Mike Landman

Mike Landman

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

What Does Excellence Look Like?

It looks like Octane. My friends Tony and Diane started Octane less than 4 years ago. Octane is a cool coffee shop, in an up and coming neighborhood. They had a passion for design, style, and general hipness. And they made really good coffee and espresso. And you know what? That could be the whole… Continue reading

Customers Hate You

If you use one of those phone trees that makes us "talk" out the tree options. HATE you. Look, a voice tree is annoying enough, but when you make me speak out loud like an idiot ("one"…"four"… "Cleveland"… "CLEVELAND!"… "no"…."NO"…) in public, I am consumed with rage before I ever speak to anyone. This is… Continue reading

Welcome! (I think you are probably a criminal)

So I visited a friend’s parents for Memorial Day, for an afternoon of grilling and such. They live in a lake community out in the country. It happens to be a gated community. After approaching the gate guard, explaining that we were on a list, and answering some questions, we were handed a slip of… Continue reading

Alas, Someone Agrees With Me About Municipal WiFi

The AP reports that municipal WiFi is going nowhere – fast. "They are the monorails of this decade: the wrong technology, totally overpromised and completely undelivered," said Anthony Townsend, research director at the Institute For The Future, a think tank. Just think! Someone who’s in a think-tank agrees with me. Me! I’ll go out on… Continue reading

Charging for deliverables, not effort

Here is something extraordinary: A hospital charging for results, not effort. Yep, surgery that works, guaranteed. Ripple figured this out 4 years ago when we banned charging for time, and focused only on what our results should be. We’re not perfect at it (yet), but everyone is aligned with the customer. Customers want less problems… Continue reading

Call Your Customers

I received an email over the weekend from a client that had experienced service difficulty. An excerpt: "I read your blog from time to time, a lot about conducting good business, etc. Seriously Mike, when’s the last time I’ve heard from you…?" Ouch. When you read something and it stings? That’s because it’s true. When… Continue reading

Crossroads at a startup

A colleague forwarded me this story today. It’s a great tale of crossroads at a startup. We have had many such moments here, although perhaps none so seminal. My favorite nugget: "Hope is not a strategy."

A product I love – and how I was influenced into my bias

There are 2 truths that I know of in the world for sure: The gifts pharmaceuticals sales reps give to doctors influence the prescriptions they write. I hate voice mail. Here is how they are connected. Gifts influence behavior and opinion. First, for those of you who still hold out some hope that free pens… Continue reading

Dark, Powerful, Evil.

I wish I could say Kathy Sierra and I were friends. We’re not. We have had some contact, a few emails shared. She owns one of my T-shirts. But I wish we were friends. Because Kathy is one of the nicest, smartest, most intuitive people I am aware of. She makes the world a better… Continue reading

No, no, no.

This is just bad. Bad, bad, bad. You can’t be a coffee shop and a music label at the same time. Starbucks is going down two roads, and it will ultimately cost them. If Howard Schultz is serious about bringing the coffee shop experience back to Starbucks, it’s going to cost a lot of time,… Continue reading

A Crack in The Dam Widens

The reality is really twofold here:1. The evolution of diverse technologies has chipped away at Microsoft’s lock on the desktop.2. Vista took too long and ultimately sucks too much. Given that, leaders are starting to question the "no one ever got fired for recommending Microsoft" mentality. clipped from www.macnn.com The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)… Continue reading

If It’s a Mission, Shouldn’t It Be Clear?

Why are mission statements always so lame? Why, when given a very small amount of ink to communicate something clearly, do most companies fail? This is one I saw today: (Company X) was founded to help performance-driven companies improve the effectiveness of their field sales and service organisations [sic] using innovative on-demand wireless and data… Continue reading

What??? (Or, “why Yahoo! is in trouble”)

Corporate double-speak is a serious problem. It creates confusion, wastes time, and reduces people to babbling idiots. I don’t really understand the phenomena actually. Here’s the thing: It seems to me that the larger a company gets the clearer its communication needs to be, simply because there are so many more people to communicate to…. Continue reading

Brand Extension At Its Worst

Brands get dumb. They get self-inflated, forget what they stand for, and do stupid things. Like Coors Water.And now, Hummer cellphones.

Wow. Wow! er…wow.

Some companies simply lose their ability to understand customers; they misplace the relevant language somehow. Microsoft is really a case in point. They are the GM of software. Wow is certainly appropriate here, but not really the way that’s intended. Thanks Seth. wow.

Comcastic Defined

The word "Comcastic(tm)" has taken on a life of its own in my world. Many of my friends share the sentiment with me, but until now we didn’t have a true definition. Sure, we all know things that ARE Comcastic (Comcast, big airlines, GM, tow truck drivers, etc.), but for a word to really take… Continue reading

Making Things Easy

  "Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction."–Albert Einstein Ummm….yup. As you make your product, service, religion, political platform, or lifestyle more robust, meaningful, complete, rich, or detailed you gotta remember one… Continue reading

You Can Be Too Clever

Last night I was at a new restaurant. I got up to use the restroom, and, well, it wasn’t that easy. A quick glance should tell me which door to choose. An "M" would be nice. Or even that little Weeble guy with the legs (ladies, you apparently self-identify when you see a skirt). Why… Continue reading

If You Are Looking For a Wholly Inaccurate Picture of Atlanta

Look no further than this smarmy, inaccurate, and entirely condescending article in The New York Times. It’s peppered with nifty backhanded insults like this: "…a city so transient it barely recognizes itself, where more than half the adult population is from somewhere else, and where every urban fad, from underground parking to savory ice cream,… Continue reading

Why don’t people use Compact Florescent lightbulbs?

As part of a webwide effort to help the plight of Compact Florescent lightbulbs, I am adding my 2 cents. I think Seth probably has it right. At least partially. Compact Fluorescent (CF) light-bulbs do have a marketing problem. I’m not sure that problem is perceived difficulty of use though. I think it’s a name… Continue reading

One Thing

You can only do one thing. Stand for one thing. Be remembered for one thing. God that’s hard. I am a disciple of Al Reis and Jack Trout’s Positioning. A believer that you can only be one thing in people’s mind. But it is just so hard to execute. There are so MANY opportunities. One… Continue reading

Ingenuity With Bees

Umm…wow. This is pretty cool. Training bees to save human lives. Bomb-sniffing bees. Maybe I can train my cat to find my car keys.

Turns Out Zune Forgot One Thing: The Customer. Doh!

I’ve not personally held a Zune. I’m not really inclined to. But this article in The Chicago Sun-Times perfectly chronicles what happens when you put the customer last in any product (or service). The customer loses. If you’re a monopoly like the airport, that works OK. When you’re going against the entrenched leader in MP3… Continue reading

Why Telling People Your Idea Is OK

No one is going to steal your idea. And if they are, an NDA isn’t going to stop them. More than likely your idea will fade away, even from you, because you can’t get the execution down. This calculator is about the best illustration I’ve ever seen. AWFUL IDEA = -1 WEAK IDEA = 1… Continue reading

Don’t Be An A$$hole

It’s not like that’s particularly sage advice – most people don’t want to be assholes (except for assholes, of course). But what I like about Guy’s book review is that it has some good tips for dealing with people that are assholes.

Use The Right Tool For The Conversation

Although not really the point of his post, something in Seth’s riff on marketing fear struck me: “Fear is an emotion and it’s impossible to counter an emotion with logic.” I think that is probably true in the opposite as well.

Why Is This Impressive?

I use a Mac. I like Macs. Now, the last time I criticized Apple , I was lambasted. I’m OK with that 🙂 This isn’t really about Apple. This is a quote from PC Magazine praising Apple’s high quality: “Last year, Apple’s score on units needing repair was an impressive 11 percent—well below that of… Continue reading

No One Cares

Until you make them care. We all know this applies to personal stories. That’s why one person’s story about their 2 year old learning how to pick their nose is cute and funny, and another person’s is an eye-roller. But it applies to business too. Kathy Sierra makes the point most eloquently as usual. What… Continue reading

Why Not Be Amazing?

Seth Godin has an interesting observation about customer service this morning (it’s amazing how many lessons about what NOT to do can be learned at the airport!). The basic point is this: Do you treat every interaction you have with your customers as an opportunity to further the relationship you have with them? EVERY opportunity?… Continue reading

If You Want To Start A Business

I have been writing this blog for nearly 2 years. Sure, I think I’ve captured a gem or two about business. But this gentleman nails it. Read this and you will have a pretty good idea of what doesn’t build a great business. Top Ten Geek Business Myths

Funny Feelings About The Zune

This is some email back and forth between a couple of my coworkers. I think there is a lesson in here about storytelling, strategy, and hubris. The Zune. Is This A Joke?I’ve got an idea. Let’s make a product to go up against the most successful consumer electronics product in the history of man. Then,… Continue reading

Creative Space…Creative People?

I hope so. I think so. Ripple is in the middle of a buildout designed to do so, and it’s nice to see someone else making the same case that we do: Design matters, tools matter, environment matters. It’s especially nice to get some vindication from someone as sharp as Kathy Sierra.

Really Bad PowerPoint And The Healing Of A Torn Nation

Well readers, I got my first journalistic mention! Researching Really Bad Powerpoint, a blog at The Houston Chronicle mentions "Here’s The Thing" as if it were a real blog… But this is priceless: A mock PowerPoint presentation of The Gettysburg Address. It is so very, very perfect. I think if the Whitehouse had used PowerPoint… Continue reading

Voicemail Really is Silly

People who know me know that I hate voicemail. But my friend Suizo puts it in a nice perspective: Where is the intersection of technology and “human behavior change”?   I always thought it was a short gap between the introduction of a world changing technology and the evolution of how we use it. Apparently not… Continue reading