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Apple’s revenue in and outs

Asymco’s Horace Dediu broke down iTunes’ economy and placed it in context with the entire Apple revenue model.<p>The excellent diagram above illustrates Apple’s revenues in Q4 2012. The initial stats—$4.6 billion consolidated revenues, $650 million in operating income, etc.—isn’t exactly new …

Adidas Energy Boost Running Shoes Review: For Once, New Shoes That Live Up to the Hype

Adidas isn't the first company you think of when you think running. But its new Energy Boost shoes are getting a lot of hype. "Breakthrough for …

Shoes

Meet the Lucky People Who Suddenly Owe Google $1500

We already know the first, lucky six who have the honor of paying Google $1,500 in exchange for Glass and the adventures and general ridicule that …

Batteries

The Most Effective Strategies for Success

For years, I’ve been trying to convince people that success is not about who you <i>are</i>, but about what you <i>do</i>.<p>Roughly two years ago, I wrote about the “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently,” which became HBR’s most-read piece of content over that time span. It was a list of strategies, based on …

What Moleskine’s Market Position Really Looks Like

The editors managing the Visualizing Data Insight Center have asked us to submit visualizations that we find compelling or effective. Mine won’t win any design awards, but I was so struck by it that I passed it along.<p>A <i>Quartz</i> article on the IPO of hipster journal company Moleskine included this …

Corporate Strategy Is a Fool’s Errand

Most corporations consist of multiple divisions, which set their own strategy (what we generally refer to as “business strategy”). But more often than not, these dvisions have very little to do with one another. Take Philips Electronics with its lighting, medical equipment, and consumer electronics …

It’s Time to Retire ‘Crap Circles’

<i>Every time I encounter a crap circle my heart sinks. I first wrote about these contemptible “information” graphics in HBR in 2005, and since then they’ve only seemed to multiply. You know what these are — you may have even used them — though you may not have had a name for them. I aim to change</i> …

Find Your Next Growth Market

Your Business Needs Insight, Not Just Pretty Pictures

In 2007, if you were a Starbucks shareholder and you opened your annual financial report, the first meaningful information you encountered was this:<p>And if you read the “narrative” annual report from that year, the first thing you saw was this:<p>Last year, if you were a Starbucks shareholder, you only …

The Best Companies Combine Marketing and Strategy

My dear friend AG Lafley and I have written a book called <i>Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works</i> and we are gratified by all of the positive reviews — The Economist, the Financial Times, Fortune, etc. Even on Amazon.com, the reviews have been 100% 4’s and 5’s.<p>But sometimes those 4’s inspire a …

Ten Reasons Salespeople Lose Deals

Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to interview several hundred business-to-business salespeople about how they win over prospective clients and the circumstances when they lose. These interviews were conducted with salespeople across a wide variety of industries including high technology, …

Would Customers Pay for Your Sales Calls?

When I speak to audiences of sales professionals and ask, “How many of you sell value versus price?” everyone raises their hand. But my next question “So how do you do that?” is frequently followed by an uncomfortable silence. Many consider themselves to be value sellers but few are able to …

How Not to Lose a Sale

Robyn*, a close friend of mine and senior leader at a large pharmaceutical company, referred me to work with Dan, the CEO of one of her company’s subsidiaries and someone she knew well. She would arrange for the three of us to meet. The lead wasn’t just warm; it was hot.<p>During the sales process I …

Does Your Company Have the Right Number of Salespeople?

For sales managers, this is not an easy question to answer. The number of salespeople affects profitably by impacting both revenues and costs. It’s easy to estimate costs by looking at historical compensation, benefits, field support, and travel costs per salesperson. But it’s much more difficult …

Strategy Is All About Practice

I have never seen anybody become good at strategy without practice. It may happen, but I have never seen it. I doubt that I will see it, because strategy is a discipline. Like any discipline, you have to believe in it and work at it to become skilled; both mindset and effort are required to make …

Why We’re All in Sales

An interview with <b>Daniel Pink</b>, author of <i>To Sell Is Human</i> and the article A Radical Prescription for Sales.<p>JUSTIN FOX: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Justin Fox, and I’m talking today with Daniel Pink, writer, thinker, speaker, and, it turns out, salesman. He wrote a …

Nine Practices to Help You Say No

Irene* is a great colleague. A senior manager in a large consulting firm, she pitches in when the workload gets heavy, covers for people when they’re sick, and stays late when needed, which is often.<p>She’s also a leader, serving on boards and raising money at charity auctions. She tries to be home …

Your Job Ads Are Driving Away Talent

I read job ads in my spare time. People send me especially ridiculous ones just to make me laugh. The other day I read one that began promisingly enough with, “If you’re ready to work hard on a top-drawer team of hard-chargers, keep reading” and then went on to list twenty-two tedious, “Essential …

Before You Innovate, Ask the Right Questions

Albert Einstein is often quoted (perhaps apocryphally) as saying, “If I had 20 days to solve a problem, I would spend 19 days to define it.” Innovation is a particularly sticky problem because it so often remains undefined. We treat it as a monolith, as if every innovation is the same, which is why …

Building Customer Communities Is the Key to Creating Value

What are your customers telling their friends and colleagues about your business? As I described in my last post, your prospective customers and buyers increasingly learn about you from their peers — including your current customers — while tending more and more to ignore traditional sales and …

How Poor Leaders Become Good Leaders

In our previous blog, Bad Leaders Can Change Their Spots, we described a group of 71 leaders who were able to elevate their leadership effectiveness from the 23rd percentile to the 56th percentile — that is, from being poor leaders to good ones. While many readers were impressed that it could …

Stop Listening to Your Customers

<i>What will persuade you?</i><p>Every business is interested in what influences and persuades their customers and consumers, and one of the more common strategies to eliciting this information is to simply ask them. There are various ways that this can be done: You can ask customers directly during a face …

The Two Choices to Make in Strategy

Change Your Market, Not Your Product

Five of Steve Jobs’s Biggest Mistakes

It’s a great disservice to everyone, especially young people, that the stories that we often hear about the most accomplished entrepreneurs sound so effortless. The truth is just the opposite, even for visionary creative success stories like those of Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Howard Schultz, …

Management Is (Still) Not Leadership

A few weeks ago, the BBC asked me to come in for a radio interview. They told me they wanted to talk about effective leadership — China had just elevated Xi Jinping to the role of Communist Party leader; General David Petraeus had stepped down from his post at the CIA a few days earlier; the BBC …

Jump-Start Your Company Goals

The turning of the calendar is a time for reflection and resolution; when we think about what we learned in the past year and want to do differently in the next. It’s a healthy process for each of us as individuals, and also as managers and stewards of organizations. The only problem is, it doesn’t …