"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Jul 22, 2012
The smartphone revolution continues apace

Looking at my mobile phone bill the other day, I noticed that the part of the bill generated by making calls has been falling steadily, while the data component has been rising. That reminded me: just over two years ago, I wrote on this page that the future of your business lay in the palm […]

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Jul 09, 2012
Don’t appoint a woman on your board just for the photo opportunity

“When news emerged in May that Facebook had hired an executive search firm to look for a woman to add to its board of directors, I had hoped that with the appointment would come a great deal of diversity of thought and experience and an independent voice. Facebook has now announced that it has chosen its […]

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Jun 11, 2012
How a famous company failed to spot strategic upheaval

“RIM’s woebegone story is the stuff of science-fiction epic. A technology juggernaut that emerged from a sleepy Canadian backwater, RIM came to dominate the smartphone industry in a few years. Its BlackBerry managed to become an indispensable tool of the global elite in Davos and Washington D.C. as well as a status symbol to tweens […]

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May 27, 2012
The danger of running before you’ve learned to walk

Tesco is the United Kingdom’s most dominant retailer. For a couple of decades now, the supermarket chain has been all-powerful, accounting for one in eight pounds that Britons spend in shops and commanding 30% market share, in addition to being the nation’s largest private employer. And Tesco is not merely a grocer these days; it […]

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May 21, 2012
A business filled with family members will not take you far

“The fatal fact about nepotism is that the really good people won’t go to work for you in the first place or will quit or quit trying for your job when they spot your uncle, brother, nephew, wife, mistress or son on the payroll… …If there’s even a bare possibility that you’re prejudiced, the smell […]

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May 14, 2012
Sony’s insular culture just didn’t see it coming

“…Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life. In fact, it is in a fight for its life – a development that exemplifies the stunning decline of Japan’s industrialized […]

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May 06, 2012
The ‘Uta do?’ culture that kills quality standards

Whatever happened to “First-Time Quality?” It seems to have become an irrelevance in Kenya today. The idea is simple enough. If you get something right the first time, you don’t have to incur the cost of inspections, revisits, rework or repeat jobs. If you pay acute attention and maintain a high standard when you do […]

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Apr 22, 2012
Why waiters (or their guests) can’t predict the weather

I was sitting by my favourite ocean (there is only one) the other day (I was on a break, remember) and I noticed some ominous-looking dark clouds over the ocean. I asked a passing waiter whether he thought it might rain. He looked at the sky, and said with gratifying certainty: “No chance. Those clouds […]

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Mar 19, 2012
The spectacular resignation that shook this famous employer

“TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its […]

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Mar 18, 2012
Is it going to be game over for your product soon?

The Encyclopedia Britannica has ended print publication after 244 years. I must admit I fell silent after hearing this piece of news earlier in the week. Anyone who admires books and has encountered the venerable encyclopedia in a home or library cannot fail to feel some sadness. The weathered leather covers, the musty pages, the […]

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Mar 05, 2012
Today’s hit product may be in tomorrow’s junkyard

“One of the odd questions I keep being asked about the iPad is “Where do you plug in USB stuff?” It’s a sister phrase to the weird criticism oft thrust at Apple’s device, “Ah, it’s too limiting for me: I can’t plug in USB sticks.” This is weird because other makers, notably Apple’s biggest competitor, […]

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Feb 26, 2012
Are you a relationship manager or just a huckster?

In business, relationship management is all the rage these days. There seem to be no salespersons any more, just relationship managers (RMs). It sounds warm and fuzzy and touchy-feely, as though you, the customer, have someone in the organization specially focused on you. Most of the time, it’s an elaborate hoax. What’s the difference between […]

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Feb 20, 2012
Isn’t there a better way to handle layoffs?

“Soon after Citigroup let go of 100 employees across India last month, many functional heads received an unusual brief. They were asked to scout for jobs for those who had been terminated. Counsellors were also roped in to soften the blow and professional services firms were hired to make the career transition of the terminated […]

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Feb 12, 2012
A rule of life: If it’s “free”, it’s probably very expensive

People everywhere love freebies. If it’s “free,” we want it. And we want lots of it. Here’s the thing, though: nothing is really free. Resources are limited. To provide or make anything on this planet consumes resources. So if something seems free, it’s up to you to work out who’s bearing the cost. Some simple […]

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Jan 22, 2012
Organizations: prepare for online firestorms in 2012

A few weeks ago I predicted that 2012 would be the year of the “Twitter Big Stick” in Kenya: a time when both politicians and large organizations feel the force of feedback from social media. I pointed out that the reason for this is that the little people – customers, users, voters – now have […]

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Jan 16, 2012
To really understand a business, don’t talk to the CEO

“I long ago realised that to understand a business I would learn much more by talking to people involved in day-to-day operations than the chief executive. They represented “what is really going on here?”” JOHN KAY, Financial Times (January 3, 2011) The excerpt shown, from Professor John Kay’s regular FT column, caught my eye. I […]

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Jan 09, 2012
Large organizations: that long queue demonstrates only your inefficiency

We are becoming a country of queues. Wherever you look, and wherever you go, people are standing in queues. Increasingly long queues. What is a queue? A place where a long-suffering user or customer gets increasingly annoyed with your organization and your brand. Given how widespread this problem is, it always amazes me how little […]

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Nov 28, 2011
Is business really a force for good?

“Japanese police, prosecutors and securities agencies in Japan, the United States and Britain are investigating Olympus after the firm admitted this month that it hid losses on securities investments for decades, disguising some as acquisition payments and fees. The scandal at the once-proud firm has rekindled concerns about lax corporate governance in Japan and revived […]

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Nov 27, 2011
Organizations, be very afraid of social media

Once upon a time, businesses could get away with being bad to customers. They could neglect them and abuse them and not face any real consequences. What could a customer do in that world, anyway? Throw a fit on the company premises? Only a few employees, and possibly a handful of other customers, would observe […]

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Nov 13, 2011
Why I stopped watching cricket

When I was a very young boy in Nairobi, watching wrestling on TV was all the rage. Every week, whole families would sit down and be regaled by the antics of the likes of Big Daddy, Johnny Saint and Giant Haystacks. Not to mention evil incarnate, Kendo Nagasaki (those of a certain age will remember […]

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Nov 07, 2011
Consumers, not corporates, are now driving tech innovation

“The rise of tablets and smartphones also reflects a big shift in the world of technology itself. For years many of the most exciting advances in personal computing have come from the armed forces, large research centres or big businesses that focused mainly on corporate customers. Sometimes these breakthroughs found their way to consumers after […]

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Oct 10, 2011
Thinking like a customer could have saved Kodak

“In the mid-1990s I paid several visits to Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, and the cultural mindset was – with hindsight – on full display. Various executives told me how wonderful silver halide was. Professional photographers could not do without it, nor could Hollywood. Digital was for amateurs. And even they would always want […]

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Sep 19, 2011
Here’s a little secret about sustained product success

“We’re always searching for that secret formula, that magic pixie dust to sprinkle over our products, services, books, causes, brands, blogs to bring them to life and make them Super Successful. Most marketing-related buzzwords gain traction by promising pixie dust results if applied to whatever it is we make, do, sell. “Add more Social!”. “Just […]

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Jul 25, 2011
When the founder becomes the problem in the business

“In the US they call it the “Murdoch discount”. This is the amount by which US analysts reckon shares in News Corporation are depressed because of the controlling stake held by the Murdoch family; about 40 per cent of the B voting shares, although only 13 per cent of the share capital. Analysts never like […]

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Jul 18, 2011
When do these business leaders spend any time in their OWN businesses?

“Timothy Post (@timothypost): #tcdisrupt I’m beginning to think that “startups” are what entrepreneurs do when they’re NOT jetting to all the tech conferences each month.” TWITTER (24 May 2011) This column has been quoting and analyzing interesting stuff from books, journals, magazines and newspapers for years now. It’s time to move with the times and […]

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Jul 17, 2011
Murdoch’s media morality tale

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, so long a global behemoth, is in serious trouble. Commentators are scrambling to make sense of the events that led to the closure of a 168-year-old newspaper, the News of the World (NOTW) – until last Sunday Britain’s most popular newspaper. It won’t end there. The shenanigans at NOTW threaten to […]

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Jul 11, 2011
What can we learn from these century-old businesses?

“If Tom Watson Sr. were to visit IBM today, he would hardly recognize what we make or the services we provide—analytics, clouds, the Jeopardy!-winning computer named in his honor, solutions for a smarter planet. But he would very much recognize why IBM is pioneering these spaces—to make the world work better through information and the […]

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Jul 10, 2011
Why don’t more of us enter high-end businesses?

“Bottom of the pyramid” is all the rage these days. To make money in emerging economies, you have to find a mass-market product, says the conventional wisdom. M-Pesa, Equity Bank, Senator beer – these are all great examples of bold innovations that captured the bottom end of the market in unprecedented ways. We take great […]

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