How Many Issues Do You Have?

More Issues Than Vogue
I saw someone with this funny iPhone case in Starbucks.



It says, “More Issues Than Vogue.”



So I was curious how many issues of Vogue have there been…



And I learned that they have published this fashion, beauty, and culture magazine since 1892–more than 120 years!



And in the Vogue archive, they claim to have “more than 400,000 pages in full color.”



I suppose even some of the biggest nuts out there rarely have more “issues” (and pages)…although maybe many would certainly come close. 



But Vogue wins! 😉

I Watch the Years Go By

Sunshine Man
So two quick stories on getting a little older…



First story:



After my workout today, a guy follows me into the elevator.  



He opens conversation and asks me, “Did you have a good workout?”



I said, “Sure did! What did you do today [for exercise]?”



He motions his arms up and down like pushing some machines and doing some curls, “A little of this and that [long pause]…You know I’m 80!”



I said, “Wow that’s awesome that you still work out–can I ask, how do you do it?”



He replies, “The key is to always keep going, and not to give up.”



I say, “Yes, but also I think it has a lot to do with the One Above.”



He nods in agreement, although still looking determined to keep himself pumping away in the gym. 



As the elevator doors open I say, “Well, I sure hope you can keep going like this for another 80 years.”



He gives me a warm smile, and says, “I hope so too.”



Second story:



One of my colleagues at work is retiring after an amazing 51 years of service to the government. 



Now this guy having been around awhile has a really nice engraving of the agencies seal hung on the wall in his office, and months ago, I had commented to him how beautiful and special it was and that “they don’t make them like they used to.”



He said, “Well you know what? When I retire, I’m going to pass it on to for safekeeping.” I thought that is nice, but also probably just talk as they say. 



Well recently, he has announced his “big day” and so he stops by my office, and in his hands he is holding the beautiful seal engraving–he puts out his arms, handing it to me. 



I was like, “OMG, I didn’t really expect this. This is great.  Are you sure you want me to have it.”



You says, “Absolutely!” referring back to his promise a number of months ago.  Then he pauses, obviously thinking for a moment, and says to me, “But you have to put in 51 years of government service also! [big smile]”



I said, “That’s a noble idea, but honestly, I think I started a little late for that. How about we go for 30 or so with G-d’s help?”



Anyway, thinking about these two events, I am not quite sure how these amazing people do it…years of doing, giving, and with a great attitude–and always a desire for another round to go. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Strategy, Blue and Red and Successful All Over

Blue_ocean
Recently, I was reading about something called “Blue Ocean Strategy.”
The notion is that in pursuing differentiation, an organization’s aim is “not to out-perform the competition in the exiting industry [and to fight it out turning the oceans blood red), but [rather] to create a new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant.”
While I like the ocean’s metaphor and agree with the need for organizations to innovate and create new products and services (“blue oceans”), I think that competition (“red oceans”) is not something that is inescapable, in any way.
In profitable industries or market spaces, competition will enter until supply and demand equilibrium are met, so that consumers are getting more or less, the optimal supply at the requisite demand. The result is that organizations will and must constantly fight for survival in a dynamic marketplace.
Moreover, as we know, any organization that rests on its past successes, is doomed to the trash heaps of history as John Champers, the CEO of Cisco stated: It’s “easy to say we’re the best…we don’t need to change, but that’s exactly how you disappear.”
In essence, while we may wish to avoid a duke-it-out, red ocean strategy, every successful innovative, differentiation-driven, blue ocean strategy will result in a subsequent red ocean strategy as competitors smell blood and hone in for the kill and their piece of flesh and cut of market share, revenue, and profit hide.
To me, it is naïve to think that blue ocean and red ocean strategies are distinct, because every blue ocean eventually turns blood red with competition, unless you are dealing with a monopoly or unfair competitive environment that favors one organization over any others.
The key to success and organizational longevity is for innovations to never cease.  When innovation dries up, it is the moment when the organization begins their drowning decent into the ocean’s abyss.
So as with the lifecycle of all organizations, blue ocean strategies will eventually result in red oceans strategies.  Once this occurs, either the organization will leverage their next blue ocean strategy or bleed red until their body drains itself out and dies off—leaving the superior organization’s blue ocean strategy to carry the day.
Together, blue oceans and red oceans—drive the next great innovation and healthy competition in our dynamic, flourishing market.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to freezingmariner)