Posts by Rick Watson
eBay in 2019: The Cash-Generating eCommerce Turtle

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.

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Rick Watson
Know Why It Failed

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.

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Rick Watson
Software Ate the World, But It Was a Dog’s Breakfast

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.

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More and More Employees are Responding to Mission Instead of Growth-Based Goals

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.

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Rick Watson
When Someone Moves Your Cheese, Now What?

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.

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businessRick Watson
3 Key Takeaways from Target’s Just-Released Annual Report

“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.

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ecommerceRick Watson
Arrogance and Amazon: Two Powerful “A” Words

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.

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Rick Watson
In 2019, Marketplace Is Not a Good Enough Strategy - What Is Your Consumer Insight?

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.

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ecommerceRick Watson
I Spent All Morning Reading About eBay’s Activist Investor So You Don’t Have To

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.

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ecommerceRick Watson