Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Failed Patent System Stifles Innovation Instead of Rewarding for Invention

I have said this before, our patent system is a failed one. Software patents must be reconsidered because win or lose, everyone but the lawyers suffer. Companies are spending so much time and money defensively, they are losing there innovative edge. Smaller companies have to divert precious resources (focus as well as money) to legal rather then innovation. It's sad, really. While I have no sympathy for Apple, they are as much if not more a part of this mess than any and I believe it affects their ability to innovate.

Jury Finds Apple Guilty Of Infringing Three Patents for Handheld Devices, Damages To Be Determined

You can't blame GE or GM for using the loopholes within the system that allow them to pay less in taxes than the average company (if not the average american) and, despite the president doing otherwise, vilify the rich guy for not paying more taxes than he owes under current law. If you want them to pay more, you need to change the law, and eliminate the loopholes.  Here within our patent system, you can't blame the companies for working the system for what they can as it is currently designed, as long as they don't break the law. You must change the system to work for the purpose that serves all, fosters and rewards for innovation and invention - as it was intended. The current system favors big vs small, the trolls vs those developing and delivering the innovative products.  The system does not function this way now.

While for Apple above, it seems perhaps payback for their ongoing battles with Samsung, it is just another example of a lose, lose outcome for everyone, especially consumers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Raise Your Rates By Offering Less Value

Re: How to Raise Your Rates By Offering Less Value (Yes, LESS value) via @DerekHalpern

Good insights, thanks Derek. Solid advise once again. I'd like to offer a slightly different twist on this.  It is one I have employed many times in the way we have sold our products.  You need to be careful when you "bundle" component parts into your product message, especially if they can be presumed to have different values to different customers.  Two things happen when you don't carefully plan this out:

1) You potentially devalue your product in the eyes of the customer, in that the additional components are presumed necessary, because the product by itself does not otherwise provide 'enough' value.

2) You devalue the additional components, the otherwise value-add's.  While the hotel pool isn't a direct example of this, it is still an important related concept because it is one of the value-add's of that particular hotel.  It presumably has different meanings to different customers and that in fact, is part of my point.

Today, many companies have procurement groups that are moving towards (if not already applying) a model of commoditizing the products or services they purchase. When you bundle, you may find that what you believe is an apples to oranges comparison with your competitors does not matter to these buyers. In the end, to get the sale, you may end up with price compression. The value-adds you have, especially if the others don’t, should be separate in order to realize their full, potential value.  Sometimes it's better to get the base model in the door, even at a lower margin in order to sell-up the value-add's at a higher one.


Hands On With iTunes 11, Has Apple's Evolution Left Innovative Process Behind?

Great Macworld article:

     Hands on with iTunes 11 | via @macworld

especially the tips on getting back some normalcy in the new version of iTunes. I have used iTunes 11 now for 2 days and while interface changes are slick yet a little non-intuitive vs previous versions, two big concerns come up.

1) on a powerful Quad Core system, everything in the new software is slow to the point of being painful.  This seems to be a trend where Apple as it evolves over time is facing similar issues to Microsoft in that said evolution means more and more bloat in their releases; resulting in poor performance on older, yet still powerful platforms.

2) Searches are broken. This is very frustrating. For instance, if I search for "Girl On Fire" which is Alicia Keys latest album in our collection, it leaves out songs that additionally feature other artists on the album - a very common thing these days in music. If I search on Alicia Keys, he songs show but are still split up as if not part of the same album. I have noticed similar issues related to the way TV shows break down in that portion of the interface.  There are other usability issues as well, but the real point here is that once again (as with maps), Apple is not innovating the way they used to and clearly not testing their software to the anal retentive level that were once a company mandate.

Probably a good time to reference an old post of mine tied to a Rich Karlgaard post on Innovation from back in 2011, it also has a link to a great article on the way Apple used to innovate:

  Eleven Tips++ = Ten Tips: Great Restructuring Winners plus my thoughts too: