Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How Lucrative is United's Mileage Plus?



Because United is using its Mileage Plus as collateral for financing, they had to reveal the financial details and, according to an article in Crain's Chicago Business, it's very lucrative.

Mileage Plus sells miles for about 2 cents each to partners (like credit card issuers) and 1 cent each to the airline itself (which issues them to travelers).  It then costs about a cent when travelers redeem miles for tickets.

The bottom line is that, last year, Mileage Plus posted a $1.8 billion profit, for a profit margin of 34%—compared to 16% for the airline overall.

This is further proof that selling intangible and virtual goods is more lucrative than selling physical goods.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

How Social Distancing is Actually Helping Hollywood Get Better Data



Movie and TV writers and producers are relying ever more on data to help develop plots and concepts.  Their offerings have to compete in a world of streaming, You Tube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Consumers have more opportunities to go down "rabbit holes" of specialized content.

Before Covid, they were reluctant to stream pilots and samples in people's homes, for fear of piracy.  Instead, they relied on recruiting people from shopping malls, casinos, etc. and transporting them to theaters.

Now, they have to rely on streaming, and they are finding that companies like Pilotly and MarketCast can actually measure many more data points, with a larger, much more diverse test audience, that is distributed geographically.

It's another example of how working remotely actually has advantages over in-person.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

GE's Digital Failure A Lesson in IT Strategy and The Importance of Strategic Simplicity®



The Wall Street Journal recently printed an excerpt from the book "Lights Out: Pride Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric" that focused on their struggles to create Predix—envisioned as the Big Data, Internet of Things platform that would make GE "the digital company of the future".

What went wrong:

1. GE engineers are experts in their machines and customer needs, but they could have partnered with a large software vendor who knows building large software infrastructure, instead of going it alone.


2. Instead of building the first iteration with a small software team, and then scaling up as needed, they hired an army of people and poured money on them.

They "...smothered it with cash. But without a coherent strategy and well-thought-out processes, the product development path was a wasteful one..."


3. Amazon and Microsoft already have well-established cloud infrastructure.  Rather than use it, and leverage their years and billions of dollars in investment, GE tried to develop its own data centers.

4. GE's tiny sensors in their machines produce a lot of data, but they used different coding and operated on different systems.  This made integrating them on one platform a complex nightmare.

These four lessons highlight that money and resources are no substitute for well-designed strategy and processes.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Disruptive Innovation Always Creates Jobs

The Wall Street Journal reported that, according to Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute, "when you include all jobs in fulfillment, delivery, and related roles, e-commerce has created more jobs between 2007 and January 2020 than bricks-and-mortar retailers lost."

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Guest Post: What to Do When Your Startup Fails




What to Do When Your Startup Fails

Failure is part of life as an entrepreneur. As many as 90 percent of all startups fail, but knowing that you’re in good company doesn’t make the pain of a failed venture any easier to bear. There’s no point in wallowing in your disappointment, however. As an entrepreneurial go-getter, the best thing you can do is get back on your feet and keep pushing forward. Here’s how.

First, Catch Your Breath

Self-care gets put on the back burner when you’re trying to get a startup off the ground. Now that you have a moment to catch your breath, take advantage of it. Before you dive into your next venture, take that vacation you fantasized about during late nights at the office and restore the healthy diet, exercise, and sleep habits you cast aside. Spend time with loved ones, pick up your favorite hobby again, and do the things that inspire your creativity. You should also consider cleansing the home by ridding bad vibes, as doing so can reduce stress and improve your well-being. You can remove bad energy by getting rid of clutter, keeping the home clean, and purifying the doors and windows.

Then, Figure Out Your Finances

If you poured your own money into your startup, you may be hurting financially now that it’s failed. Rather than immediately thinking about the business you’ll start next, focus on finding steady work, whether that’s a full-time job or freelancing for past clients. You’ll appreciate the cash cushion when it’s time to get back to business.

Analyze What Went Wrong...

In order to avoid making the same mistakes again, you need to understand why your startup failed. Common reasons for startup failure include:

  • Lack of focus: Passion is an important trait, but too much passion causes some to attempt too much at once, driving up costs and driving down customer satisfaction.
  • Lack of experience: Many first-time entrepreneurs don’t appreciate the level of business acumen needed to run a company. Additionally, a lack of industry-specific knowledge also plagues some startups.
  • Competition or bad market fit: No matter how great your product or service is, if the market doesn’t need or want it, it won’t sell. Some latecomers discover the market is already saturated by the time they launch.
  • Out-of-control labor costs: Labor is the highest expense category in nearly every industry. While you want the best people on your team, hiring in times of high-growth can leave companies overstaffed and underworked when things slow down.

...And How to Solve It

Now that you know where you went wrong, you can learn how to do better next time.

If your lack of industry or business expertise held your company back, hire someone to fill those gaps and serve as a mentor. Services like Puri Consulting are available to help you develop better systems, as well as increase productivity and reduce production costs. Additionally, you can balance labor costs by building your team with freelancers instead of going straight to permanent staff. Freelancers’ flexibility means you can easily add or subtract from your team as your business grows. It’s also a smart way to test hires before bringing them on full-time. Many companies are accustomed to hiring freelancers for web development and design work, but freelancers can be used to do everything from admin to sales to IT.

Most other problems can be solved by spending more time in the planning, research, and testing phases of a startup. Instead of racing to market, dive deep into market research. Your goal is to find a niche that’s well defined, not saturated, and with a clear target market. And rather than scaling rapidly, invest time into product testing and feedback so that when you take the next steps, you know you’re ready.

The failure of a startup can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. Rather than letting failure keep you down, take it as a learning opportunity. With new knowledge and experience under your belt, you can enter your next venture ready to succeed.

Image via Pexels

Sunday, July 26, 2020

My Quote on Ideas


"Either implement your new ideas immediately or throw them away!  Ideas and intentions decay exponentially."

- Praveen Puri

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How to Deal with Paralysis by Analysis

"Paralysis by Analysis" is a real threat to effective business leadership.  In today's VUCA world, being able to make quick decisions, and take definite action, is a must.

There is a simple way to prevent "Paralysis by Analysis": eliminate some options as fast as possible.

In other words, even before starting a formal analysis, if a quick-and-dirty glance shows that a particular option is about the same as some other option, then don't even consider it—just drop it.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Examples of Strategic Simplicity® Success


Here are some recent examples of Strategic Simplicity® success in business:

1. The GM of a plastics manufacturer told me that, whenever there was a new custom order, it took 2 weeks to place it into the system, and involved 11 handoffs. Now, it's down to 4 days and 7 handoffs—and they want to cut it down even more.

2. Mattel supported 150 types of red for their toy designers.  Now, they've streamlined their supply chain by eliminating 1/3 of the reds—and are working to eliminate other color options.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Skilled Developers Aren't Fungible



It angers me just thinking about it: "We want our developers to be fungible".

A large bank I worked with wanted all its software developers to be cross-trained to the point where they were fungible, and could easily be substituted for each other.

"Fungible" is used in finance to mean financial instruments that are so equivalent that they can be used to offset each other. For example, if you could buy a silver contract on a NY exchange, and you can get out of the position by selling a silver contract on the Hong Kong exchange, then the two contracts are considered fungible. The regulators and clearing houses consider them equivalent.

But you can't turn a whole bunch of skilled software engineers, working on different projects, into complete commodities that can replace each other at the drop of a hat.

© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Six Sigma Fallacy in IT




"Six Sigma" was originally created for manufacturing, to eliminate defects.

The original proponents, like GE, never applied it to the engineering and design depts, where innovation and original thinking were required to create.

That's the big fallacy in applying it to software—what developers do is engineering.  The equivalent of "manufacturing" in software is "copy" or "cut and paste", which don't have defects.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.

Friday, July 3, 2020

2020 PMO Impact Summit Teaser Video


I'm speaking 2020 PMO Impact Virtual Summit in September.

My topic is "IT Strategy and Project Management Success Using the Strategic Simplicity® Framework".



 You can register and find out more at: https://pmostrat.ositracker.com/161948/12160.


© 2020 Praveen Puri

Praveen Puri is the expert in Strategic Simplicity® and IT / business simplification. Please visit PuriConsulting.com.