Monthly Archives: December 2013

Savvy Saturday December 28th, 2013

Work hard in silence and let your success be the noise.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Savvy Saturday December 21, 2013


What is the first thing that comes into your head when you say the words, “this makes me happy”?

Make those ideas work – the ones that have heart and meaning – and make something beautiful for your community, your business and the world…

Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad and all the best for 2014!


Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Idea Wins

raised hand
Photo courtesy

Today’s post is about an article of mine published in Forbes in Spanish a couple months’ ago. You can find the article here. I have pasted it below for reference.

For those English speakers following my blog, here is a summary of what the article is about and how I came to write it.

I was watching a presentation by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal and Spacex. He was talking to a group at Stanford University on entrepreneurship and the business of making ideas work. During his one hour presentation he talked about how his management style is founded on “the best idea wins”. I love that expression because it shows how the idea – rather than the trappings, title or position of a person – is what is important in building relevant and innovative businesses.

The resulting article (below) talks about how we need to focus on the value of the idea; how assets are finite but the value of assets is infinite. I also quote Bernadette Jiwa, author of The Fortune Cookie Principle and blogger of, when she says “what we are interested in the fortune – not the fortune cookie itself.” As human beings, we are seeking the intangible that is suggested by a brand and not necessarily the tangible elements that get “pushed” by traditional advertising.

That’s why ideas are so important. Although they are intangible and potentially question the status quo, they can be the difference between a successful and a mediocre or failed venture.


“La mejor idea gana”
Por Esther Clark
Forbes Mexico

Hace algunos años Elon Musk, el fundador de PayPal, de SpaceX y de Tesla Motors, habló de su trayectoria empresarial por casi una hora en la Universidad de Stanford, como parte de una serie de conferencias sobre ideas emprendedoras. Dijo que cuando fundó la empresa que se transformó en PayPal tenía –y sigue teniendo– la filosofía de que “la mejor idea gana”. Es decir, la calidad y la novedad de la idea, en vez de los títulos del proponente o la jerarquía de las personas presentes, forman la base para decidir si esta idea vale la pena.

En negocios –sean nuevos emprendimientos o sean empresas tradicionales– es importante destacar el valor de la idea. Cuando decimos “la mejor idea gana”, estamos favoreciendo la idea por encima de los “adornos” de la idea. Claro que hay que estar bien preparados para exponer la idea y proponer cómo se la puede poner en práctica, pero también hay que recordar que las ideas tienen una conexión emocional más allá de ser simplemente una solución o una propuesta de valor.

Bernadette Jiwa, autora de The Fortune Cookie Principle y blogger de, explica que el valor de los activos es finito, pero el valor de lo que representan los activos para uno es exponencial. Aunque el valor puede estar sugerido por una empresa o marca a través de la publicidad o una buena campaña de marketing, el valor real (que es lo que debe interesar a los empresarios), lo crea cada consumidor. Como dice Jiwa, lo que nos interesa es la fortuna y no la galleta china.

Las ideas nos llevan a tener mejores productos o servicios en nuestras organizaciones; sin embargo, las ideas –tal vez porque son intangibles y vienen de fuentes inesperadas– no son cómodas y suelen encontrarse, al menos al principio, con una reacción negativa porque implica un cambio del status quo.

Hay un sinnúmero de artículos, libros y presentaciones de cómo hacer un pitch o cómo presentar –de mejor manera– una idea con la intención de “venderla”. Vender el producto o servicio es fundamental, pero explorar el “por qué” de la compra –desde el punto de vista del cliente– también tiene su valor y puede representar aún más valor para la empresa que la venta en sí misma. Es decir, la razón por la que el cliente compra y la conexión emocional que tenga con la marca o la historia de la marca, dan pistas del comportamiento del cliente para futuras ventas y para desarrollar una comunidad alrededor de su marca.

Elon Musk es conocido como uno de los emprendedores destacados de nuestra época –uno que aboga por “la mejor idea”. Hay valor en los activos intangibles porque representan, como la fortuna de la galleta china, un vistazo de cómo pueden ser nuestras vidas; las soluciones a problemas se concretan y las barreras se superan porque alguien crea en lo intangible, la idea y el cambio del status quo.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Understanding the Latin American digital consumer

The Latin American Digital C

There has been a lot of buzz lately about social media and Latin America. Studies this year show that more hours of social media are “consumed” in Latin America than any other region. Mobile penetration rates are expected reach 130% in 2015.

There is certainly a lot of opportunity in the region but understanding the cultural nuances within the region and the diverse countries is just as important as country specific operational and financial considerations.

I am happy to have found this excellent summary of the Latin American digital consumer. It’s an infographic with useful high level information that can be used to understand nuances and opportunities for brands operating (or wanting to operate) in the region in the digital space.

This content belongs to IMS and their infographic is used here as a reference. See the RESOURCES area of their website for more info.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Savvy Saturday December 7th, 2013

The humanities of business in this age have become more important than the techniques of business. Each business and industry has to sweep the public misunderstandings and the false notions off its own front walk. Thus will a pathway be cleared for popular appreciation of the important rule of business in our freedom and in our way of life.

–Harry A. Bullis

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Are we asking the right question?

Anyone following my blog or tweets will know that I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. Today I saw an excellent interview by Adam Grant of Wharton where he spoke to Gladwell for about 20 minutes about his new book David and Goliath. Highly recommend watching it since he touches on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and the need to review our assumptions and build on (or “adjust”) our past ideas.

Asking the right questions – if “right” is the correct word – is an extremely important and often overlooked tool to problem solving. We are often more interested in rushing towards answering or “finding” the right answer than taking a pause to consider if our question is the right one and if it will really lead us to the solution we are seeking.

Einstein once said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

In a TED talk by Malcolm Gladwell from way back in 2004, he talks about asking the right questions and innovating spaghetti sauce. That’s right, spaghetti sauce. Gladwell is sometimes known as the “spaghetti sauce guy” – now you know why. The talk has some important takeaways such as:

1) The right question can be disruptive – to an industry, to a company, to the status quo. It certainly was for spaghetti sauce!

2) The process to finding the right questions to ask shows us that we live in a complex world where right “answers” might not necessarily exist. The whole idea of “right answers” is somewhat subjective. Right answers only exist in a linear world or a homogeneous group of people.

3) Finally, formulating better questions is about continuous learning – seeking out better questions, re-assessing direction, being non-complacent and building relevant organizations.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Visual Business Inspiration

La Casa del Arbol Baños Ecuador

This tree house has a swing that’s 2660 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Located in Baños de Agua Santa, Province of Tungurahua, Ecuador.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,