Archives: October 2010

Little BIG Video #45
Innovation:
Angry People Make Change

In video number 45 from The Little BIG Things Video Series, Tom tells us the single source of innovation is angry people. Their anger allows them to penetrate the resistance they encounter.

You can find the video in the right column of the front page of tompeters.com or you can watch the video on YouTube. [Time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds] You can also download a PDF transcript of the video's content: Innovation: Angry People Make Change.

Mickey Drexler/J.Crew

I could teach an entire MBA course using as source material the 20 September 2010 New Yorker profile of J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler—titled "The Merchant: It's All About the Eye—And the Numbers."

In shorthand form, I have extracted a list of some of the items that are central to Drexler's approach. I present them here, and as a PowerPoint slide.

  • Bias for instant action/Towering impatience with in-action
  • Impatient but not brutal
  • Relentless/Speed-of-light experimentation; more ASAP if works, drop if not
  • Vibrates with energy (literally)
  • Always on the prowl—anywhere, everywhere—for ideas
  • Lots of team-standing-around-making-instant-assessments-decisions—all contributing
  • Likes working with women more than men because F more intuitive than M
  • Dresses like the brand—at 66
  • Offense, not defense
  • Communicates all the time [removes fear from hearing "famous" CEO]. Everyone, including most junior, made part of the decision-making team
  • Listens attentively regardless of age/seniority
  • Obvious in his transparent respect for young employees
  • Trusts intuition plus fanatic about the numbers
  • Expects everyone to know their numbers cold from memory
  • Always aware of "the business case"—as well fashion-master
  • Aggressive pricing
  • MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around
  • Open with everyone, from youth to folks at Earnings Call
  • Constant customer contact/Dialogues with customer/Reacts instantly to customer feedback
  • Willing to act (experiment) based on one datapoint
  • Engages with most junior people
  • At 66, comfortably uses "hot" words like "Cool" "Wow"

There is no doubt that these notions are especially fit for retailers. Yet I will unequivocally assert that this list with little modification applies to any flavor of business.

(For what it's worth, I'm also attaching this in PowerPoint.)

The Global Detective

Tom's good friend Alan Webber has a new ebook out called The Global Detective: My search for clues, cues, and views in the lands of tall blonde people. Alan went on quite a journey to discover what's happening with entrepreneurs the world over, and this is the first in a series. As the cofounder of Fast Company, he has a particularly unique perspective. (And we believe he wore a fedora.)

Surprise!

Tom's all about giving things away for free. So we have a treat for you today. Our friends at Vook have given us a limited number of free iPhone and iPad versions of Tom's The Little BIG Things apps that we can give away. To get one, we're asking you to share a story with us. What kind of story? A two-center.

If you haven't already, read Tom's story of the Two-Cent Candy. What's your or your organization's Two-Cent Candy? Experienced a particularly Excellent one? Please share the story with us, including how it changed your or your customers' perception/reality.

Details: By 9pm GMT (5pm EDT) today, email the story to tom@tompeters.com with the subject line: Little BIG Thing. If you're succinct in nature, tweet the story (or link to your blog post that tells the story) using the hashtag #littleBIGthing. The stories will be judged by our completely non-objective panel, and we'll share some of the winners' stories here at tompeters.com.

Thanks and Good Luck!

The Little BIG Things
Synopsis Series
#13 Work
#14 Initiative

It's time for two new sections in The Little BIG Things Synopsis Series. The next two sections in The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence are titled "Work" and "Initiative." Tom talks about what being a professional really means, suggests some counter-intuitive personal strategies for success, and advocates for making an Insane Public Effort.

You can download free pdfs of those sections from The Little BIG Things Synopsis Series* by clicking below:

#13 Work
#14 Initiative

*The Synopsis Series is an adaptation that gives you a taste of the BIG idea in each of the 163 Little BIG Things. More information on the book can be found on this page. The Synopsis Series as released thus far can be found here.

Riyadh

Tom is speaking in Riyadh for his old friends at the Institute for International Research. This is about his 10th visit to KSA/the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (He reports that he missed the 40C+ weather in Riyadh last week—and survived nicely at 30C to 35C.) (He also reports a construction/high rise boom that rivals "the old days" in Dubai.)

Excellence. Always. Riyadh. Final Version.

Excellence. Always. Riyadh. Long Version.

Cool Friend #152
Sally Helgesen (No.3)

Sally's back! She's recently coauthored a book with Julie Johnson called The Female Vision. Sally discusses with Erik Hansen the evolution of the role of women in the workplace in the late twentieth century. Sally sees a major shift starting and explains the signs. She also explains that women have to push past their comfort zones in order to make their organization a place where their vision is valued, and is specific about how.

Read the interview and be sure to visit Sally's site.

Little BIG Video #44
Strategy:
12 x 20 = 240

In video number 44 from The Little BIG Things Video Series, Tom does the math for you. It all comes down to lunch. Never Waste a Lunch!

You can find the video in the right column of the front page of tompeters.com or you can watch the video on YouTube. [Time: 2 minutes, 18 seconds] You can also download a PDF transcript of the video's content: Strategy: 12 x 20 = 240.

The Little BIG Things
Synopsis Series
#11 Attitude
#12 Performance

It's time for two new sections in The Little BIG Things Synopsis Series. The next two sections in The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence are titled "Attitude" and "Performance." They're a reminder to turn on your eye sparkle. After all, it's Showtime! All the time!

You can download free pdfs of those sections from The Little BIG Things Synopsis Series* by clicking below:

#11 Attitude
#12 Performance

*The Synopsis Series is an adaptation that gives you a taste of the BIG idea in each of the 163 Little BIG Things. More information on the book can be found on this page. The Synopsis Series as released thus far can be found here.

MasterCard/Vienna

Tom is in Vienna, addressing the global MasterCard Sales Leadership Meeting.

You can download the PowerPoint slides here:

Excellence. Always. Innovate. Or Die.
MasterCard, Vienna, Final Version

Excellence. Always. Innovate. Or Die.
MasterCard, Vienna, Long Version