Mike Landman

Mike Landman

Observations On Business. Maybe a Little Preening. And A Few Lessons Learned.

I don’t post anymore

While I don’t write blog posts anymore, I have left up my old posts from long ago for posterity πŸ™‚

ROWE and Inc. Magazine

This week, Inc. Magazine published an article about starting and running a business in Atlanta. In it, I’m quoted talking about how Ripple is a results-only work environment, or a ROWE. Today I’ve had a number of people ask me what that means. I thought maybe the best thing to do would be repost my… Continue reading β†’

This One Time, At Brand Camp….

  Last week, I went to Matchstic’s Brand Camp. It was awesome. Brand Camp is a two – day offsite immersion workshop digging into your brand, what makes it special, and what makes it different. What makes Brand Camp any different than reading Positioning or Zag? In theory, not much – the principles are the… Continue reading β†’

Mike Landman’s 7 Rules for Job Seekers

You are a product. Your resume and interview are your marketing. And a product has to differentiate itself  to have a chance of being noticed and valued. It astonishes me to continually get the same generic resumes, the same attempt to prove diverse skills, and the same generic answers – that I must conclude are… Continue reading β†’


I finished Dan Pink's book, Drive, today. In it, Dan basically unveils the science behind why freedom in the workplace is going to be this generation's most important business revolution. Here is Dan's TED Talk, which is a good primer for the book. If you are familiar with a ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), think… Continue reading β†’

Real Business Learning

Seth Godin ran an MBA program this year. Not a traditional one, but a valuable one no doubt. His post is long, but the real lesson is this: "The educational lesson that I found the most striking is that the book knowledge was easy to transmit and not particularly essential. Once you get this far,… Continue reading β†’

SanDisk finally vindicates me

2 years ago, I surmised that SanDisk could not make any headway against the iPod, because they we're trying to violate the laws of positioning by challenging the iPod on it's own turf. SanDisk's CEO said it even more succinctly today (albeit 2 years late): "You can't iPod the iPod." I dunno, I was feeling kind… Continue reading β†’

Best quote ever from a US automaker?

This was in 2006, and I think it says quite a bit about the fundamental problem the US automakers find themselves in. Upon closing 14 factories, Bill Ford let us in on the new plan: "From now on, our cars will be designed to satisfy the customer, not just fill a factory." To be fair,… Continue reading β†’

No voicemail? Glorious!

Kodak, I love you. This is the first mainstream company I have heard of eliminating voicemail. I have been dreaming of doing this for years, but haven't for fear that people will find it unfriendly. Maybe Kodak has blazed a trail for 2009…

The world craves innovation – and buys it

Here is a video clip of Steve Balmer from 18 months ago. He does 2 things ( other than looking really defensive). He laughs at the iPhone declaring no one in business would want it. He explains that WinMobile’s huge sales basically doom the iPhone to niche status. The problem? iPhone just unseated WinMo in… Continue reading β†’

The new winners are not always the old winners.

This is one of the more interesting takes on the music industry I have seen in print, from Topspin CEO Ian Rogers. It's a reminder that just because the old guard loses, that doesn't mean there is an industry in duress. Insert whatever industry you want into this paradigm. The US auto industry, typesetters, buggy… Continue reading β†’

Anything can be rethought

Rethinking is happening with classical music right now.  Going to the symphony is a fine thing, no doubt. But it is an undertaking. Get dressed up, file in, stay silent, clap at only the prescribed moment, file out. Most people are, quite honestly, nervous at the symphony. And it isn’t really a natural way for… Continue reading β†’

What exactly is the point of these things?

I sent an email to a friend at KPMG. At the bottom of the reply is this. Why do these things exist? Is there any POSSIBLE way I am legally bound by this? Is this designed to make the lawyers at KPMG feel like they are earning their salaries? Or to scare me? Or what?… Continue reading β†’

WiFi as public charity

Remember when your Pets.com stock raced down from $60 to $2 and you didn’t sell? That was a bad idea. You regret that, because it was wildly overvalued even at $2 and deep down you knew better. But the Fallacy of Sunk Costs consumed you, and you were determined to make something of your investment…. Continue reading β†’

Crazy idea: NOT lying by default

This is a truly astonishing article. It chronicles the very limited, rogue trial by a tiny fraction of hospitals and doctors to not lie by default when they make a mistake. Yep, they are, against most advice and some twisted conventional wisdom, going to try the option of apologizing for mistakes and doing their best… Continue reading β†’

Who are you?

Everyone knows your weaknesses. Or your quirks. Or your strengths. The truth is, you rarely fool anyone (Which is why people like people who are just themselves. Watching a charade is exhausting). I learned this again last week in a most unusual way. My girlfriend threw a surprise party for my 40th birthday. But not… Continue reading β†’

Getting more from work

Seth Godin had this post this morning. It’s about getting more from school, work, whatever. It’s an interesting thing to mull as an employer. People often think that their employer has a plan for them. And while we might well have some sort of a plan, it’s not nearly as fleshed out as it could… Continue reading β†’

Perhaps Sony could invert the message they are sending?

So, when you buy a new computer, it invariably comes preloaded with trial software, promotional stuff, and generally a whole host of speed-sucking, annoying software pre-installed. This is fondly known as "crapware." Sony, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to charge you for the luxury of buying a computer that comes free of such detritus…. Continue reading β†’

Ripple [hearts] baristas

Looking for something to do on Thursday nights? Wanna see something you probably haven’t seen before? Come on out to Octane on Thursday night at 9:00 and watch a barista throwdown. What the hell is a barista throwdown? Well, this is what baristas do for fun. They have latte art competitions. With rules. Money goes… Continue reading β†’

Failing with grace

Michael Hyatt today wrote a great post about failure, how to get past it, and how to learn from it. Wisdom nugget of choice: Once you acknowledge failure, you take away it’s power. You can then begin to turn it into something positive.

The hardest work thing I have ever done – Part II

"We have got to get them to understand that this is important." Someone said this in a managers meeting once, not too long ago. Well, actually, we had all said it at one point in time over the previous 14 months. About how we – The Managers – needed the get them – The Employees,… Continue reading β†’

The hardest work thing I have ever done – Part I

For those of you who are really in the know about Ripple, you know that I laid off three members of my management team about five weeks ago. Which is to say – almost all of my management team. Why? Why would I let three people of their caliber get away? All three – passionate,… Continue reading β†’

Rob and Julie Haag – Changing The World

Rob and Julie Haag – and their son Michael on CNN (this is video) – making the world a better place. When I wrote about this 2 years ago, it made me proud to know the Haag’s. It still does.

Atlanta #1 wireless city

Per Forbes magazine. When we started giving away WiFi 4 years ago, Atlanta wasn’t even on the list. Lots of people chipping in to do their part. We’re just happy to be on of them.

5 steps to saving lives (or your business)

This is maybe the most important article I have ever read. I’m not kidding. And I read a lot of articles. This is an astonishing testimonial to the power of putting aside your pride and realizing that systems COMBINED with smarts is exponentially powerful. The takeaway: Checklists prevent problems. Checklists for things we already think we… Continue reading β†’

Frightening Brand Extension

Hot on the heels of this brand extension tour de force (The….drumroll please….Levi’s Mobile Phone!), I’d like to announce that Ripple will be introducing a line of designer sausages just in time for the holidays. How’d that cellphone move work out for Hummer, I wonder?

Another Voicemail Hater!

Woohoo! One of these days the utopian world of no voicemail will be upon us! And then I shall exact my revenge! Let’s all save the world a collective 2 million seconds a day, and follow these guidelines.

Where should this blog go?

So I have been thinking a lot about this blog and what it should do, and where it should go. I started this as a way to experiment, and collect my own thoughts. I thought a few friends would dig it maybe. But I’m not sure I am offering anything here that has much meaning…. Continue reading β†’

Hey, I know! Change the world for the better.

This professor, Randy Pausch, is the professor I always imagined all professors would be like when I got to college. Brilliant, interested, able to bring out the best in me. Inspiring. Better than me. Approachable. The reality is that very few professors are actually like this. This is his last lecture as a professor. It… Continue reading β†’

Completely Failing Customers

It’s really astonishing how Microsoft is failing their customers. Here are two of Microsoft’s biggest proponents absolutely SLAMMING Vista ( Jim Louderback is the Editor of PC Magazine, and Joel Spolsky is a famous developer that came from Microsoft). Even the box it comes in. Rightfully so. Vista wasn’t even close to being ready to… Continue reading β†’

Come to Bierfest!

Every year, Ripple sponsors the German Bierfest put on by The German American Chamber of Commerce. It is an awesome time. Here’s a great commercial for it! Funny Americans  Atlantic Station,  Saturday August 25th. 2PM. Official site

Octane and a Great Brand

Probably the most succinct definition of what a brand is comes from Marty Neumeier in Zag. He says a brand is: A person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company. I have always marveled at the completeness of the Octane brand. How perfectly Octane everything is. How authentically Octane everything is. The Octane brand… Continue reading β†’

A culture of ass-kicking at Octane

So I was talking to Ben, a barista at Octane, and he was explaining that he has passed the first phase of their new certification. He was pretty proud. As well he should be. Their certification is hard as hell. So I asked him "why do you do it? Do you get paid more?" I… Continue reading β†’

Broken Record (Industry)

You ever notice that when broken model is in its last throes, it fights like a sad, defeated bully? If you haven’t, witness the record industry villainize an artist who dares to embrace the  obvious shift in how music is changing. Prince wants to give away his music. More power to him. The industry want… Continue reading β†’

Product Leadership At Octane

So there is this dilemma that I think nearly all businesses go through. I know we did. Giving the customer everything they ask for. When Octane first opened, there was coffee. Then smoothies. Then sandwiches. Then super-large coffee. Then beer. Mixed drinks. I’ve heard people ask for breakfast, greeting cards, and shoes (seriously). At some… Continue reading β†’

Right Under My Nose

So I have written about Octane several times here. But it occurred to me the other day that it really is an extraordinary business with a lot of lessons to teach any business. I learn from Octane all of the time. So I thought it might be fun to do a series on Octane, what… Continue reading β†’

This Is Just Interesting

Seth Godin has a thought provoking piece on voting and how technology has made many of the conventions we hold onto obsolete.