Saturday, April 4, 2020

Strategic Simplicity® and Covid19 Stimulus


Instead of all the fed programs, all the rounds of stimulus, and individual checks, they could have kept it simple. Just set up a temporary agency for business of all sizes, where they could send proof of their weekly earnings for January, and their weekly earnings now, and the agency would pay them the difference, as long as they keep everyone on the payroll who was their in January. It would still cost trillions, but it would have been a lot cleaner, and you wouldn't be having all the cascading effects of people not paying rent, etc.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: I help clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stop Navigating Obstacle Courses At Work



Once upon a time, a certain work flow in your business might have been optimal.  Things changed, however, and now it feels like you are navigating obstacles and hurdles—which slow down completion of the task.

This results in a common cycle.  Inefficiencies slow you down, so you have less time, so you put off streamlining the task, and you slow down more.

At some point, you need to step back and, as the saying goes "work on your business instead of in the business."  You must simplify and streamline the task.  It's always better to do it sooner than later.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: I help clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Saturday, March 28, 2020

7 Laws of UX Design


Two components of Strategic Simplicity® are user simplicity and decision simplicity, which affect the user experience for customers, prospects, and employees.  Get it right, and you can increase sales, build loyal customers, and enable productive employees.

Here are 7 Laws of UX Design that can help: https://uxplanet.org/7-laws-of-ux-design-and-what-happens-when-you-break-them-f61325989342


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: I help clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid-19 Bailout


Who else feels like the $1 Trillion or $2 Trillion bailout by Congress will result in waste and some money down a "black hole"?

Instead, why don't they set up a temporary fund with offices in each state that allow businesses to bring proof of their weekly earnings before #Covid-19 , and simply make up the difference between that and what they are earning now, on condition that they hire back and pay everyone who was on the payroll on those normal weeks?

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: I help clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Exponential Growth of Covid-19


This is what "exponential" means:
It took 67 days from the first reported of Covid-19 to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000, and just four days for the third 100,000. hashtagcoronavirus hashtagcovid19

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Saturday, March 21, 2020

March Chicago Business Journal Column

My March Chicago Business Journal column has been published:

https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2020/03/21/art-vans-demise-shows-the-lethal-combo-of-online.html

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, March 20, 2020

Should we bail out the airlines?



On one hand, this isn't a normal downturn. 

But, on the other hand:
1. Airlines spent 96% of their free cash flow on stock buy backs, instead of a rainy day fund.  
2. If an airline goes bankrupt, it's not the end of the world. The planes and skilled employees are still there. Someone could buy their assets out of bankruptcy, and start a new airline tomorrow.
3. We bailed them out after 9/11, and they still (except for Southwest) went bankrupt.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Great Quote on Productivity and Happiness


"Do whatever you can't stop thinking about." 
- Hrvoje Šimić @shime_sh hashtagproductivity hashtaghappiness

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, March 6, 2020

My Experience With Carvana.com: Example of Market Disrupting Strategic Simplicity®

We just bought a 2016 Nissan Leaf (our first electric car) from Carvana.com, and the experience was great.

It shows that eCommerce can be powerful when done right, and the power to disrupt industries when you weaponize simplicity to deliver a streamlined, easy user experience.

It saved me so much time compared to going into a dealership.  It was like ordering off Amazon.  They automatically generate the contracts and you can electronically sign them in seconds.

They delivered the car to my door, and we had 7 days to try it out.  We ended up swapping the first one we bought for one with more more luxury features.  They came out and did the swap.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

My son's Story "Glorious"

My son Anshul wrote a great war story on Medium:

https://medium.com/@anshulpuri54/glorious-7dc73979b893


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

How Streamlined is Your Business? Take The Strategic Simplicity® Test




Ask yourself these questions:

1. Change Simplicity - Do you minimize the number of non strategic goals pursued? Can you identify and clearly communicate the key initiatives that lead to dramatic improvement?

2. Market Simplicity - What big idea or theme do you want your business known for? Even if you can do more, what one thing do you want to focus your marketing on?

3. Decision Simplicity - How easy is it for prospects to decide and evaluate among your offerings? Is it easy for them to see the value of your products compared to those of competitors? Does your product portfolio overlap and cause confusion?

4. User Simplicity - Once a prospect decides to become a customer, how easy is it for them to buy, use your product, and take advantage of sales and servicing?

5. Operational Simplicity - How simple and streamlined are your internal processes? Consider your employees to be (internal) customers: do you provide them with user simplicity to do their jobs?


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Simple Systems Have Less Downtime

This article is a good example of illustrating what I've been talking about for years:  Simple systems, especially software, are easy to run, support, and trouble shoot.

https://www.gkogan.co/blog/simple-systems/?fbclid=IwAR06TM1CwgMjz01zoyM_YIUNkfyRrhVNQ833Pd6CxshTKYRQ0KDMtORlnIM


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

If I had to advise to my younger self


1. Spend less time/effort trying to please others. 

2. Instead of debating endlessly about stuff and playing it safe, make little bets by taking trial actions. If they don't fail, or you have some success, then iterate and scale up. #advice #successstrategies


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, February 28, 2020

Emergency Goalie, For the Love of the Game


Today, I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.

In the NHL, they make it a practice of having an emergency goalie in every arena—in case one team loses both goalies to injury.  This person, who is an amateur goalie, is not paid.  They are doing it for the love of the game. Also, even though they are probably a fan of the home team, they have to be willing to play for either team.

Most of the time, they come to the stadium, check in, sit in the stands, eat, and watch the game.  On Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leaves EBUG (Emergency Backup Goalie),David Ayres—a 42-year old Ontario father of three and kidney-transplant survivor, had to fill in for the Carolina Hurricanes.   He had never played a minute of NHL hockey.  He ended up playing the second and third periods, saving  8 goals.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

The joy of improvisation



This is a great excerpt from the latest newsletter of my colleague Andrew Hollo :

Jasper, my son, is 10 and first picked up a saxophone in the last term of last year. He’d had a flirtation with guitar for a few years, but practising was always a chore. I remember this well from my own childhood piano playing days: feeling compelled to pound out yet another set of scales, or a boring Czerny piece (does anyone actually like Czerny?). His saxophone teacher has, however, hit on something remarkable. He asks Jasper, every day, to practice three things, all briefly: play a couple of scales, play two (very short) pieces —- and then just improvise for a bit. Play. Experiment. Muck about. Toot and squeak. See what happens. From upstairs this morning, I hear snatches of what sound like a middle eastern melody, and then a Coltrane riff. I go down and Jasper has a big smile on his face, and says, “Dad, listen to this!” He’s excited, and so am I. Question: What role can improvisation play in your working life?


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, February 27, 2020

How to answer password security questions


DON'T actually answer the question. Someone might be able to learn the answer and then change your password. Instead, use the question itself. Figure out a formula that takes certain word positions from the question, and "glue" them together with numbers or symbols. For example, your formula might be first word and second-to-last, glued with "plum!". Then, the answer to the question: "What was your mother's maiden name?" will be "what plum!maiden".

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

McDonald's, Fast Food Drive-Thru Times, and Strategic Simplicity®



For fast food restaurants, speeding up and improving drive-thru service is a strategic imperative, and one area where they can "weaponize" simplicity for a competitive advantage.

Drive-thru performance is governed by two areas within Strategic Simplicity®: decision simplicity, and user simplicity.

Decision simplicity is critical because, if the menus have too many items, choices that overlap, or sets of items that are hard to compare/contrast, then customers will become confused.  Confused customers buy less and slow down the decision-making process.

Another factor is user simplicity. Drive-thru times will be slower if customers have trouble reading the menu, communicating with order takers, or have trouble customizing their orders.

According to a recent article in Crain's Chicago Business, McDonald's has improved it's drive-thru times–lowering them while they are up on average for the industry.   McDonald's invested in speech recognition systems to improve order-taking, and software that can change menus dynamically.  This last change means that trending items, and items that are popular depending on the weather (i.e. milkshakes on a hot summer day or hot coffee on a winter day), will appear prominently—to increase the chances that a user scanning the menu will find what they want quickly and easily.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

What If Your Home Insurance was like Health Care Insurance?




One of the reasons that health care, here in the U.S., is complex is because health insurance has mutated into something which doesn't resemble traditional insurance.

For example, let's look at house insurance.  It's relatively simple.  If your house is destroyed or damaged by fire, etc. the insurance will reimburse you, minus any deductible.

When it comes to care and maintenance for your house, it does not involve your house insurance.  If you need a plumber, or your AC repaired, you find someone, they fix it, and you pay them.

But, what if home insurance morphed into the form of health insurance?

Now, all maintenance and repairs would come under home insurance.  Insurance plans would become more complicated and vary, depending on what you wanted covered.

The biggest change would be to your relationships with service providers.  Now, when you want to contact a plumber, or handy man, you would have to see if they are "in network", and take your insurance.  Depending on the size and complexity of the job, you might need to get pre-approval from your insurance company, which employs it's own plumbers and handymen.

You would no longer pay the plumber directly.  He would bill your insurance.  Depending on his contract with your insurance company, he would bill a certain amount.  To get paid, he would have to make sure that all labor and parts are coded properly.

All this means that you are now price-insensitive to plumbers and, because of all the admin / paperwork, "mom and pop" plumbers will end up closing shop and consolidating—working as employees in a "practice".  All of this will increase costs.

Value of This Thought Experiment

Now, we certainly wouldn't want home insurance to change like this.  But, the value of this thought experiment is that we can see what an odd-ball health insurance has become.  I think the secret to improving health care i the U.S. is to apply Strategic Simplicity®, and separate catastrophic care from the rest.  Then, catastrophic health insurance will be like house insurance—simple and affordable.

In fact, if the deductible was set properly, simple plain-vanilla catastrophic health insurance that covered 100% of citizens is something that the government could offer.  The deductible would have to be set high enough that 80-90% of people would never qualify for claims (keeping costs down), while still provide a low enough ceiling to keep costs for the private health insurance, which would cover the rest, affordable—without government intervention.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tarun's Tacos


My 9 year old son Tarun now has two blogs of his own: TarunPuri.com and Tarun's Tacos.

Check them out! They are about fun, food, crafts, drawing, life, and cat videos!

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Iowa Caucus Fiasco, Software Apps, and User Simplicity



The Iowa Caucus delay in reporting results was an embarrassing fiasco for Democrats, Iowa, and the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP).

Most of the delay was caused by the new app they rolled out for reporting results.  It is a reminder of the importance of User Experience and User Simplicity, which is part of the Strategic Simplicity® framework that I consult on, to improve performance.

From what I read, there were 3 issues:

1. The app was rushed and not tested well, so it produced problems transferring results to the Iowa Democratic Party's  (IDP) database.

2. The user experiences was bad.  The app itself was designed well but, to install it, you had to go through a complex procedure.  For people with iPhones, they first had to install another app to then be able to install this one.  For Android, people had to change settings.

3. Because it was hard to install, and people said they didn't receive adequate training, 75% of the people went to the old way of calling the results in, but the IDP didn't staff enough phone lines (since they expected people to use the app).

I think the main, underlying problem is that they used it for the first time here.  They should have first rolled it out during a sleepy, mid-term election


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize simplicity for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Monday, February 3, 2020

Two Tips Tips to Deliver a Great User Experience




My firm advises on incorporating user simplicity and ease-of-use into products / services—including mobile apps.

Two Tips:

1. Understand exactly what users want to accomplish—especially the 20% of functionality that they use 80% of the time.  We call this the "golden functionality", and the UX design must be optimized to execute this functionality with a minimum of effort.

2. minimize alerts, displays, and dialogs.  Too much user feedback lessens the effectiveness of the whole application.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize Strategic Simplicity® for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Palindrome Day 02/02/2020


Today is a triple event day: Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, and Palindrome Day.

It's the first date that is a palindrome in all formats (mm-dd-yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy, yyyy-mm-dd) in 909 years.

The last one was 11/11/1111.  The next one is 12/12/2121.  After that, none until 03/03/3030.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize Strategic Simplicity® for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, January 24, 2020

RPA (Robot Process Automation) vs. APIs




APIs are always superior for integration.  

The only time to use RPAs (Robot Process Automation) are:

1. One or both of the systems to be integrated either lack an API, or the ability to call APIs.

2. The systems are legacy, and cannot be modified to provide/call APIs, or the cost of implementing an API is prohibitive given the budget or timeline.


The reason that APIs are always preferable is that the process is robust, consistent, and straight forward.  CIOs should always favor environments that work consistently, and correctly, with no surprises.

With RPAs, even with the help of today's AI, you are dealing with using software to replicate a human being interacting with a user interface.  Menus can change, be inconsistent among different screens, and screen renderings can be affected by network effects.  Creators of software interfaces designed and tested their software for use by humans, not automation.  Humans can quickly adjust to slight variations.

APIs, on the other hand, are designed specifically for bypassing human interfaces, and making software to software calls.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri helps clients weaponize Strategic Simplicity® for market domination. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Perceptions vs. realities when doing business in Chicago in 2020


My latest column for the Chicago Business Journal:

https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2020/01/23/perceptions-vs-realities-for-chicago-business.html

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Big, New, Bold Ideas!



Start working on a big, new, bold idea by cleaning your desk and starting with a blank slate.

Just sit in an empty space, with clean white paper, and a pen!

But...Don't let the paper and the space remain empty for long!  Plunge in!  Start experimenting, writing, and thinking!  No cleaning up, second guessing, or self-editing!  Let your desk get messy and cluttered as you creatively work!

Then, once your done, either implement your new ideas immediately or throw them away!  Ideas and intentions decay exponentially. 

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

For Success, Shrink Your Options




For creativity and innovation, we always hear that "you should keep an open mind", or "think outside the box".

But this is only half the story.  This is great for the experimental phase, where you test and iterate through ideas to find the best ones.

But, once you decide to execute, you need to shrink your box.  You need to focus on a few, high-quality, core ideas.  Otherwise, you'll get overwhelmed, spread yourself thin, and achieve mediocre results at best.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Be A Better Communicator



An important tip for communicating better in business is to avoid giving too much information. This is hard for many small business people and tech workers, because they are experts in their fields, and enjoy sharing their knowledge. However, many of the people they need to talk to don't have the same level of knowledge, and are focused on solving a specific issue. It is better to communicate only the information that the recipient needs. "Don’t deliver your information by the barrel, serve it by the glass." - Cam Barber


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Give Enough Value That They Can't Ignore You



People don't want to hear your sales message or an "informercial" that is 30% info and 70% pitch.  

Instead, you need to give them valuable content they can put to use - no strings attached.  

Then, you build credibility and can hopefully build a relationship with people so they think of you when they need your product or service


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Strategic Simplicity® and Customer Experience

Today, someone I know wrote about his experience organizing an event at a hotel.  He was forced to talk with six different people to get everything organized.

From now on, he is going to insist on one point of contact, or else he will go to a different hotel.

The lesson is that the hotel should do this proactively.  Instead of silos, they need to communicate together and present a simple, user-friendly front to customers to make their life easier.

As I always say, this is the Attention Scarcity Age, and people's time / attention are now scarce resources. Companies that follow this add value, increase brand value, and build fans.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Did You Know That The U.S. Has Actually Been Metric For Over 100 Years?




When it comes to distance, the U.S. is known for imperial measurements, like feet, yards, and miles. Not meters and kilometers.

But the truth is that, since 1893, we have been metric based.

In that year, the U.S. government officially defined a foot as 1,200 meters divided by 3,937. That means that the official U.S. foot is .3048006 meters.

The reason that this is news now is that, by 2022, the U.S. foot will be completely phased out.

Back in 1933, the international foot was invented.  It drops the last three digits, so it defines a foot as .3048 meters.

The difference between the U.S. and international foot became a big deal in land surveying, where you are measuring large distances.  So, beginning in 1959, the U.S. government started switching over to the international foot.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Monday, January 13, 2020

Mattel Finds Strategic Simplicity®





Toy designers at Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, could once choose between 150 types of red.  Now, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Mattel eliminated about 1/3 of the reds, and are similarly streamlining other colors.

It's part of a new project to simplify their supply chain.

According to Mattel's chief supply-chain  officer, "Complexity is really a killer."

In today's age of disruptive innovation, constant change, and attention scarcity among customers, Strategic Simplicity® is critical to dominate your market place.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Team Performance Problems: How to Handle Information Hoarding




A common team performance problem that I've encountered is that, over time, some team members become experts at solving certain types of problems.  The other team members turn to them for help when they encounter the issue.

This becomes an issue if the employees hoard their knowledge under the mistaken impression that it creates job security. Since only they can solve the problem, and there are only so many hours in the day, they become a bottleneck in the organization.

The answer is for managers and HR to encourage these workers to take the time to document and share their knowledge with their more junior co-workers.The way to sell it, is that it creates a win-win situation for everyone: the organization develops redundancy, can get tasks done in a timely matter, the junior associates build their knowledge / skills, and the experienced co-worker benefits too.

By sharing information, they enhance their expert reputation, and they are still the first ones to be approached when there are challenging problems in their areas.  At the same time, they are relieved of having to deal with more routine tasks.  The result is that the expert also grows in his job by shedding mastered tasks, and gets to work on interesting new problems.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Fostering Greater IT Creativity




One of the main things holding back IT worker creativity is that they are so immersed in the systems they are currently supporting.  

They are very knowledgeable about the system's quirks and limitations, and this fixates in their minds, causing them to reject new ideas because they can't automatically figure out how they would work in their system.

The way to foster creativity, then, is to encourage them to use the blank slate technique.  IT workers need to pretend that their systems have been sold off, and they have an unlimited budget to create a new system from scratch.  Based on this, what would they create to improve the company?

The key is that, as they think of ideas, they can't start letting thoughts of the current system creep in.  They need to completely map out their ideas as if they can build any system they want.

Later, when this ideation phase is over, they can think about how to implement their ideas within the current environment.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who dramatically increases sales and productivity. Visit PuriConsulting.com