Mike Landman

Mike Landman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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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Paying For Time

So a lot of people ask me why we have fixed fee pricing at Ripple. After all, we come from an industry that bills for time. And bills a lot. Like $150 per hour. But what is the value of time? How can I put a price on the time it takes to fix a… Continue reading

Yessir, it’s people

Seth Godin riffed this morning about The two obvious secrets of every service business. I would add an extension to number two. One of those details is people. People with passion and compassion; folks who actually care. Those are the people who will naturally follow through. Hiring these people doesn’t happen by accident, and it… Continue reading

The 6 week course for CEOs

I figure if I can rant about doctors, lawyers and a lot of other people smarter than me, then I should probably weigh in on my own job. It’s a pretty fancy title. And it comes with some pretty unique responsibilities. Ultimately, it’s a job you can do just about anyway you want. That of… Continue reading