This is a repost of Steve Faktor’s original Forbes article
I’ll be first to admit that I’m a reforming “innovation” trollop. I’ve thrown the word around too lightly, at any old sailor. I need a hot shower and a Brillo pad… What’s so bad about “innovation”? It doesn’t mean much…and maybe never did. Today, we use it to describe an iPhone newsreader app and the reinvention of space travel by SpaceX. That’s more range than Meryl Streep. My business is about creating great products and services, so I look for great tech partners. Some are startups led by brilliant entrepreneurs, bursting with optimism and 5-Hour Energy. As they describe their app, game, or web service, their words scream Johnny Depp, but the reality is a bit more Judah Friedlander. No shame in that, but I sometimes wonder how we could get these brilliant minds to work on meatier problems. My concern isn’t for them, but for us. The US needs jobs and as I wrote in Econovation, the big numbers still come from physical, capital-intensive businesses. Here are three ways we can help make brilliant minds deliver bigger results.
This is a repost of Steve Faktor’s original article on Forbes
Writing “HP is in trouble” is like a newscast starting with “Trouble in the Middle East today…” A sad cliché. Lucky for HP, no one dies… But no one truly lives, either. The company just laid off 29,000 people, its stock dropped 50% in a year, and yet another turnaround is brewing. I do admire Meg Whitman for taking this on. She could easily have kicked back in Florida with a Honey Boo Boo marathon. Instead, her strategy announcement got the kind of reception typically reserved for Syrian dictators. That got me wondering – can a stagnating behemoth ever live again? Could HP lead the 3D Printing revolution?
In one episode of Seinfeld, Elaine finds out the birth control sponge was discontinued. So she buys up all available inventory and obsesses over how “Spongeworthy” her many suitors are. Like Elaine, we luxuriate in the abundance of the information age, but it also hides some uncomfortable scarcities. In watching the recent TEDGlobal event in Scotland, it occurred to me that TED is much more than a collection of great talks. TED is that selective lover that doesn’t fish out fresh sponges for just anyone. In that way, TED offers us a glimpse into our future – an unnatural selection of sorts. It foreshadows what success – and even survival will look like in the next century. Of course like any great story, it’s full of lessons for you-me-us.
Just me and my groupies. Eat your heart out, Justin Bieber!
Signing copies of Econovation after my speech at the CFO Magazine Conference in Orlando.
Video clips of speech and testimonials coming soon! Stay tuned…
I love the idea of this Forbes article, but it has all the comprehensiveness of a Twitter post. Yes, auto workers in Germany produce more and get double the pay of US workers, but this article narrowly attributes this to employer-union relations. A broader discussion needs to include things like:
- Variances in cost structures (eg who pays benefits the state or the company)
- Degree of automation (a highly automated company will have fewer, higher skilled, higher paying jobs)
- Culture-driven variances in worker performance (eg Germans are notoriously efficient, timely and meticulous)
- Variances in how premium the product lines are. The US produces far more mass market cars, which have lower margins than the more high-end German ones.
- Differences in quality of management, innovation and strategy
- The full article only alludes to the nationalist obligation Germans feel for their companies. The other angle is the degree of national accountability the companies themselves have.
I do agree we need a substantive debate on manufacturing unions and the future of employment in the US, but this only scratches the surface.