Innovation Framework: Value and Process

Lately the word “innovation” is everywhere – large corporations are building it into their models, young start-ups are basing their entire business model on it, government agencies are using it to be relevant, international not for profits are discussing it for growth and development i.e. organizations across the board are embracing this word and it’s many uses; But what does innovation really mean?   While the study of innovation itself is an evolving field and a wide sphere beyond the scope of any one single blog post, I want to try and focus here on two components- (i) the ‘value’ of … Continue reading Innovation Framework: Value and Process

Out in Tech – Policies that protect and encourage

On November 18th I attended an event (Building for Diversity, a Conversation with Facebook) organized by Out in Tech and hosted at the Facebook New York location. The discussion centered around what technology tools can tech startups (specifically social networking sites) build in order to support and provide a safe space for minority vulnerable groups, in this case the LGBTQ community. The discussion was relevant in part because of the Facebook real name policy controversy and the subsequent steps taken by the social network to address the issue of protecting the identity of LGBTQ users. From the ensuing discussion there were two key takeaways … Continue reading Out in Tech – Policies that protect and encourage

A company and it’s values.

When I think of startups, terms such as ‘Culture’, ‘Values’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Connection’ etc. come to mind. If one was to consider startups that could be considered a success, then you have Warby Parker, Gilt, Etsy, Tumblr, Air Bnb, Uber as some examples. What do these start ups have in common? What is fueling the successes of these organizations? Each of them seems to have a clear focus on one end goal – using innovation as a lens to create a product/service/platform/tool that is based on the idea of connection. The idea of using a variety of tools and models to … Continue reading A company and it’s values.

The E-commerce Battle for the Indian Consumer

The Amazon versus Flipkart e-commerce battle waging in India has been covered exhaustively (Economic Times, firstbiz  etc) by numerous news sources. What is pertinent in this battle is not the investment, the VC’s, the business model, the retail competition, the lucrative market share or the advertising; instead it is whether either of these two retailers will understand the uniquely diverse Indian consumer mindset and build a strategic business model to cater to it. Let’s have a look at some data surrounding the Indian e-commerce space: India has a population of about 1.2 billion. According to a report released by the Internet and … Continue reading The E-commerce Battle for the Indian Consumer

Philanthropy Millennials Crowdfunding

Last week (July 10th) I met with Jeffrey Falkenstein, Vice President for Data Architecture at the Foundation Center. During our conversation, we discussed the philanthropic model, it’s necessary evolution and the changes to the traditional model of philanthropy. To put it in simple terms: (i) The challenge in collecting data about philanthropic dollars: While traditionally the Foundation Center has relied on publicly available data sources such as tax filing of public charities (to provide data about grant making bodies to grant seekers), increasingly this is becoming a challenge with the emergence of new models of philanthropy, which most often are private bodies and do … Continue reading Philanthropy Millennials Crowdfunding

Crumbs – Lessons from failure.

On July 7th, 2014 Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. officially notified its employees that it would be shutting down. Briefly, Crumbs, which started off in 2003 as a small store in Manhattan, expanded rapidly to 65 stores and went public in July 2011. By September stock prices started falling and the company’s financial performance had been declining since then. Here are some hypotheses on why the Crumbs model failed: Take the cupcakes leave the stock Foods, especially singular niche products, are cyclical in nature. Food trends change all the time. Going IPO on the basis of a single successful product, in this … Continue reading Crumbs – Lessons from failure.

The Culture Coder

Clotaire Rapaille spoke about marketing with a refreshing perspective at the Yale Club of New York City last evening (Jul 1, 2014). What was most engaging was his underlying core premise for every marketing professional: You need to understand (1) the culture of a region ie the “code” (2) the fundamental unspoken human needs that drive individuals to make the choices they do. These two together form the foundation for addressing brand strategy in a meaningful way. Here is an old-school chart summarizing  Rapaille’s principles from his talk:       Continue reading The Culture Coder