Saturday, 1 July 2017

On Strategy - Harvard Business Review


Lots of details, that no one needs.
But the interesting points, are very good indeed. 
First, business strategy is obsessed with developing the right positioning involving the right activities and aligning them. “Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities.” (Porter, 2011, p.16). How to get there is seen as trivial. This is where communication strategy is the exact opposite. This is where the two should be able to learn from each other.



The idea of sustainable advantage is key in business strategy. “But a strategic position is not sustainable unless there are tradeoffs with other positions. (…) Simply put, a trade off means that more of one thing necessitates less of another.” (Porter, 2011, p.17) This is the next interesting point: how can any marketing strategy be defendable and inimitable? Well if it takes trade offs to get there: like courage or admitting weaknesses. “Trade offs create the need for choice and protect against repositions and straddlers.” (Porter, 2011, p.17)

And the following quote from Mr. Packard shows a profound insight into companies. And why they are so much more than shareholder value producing machines. They are and should be companies: “I want to discuss why a company exists in the first place. In other words, why are we here? I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being, As we investigate this, we inevitably come to the conclusion that a group of people get together and exist as an institution that we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately – they make a contribution to society, a phrase which sounds trite but is fundamental.” (Colin and Porras quoting Packard, 2011, p.88) “As Peter Drucker has pointed out, the best and the most dedicated people are ultimately volunteers. For they have the opportunity to do something else with their lives.” (Colin and Porras, 2011, p.90)

The one interesting fact in the often quoted blue ocean strategy seldom gets mentioned: the research behind blue ocean strategy indicates, that the most disruptive and impactful innovations do not come from start ups, but from big corporation

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Shakespeare 2009

Some good clean fun. And if you are in the business of advertising there is a lot to learn here from the craftsmen of Athens staging a play:  



“Hippolyta:
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.279).

The actors always are scared of scaring the audience and therefore want to explain themselves in every little detail:

“Starveling:
Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem
To say we will do no harm with our swords, and
That Pyramus is not kill’d indeed; and, for the
More better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus
Am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this
will put them out of fear.” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.287).

“Snout:
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not
a lion.
Bottom:
Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
Must be seen through the lion’s neck; and he
Himself must speak, through, saying thus, or to
The same defect, - ‘Ladies’ – or, ‘Fair ladies, -
I would wish you,’ – or, ‘I would request you,’
- Or. ‘I would entreat you, - not to fear, not to
tremble: my life for yours. If you think I come
hither as a lion, it were pity of my life: no, I am
no such thing; I am a man as other men are:’ –
and there, indeed, let him name his name, and
tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.287).

“Puck:
Fairy kind, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.
Oberon:
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night’s shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.
Titania:
Come, my lord, and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.295).

“Theseus:
More strange than true: I never may believe
These antick fables nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact: -
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, -
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them into shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
Hippolyta:
But all the story of the night turned over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy’s images,
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.297).
  
“Puck:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended, -
That you have but slumber’d here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weal and idel theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:

If you pardon, we will mend.” (Shakespeare, 2009, p.301).

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Poems of John Keats 2009


“The poetry of earth is never dead.” (Keats ‘On the Grasshopper and Cricket’, 2009, p.13).

 “One morn before me were three figures seen,
With bowed necks, and joined hands, side faced;
And one behind the other steep’d serene,
In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
They pass’d like figures on a marble urn,
When shifted round to see the other side,
They came again;” (Keats ‘Ode on Indolence’, 2009, p.27).

“Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;” (Keats ‘Ode on Indolence’, 2009, p.27).

“Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind.” (Keats ‘Ode to Psyche’, 2009, p.31).

“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.” (Keats ‘Ode to a Nightingale, 2009, p.33).

“To Sorrow
I bade good-morrow
And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly,
She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind:
I would deceive her
And so leave her,
But ah! She is so constant and so kind.” (Keats ‘Endymion’, 2009, p.45).

“St. Agnes’ Eve – Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in wooly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without death,
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.” (Keats ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, 2009, p.49).

“Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
Sat gray-hair’d Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud.” (Keats ‘Hyperion, 2009, p.70).

“As when, upon a tranced summer-night,
Those green-rob’d senators of mighty woods,
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir …” (Keats ‘Hyperion, 2009, p.78).

“Poetry should be great & unobstrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself but with its subject. – How beautiful are the retired flowers! How would they lose their beauty were they to throng into the highway crying out, ‘admire me I am a violet! Dote upon me I am a primrose.” (Keats, 2009, p.96).

“What shocks the virtuous philosopher, delights the camelion Poet. It does no harm from its relish of the dark side of things any more than from its taste for the bright one; because they both end in speculation. A poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity – he is continually informing – and filling some other Body – The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute – the poet has none.” (Keats, 2009, p.98).

“I feel it I my power to become a popular writer … (…) I think if I had a free and healthy and lasting organization of heart and Lungs – as strong as an ox’s – so as to bear unhurt the shock of extreme thought and sensation without weariness, I could pass my Life very nearly alone though it should last eighty years. But I feel my Body too weak to support me to the height; I am obliged continually to check myself and strive to be nothing.” (Keats, 2009, p.101).