President Barack Obama is an excellent president. But if you can’t change the system from the inside (Washington), you have to change it from the outside. Instead of keeping a monologue Obama should invite the people to BE the change so that the American people can become the president themselves. This way people will start to believe in politics again.
Sharks don’t only swim around their objectives, they are great in changing how things are done, as in Sharkonomics.
President Obama’s re-election proves that being a successful “shark” in any industry doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take a bite out of weak prey. In the President’s case, his team simply did a better top-to-bottom job throughout the campaign of understanding how the water candidates must swim in has changed.
For Sharkonomics these changes include:
1. Continued shifts in demographics. The President recognized the growth of Latinos as a larger percentage of the electorate and developed a campaign strategy to at the very least, maintain his margins compared to 2008. He didn’t need to set unrealistic goals. Just as sharks can live on a “steady” diet regardless of increases in seals, President Obama knew that he was swimming with increasingly favorable demographics.
2. Boots in “the cloud.” While Republicans wasted time and resources on a “ground game” that looked similar to the one they have used for years, President Obama’s team found new ways to keep turnout of younger voters at record levels by communicating with technology they use every day. Sharks are visionaries, while prey are not.
3. Disciplined defense from instant news cycles. Sharks often swim in schools, and while President Obama made a few mistakes along the way, his entire operation was highly disciplined in words and tactics. Compare this to the Republicans, who allowed rogue US Senate candidates to dominate national news cycles with shockingly inappropriate comments. The country probably would not have seen a stupid remark by a bad candidate in 1980. In 2012, those kinds of comments are on Twitter within minutes.
Finally, it’s ironic that Mitt Romney, who is the ultimate turnaround specialist, could not do the same for the national Republican Party. While he was a shark at times, the dysfunctional structure of his party prevented Romney from swimming in the right waters to get elected.
In the world of Sharkonomics, the latest corporate shakeup at Apple is just another step toward the company becoming leaderless. That makes Apple very tasty prey for competitors.
Sharks know that change to please others, which is what Apple did with its previously ‘unhappy” design team, is bad corporate defense. It muddies the waters, leaves companies vulnerable to attack, and slows reaction time when one happens.
Sharks are natural leaders and don’t attack others who are the same. That’s was the genius of Steve Jobs, who knew the 4 Sharkonomics principles of leadership:
1. Not afraid to make people uncomfortable and “unhappy.” This sounds a lot like Steve Jobs, who ran a very tight ship and wasn’t afraid to rub people the wrong way. You could also compare this kind of leadership to NFL coaches Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. Maybe that’s why they have won 7 of the last 11 Super Bowls. Apple’s recent shakeup looks more like an attempt to please people who didn’t like Jobs’ centralized power over every detail of the company. But like in the NFL, players’ coaches have a history of presiding over deteriorating programs.
2. Not duplicated. Right now, Steve Jobs wannabes are floating to the surface and want to be the new rockstar on stage. But you can’t replace a visionary by trying to copy him. The company needs a bold thinker to put his or her own stamp on the future. The next wannabe rockstar might look good at first, but under the surface they are in untested waters where deadly sharks are waiting for them.
3. Never overreact. Apple became powerful by blazing new trails. The company’s recent product releases represent reaction to competitors like Samsung and what executives think are consumer trends. Conversely, the “old” Apple released new products based what they could do to improve people’s lives and let the consumer experience speak for itself.
4. Don’t over-explain things that don’t deserve it. While leaders focus on communicating tangible benefits of every decision, Apple’s explanation of its corporate design shakeup was process-centric and somewhat apologetic. We all have that one friend who over-explains an apology or rationale for doing something new, and it often lead to a whole lot of nothing. Sharks look for prey that is pre-occupied with details while leaving the weak spot undefended.
Stefan Engeseth brings Sharkonomics to life with quick witted-analyses, personal presence, and an uncanny talent for interacting with the audience.
President of Swedish American Chamber of Commerce Chicago
Thanks also to Kerstin Nicholson and Ken Carlson and SACC Chicago.
In the business world of sharks and prey, Facebook has been self-inflicting wounds with multiple mistakes. But it can become a dominant shark with one product – The Facebook Tablet. Think about it. You walk into your local café and watch people in front of you, tablet in-hand with the big blue Facebook logo, getting coffee for free. How is this possible?
Facebook can create the first hybrid business model for tablets that combine manufacturing everyone has access to in Asia with the marketing power of social interaction and product endorsement:
• Businesses get free word-of-mouth marketing in seconds
• My Facebook friends get discounts for liking products and businesses I endorse
• Design the device as Facebook’s logo – make it work offline.
• Finance the device with advertisers who likes to connect with 1 billion Facebook users.
• Give away free tablets to heavy users – those how have more than 2000 friends and are online more than 10 hours a week (in relation with quality rankings etc). But if they are not social enough they have to pay a monthly fee for the device.
• Include payment solutions in the device; make 1 billion users use it as their mobile (free calls to Facebook friends), credit cards and member cards.
• Facebook can with this tablet launch books, movies, cars etc., in other words turning the world into a blue and white shopping mall for those who LIKE to shop!
And I would compare the offline eye-ball test for Facebook Tablets to Jaws coming for the Orca.
I have long said that today’s tablet makers are selling cars with no engine and progress is slow with lots of hype. In the world of Sharkonomics, the most attractive prey are companies that make over-hyped products that don’t swim as fast as others in the environment. Such as Microsoft who recently introduced their new Surface tablet, it looks good but only on the ‘surface’.
Apple’s Tuesday presser sure looked cool, but what is the difference between what they are selling now and what they were selling before? Not much. Facebook has made lots of logistical mistakes, but the company remains committed to product evolution, which makes then a dangerous shark in any product war.