eBay in 2019: The Cash-Generating eCommerce Turtle
Know Why It Failed
Perhaps long-term growth investors have given up. eBay going backwards and the stock pops. Investors are focused on dividends and cash. These same investors care about the next year and not the next 10 years.
In a situation like this, Amazon doesn’t have to try very hard to win. eBay self-destructed years ago.
One analyst report I just read had a headline: eBay, moving in the right direction. Sounds like damning them with faint praise. Know what else moves in the right direction, very slowly, almost imperceptibly - a turtle.
Is Bed Bath & Beyond In Trouble with Activist Investors?
Being a leader is tough. Not only do you have to pick a good idea, but you have to get the execution right. It struck me the other day that many times when people move onto a new idea, org structure, whatever, they don’t have a clear picture of why the old one was not appropriate other than:
It was done by my predecessor.
Is Microsoft a Viable Shopify Competitor?
Bed, Bath & Beyond is being targted by activist investors. Due to the underperformance of the company in recent years, I think this one is headed for a settlement with these investors.
Software Ate the World, But It Was a Dog’s Breakfast
What does the world need from a new entrant in the market?
Has a unique value proposition.
Has a different view of the world than the incumbent competition.
Has a differentiated pricing model.
With a built-up ecosystem.
Is McDonald's Becoming a Technology Company?
Many software systems have gotten larger than any human or even human system can manage, no matter how well intentioned. There are just too many dependencies and too many things that can go wrong. Any organization which relies on the interaction between software, processes, and relationships would do well to study the theory behind High Reliability Organizations.
ECommerce replatforming for most retailers fall into this category. Many retailers have dozens of even a few hundred vendors and don't realize it. What' are the odds that all will transition to the new platform without hiccups? Pretty small.
Bed Bath & Beyond, Moving Too Slow, Warring with Activist Investors
McDonald’s recently made a move to acquire a personalization company called Dynamic Yield. I feel this may be the early signs that McDonald’s is shifting towards being a technology business and offering services to franchises around the world.
More and More Employees are Responding to Mission Instead of Growth-Based Goals
Bed Bath & Beyond is struggling. Sensing an opportunity to improve their shares, an activist investor group has chimed in. I think the company’s response is weak, and getting weaker by the minute. Time is on the side of the activists.
I expect big changes at the company.
The 1 Thing You Should Be Doing If Someone Moves Your Cheese
Instead of relying on growth as your headline, try leading with mission and purpose
More and more, employees want to emotionally engage with, and be passionate about, the work they are doing. Projects to improve the company’s margin by 2% in 2 years might be super-exciting to the CFO, but will fall flat with your star performers and make them wonder if another company would better fit them.
3 Surprising Things to Look Out For in Your Next Digital Replatform Effort
Most people when things aren't going the way they expected in business, they immediately start acting. When really what they should be doing is diagnosing the problem.
When Someone Moves Your Cheese, Now What?
Arrogance is at the core of most project plans.
The arrogance that your team won’t make mistakes.
The arrogance your team won’t learn new things about the existing system that need to be changed before you migrate to the new system.
Does Target's Online Marketplace Solve a Real Problem for Them?
What are the hard data points and critical customer anecdotes (not everything is science) that convince us there is really a problem? Can I precisely describe the problem in a one-page document?
You need to pause. Reflect. Let’s ensure we agree on the problem. Most businesses fall down even here.
3 Key Takeaways from Target’s Just-Released Annual Report
Target has launched a new online marketplace. In this video, I explain what problem Target seems to be trying to solve with the introduction of the new marketplace.
Arrogance and Amazon: Two Powerful “A” Words
“Same-store-sales” for Target’s digital properties grew 36% YoY. For Target this means that in 2016 digital was only 4.4% of sales. After a huge 2018, digital now represents a whopping 7.1% of total sales.
Now, everything is not rosy for Target. Over the years, they’ve made many missteps. Anything from launching their entire store on Amazon - giving critical data to their competition, taking too long to move off, website crashes when they finally do move off, to the whole Canada debable, and more.
Should You Start With Who Instead of Why?
And here we have it. Jeff intuitively knows you do have to listen, but if he has to choose, you can tell, it's just not quite as important as bring stubborn.
Like if this were an agile manifesto-type list of principles, you would see something like:
If given a choice between doubting yourself based on new information or staying true to your original idea, we value the latter over the former.
In 2019, Marketplace Is Not a Good Enough Strategy - What Is Your Consumer Insight?
Getting off on the right foot takes a little forethought. A common mistake happens right at the beginning, and it can be a huge source of issues throughout the lifetime of the project, and that is:
Who’s the Owner?
The One Thing Missing From Your Project Plans
So many people out there either going on a marketplace, or building their own marketplace. Recently, everyone read Target's announcement about building their own marketplace. I think it may be a great idea. But by itself, it is not enough for success. What key consumer insight is your marketplace based on? In 2019, marketplace is not a strategy. It is simply a tactic. Live from Central Park in the City That Never Sleeps.
#SHOPTALK 2019: 5 Hot Takes
Over the years I’ve seen many plans. What I haven’t necessarily very often is a framework for how to adjust for what happens next. Fancy people might call that project or plan governance. A better way to describe it is: how do you know when to adjust your plan?
If Software Ate the World, Why Do I Feel Chewed Up and Spit Out?
Great show, well done. Well organized.
Great networking. Lots of high quality people here. It's really can't miss from this point of view.
I Spent All Morning Reading About eBay’s Activist Investor So You Don’t Have To
Most people who wouldn’t know a sorted linked list if it hit them in the head, really get a kick out of talking about their “algos”. As buggy and bloated as most software is, that is not even the biggest problem that most people have.
But when you read in the news about activist investors pressuring eBay, most people don’t have the time to figure out what it’s all about. I’m here to lay out it for you in a way that helps you understand what’s going on. I see this investor getting a Board seat soon, or barring that, a sharp change in eBay approach in order to unlock the value that they weren’t interested in unlocking until these investors came along.