Blog

Ich schreibe Blog-Artikel nur auf Englisch.
Übrigens, Sie finden weitere interessante Artikel zu verschiedenen Themen auf meinem privaten iFrank Blog auf berzau.de.

A few weeks ago I watched a Samsung keynote. And last week I watched an Apple keynote. What a difference.

As far as the Samsung event is concerned, this was the second I watched. And like the other one I wasn’t able to watch it through until end. The first event I watched was the announcement of the latest Samsung Galaxy IV. I saw dancers on a Broadway stage. A step-dancing child! And I saw a confusing mess of features being mentioned, interrupted by some weird show. A lack of proper demos. But most importantly, a lack of focus. Provided I had recorded the event, then stripped off all bullshit, to just learn what’s new about the phone, I guess I had just a few minutes worth of watching. Let’s not forget I also had to re-order sequences to make any sense out of the presentation.

The latest Samsung event I watched introduced a Galaxy Note and the Gear. A smart watch designed with an obvious lack of taste. I admit this is a very personal thing, and there are maybe people out there liking it, I wouldn’t take money wearing it. Independent of features offered. And that’s the other thing. What on earth has Samsung packed into the device? Why the heck do they think I need that on my arm wrist? Why is there a Galaxy Gear? Just why?

I was thinking for myself, what was driving Samsung? Engineering pride, certainly. It’s very obviously a result of a thinking to pack everything in that’s technically possible. And a bad desire to be first to market. To be the ones who define a new market. The product is just not ready. Lack of device support. Lack of being small enough. Lack of battery life. Lack of doing the things that matter most as easily and obvious as possible. All clear signs of a product that was rushed to market under a deadline. And the end result? I don’t think … Continue reading

Often times in my life people had looked at me as the go to person for ideas. Product ideas. Market trends. Reading the future. A big part in this is the process of creativity. It’s easy to keep improving on something. You can ask customers. And they’ll tell you what they are missing in your product. Analysts will tell you what other vendors are doing. But in order to figure out something that’s really innovative, a different kind of approach is needed. What I can say is that I truly loved it when I worked in a team, and was able to inspire creativity in a way that resulted in true innovation. Driving a rapid market change. Driving features that were truly unique.

The process behind is beautifully described by John Cleese. If you have about 10 minutes to spare, this is so worth the time. What it, and you’ll understand a lot about creativity. And you’ll understand a great deal of how I’m wired.

  … Continue reading

Here’s another great article from our partners at The Revenue Group, including an interview where I explain the key aspects of a cross border acquisition. Looking back at my career at various IT security companies it looks as if my whole life was just a series of M&A activities. I feel blessed for the many great opportunities to learn about different cultures, the benefits and obstacles in M&A, both domestic and cross-border. Together with the technical background and we can offer comprehensive consulting services in all phases of an acquisition – developing or reviewing a strategy, planing, performing a due-diligence and all aspects of a successful integration.

Full article at: http://mikerogerstrg.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/cross-border-ma-and-the-difference-between-vcs-in-the-us-and-europe/ Continue reading

Great article from our partner The Revenue Group on key aspects of a successful M&A:

There is no such thing as the perfect deal and blending together two companies is never easy. There are bound to be issues that come up before and after you make that agreement, but it all depends on a sound strategy. You can fix a bad deal structure, you can fix a bad integration, but you can’t fix a bad strategy. Based on my experience in corporate development I’ve come up with seven steps to developing and following a smart M&A strategy.

Full article at http://mikerogerstrg.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/7-steps-to-successful-ma/ Continue reading

A blog post about “Conflict”? Uh, too scary? Maybe not. I thought there is so much unclear about what conflict is, how we react to it, and how it’s possible to resolve it. There are so many bad examples, so many escalations involving yelling at each other up to violence – in our personal lives, work environments, politics, just everywhere. Also I’ve often been asked, what my consulting or management style is, and I found that it has a lot to do with conflict management. I believe I can’t interact with people without exposing conflict, except if  avoiding  honesty and sacrificing productivity. So, how do I handle it.

First, what is “conflict”? In the Wikipedia article about conflict I find this statement:

“Conflict refers to some form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of [the] group.”

Well, fairly simple. At its core, conflict is about different opinion or judgement, and it includes the reaction of “resisted by or unacceptable to”. Seems so common, we should all be very used to it, and dealing with conflict should be something so basic, we’d all be able to master it easily.

It’s not. And the reason it is not, I believe, is the “reaction” to the friction, disagreement or discord. That reaction involves emotion, and unless you’re an ego-centric person with both no hesitation to express emotion and a position or status with no fear from sanction, that’s a very uncomfortable situation. For nearly every person emotions like defiance, anger, rage are … Continue reading

Yahoo made the news this week, with a policy change mandating employees to work in the office. A lot has been said about it the past few days, however I tend to disagree with many of them. I think it’s actually far more complicated than what is implied in much of the media outcry. What I should say upfront is that I have worked from home for over a decade, and for the most part I truly enjoyed it. At the same time, I have also seen the disadvantages. Today, if I were to run a bigger company, I am sure that what I would do is neither the ‘I don’t care where people work, as long as they’re productive’ not the ‘let’s all get together in the office’. I believe in reality neither of those extreme positions would do justice, and more importantly it wouldn’t be the way to maximize productivity.

First of all, I don’t think there’s a question whether it makes sense to have everybody together in the office. If you think meeting, if you think brainstorming, if you think collaboration, getting stuff – it’s all done much better together. So easy to speak in a conference room, or better yet, the cafeteria, hallway, or the bar after office hours. A phone call, or worse phone conference, can never get close. And video chat doesn’t change much here. So it seems natural, that spending the day together in the office makes sense.

At the same time, there are cases where it’s difficult, or even counter-productive, to spend the (full) day at the office. When you’re working isolated, you don’t need help or collaboration with others, when all you want to do is get some stuff done. Uninterrupted, focused, … Continue reading

I’ve often thought that the ideal Product Manager is an intuitively thinking individual, because that type of thinking enables forward looking predictions, it allows to take a lot of additional, often hard to measure data into consideration. However, Product Managers are quite commonly faced with the fact that other stakeholders’ are of a different type. More data centric, more concrete. So what is intuition, and how can it be explained to people who have little knowledge or experience in intuitive thinking…

Wikipedia, in the article about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, describes it as follows:

“[Individuals] who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.”
Wikipedia – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Contrarily, people who prefer sensing are described in that same article as individuals who prefer to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete. For them, the meaning is in the data.

How to bridge that gap?

Well, very obviously it is a real gift if key stakeholders in the process, decision makers, executive management either are intuitive individuals, or can relate to it. This often happens when positive experience had been made in the past. Predictions of intuitive product managers have become true. Even if the suggested actions had not been approved, changes in the market, the competitive landscape, have proven … Continue reading

I have built some nice partnerships, allowing for more scalability and the ability to participate in some really nice projects. Today, I’d like to highlight one of those partners – adyton:

adyton provides sales and business development services for software companies that need to be successful in the European market. The adyton sales team has extensive international experience in the sale of products and services. They provide access to the Top 500 Decision Makers Network in Europe. They are ideally suited to help you build or expand a European sales team, or as top sales consultants to help you grow your European sales. You can learn more about adyton at http://adyton.de/ or contact me directly for an introduction. … Continue reading

Quality is what I view as a key topic. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen marketing material that’s been put together in a rush, with a focus on budget and time constraints. Yet, in my view, anything that’s customer facing (web content, collateral, presentations, etc.) is showing how much we truly value the customer. And customers are generally, whether they’re aware of this or not, very much affected by this.

For many years I’ve put a lot of attention to doing things visually appealing. Simple, clear, precise. And it’s more a question of attention, not time spent. Obviously it does take time to get things done right, however the more work is done, the easier it gets, and results are confirming how much customers appreciate the attention to quality. … Continue reading

Clarity to me is a laser sharp focus on what’s really important.

I’ve seen a lot of companies in my career who have great talent to build fantastic software. However, in many cases there is a significant disconnect between technology and outbound communication – as well as vice versa. This applies to many areas, including support, training, marketing, public relations – what I found in many cases simply because people with very different attributes, or talent, are working together, and it often appears far more difficult to bridge the gap left by different language, different ways to express things, and often simply different levels of understanding of technology vs. customer needs.

I’ve come to view this capability as a key strength – bridging the gap, being able to listen very carefully, asking the right questions to extract what’s relevant, and then translating it into meaningful, interesting and appealing material, whether it’s web content, PowerPoint slides, various forms of collateral and other forms of communication. … Continue reading