Tag Archives: Company

Why Can’t a Tech Giant like Google Have Amazing Customer Experience?

Is a company like Google too large to make huge impacts on their customer service? I don’t think so…

Now, to be fair, when I complained that the iPhone App for Google+was no longer working, I did get a comment from +Vic Gundotra, who “plus-mentioned” someone else (I’m assuming the person responsible for the Google+ App for iPhone).

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The iPhone App has yet to be fixed, but I give Google major points that the person in charge of Google+ actually read my post and passed on the information to someone who may actually be able to do something about it…

I sent +Vic Gundotra  a private message about this, thanking him and offering up a suggestion, but I don’t know if he read it or not (he never responded, but he is a busy man), but it’s not private information. It is a deeply held belief of mine, so I don’t mind sharing my advice on this post…

Companies Make Mistakes

Shit happens. From my many years managing in the restaurant industry, I learned that no matter how “tight of a ship” you run, occasionally the ball is going to get dropped. At my restaurant, it might be a spilled drink tray or an undercooked piece of meat. For Google+, it may be the iPhone App breaking or various other bugs that occur from time to time.

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The two are actually a lot more similar than a lot of people realize (running a restaurant or running a billion dollar tech company). Both occur in real-time, right in front of the customer. There is no “down time” during the operating hours of a restaurant, just as there is no “down time” during the running of a social network. They can’t just magically fix all the mistakes while things are shut down and reopen the next day fresh.

They have to stay running on all other fronts, in addition to fixing whatever went wrong. A restaurant has to continue serving all of its other patrons, and a social network has to keep functioning for all of its other users, while the problem gets fixed in the background (at the same time).

Initiating a Moment of Truth

This is what I used to call it when something bad happened at the restaurant. It is not a ‘problem’… it is a ‘challenge’ that gives the business an opportunity to show what they are really made of. As I said, initially, companies make mistakes (even the best companies). How the mistake is handled is what separates the weak companies from the strong companies.

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The “problem” that occurred is an opportunity for the business to:

  1. Apologize for the mistake.
  2. Let the guest/user know that a solution is being worked on.
  3. Fix the problem (get the right food out or work out the kinks in the Google+ iPhone App).
  4. Make it up to customer/user (with restaurants, I would comp a guest’s meal, but with a social network they may need to think outside-the-box on this step).

I was the only one that I know of that complained, but I’m sure the bug in the iPhone App affected all Google+‘s iPhone users. To make up for the iPhone App being unusable for multiple weeks, perhaps on the next App update, they could include an extra feature that is iPhone-exclusive.

So, a way +Google+ could “initiate a moment of truth” would be:

  • issuing an official statement that explains the error
  • that they fixed it.
  • they are including an extra special feature in the next update to make up for it.

Another way Google+ could initiate a moment of truth would be:

  • issuing an official statement.
  • that they fixed it.
  • maybe offer a couple free songs from Google Music (a way to apologize, and secretly convert iTunes users over to using Google Music).

The fact that +Vic Gundotra  took notice of my post at all was huge for such a large company like Google… and I can infer from his plus-mentioning of someone else that it’s being taken seriously. However, Google could take it to the next level of customer experience by doing something like the examples I’ve listed above.

I know that it is such a large-scale user base that the individual can get lost in the shuffle, but I don’t think the solutions I’ve suggested above are unreasonable for Google to do, and it would set them apart from the other technology companies by actually taking the user’s discomfort seriously, showing that they empathize with them, and making an effort to do something to make up for it.

That’s what would push them into an exceptional customer experience level, like what you would expect at one of the Disney Parks. The “word of mouth” alone from doing something so positive would spread like wildfire on the net: “Even Tech Giant Google Cares About Their Users, Whether They Use Their Branded Smartphones or Someone Else’s.”

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You couldn’t beat that. Just a suggestion…

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Gifted Individuals Make a Significant Contribution to Innovation in Organizations

With their creative talents, gifted individuals can make a useful contribution to innovations within organizations. Highly gifted individuals possess many more creative possibilities than the average gifted person.

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To make use of their innovative ideas and to implement them, however, an effective interaction between gifted individuals and their work environment is essential.

How do gifted individuals contribute to innovation?

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  • The gifted individual can easily identify the relationships between goals, missions, and assignments.
  • The gifted individual has the ability to focus intensely on the content.
  • Arguments based on content are key.
  • Habits, traditions and social pressure are quickly spotted. If these seem to be in conflict with the content, they are discarded as being irrelevant.
  • Thinking ‘outside of the box’ is second nature to them.
  • Switching between one’s own professional area and other disciplines is no problem at all.
  • The opinion of a formal authority does not weigh any heavier than the opinion of another party.
  • Information from others is checked against one’s own experience or against other information.
  • The gifted individual has a high degree of commitment and passion.
  • Existing protocols, structures and approaches are only followed if they seem to be effective and are well-founded.
  • A customized solution is sought for each individual situation, often when this has not been requested. ‘Standard problems’ are also approached in this way.

Favorable environmental factors required for making use of these contributions are listed below. The favorable characteristics listed correspond strongly with the ‘task culture’ and ‘person culture,’ while the unfavorable characteristics correspond with the ‘role culture’ or ‘power culture’ from “Harrison’s typologies of organizational culture.

Favorable and Unfavorable Organizational Characteristics for the Gifted

Favorable organizational characteristics:

  • Flexibility.
  • Little hierarchy.
  • Few procedures (only if they are useful).
  • The development and needs of employees are of importance.
  • Room for productive conflicts.
  • Power and influence can be acquired through expertise, dedication and success (or, at most, through personality, ability and outstanding performances).

Unfavorable organizational characteristics:

  • Procedures determine the work.
  • Power and influence are predominantly dependent upon your position.
  • The development and needs of the employee are of little importance.
  • Conflicts are often avoided.

How can giftedness be recognized?

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If an employee arrives at your consulting room, how do you recognize the above-mentioned characteristics of giftedness?

  • Wide interest in all kinds of fields (curious and passionate).
  • Sensitive to, such as, noise at work (highly sensitive).
  • Can speak passionately about a subject that interests him or her, starts speaking more quickly, the eyes light up, makes agitated gestures (passionate).
  • Quick analyses of the work situation: ‘that’s how it works’ (highly intelligent).
  • Focussed primarily on the content of the work (highly intelligent).
  • Wants to work in his/her own way (autonomous).
  • Wants to see a lot of variety in the work (creation-directed).
  • Produces unorthodox solutions that are not generally accepted (sparkling original).

Focus points for the problem analysis

  • Gifted individuals suffer relatively often from stress and burnout. Factors that can be of influence here are the nature of the work (sufficient challenge), the degree of autonomy and the defining of borders. Gifted employees are especially passionate and have the tendency to insufficiently specify their own limits.
  • Bullying, or other forms of aggression: because a gifted individual does not fit the requirements of the ‘average’ employee. As a result, fear/anxiety disorders may arise.
  • Depressive feelings often start at an early age. Gifted individuals can therefore more easily feel lonely and isolated.
  • Fear of failure as a result of setting the bar high and the tendency to perfectionism.
  • The gifted individual can come across as having ADHD. The combination of giftedness and ADHD is not uncommon.
  • Gifted individuals have a high sensitivity for odors and sounds.
  • They more quickly experience certain circumstances as being a hindrance.

A Rough Start…

walt-disney-logo-20121These days, Disney pools in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks round the world; however the filmmaker himself had a little rough beginning.

He was dismissed by an editor who stated the reason was that he lacked imagination and had no sensible ideas.

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Subsequently, Walt Disney started variety of companies that didn’t last too long and all over was surrounded with bankruptcy and failure.

He eventually found a direction for success that worked…

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The Moment of Truth

We’re divided, for the most part, in two main groups.:

1. The Old-Schoolers

These are the people brought up in a different world. They’re afraid or disinterested in radical changes.

They think the next generation is way too obsessed with social media, technology, and pleasure.

They think we are uncommitted to picking one occupation and mastering it.

They think we are lazy, with a short attention span.

The old-schoolers are the ones in power. They are our leaders of government and massive corporations.

2. The New-Schoolers

They embrace new technology and do love social media.

They like to mix business and pleasure, personal and professional.

They like to write about their opinions on the public net, unafraid of who sees it.

Due to social media, and innovations such as Google Search and Wikipedia, don’t like traditional education.

They may not get the depth of knowledge from reading an expert’s book or scholarly articles, but have a breadth of knowledge about many different topics.

They become curious about a topic, google it, and learn about it on their own.

They are a generation of polymaths, with diverse sets of skills and knowledge.

They don’t want their entire life or career mapped out ahead of time, don’t mind flexibility, and believe in collaboration.

They are frustrated with the way the world, business, and society runs.

They despise the old-school way of thinking, but feel powerless to change it, since the old-schoolers have all the power and control.

Partial Truth and Not Seeing the Big Picture

Both sides have valid points. It’s simply the way society has evolved. At the same time, both sides are blind to something the world constantly forgets: Even though big changes are difficult and seem impossible, they always happen.

People look at the current state of affairs and base their personal view of the world on this alone. Best case scenario, they notice the most recent changes from the last 5 years. This is an inaccurate way to see things.

A New Perspective

Go back 20 years into the past, and compare that world to the world of today:

Radically different.

Now, take that same measurement of change and apply it to 20 years in the future:

Wow.

If you really do this, you’ll realize how dramatically things do change in every aspect of life. This cycle has happened a countless number of times throughout history.

It’s just like if you see a person everyday, they seem to be the exact same; unchanging.

Run into someone from back in school from many years ago that you haven’t seen. You hardly believe it’s the same person.

Taking Advantage of This New Perspective

The key to making big changes is to stop looking at things in such a day-to-day, year-to-year manner.

Force yourself to actually look back 20 years ago.

Look at today, and see what has changed.

Force yourself to imagine how much will inevitably be different 20 years from now.

Take into account the right-around-the-corner changes we already know about.

Use these vantage points to form an educated prediction of the future.

Use this prediction of the future to dream up all the problems and opportunities that will occur.

Determine the best way that you as a person, group, or company can make an impact to this predicted future.

Invest at least a portion of your current profits into begin developing the innovation.

Look past next quarter’s earnings, and devote a portion of your operations to these ideas, even though there won’t be a return on investment for quite a while.

Your company will profit a bit less right now, because of this.

Keep calm and stay committed to the long-term vision.

The Disruption

Even before the “future” arrives, you will, out-of-nowhere, pop up with an innovation that blows everyone away.

It will appear as magic to the mass population, because they’ve still been living in the present / immediate future this whole time.

This “magic” will create a massive following. It will inspire future generations, and restore faith to those who had given up hope. It will disrupt everything.

The best part is that you weren’t any more talented than your competitors. You may have even been a smaller player in the industry. You may have had less resources, cash flow, and reputation than everyone else.

Suddenly, and without warning, you are now the big player — you hold the power. Consequently, you can use your new prestige to keep the mindset going.

All of your success is derived from forcing yourselves to see ahead and then staying committed to the big vision.

One Individual vs The World

It’s easy to see how an already successful business can do this, simply by changing their perspective a little bit.

It’s harder to see how a single person can innovate on such a massive scale.

That’s where some of the “right now” technology at our disposal changes everything: Tools that allow easier collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

These tools are available right now, but do we use them? A perfect example is Google+.

It’s 100% possible for like-minded individuals to come together and form companies of their own, combining their strengths and shared vision.

At first, it may mean forming small companies / collaboration teams, and then presenting this information to larger companies (better yet, people that will invest directly in you and allow you the resources to actually create the innovation on your own, i.e. Facebook).

The key here is collaborating and getting things started. Create the products, concepts, and ideas that you truly believe can make a big impact.

If you start to make it happen, it may actually happen. If you sit on your ass bitching about the way things are, it won’t.

The Future is Inevitable. Still Open to Suggestions

The future is going to change dramatically, like it or not. However, it may not be the one we wanted or needed.

If you don’t jump in soon, you won’t be a part of what made it happen. Plus, that one crazy idea you had could have potentially had the biggest impact.

Missing out on one person’s insight or dream, could mean the difference between SkyNet and a utopian global awakening.

It’s easy to point out flaws in the system. Actually having a solution planned out is what makes you an innovator instead of a critic.

Strategic Advisor

One of Two Dream Jobs – Part One

In a “War Room,” either at a huge company or entity of power, where super-complex decisions need immediate solving in high stress scenarios.

I should be sitting at that table…

or in the shadows…

sitting alone…

smoking..

… only appearing at moments of extreme crisis.

The Ideal Scenario

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Ryan Gosling’s character of Stephen Meyers in The Ides of March.

I don’t believe he even has a job title, but is essentially running the entire show. He is a combination of an “ideas guy” and a person responsible for making sure those ideas get carried out. He brainstorms half-the-time and runs the operation the rest of it.

He doesn’t care about being the “number 1 guy,” he cares about the operation. He’s willing to let someone else get all the glory, despite  being the brains of the operation.

The only person who knows how important he is, is the person he’s providing that function. However, he does have power within the organization. Anything spoken from his lips to any member of staff, and it’s as if the President, himself, spoke it.

The Not-as-Ideal Scenario

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Toby Jones’ character of Karl Rove in the film W.

He acted as the President’s secret “ideas guy.”

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Although identified as a brilliant, ruthless, and devastating campaign strategist, his role was less involved. He didn’t really communicate with the other group members at all, except to the President, himself.

I’ve read from somewhere (this was referring to the real-life version) that “without Karl Rove, there would be no President George W. Bush.” I am simply making an analogy to the type of relationship that Rove played within the establishment.

I’ve been in both of these types of roles before (obviously not at a presidential level), and they can both work quite well.

Downsides

If the person you’re providing that function for decides to screw you over, they can do so quite easily. Since it’s such a behind-the-scenes type role, it would be much more challenging to find new work.

Nobody knows what you’ve done or who you are.

That Company Used To Be So Innovative…

The innovative rebels that inevitably become part of “the machine.”

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A company starts off innovative, flexible, defiant, and adaptable, and in these formative years, they predominantly solidify “who they are” and “what they’re about.” As the company becomes increasingly successful and starts to expand in size and resources, a certain degree of that flexibility that they started with goes away, too.

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The reason companies struggle with societal transition is that they originally focus on creating the product or service. Once they prove themselves, they shift focus to expansion and maintaining, what they believe is, their “key to success.”

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What may have started as 5, 10, or 20 employees grows into hundreds, if not thousands. In order to keep such a large organization running successfully, they must set up systems, rules  and hierarchies to keep it running smoothly. The most significant aspect of this is cost. With such a large organization, absolutely every small cost matters, because it is applied across their entire infrastructure.

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As they carry out these systems, it creates limitations on the ability for the company to be able to stay as adaptive and flexible as when they started out. It means that they cannot innovate as quickly, and tend to lose the creative spirit or mindset that they began with.

As this increases, less and less people in the company are actually willing to take the risk involved in innovation, since it has such a massive impact. All the brilliant ideas never see the light of day, and are smothered by rules, project groups, etc.

In the modern world, the real “key to success” is the ability to adapt — to keep a fresh flow of new ideas coming in, and to constantly prepare for the future.

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This has to be built in to the culture, from day one, not after they wake up one day, suddenly realizing that they’ve lost touch. At that point, they have to go into “fix everything, change everything, and scramble to adapt” mode. This is much more costly and ineffective.

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I learned this lesson back at 19, when I just started out managing for the first time at a large restaurant.

I was a phenomenal problem solver and thrived in chaotic situations. When a problem popped up, I would be the first to jump in and tackle it, and I would tear it up. It even gave me a bit of a rush being the one who “saves the day” while everyone else panicked.

Then, one day, a mentor completely flipped my perspective forever, and I’ll never forget it:

“Why are you exerting so much energy and attention into putting out fires, instead of figuring out how to prevent them from occurring in the first place?”

Wow…

Yes, I could solve any problem, but I could also apply the same skill set in a different way:

  • I began to pay attention to patterns in the flow of business.
  • I began to pay attention to unspoken cues from the staff members.
  • I began to pay attention to what these patterns would result in 10-30 minutes later.

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I started to notice the inter-connected nature of the entire business:

  • When a large part of the tables had that “I’m done eating” look, I could communicate to the busing staff to get ready to clean a bunch of tables in the next 5 – 10 minutes.
  • I could also let the host stand know roughly how many tables were opening up soon, and make sure all of them were up there ready to go, or even grab a few waiters to help.
  • I could tell the kitchen to be ready for a swarm of a new orders coming in.
  • I could make sure that the waiters had the support they needed, so that no one ended up sitting there for 10 minutes without being greeted.
  • and so on and so forth…

The main lesson was on shifting my focus from being ready to tackle any challenge, to actively using predictable patterns, which prevented most of the challenges from ever happening.

This same method applies, on a massive scale, to any type of business and in any industry:

Our nature is to focus on the present and immediate future. However, by incorporating a mix of the past, present, and future, it allows you to start seeing patterns. Then, you can adjust your operations and shift from being reactive to proactive.

Yes, I’m talking to you: CEOs, board of directors, VP’s, and Executives.

Using the past and trend spotting, you can not only predict the future, but enhance it.

  • This only works if you actively create teams to brainstorm, and if you actually listen to their advice.
  • This only works if you stop focusing so heavily on the next quarter’s earnings report, and allow yourself to see past it.

If you’re providing the best experience and the best product, the numbers will take care of themselves. Do not disregard these things entirely, but join other methods into your operations… methods that may not be as neat and clean on a piece of paper.

If you rely solely on what your company’s performance reports look like, by the time they start looking like shit, you’ll be in deeper trouble than you even realize.

It’s not only prevention and protection, but also a way to take yourselves to the next level.

  • Dig deeper into these patterns.
  • Go back further into the past.
  • Forecast further into the predicted future.
  • Brainstorm how events already occurring will naturally affect this predicted future; adjust accordingly.
  • Brainstorm and imagine like crazy to imagine all the potential opportunities.
  • Follow it up by brainstorming skeptical counter-arguments for each one of them.
  • Continue this process back and forth, until you’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best.
  • Then, create an feasible strategy to carry out this new, radical idea over time.

You Are the Champion!

When the inevitable shift in society or technology occurs, you will be the one introducing it, not the one scrambling and adjusting to its effects.

Become the bomb, not the one cleaning up the wreckage.

Make Progress, Not Excuses

Overheard constantly:

  • Companies suck
  • People suck
  • Life sucks
  • It’s never going to get better
  • Only billionaires and huge companies have the power to make things better.
  • They never will, because all they care about is money and their vacation homes.

“…Yes, We Know.”


However, the way I see it is you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. To do nothing, to lose hope, or to conform just to fit in to the way things are, in my opinion, is just as bad as the CEO’s who refuse to think outside-the-box.

If you’re not willing to think outside-the-box, why should you expect them to?

  • How can we make an impact ourselves?
  • How do we get companies to listen to us?
  • How can we use the technology at our disposal to do something unique?

Collaborate with other like-minded nobodies and start a company or develop a way to present your improvement ideas to an existing company. We are stronger in groups that any individual can ever be.

Never lose hope that the future will be a better place than the world currently.



  • Do not conform because that’s just the way things are, and you need to pay the bills.
  • Get fucking crazy.
  • Group up in teams.
  • Constantly dream of the future, how it will most likely be, and think up ridiculous inventions that could make it better.
  • Narrow it down to the best one. Your VISION.
  • Make it happen, no matter how many people try to lock you up in an asylum.

I’ll collaborate on pretty much anything, at least on any imagination and brainstorming. I do that all day, everyday anyways. I’d rather work with real people on a real project than work strictly on hypothetical scenarios.


Just reach out and let me know what you’re thinking. That’s all it takes.