Mike Landman

Mike Landman

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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