Category Archives: Digital Transformation

Convenience and experiential retail can wreak havoc on Consumer Product Goods (CPG) industry

Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.

– Don Draper

In the halcyon days of the preeminence of network TV and Madison Avenue consumer product goods (CPG) brands could be creative or splurge to get customers’ attention and loyalty. Those days are not coming back in the face of multitude of distractions, interventions, and outright intrusions that come in the shape of Facebook, Amazon Echo, Siri, Google Home, Snapchat, Instagram and the likes.

And as if that is not enough, the Retail industry, which is the THE largest channel through which CPG companies sell to customers, is in extreme duress. With convenient and ubiquitous retail and experiential retail on the rise, wide swaths of traditional legacy Retail are Zombie zones. CPG companies that rely on these zombie retail chains are suddenly finding that large percentage of revenue is at risk when the zombies go under, which they will in the next few years. Eventually the Retail industry is likely to split into following 2 forms:

1 ) Convenient and Ubiquitous Retail  – Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba and many others

2) Experiential Retail – Trader Joes, Ulta, Best Buy and other category killers

In both of the above forms of Retail, the CPG brand plays a second fiddle to convenience and experience.

Today and tomorrow,  a combination of factors, including media fragmentation, short attention spans and convenience/experiential retail, put consumer brands at an extreme disadvantage. What can CPG companies do to ensure their relevance and in some cases survival? That will be the topic of next post.


Can wearables help normal people shoot basketball like Steph Curry

It is serious basketball season again and Steph is stepping up. At this time of the year everyone wants to be like Steph.

Curry is Curry because he trained hard throughout his career. Under Armour Curry ad correctly states that “You” are the sum of all your training. And athletic training is where wearables can be big business. Ask any coach when it comes to training and they say that the single most important thing athletes (recreational or competitive) should work on is correct form. Curry’s shooting form is a thing of beauty. Personally, I think Klay Thompson has a more classical shooting form.

Continue reading Can wearables help normal people shoot basketball like Steph Curry

Free courses you can take to think like Steve Jobs

Quartz compiled a list of 250 free MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) courses offered by Ivy League Universities.

Here are 250 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free

The list includes a good mix of courses that you can take in

  • Humanities
  • Art & Design
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science and other topics

One of the best courses that you can take from the list is Justice

Another One Bites the Dust in Retail

Queen’s song “Another one bites the dust” is topping the charts in Retail industry. It’s not exactly carnage at an industry scale yet, but some retailers are clearly feeling it like it is one, including

Personally, I think there are numerous reasons for carnage in Retail, and especially for certain retailers. Bad products, poor merchandising, poorly thought or non-existent loyalty programs, lousy omni-channel capabilities, little support for experiential shopping are some of the reasons that come to mind. Each of above reasons by itself can cause significant trouble, but if a retailer is afflicted by combination of the above, carnage and eventual demise are certain.

Today’s  W. C. Fields Award for Excellence in BS goes to this article in CIOReview

Product Oriented IoT and System Oriented IoT

product-and-system-iotIt can seem like there is too much noise on IoT. But caught in the noise are some real signals that IoT is coming of age, with Amazon Echo being the latest and greatest example. Bill Gates’s quote below on change is apt for IoT.  Continue reading Product Oriented IoT and System Oriented IoT

The Disruption Posse – Alphabet, Amazon and Apple

I am officially naming the 3 companies, Alphabet, Amazon and Apple, as the “Disruption Posse”. They have gotten into the habit of smelling poorly served markets, complacency and in all cases a belief that they can make significant contribution to enter new markets with compelling products/services. The incumbents should be in for a rude shock and prepare for eventual obliteration of normal (cushy) business models and operations when they sense a possibility of any of these companies entering their markets.

The reason why I pick these the three companies to be part of this exclusive posse, and not VC funded startups, is because of their scale and market reach. Each of the companies have direct relationships with hundreds of millions of prospective customers and have the logistical and financial resources to go after large global markets.

So here is list of industries/markets that are disrupted or about to be disrupted by the Posse.

  • Media – Youtube, Google News, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Apple Music, Apple TV
  • Advertising – Google, Amazon (a little)
  • Computing – AWS, Google Cloud Platform
  • Transportation  (Very long game) – Google, Apple
  • Telecommunications – Apple, Google
  • Medicine – Apple, Google
  • Manufacturing/Warehousing/Logistics – Google (with Robotics), Amazon
  • Smart Home – Apple, Google (Nest), Amazon (Echo)

I will keep updating the list as the disruption or its possibility unfolds.

Is Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Strategy the Right Approach for Digital Transformation

I suspect Digital Transformation is at the top of the minds of executives of established organizations based on the number of blog posts (including this one), pithy tweets, dense infographics and ponderous white papers that I see these days. The Chief Digital Officer role may eventually prove faddish, but the theme itself will be a constant source of anxiety. The anxiety is primarily because of the occasional forays into various industries by the “Disruption Posse”. The Disruption Posse is made up of Amazon, Alphabet and Apple. Continue reading Is Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Strategy the Right Approach for Digital Transformation

When IoT Comes In The Way Of Good Product Design

It’s hard to design good products. Even exemplary companies like Apple get it wrong every now and then. Dieter Rams, the legendary designer who inspired generations of designers, outlined 10 principles of good design that I wish designers of connected products and IoT apply.

Instead we have this. Continue reading When IoT Comes In The Way Of Good Product Design