Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Priceline on fire

August 1, 2017 Leave a comment

priceline partyApparently Priceline (the original “name your own price” company) is crushing it on all dimensions. The Economist calls it as the “best run internet company after Amazon”. Pre-tax earnings are growing faster than those of the usual tech darlings; it has a 96% gross margin and its share price has risen 4x that of the broader market in the last year.

Even if you haven’t ever used Priceline, you may have used one of its sister companies – e..g Kayak, OpenTable etc. Some other things that caught my eye:

  • The firms valuation is above $100B (compare that to Airbnb at a ‘mere’ $30B)
  • It’s apparently the world’s largest spender on Google (it spends ~$3.5B a year)
  • It now offers about 600k listings of “alternate accommodations” on, up 50% over last year or so, but still behind Airbnb’s ~3M listings.

The full article is here. Definitely worth a read.

Good book on Ethereum

ethereumI know it’s old fashioned nowadays to read anything but tweets, but I’m a sucker for books. Especially ones on tech subjects that are written by people that actually know what they are talking about and clearly explain (in English, rather than gibberish) the subject matter. It seems I’ve hit across one such book on Ethereum (and Solidity). Although I’ve only got to the 3rd chapter or so, the clarity of writing reminds me of the other “classic” – Mastering Bitcoin.

Definitely worth a read.

Funny: A different kind of burning man

September 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Ah, the perils of office work. Another good one from the New Yorker.

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Restructuring consultant beware?

Interesting little article in the Economist about how McKinsey is moving into the restructuring consulting space (typically dominated by Alvarez & Marsal and Alix Partners). Although the incumbents are saying (rightly) that one needs experienced hands (and not just smart young consultants), there’s no reason why the strategy firms can’t hire experienced hires.

A fresh look at competitive strategy

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Most companies are in a feature war with their competitors, while their customers are essentially tuning out (e.g. think of how different American Airlines is from United. Really). A wonderful little book – Different – implores us to step back and stop what’s become normal in marketing.

Without giving away the book, think of this as a Blue Ocean Strategy book with a human touch. The author wears her knowledge lightly (she’s a marketing professor at Harvard) and the flow is easy to follow and understand.

Most of her examples are from product companies (e.g. MINI car, Dove soap), rather from companies that compete on services (think consulting). Furthermore, although most of her examples are focused on big companies, the reflective reader should easily be able to think about this from his/her own professional careers (i.e. Am I really different from my peers?).

This should be a must read for those responsible for any aspect of competitive strategy – product managers, strategists, marketing managers – especially those in customer facing roles.

The end of Wintel – An opportunity for consulting vendors

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The Economist has a great article on the (often predicted) demise of the Microsoft/Intel monopoly.

The end of Wintel

What’s interesting to me is how much each of these companies is in each other’s traditional turf. There used to be a clear distinction between processor companies (Intel, AMD), software vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM), hardware providers (HP, Dell, IBM) and consulting companies (IBM, Accenture, Infosys) etc.

Consulting companies are adding software (mostly SaaS based) offerings to increase their margins and try to achieve “non-linear” growth models (fancy speak for not having to have revenues grow with the number of resources). Hardware companies are adding services to their offerings mix to offset downturns in sales and expand the revenue mix (think HP, Dell).

From the viewpoint of the corporate buyer, the situation is becoming even more complex (e.g. Can I trust the advice from X consulting when their other arm wants to sell me software and hardware?). I think the consulting companies that refrain from trying to dabble in all things at once will have the clearest and purest value proposition to clients.

Productivity growth and management practices

S+B has a thought proving article about management practices and its ties to productivity by a MIT professor. It’s hard to summarize this article – it covers productivity, general prosperity and management practices through the years – but it definitely made me stop to think (always good). Some tidbits:

  • The companies that have made the highest gains in productivity have also improved the quality of their work and management processes. They have what we now call organizational capital. In fact, in a typical company, for every dollar of technology assets, we found that there’s about US$10 worth of computer-enabled organizational capital
  • Companies that combined the seven management practices (digital instead of analog processes, open information access, decentralization of authority, performance based incentives, a corporate culture, recruiting great people and a good training program ) of the digital organization with IT were much more productive — they achieved better results with less investment
  • When engineers design bridges, they’ve got software tools that allow them to visualize exactly where the stresses will be and how to put the beams together. When you design an organizational process, it’s much more abstract; there are fewer tools to help you visualize what you’re doing, and the effects are much more uncertain

Intrigued? More on the S+B site (registration required)

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