minutes used” into a different category, one that now looks at the “costs per customer” and might help you identify profitable customers (and unprofitable ones) – and then track the impact of changes on those meatures.

hope this helps,


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Delayed actions – an idea

Posted by shannonclark on April 2, 2005

A thought.

“Could a system be set up to perform web related actions based on input from the web itself”

The idea being that I set up a series of actions. I then define a trigger, the trigger being something which the system managing this can monitor and watch in a fully automated manner, when conditions are “right” my action or actions are initiated without further intervention on my behalf.

Some real case studies to illustrate this idea.

I hold a portfolio of investments. For purposes of simplification let’s suppose that my portfolio is relatively simple. However I have an action I wish to execute, in a fully automated manner, but which is significently more complex than a simple order I could leave with a broker (sell if the price hits $X)

So what I might want is something like “If the price of Oil goes over $75 sell each of transportation stocks I own IF that firm does not have more then y % of it’s projected sales from hybrids or other near zero emission vehicles.”

Or, if I have not posted an entry on my primary blog for more than Y days (or hours), check my publically available calendar for scheduled events, if it is a holiday OR if I have a scheduled event, post to my blog a note of the form “Shannon Clark is on holiday to the …. conference in Florida, will return on … date”

Or, if my public calendar shows me out of town for more than a full week, contact the magazines I subscribe to (pulling that data from somewhere I publish it), checking first that they have an issue expected to be delivered to me while I would not be home, and arrange for that month’s issue to be either held at the post office until my return, or held and my subscription extended. Likewise take care of other regularly scheduled events/deadlines I might otherwise miss.

Does this make sense? Suggestions?

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Bloglines – new of the day

Posted by shannonclark on April 1, 2005

Bloglines | News

“Bloglines Helps Bridge the Vastness of Space”…. go read.

But for the best of the day… see the following parody of one of my favorite blogs…

Especially note the “ads” – capture lots of subtle yet well executed parodies….

All in all so far at least a fun, if foolish, day.

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MeshForum 2005 schedule posted

Posted by shannonclark on April 1, 2005

I have been quieter here than usual, mostly due to work on MeshForum 2005.

Just today we have published publicly the schedule for MeshForum 2005

Lots of announcements I am very pleased to be able to make – Valdis Krebs will be joining MeshForum 2005 as a speaker. See my sneak peak and updates on MeshForum 2005 post for more details.

For the rest of this month I will be working almost nonstop. Between projects for JigZaw and all the countless details of planning Meshforum (don’t forget to register), I will be very busy indeed.

On Wednesday evening I attended the a blogger dinner here in Chicago, held before the ABA Techshow, it was a gathering of a few local bloggers and mostly legal bloggers who were in Chicago to attend the show. Overall it was a great dinner and chance to mingle and connect with bloggers from around the country (and a few from Canada).

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