The Four

The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

This week’s book summary is The Four by Scott Galloway.

Although I may not completely agree with Galloway’s perspective in this book, he provides a combination of solid research and cynical humor to paint a picture of how a few companies are reinventing the world as we know it. His detailed study of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google show how these massive companies were formed, the market spaces they created, and the incredible societal and business impacts they have made and are making.

My takeaway from this book is Galloway’s “T Algorithm” which is his definition of the factors needed for a business to rise up and compete against The Four. The eight factors are:

Can You Complete the 15 Minute Business Challenge?

If you cannot write out the plan for where you are taking your business in 15 minutes or less, chances are, you do not have a plan!

If you don’t have a plan then you and your business are just floating through time and you are at the whim of the marketplace and all of your competitors! Basically, if you cannot articulate what you are building or why you are building it then how do you know what you are doing or where you are going?

For those that regularly read my posts, you know that Thinking Business has a very detailed business blueprint that you can download (from our Business Tools) and apply to your business. We call it the Thinking Business Blueprint. It takes you through all aspects of your business to ensure that your business model and strategy are defined clearly at all levels.

However, I was recently challenged by a client to come up with a simple, high level, tool that would allow a business leader to summarize their business and their strategy in one simple page. This one-page tool must be simple to implement yet powerful enough to capture the very essence of an organization. A leader must then be able to take the completed tool and easily communicate it to any and all of it’s stakeholders.

To meet this challenge, I have come up with the “15 Minute” Business Blueprint described below.

How to Plug the Gaps and Stop Bleeding Money!

Most organizations are bleeding away profit through holes they don’t even know they have!

That’s right! If you are not periodically and systematically looking for inefficiencies, gaps, old processes, or broken systems, chances are, your business is bleeding profitability.

These holes that are bleeding profits from your organization are generally not a result of a deliberate or malicious act. They just form slowly as the marketplace shifts and as technology changes. These shifts and changes create holes that must be “fixed” in the same way a pothole in a road must be fixed!

$156,000 Timesheet

WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

The book review for this week is What’s the Future by Tim O’Reilly.

O’Reilly outlines the process he uses to understand and successfully identify developing trends that will make an impact in the future. He explains how to build this set of tools and mindset in yourself and in your organization. There are many great examples and personal stories provided to illustrate the concepts that he is teaching.

The last section of the book identifies a number of societal shaking trends that are developing and how we can position ourselves and our businesses to leverage these trends successfully.

My takeaway from this book is what O’Reilly calls the business model map for the new economy which consists of the following seven components outlined below and shown in his graphic:

Is Your Business Missing Out on Valuable Opportunities?

Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Facebook get much of their value through the use of Multisided Platforms (MSPs).

MIT Sloan define a multisided platform as “technologies, products or services that create value primarily by enabling direct interactions between two or more customer or participant groups.” For example:

  • Apple connects app developers with iPhone users who have a need for the functionality that the app provides.
  • LinkedIn connects professionals, recruiters, and advertisers.
  • Microsoft uses Windows to connect users, third party app developers, and third party hardware manufacturers
  • Amazon and Alibaba connect sellers of products with a vast set of users that want to buy products.
  • AirBnB connects building owners with people needing to rent space.
  • Uber and Lyft connect drivers and passengers.
  • American Express, Visa, Paypal, and Square connect merchants to consumers.

MSPs are a very valuable and viable business model that creates value by reducing search or transaction costs for all participants.

Is your business leaving money on the table by not leveraging an MSP approach? Or, worse yet, are you leaving your business vulnerable to competition who have determined a unique MSP offering that threatens your existence?

What can you do to leverage the MSP strategy and how can you implement it in your business?