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It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to home, hearth, family, and for me, one of the single greatest PR tactics ever invented — the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the lifeline millions of Americans have used to save their holiday feasts. Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Jobs had some ideas on what it takes to succeed in marketing, in business and in life. All technology allegiances aside, so do Bill Gates and Larry Page.

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If you ever walk the streets of Detroit during the dead of winter – as I have – you’ll shudder at the thought of spending an hour sleeping outside. And if you ever had to endure the entire night that way, you’d surely want to wrap yourself in the coat-bag featured below (see full story here).

The Detroit Empowerment Plan

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Take a close look at your company’s product and service portfolio.  Does your portfolio reflect your company’s business strategy, or is your portfolio loaded with a mismatch of products or services with little potential for growth?

New products and services set the future direction of your company.  If your portfolio does not support your company’s business strategy, then who is driving your organization?

A company without a new product/service strategy can easily be directed by its most vocal salesperson(s) or its largest customers.  Sure, we all have times when we have to add a small program to satisfy critical customers.  But if you do not have an innovation charter, these incremental projects can drain your development resources and alter the future direction of your company.

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I have to focus hard not to roll my eyes when I hear for the umpteenth time about how customers buy holes not drills…

Even with this knowledge drilled into me for years as a development engineer and later as a product manager (thankfully no holes), it is still so easy to fall into the rut of defining products based on how the customer need is currently satisfied instead of focusing on the customer need. This narrow focus can limit you to incremental product improvements and blind you to substitute products.

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