Are you a manager? Pay inequality is your fault.

A new study shows that men and women will one day receive equal pay for equal work! Unfortunately, it’s estimated that day will arrive in 2059 – 42 years from now, which might as well be never. Today is Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how long women have to work to make what their male counterparts do in the previous 12 months. To put this another way, for every dollar a man makes in North America, a women makes about eighty-five cents. This is not a new topic (in fact, we’ve been talking about it for an astonishing 75 years), and there are lots of government initiatives that seek to close the pay gap all over the world. But I refuse to wait another 42 years for this issue to be addressed. Clearly, whatever we have been doing, we are doing wrong. Pay inequality is not something that […]

Read more

Social Media: Threat to Democracy?

Courtesy Sue on Flickr Part way through the American election campaign, I realized I was living an illusion. I hadn’t seen a single piece of pro-Trump content on social media, despite his surging popularity. Since I wasn’t seeing this content in my feeds, I was pretty certain pro-Trump people weren’t seeing any of the Clinton content my network was sharing, either. This is no mere quirk of software. Now that there’s a President-Elect Trump, this lack of a wider, shared perspective online has fueled a raging debate. It may have influenced the American election; some are going so far as to say it threatens democracy itself.  We build our own digital walled gardens, and we like them. “Filter bubbles” (the idea that we have like people in our networks, share like opinions, and become unwittingly cut off from differing ideas) aren’t new. People have been talking about the “social media […]

Read more

The Secret Power of Assuming the Best Intentions

A long time ago, a colleague of mine at the startup I founded said one sentence that changed my work life. When you’re considering peoples’ intentions and, “You have to choose between malice and ignorance – always choose ignorance. Most people don’t have time to be malicious.” What he meant was that people are generally too busy to mess with your plans. If things are not going the way you’d hoped, if your project or initiative is not being supported as you might like, don’t assume that others are trying to derail you. They probably just don’t understand, mostly because they’re too busy doing their own jobs to worry about yours. In the corporate universe, this position can be seen as radical at best, näive at worst. In 2013, shortly after I joined the company from the startup world, SAP’s Board of Directors asked my team and I to undertake […]

Read more

The Rebirth of Silent Movies – Online

A few months ago, I started thinking about the fact that I consume virtually all my online video with the sound off. Whether I’m in the back of a taxi, on a plane waiting to take off, or amusing myself while waiting in line at the coffee shop, I have become incredibly adept at figuring out what a video is about using only pictures (90% of the time, on my phone). Turns out that I’m not alone. A recent DigiDay article, surveying multiple online publishers, indicates that up to 85% of video consumed on Facebook is watched without sound (and Facebook itself is now offering free captioning for paid video placements). So what does that mean for anyone who ever needs to produce content (ie: all businesses, everywhere)? It means a new/old form of storytelling – one that marries visuals with subtitles and graphics. And when it’s done well, this […]

Read more

Where are all the women in tech?

Where are all the women in tech? There are, of course, very high profile female executives who are great examples to all of us (Ginni Rometty, Marissa Meyer, Susan Wojcicki are just a few). But what about the many thousands of strong female leaders in tech whose every move is not covered by mainstream media? People like Daniela Lange, who leads product development for systems that process payroll for over 80-million individuals worldwide, and Satya Sreenivasan, leader of a team of developers working on the next generation of medical analytics software, who speaks passionately about the creativity and artistry that goes into writing code. These women are exemplars, and we need to make an effort to find and share their stories; each one has the beauty of being both extraordinary and tangible. Lunde, Barbara Kegerreis b. 1937, from the Smithsonian Institution Archives The excuses around why we don’t hear more […]

Read more

The Future of Marketing: Business As Unusual

Over the last few months, I’ve been asked to speak more and more about the emerging strategic role of marketing, particularly as it relates to technology, something I first started to explore in 2012. The explosion of customer data provided by social and digital have put extreme power in the hands of marketers, if only we’ll learn how to wield it (this recent article in Harvard Business Review outlines the enormous opportunity for marketers as other parts of the business start to slow in their ability to deliver value). We’re entering a new era of big data, automation and the ability to drive business strategy by delivering real-time access to the voice of the customer. Is your team ready to let go of decisions made based solely on “gut feel” (though you shouldn’t entirely, for our brains are the most advanced supercomputers on the planet) and get ready for the […]

Read more

How the ultimate selfie changed everything.

You need to know who you are, otherwise it’s impossible to change. Sounds like a leadership slogan, but it’s also a perfect way to sum up how the environmental movement got started in North America in the late 1960′s and early 70′s. It wasn’t a great political announcement that kicked things off. It wasn’t a damning report on a toxic disaster. It was one, simple photograph. In 2013, we’d probably call it “the ultimate selfie”: Earthrise, taken by William Anders. Nature photographer Galen Rowell called it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.” Earthrise, the “big blue marble” (it’s almost impossible to imagine this) was the first time that humans had truly seen ourselves. That we’d identified our home, Earth, as a place, a thing. That sudden self-awareness was not only a near-religious experience for many of the NASA astronauts who experienced it, but also a powerful realization for those […]

Read more

Thought Leadership Marketing: You’re Doing it Wrong

First up, just to get it out of the way, I’m going to lay out my bona fides on this topic. In 2006 I started a specialist consulting firm with no funding and no partners in a new space that most people had never heard of: social media. I had no marketing budget and I needed clients. I (along with many of my peers at the time) used what is now called thought leadership marketing to create valuable content, raise our profiles and generate leads. The company I started with nothing in 2006 went on to employ dozens of people and deliver multimillion dollar annual revenues for over seven years because of the thinking we did and the ideas we shared. Therefore, I think it’s fair to say I know something about thought leadership marketing. Today I see large companies (including my own current employer, SAP) identifying the obvious value […]

Read more

Sales pipelines and non-linear pharmokinetics

When I ran my own business, I had a solid, tried-and-true, 3x pipeline. That was absolutely, 100% the math. For every $3 in prospective sales, we would see $1 in booked revenue, and this was the case for years. Until it abruptly wasn’t. For whatever reason, the ratio started to shift, and we began closing less than 30% of deals. Clearly it was time to move to a 4x pipeline. If we were going to maintain the same amount of revenue annually, we needed to increase the number of opportunities were were pursuing. So that’s what we did. ***** Let’s park this parable for a moment and jump to an article I came across last week. It turns out that a popular pharmaceutical contraceptive doesn’t work well for women who weigh more than 165lbs (75kgs) and doesn’t work at all for women over 176 lbs (80kgs). The article explained that […]

Read more

TechEd Las Vegas – what I learned & what I saw…

In my new role at SAP, I am part of the team that puts together the amazing SAP TechEd events. This past week I had the great pleasure of kicking off TechEd Las Vegas (next week it will be TechEd Amsterdam, and early December we’ll be in India for TechEd Bangalore…) I can’t possibly do this tremendous event justice in one short blog post (hundreds of hours of educational content, 6500 live attendees, over 20,000 online, the events reach a total of over 200,000) and many others have posted their own thoughts and personal highlights. However, I would like to share a couple of small, but very interesting “Ah-HA!” moments I experienced over the course of the event – one of the things that makes attending great conferences and speaking with smart people such a joy. (think the Serendipity Economy). Have the iPhone/iPad trained us to customize UIs (user interfaces)? […]

Read more