Friday, February 16

The Arrival of HomePod

This week we saw the arrival of Apple's much anticipated response to Google and Amazon...a home product called HomePod. Gotta love the name! Gotta love consistent branding! The brand has been in tease mode for weeks now, and now it's finally here.

Music seems to be at the heart of HomePod, as well as complete compatibility with Apple products. Perhaps the entire point of differentiation as the third player into the market.

I'm sure competitors are shaking in their boots to some extent, and perhaps that's why we saw such a strong showing by Alexa at this year's Super Bowl.

Sonos, as in the speaker system that can currently connect to Apple devices, took a different, more welcoming approach by creating a new playlist to celebrate HomePod's arrival. The welcome note had an interesting twist, however, in that it was housed on Spotify which isn't compatible with HomePod since it only plays Apple Music. Ouch.

The plot thickens.

As what seems to often be the case with the release of Apple products, consumers found a product "issue" right off the bat...HomePod can leave white rings on wood surfaces.

Easily removed, as the brand says, after a couple of days or completely avoided with a coaster (as pointed out by Gail King on CBS This Morning). There's even a hashtag already. Oh the drama.

Will it work being the third player in? Can Apple pull this off? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, February 13

The Dad 2.0 Summit 2018 - We Are The Norm!

I recently attended the Dad 2.0 Summit as both a speaker and a participant. If you’re not familiar with Dad 2.0, it’s a collection of Daddy Bloggers who cover, discuss, and highlight modern-day fatherhood. I’m right there with them, in spirit and sometimes in blogging too.

The Dad 2.0 Summit was an experience that’s hard to describe, for the second year in a row for me personally. I tried to capture my thoughts at here to give it a read.

I’d love to hear your thoughts either as a dad, the spouses of a dad, or the kid of a dad...a modern-day dad.

What’s your experience? JIM

Being a Perfectionist - When Done is Better Than Perfect

Ok, I’ll admit it...I’m a perfectionist. I dot every “i” and cross every “t” and I sweat every detail. I honestly think that being a perfectionist was the key to my early success. My colleagues and my bosses knew that they could count on me to get it done right, no matter what it took. I wouldn’t let anything fall through the cracks. I’m still that way to some extent. What I lacked in intelligence and experience, I made up for in hard work.

To some extent.

As the years have gone by and as I’ve worked through my career, it’s admittedly gotten harder and harder to be a perfectionist. My workload and responsibilities have expanded well past the point of being able to do it all. Being a perfectionist at this point would end up not getting it all done. And we know that’s not an option.

So what’s a perfectionist to do in this new world of endless work?

I follow the 80/20 rule...

Prioritize. Let’s face it, we all have a lot of busy work. And we can all get pretty busy with our work. So I’ve learned to prioritize the 80% of my work that is the most important and I de-prioritize (read: ignore) the 20% that isn’t really going to matter. Or at least won’t matter that day. I allow myself to let go of about 20%, and I save it for later. If later ever comes. And if it doesn’t, then at least I’ve nailed 80%, which I make sure is the most important priorities.
Get the little stuff out of the way. Along with our busy work comes a lot of little stuff. Administrative stuff. Paperwork stuff. And while it may all be “little,” it can also be pretty important. The problem is that all that little stuff clogs our mind space and occupies our thoughts...blocking our energy for the bigger issues that we also have to face that same moment. So my MO is to get the small stuff out of the way right in the beginning of the day. I cross as much of the easy stuff off of my to-do list as early as possible, leaving lots of brain space to tackle the more taxing tasks once I’ve gotten a few things out of the way. I find that this energizes me because it makes me feel incredibly productive. Productive people get the most done. With all of those new found accomplishments, I can then dig into what that really counts. And it feels good.

Know when done is better than perfect. I’ve also come to realize that there arediminishing returns when it comes to perfection. It’s far more important to get something done than it is to try to make it perfect and potentially never finish it. 80% just might be enough so that it gets done. I find that the extra 20% is often not that meaningful. So settle for 80% and move onto your next priority. Now don’t get me wrong...sloppiness and incomplete isn’t going to solve anything either. But we all know that sometime all that extra effort doesn’t pay off if it means delays and the inability to get the rest done too.

Spend a little time planning. Here’s where I’m going to flip the ratio. You should spend about 20% of your time planning your time and organizing your activities. I keep extensive lists and I am crazy organized. I know where all of my files are located and I know exactly what I need to get done every single day and every single week. And I really do get it done, because I’ve planned it out and I’ve organized my resources. You’ll be amazed how much time and energy that a little planning can save you. And good planning also allows me to multi-task because I know exactly what I’m doing and where everything is located. It’s pretty fabulous, actually. That 20% allows me to efficiently get the 80% that I’ve prioritized done.

Feeling overwhelmed? Can’t see through your lists? Got too much to do to be perfect? #Same. Just follow the 80/20 rule and you’ll get it all done...or at least what’s most important.

Makes sense? What’s your experience? JIM

Brands Stray from Their Origins - Chobani, Ben & Jerry's, Nestle

We’ve seen a lot of brands stray from their core offerings lately, presumably in an effort to grow. But does it make sense? Does it destroy their heritage and soften their expertise. The answer lies in the opinions of the consumer, and definitively varies from case to case.

Like Chobani for example. Known for Greek yogurt. Kind of "invented' the Greek yogurt category, bringing innovation for the first time in awhile. Well it just launched a non-Greek version, a more classic version, called Smooth. Trying to expand its presence in a dominant grocery category. Why not? Critics say it’s an innovation step backwards, and not becoming of the step forward that the brand offered originally. What’s your experience?

Then we have Ben & Jerry's (and Haagen-Daz for that matter)...known for ultra-indulgent ice cream, right? Just launched their own non-dairy versions, perhaps to compete against Halo Top who appears to be stealing away a lot of attention. Why not? The brand has already come up with variations to the original, so a non-dairy version fits in just fine says many a fan.

And then we have Nestle, the fourth largest candy maker in the world, who announced it will no longer be in the chocolate business. And has been doubling-down on coffee and vitamins (recently bought the company who owns the Garden of Life brand), as it prioritizes its portfolio to focus on growth sectors. Why not? Having a clear vision of what you want the company to stand for isn’t such a bad thing. But how could Nestle not sell chocolate? That’s potentially a hard pill to swallow.

There was a time when it was hard for a brand to jump out of its core product offering because it was so strongly positioned that way...but as attitudes and behaviors shift, it becomes more and more important to continually shift a brand's presence in the market to align with opportunities. Flexibility has become key to growth. It just depends on why and how, right? Why not?

What do you think? Non-Greek Chobani? Non-dairy Ben & Jerry's? No Nestle chocolate? What's your experience? JIM