Wednesday, January 4, 2012

IBM chief gives advice that entrepreneurs should heed

Samuel Palmisano, I.B.M.'s outgoing boss, used four questions to guide his company's strategy over the past decade, according to an interview in the New York Times.

All of them are questions that digital media entrepreneurs should be asking themselves every day:

  • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  • “Why would somebody work for you?”
  • “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  • “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
The first question gets at the No. 1 issue on the Web: how do you differentiate yourself from all those millions of sites competing for the public's attention? You need to offer something unique.

The second reflects on your organization and its culture. Are you helping people develop their skills and talents? Do people feel that they gain something from being part of your organization? Do people like working with you?

The third reflects on your commitment to giving and not just taking. For media entrepreneurs in particular, public service has to be part of the offering. You need to think about how you will make the world a better place. Focusing on that actually is good for your business. 

The fourth is about creating value and capitalizing on that value. It is not enough to create a great news and information service if you are all working for nothing. Digital entrepreneurs need to pay attention to the business side.  They need to have someone who is focused on generating revenue and resources

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