Mike Landman

Mike Landman

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

Storytelling, Sales, and Harold

So I had an interesting experience that illustrated to me the importance of structure in storytelling. We had a sales meeting this morning that we knew would be a little rushed, and in the interest of getting through everything we wanted to get through, we shortened our pitch. But we did it the wrong way… Continue reading

Love Makes You Kick Ass

Rob Haag has worked at Ripple for seven years. I have known Rob and his wife Julie for ten. And I have always known that they were extraordinary people. But a larger calling is a powerful thing. Rob and Julie’s first born son, Michael, was born without a fully developed hand. They were sad. And… Continue reading

The World Finally Makes Sense

So Forbes reports that people who drink socially make more money. My sincere hope is that binge drinking will make me rich!

Ripple WiFi Takes a Bow

Atlanta Ranks #1 “Most Wired City” Do they mention Ripple in the article? Of course not. Did we play a pivotal role in this ranking? With 80 free hotspots and 27,000 subscribers in Atlanta…I think so. Forbes ranks America’s Most Wired (and wireless) Cities

Really Bad PowerPoint Kills People

No longer does Really Bad PowerPoint kill only brain cells and patience. Now it kills US soldiers. I have resisted commenting on Really Bad PowerPoint here because so many others do it better. Seth Godin coined the phrase, and Garr Reynolds has built an entire career on defeating it. But now it has reared it’s… Continue reading

Unseating a Monster

It is possible. Firefox is proving it. Of course it helps that: A. It’s free.B. The incumbent product sucks. But still. Most folks in 2003 would have thought it impossible. My hat is off to you, Mozilla geniuses. Spread Firefox.

Small Business and IT

Businessweek reports on a trend we see all too often: Small businesses don’t see the value in IT, and end up losing out to companies that do. A big part of that is that there are so few companies that can help them sort through it in a meaningful way. So yeah, it’s biased advice,… Continue reading

Municipal WiFi, R.I.P.

This is Intel investing a billion dollars in a company that makes gear for WiMax. That’s in addition to the billions they are spending internally on WiMax. And since Intel puts the chipsets in virtually every laptop made, it’s a pretty safe guess that what Intel invests in is what you and I will be… Continue reading

Culture is a competitive advantage

John Moore writes today about various grocery chains and how they are attempting to mimic Whole Foods. He thinks it won’t work because they can’t replicate Whole Foods’ people. I agree. What whole foods has is a culture that creates brand loyalty. A culture that makes people want to work there. And when people like… Continue reading


It’s funny. Americans are obsessed with portion size. We treat it as a sign of quality. Ask someone why they think The Cheesecake Factory is a good restaurant and the answer you get is inevitably "big portions." Supersize. Big Gulp. The list is endless. Why are we hungrier now than we were 50 years ago?… Continue reading

Health Care Scare?

There was an interesting post this morning from Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink. In it he chronicles the way the New York Times (the New York Times, not the Post) sensationalizes what it calls the "sharp" rise in drug prices. But citing an AARP study, it only mentions name brand drugs!… Continue reading

IT Matters

A recent Harvard study demonstrates that enterprises with superior IT capabilities have superior revenue growth. The bottom line, both Iansiti and Gomez said, is that the study showed, based on surveys of IT executives, that there is a clear correlation between effective IT operations and growth for an enterprise. Do you think this isn’t true… Continue reading

I laughed, I cried…no, I just cried.

Normally not one to post links to audio or video "funnies," this came across to me this morning. It is the audio of a gentleman trying to close his AOL account. Of course AOL has virtually no reason to exist anymore, so they feel they can no longer earn customers – they must con them…. Continue reading

Firing clients

The gratitude and re-humanization that airline staff would feel would be 100 times more powerful than all of the lame morale programs trotted out by the airlines to try to fix their service. The airlines send a powerful message when they turn their cheek to such behavior: The lowest person that walks in here with $200 is more important to us that you, our ten-year employee.

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OK, this one I predicted

Yeah, it’s only my ego that wants to point this out. But hey, it’s my blog dammit! John Moore chronicles the end of the Starbucks Music Kiosks. My post from last year. If you do want a cool music option, check out Pandora. It rocks.

Is Google omnipotent or lost?

I can’t decide. They roll out new products almost daily, but like a gifted 5th grader, they seem to have a hard time following up. Finishing the job. It seems like they get bored very quickly and move onto the next project. Looks like the next one will be music. Is it all part of… Continue reading

Can you counterculture counterculture?

I doubt it. SanDisk wants to attract rebels and iconoclasts to it’s MP3 player. So it’s going after Apple by trying to be Apple. Won’t work. Oh sure, the facts are there. Apple dominates this market with something like 80% of MP3 player sales. So they are the establishment, right? SanDisk would be the cool… Continue reading

When NOT to Use Email

Here’s a classic rookie mistake with email: Using it for important communications with people you don’t know intimately. I made that mistake on Tuesday and it cost Ripple dearly. It was also a lesson in practicing what you preach. I tell my coworkers regularly "If what you want to say could be misconstrued – if… Continue reading

You Stubborn Bastards

Bread in Northern Italy tastes like crap. You know why? Because they are stubborn. Centuries ago, the Pope levied a prohibitive tax on salt in regions of Northern Italy (basically Tuscany). So the Tuscans revolted and made their bread without salt. It is terrible beyond words. I know that, and they know that. Hundreds of… Continue reading

Are You Building Something Great?

Or are you building a monument to yourself? 9 years ago I set out to build a company that could stand on it’s own; a company that didn’t necessarily depend on me personally. I might have been too successful 🙂 I just spent 10 days out of the country with half of my management team…. Continue reading

Free As In Lunch

I probably should have written about this a long time ago – just so I could be on the record when I say "I told you so." If you know me, you’ve heard me say it before. If you don’t, I’ll say it now: Municipal WiFi is going to be a nightmare. What??? No! It’s… Continue reading

Overcome Yourself and Embrace Process

Seth Godin writes about process and why smart people are often resistant to creating processes. In short, he concludes that it is because it threatens your reliance on intuition. I think that’s a pretty astute observation, and certainly one of the main reasons that intuitive people often have very little process in their lives and… Continue reading

Kraft Gets It

Kraft just signed a deal to outsource their IT. Kraft is smart. They know that they are in the cheese business, not the IT business (I only wish Ripple was the provider!). What business are you in? So why exactly are you still screwing around with your computers?

If You Want To Pitch Me An Idea

I’m not going to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Just so you know. Now, I’m not a venture capitalist, and Ripple is not an incubator. But I get my share of calls with people who would like to bounce ideas off of me. Ideas for products, businesses and the like. "Cool," I say. "Let’s hear… Continue reading

Doing Things Right

So I learned something last night that I suppose I already knew. But it still made an impression. There are 2 ways to do something. Kick-ass or every other way. And the thing is, kicking ass makes you feel like you matter. Kicking ass equals success. Kick-ass counts. So we know this. It seems trivial…. Continue reading

Begging Richard Branson

The American airline industry is broken. And I believe that only Richard Branson and Virgin Air can fix it. Richard, I am begging you: Please figure out a way to get Virgin flying thousands of routes around the US. Here is an exchange I had with Delta. Mind you it took them over a month… Continue reading

A Nice Dig On IPU

A month or so ago I riffed about IPU (Interruptive Phone Usage). Now, Wired magazine has joined my call to end IPU with an article entitled "How to Squelch Your Inner Jackass." Enjoy!

Bad Ad II

Remember last week, when I panned this ad for being pure crap? Well here is a perfect example of how a great story becomes a crappy ad. And even though it’s a parody, it’s spot on. I laughed. And I cried.


What’s the point of having a blog if you can’t pimp your friends every once in a while??? This Saturday, February 25th, two of the coolest Atlanta bands will be playing together at Vinyl. The Gates of Berlin and Variac. Don’t miss this show. Why? Two reasons: I’ll be there (do you need a #2?)…. Continue reading

If Your Workplace Sucks… You Are Dumb

Seriously. A lot of us have always known that we don’t want to work in soulless cubicle hell. But we’ve always been looked at as artsy jerks who like pretty things. Here’s some evidence that the artsy jerks are actually the smart jerks. In a nutshell, a boring environment stifles brain growth. Cubicles make you… Continue reading

If You Want A Job At Ripple

First impressions count. A lot. Here’s the thing: When we put out a call for a position we get about 200 resumes for one position. So our job is to get through those resumes and weed out as many as we can. We want about the top 20. Now, there are a lot of things… Continue reading

Find And Kill Old Thinking

Seth Godin had a little riff this morning about antiquated ideas that persist, and challenged folks to find the ones in their lives. I know what ours used to be at Ripple. Charging for time. We killed that thinking 2 years ago. The reason(s) people bill by the hour are: They cannot capably predict their… Continue reading


Holy. Crap. This was a banner ad on my Yahoo! home page this morning. WTF is this??? This is meaningless, irrelevant, useless advertising. I am shredding my Visa card right now. Here’s what happened: Someone at "Ad Agency" said "we need to make an emotional connection." But no one in the room could come up… Continue reading

Don’t Be Evil

One of the founding principles of Google is "Don’t Be Evil." But is putting people in a high likelihood of becoming victims of evil very much different? I like Google. I use a lot of Google stuff. But Google does worry me. They are about to release the next version of Google Desktop (Google Desktop … Continue reading