Product Development

Kodak vs. Fujifilm:Lessons Learned Looking at Winners and Losers- Digital Photography Market

As we all know, the digital photography revolution impacted the traditional film market. which in 2000, accounted for 60 percent of Fujifilm profits.. The film market went to basically nothing, but Fujifilm found new revenue sources and thrived. Kodak was the global leader in the traditional film market but did not survive the technology disruption.


A recent Economist article provides excellent insights on strategies both established firms pursued in response to changes in the film market. There are also many lessons we can learn here which I believe help entrepreneurial firms seeking to identify and pursue new opportunities in highly competitive, changing, uncertain, high risk markets.  Here are three  insights that I believe are particularly helpful:

•    When Traditional Markets Change Dramatically, New Opportunities Emerge: Think Out of the Box (or ‘room’ as I noted in my recent book) To Create Winning Strategies

Look at how Fujifilm responded to the demise of the film market. Developed new products (cosmetics, others) leveraging competencies in chemicals and technology; Created film technology for displays, among other ideas. These new directions also create opportunities for agile entrepreneurial firms who embrace a similar
strategic vision, understand where technologies and markets are heading, understand where and how business processes can be adapted to create value and competitive position. What this also implies are new alliance opportunities at all levels including technology, distribution, marketing reach and so on. The starting point is to “think strategically’ which is  an entrepreneurial survival skill in today’s dynamic, global marketplace. Strategy planning matters, and it is a critical entrepreneurial skill worth honing.

•    Avoid the ‘Paralysis By Analysis’ Problem

Kodak was hampered by slow reaction to rapidly changing market and technology shifts. As noted, Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School suggested that Kodak executives “suffered from a mentality of perfect products, rather than the high- tech mindset of make it, launch it, fix it.”  The message here for entrepreneurial firm managers?  Obviously have to balance this with some analysis, but it often “Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” to successfully pursue new business directions.

•    Disruptive Technology Innovation Always Occurred and Always Will, Only Faster

To see the traditional film market disrupted is really no surprise. Every sector is changing, and many are disappearing due to tsunami- like technology shifts.  We can discuss how long market shifts will take, what new sectors will emerge, who will be
competitors and so on, but the key point is almost all markets will change due to technology disruption .  So it is really no surprise to see the demise of Kodak and many others (e.g., minicomputer manufacturers, large copier companies, Borders, record stores, others)  who either did not fully embrace these radical changes, did not want to “disturb” their current business, or thought their businesses would exist forever. And these changes mean opportunity for agile entrepreneurial firms that understand
the changing competitive dynamics and develop well crafted strategies.

Paul B. Silverman

Author: Worm on a Chopstick : Understanding Today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives

Linked in:      Paul Silverman
Twitter:         globalbizmentor

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Next Gen Ad Analytics:’Finding the Significant Few Among the Trivial Many’

The online advertising market is estimated at more than $30 billion in 2011  growing at 22 percent annually based on Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) statistics. What we are seeing is explosive growth of predictive-analytics based tools and applications to drive the creation of new targeted ad services.

Look over today’s announcement that predictive analytics firm eBureau is spinning off its online advertising targeting business into a new company called TruSignal(TM) offering targeted advertising using proprietary predictive analytics and other tools.

All companies are interested in finding what we call the ‘significant few among the trivial many’ – I foresee many exciting developments and issues emerging here as we pursue this goal:

  • Expect other online advertising companies to create separate, specialized analytics driven service entities – analytics technology is driving this trend, is highly specialized, and this is moving very quickly
  • Different skills sets are needed as ad business moves to even more advanced analytics and visualization technologies- think of the implications for the online advertising sector looking for creative and ‘analytics-savvy’ candidates – new skill sets are needed now to secure and retain industry leadership
  • Expect to see more analytics spin-offs in other sectors- the same model is occurring in the health care, financial services and others

Always important to look at how major companies respond to these changes (think response of Barnes & Noble vs Borders to the e-book revolution). How does a major ad firm, well entrenched in traditional print, TV, radio media, address these new trends- most are obviously committed to the social media revolution but new predictive analytics tools are changing the rules of the game, helping ‘find the significant few among the trivial many’ in ways not possible today.

As these services accelerate, and they will, I expect to see major firms ramp up internal efforts to develop competitive analytics services organically. These powerful services are evolving very quickly and I expect to see major industry leaders seeking alliances with creative innovation leaders in the predictive analytics market.


Paul B. Silverman is a Lecturer in the Robert H. Smith School of Business in the University of Maryland. He also serves as CEO of Sante Corporation, an early stage personal health care management company, and Managing Partner of Gemini Business Group, a new venture development and advisory services firm. He can be reached at or via Twitter at @globalbizmentor


Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Microblogging Creating New Social Media Legal Issues

Twitter and other microblogging platforms are obviously powerful social media tools. We have seen much discussion about security and privacy on Facebook and other social media but not much discussion on ownership of contacts and resources developed within these platforms.

We have seen similar discussions before, for example, related to who owns customer accounts when sales employees leave companies. However dissecting ownership rights of Twitter and social media accounts to determine who ‘owns’ which contacts and conversations looks like major challenge.

We are heading into new territory here – you can expect to see more discussion on this topic in coming months as more legal challenges like this emerge. Check out the following Guardian article

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Understanding ‘Unknown- Unknown’ Information Drivers Addresses ‘Sea of Data’ Issues and Creates Opportunities

Understanding The ‘Unknown- Unknown’ Information Drivers Addresses ‘Sea of Data’ Issues and Creates Opportunities

I posted comments on Fast Company article discussing ‘Sea of Data’ issues Fast Company Article “Avoiding Short-Term Thinking In A World of Big Data”

I shared my vision that predictive analytics is ‘raising the bar’ in how we manage the ‘sea of data’,  and offered comments on new directions I see in manufacturing and health care. Here is a copy of my comments posted on the Fast Company site:

The article makes the point that “…in a sea of data, how can we make sure that we’re not just reacting to the information in front of our face, but rather analyzing every possible input.”

One solution to the problem, not mentioned in the article, is the need to develop new analytics to identify key drivers which create the data ‘outcomes’. Predictive analytics enable us to identify these ‘unknown-unknown’ drivers that can only be found by analyzing data, looking for relationships and new rules that emerge developed by analyzing the data. Contrast this to today’s ‘deductive’ approach using expert opinion and well-defined rules.

This ‘data-driven’ analysis to create new rules is an inductive (rather than deductive ‘expert opinion’ based approach) and from my perspective holds great promise to radically change current business processes, improve productivity and improve our quality of life.

This may sound bold, but as the former CEO of an early stage predictive analytics company and also looking at new opportunities in analytics, I see exciting potential here.

Some possibilities:

Look at manufacturing. If a “supplier’s supplier” has a problem, supply chain management ensures quick notification, before it impacts the assembly line. Predictive analytics engines ‘raise the bar’ here by analyzing historical performance and risk data, often real time, defining future risk and performance drivers, and enabling management to optimize performance and mitigate risk.

Going beyond traditional data mining, these new predictive analytics tools analyze industry reports, government filings, trade press, and other sources to assess supplier “health,” pending regulations, and other “unstructured” data sources. Seamlessly integrating with other data, we can use these to more accurately gauge supplier and production line risk and improve performance.Driving new rules,  providing real time early warning signs that impact future supplier and business performance are the new management tools to harness ‘the sea of data’.

Look at health care, my primary focus, where PA techniques hold great promise to help our current health care system. Consider the benefits of these new capabilities which are only a small sample of what lies ahead here:

•    Tracking  Medical Diagnoses, Treatments, Medications, Outcomes, Costs,Reimbursements, and Relationships

ICD or International Classification of Disease Codes , classifies diseases on health records.CPT or Current Procedural Terminology codes developed by the AMA describe services provided by medical practitioners. Medicare employs a similar system, using ‘HCPCS’. Tracking and examining relationships among these metrics, looking at patient data, identifying processes, and key cost and patient health drivers, you can develop ‘best practices’ to improve the health
care process.

•    Identifying Adverse Drug Analyses – assessing underlying drivers to more effectively identify “at risk” patients

•    Optimizing clinical trials (candidate selection and monitoring) – predicting higher risk clinical trial candidates and assessing the key risk drivers

•    Developing directional indicators to predict the underlying drivers for treatment of chronic disease to understand how medication protocols impact treatment plans and patient outcomes

The new predictive analytic-based tools now emerging in all sectors are helping companies cope with the sea of data problem, and  “raising the bar” in how leading firms optimize business performance in today’s  dynamic global markets.

Paul B. Silverman

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

Linked in:  Paul Silverman
Twitter:     globalbizmentor

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Buy Health Monitoring Devices Off The Clothing Rack?

In my recent  book, I talked about how technology is reshaping traditional markets and strategies. Given new directions in integrating health care monitors into clothing, I suggested we may be buying health care monitors in Lands End, and discussed how this will impact traditional retailer strategies. Sales staff questions may move from “What size and color jacket would you like to see?” to “Can I show you our blood pressure-only monitoring jacket or our top of the line full featured model tracking glucose, oxygenation and includes a USB port?”

And what about health care coverage. Expect to see some interesting issues emerge here- are you buying a jacket or a medical device; where do you draw the line?

The recently announced MisFit Wearables, with an investment by John Sculley MisFit Wearables Health Care Startup , I expect is moving in this direction joining other players and more are coming. The proliferation of sensor data from a wide range of devices (some you wear as clothes, some you attach to your body, some are like  band-aids, you use and dispose), and the need to track, securely manage, share, analyze and communicate  this data is spawning a new sector.

What is really exciting is moving from collection of basic vital sign data and using advanced analytics to analyze vital sign data, understand the real time impact of medications (both pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals) and empower users and clinicians with new tools that can, I believe make a real contribution to improve our personal health and wellness, a market sector I am pursuing with a talented team. Lots of exciting developments here. Stay tuned.


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Utilities Develop Smart Meters:Missing “Marketing 101”

Utilities are developing new monitoring and energy management technologies but are missing ‘Marketing 101’ basics. I posted following comments on Fast Company article

Agree we need to educate the public about smart infrastructure, but we need to refocus our strategy and message here.

Today we take a ‘silo’ approach driven by utilities and what technology driven services they can deliver to the market. Water supply companies describe capabilities from managing real time supply and demand metrics, and creating new features to improve cost performance. Same for electric  utilities.

To secure  public support and  replicate the benefits many other countries have realized, I recommend a “Marketing 101″ approach to policymaking here, starting with the public consumer. First, define benefits we want to deliver, then define the functions and features needed to deliver these benefits. In my ‘Marketing 101’ model, technology is a enabler, a means to the end, to deliver benefits to end users. Remote meter reading and energy management are technical features, not benefits.

I am leading a new health care which will empower users to more effectively manage and track medications, vital signs and wellness using proprietary technology. While it is seductive to start with what I call real,  ‘gee-whiz’ technology, our winning strategy focuses 100% on what users need, want and how we use technology to create benefits to build a sustainable business. Lots of exciting and proprietary technology here, but need to always keep in mind technology is an enabler for the real business.

So going back to our meter reading/energy  technology enabler, following ‘Marketing 101’ thinking, a good starting point in the policy discussion is to develop proposed applications which target sectors and deliver real definable benefits to users. Some
suggestions, and I am sure readers will have many more ideas:

1.Senior Utility Management Program: Integrated program to manage all utilities targeting seniors – integrated billing, management, budgeting service with appliance management and maintenance – turnkey service. While I do not expect utilities to
necessarily offer these services, utilities can take the lead defining these new capabilities, making data available to third party providers, and  create an exciting new market segment which will attract  new ventures. Note utilities can be the driver here, pursuing an ‘open platform’ strategy, setting standards, following the model in other sectors.

2. Home Management Services: Expand the model, leverage M2M (machine to machine) technologies, and offer users a comprehensive utility and home management/monitoring  system, status updates and other features. These applications are emerging in various forms – what I am suggesting is utilities  can be
‘entrepreneurial partners’ here to help jumpstart the process. The M2M market ,  is exploding, and these applications deliver real benefits to users

‘Marketing 101’ thinking works in the commercial sector to develop and drive new business. Given technology advances in the utility sector, I see opportunity for Marketing 101” thinking there also to improve utility cost performance and deliver  real benefits (not just new technology) to users.

Paul B. Silverman

Author: Worm on a Chopstick : Understanding Today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives

Linked in:  Paul Silverman
Twitter:     globalbizmentor

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Who Thought Paper Was Gone: How About Mini-Newspapers?

Newspapers are not quite gone yet. Mini-newspapers are coming.

Here is an excerpt from an interesting post by Emma Hutchings about a new mini-newspaper printer:

London-based design studio BERG has created a small device that prints out personalized, receipt-sized paper strips with news, puzzles, social network updates and information from apps. The Little Printer connects wirelessly to the web via an included Bridge unit. Using your phone as a remote control, you can configure it and set up subscriptions to different publications, and it will then gather these together into a personalized print-out for you. When you press the button it produces small black and white thermal updates

The benefits of paper in digital world? ” You can paste in it on the refrigerator, fold up in your wallet and scribble on it.” Given the explosive growth of mobile devices of every shape and kind, Little Printer take us in a new and I think interesting direction. Will be watching market reaction to this development and other products in the queue here. Check out


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Emerging Opportunities – Internet TV, Ads, New Services

Emerging Opportunities – Check out NY Times Media Article Today–Ads and Services in Internet TV Sector

I track this area closely – note projected 50 percent of all homes will have at least one digital TV by year end. What is coming is crossover of many
exciting new business and consumer services that build on this new infrastructure (e.g., e-couponing, on-line ordering, mass-customized ‘perfect fit’ clothing, home health care services, and many others).
Advertisers have been missing link so this is positive and expect others will follow – still need to evaluate user reaction to ads but I see this being resolved. High potential area and some creative and exciting new business models are being developed here from what I have seen so far…

Here is article and link…

LG Brings Ad Capability to Internet-Connected TV
Published: November 1, 2011

A LEADING marketer of consumer electronics is adding an advertising capability to its Internet-connected televisions through an agreement with a video advertising technology company. And a charter sponsor has already been signed to join them….. more

I will be adding more info on this topic in next few weeks at





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Comments on Report Accelerating Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa


Recommend read “The Young Global Leaders Forum and Booz & Company released a report on Accelerating Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa” –was co-authored by Wamda’s CEO and Young Global Leader Habib Haddad. Excellent perspective on the entrepreneurial opportunities in this region. I have met with senior government staff in recent years – this report confirms my view this is an area of high potential

Submitted following comments in response to report:

Excellent insightful report I recommend all read – one key finding clearly shows that investing in new policies that drive growth of ‘microenterprises” (defined as value less than $15,000) has great potential to drive regional economies.

As noted given size these can be dismissed as irrelevant – look deeper and you see in Saudi Arabia, microenterprises account for 40 percent of all jobs, in Morocco 65 percent, similar in other countries

Other key point – solution to grow and improve survival rate of microenterprises is not just more funding as many may expect – cultural, education,mentoring all play a role. I have discussions in progress with a partner now to contribute in-region with new approaches addressing entrepreneurial education and many exciting initiatives in progress here.

Clearly very active entrepreneurial community exists within the MENA region and not sure many realize this. Also opens doors for alliances with U.S. partners, another opportunity I see developing quickly. Many implications for US also – while we may not have as many “necessity-driven” entrepreneurial ventures here, small/medium enterprises (SMEs) , with effective policies, can drive new jobs and economic growth.

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Can Mission Statements Help Me Grow My Entrepreneurial Business and Create Value? Absolutely!

You ask your entrepreneurial management team to join you in the conference room to develop the company’s mission statement. Reaction from your entrepreneurial team may be “ho-hum” , “do we really need to waste time- we know what business we are in,” or maybe ” let’s spend our time designing, developing, selling- doing ‘real business’ ”.  Understandable response in today’s fast moving, entrepreneurial companies.

But mission statements drive companies, especially startups seeking to secure a sustainable business creating high value. Mission statements provide many benefits- here are three examples:

1. Ensures all staff is in sync, understands where the company is heading, how it will get there

Emphasize that the company will be the lowest cost provider sends one message; emphasize providing the highest quality, differentiated products sends another. Remember these not-too-subtle differences drive corporate strategy, operational plans, and often define an organization’s future success.

2. Communicates what the company thinks is most important, what are its core values

Emphasize customers, products, technologies, staff development or ethics sends different messages to the company’s ‘community of interest’ (i.e., staff, customers, investors, suppliers, etc.). You need to ensure these messages are clear and focused.

3. Defines the “reach” of the company’s business- what are the real business targets going beyond today’s technologies, markets and products.

Defining how your company will evolve, to what extent you will protect a current business or create new ones, and similar issues, define your company’s ‘reach’ and strategy roadmap. For dealing with investors, this is particularly important.

My counseling with many entrepreneurial firms shows that spending time to define mission statements and particularly “reach” provides high value.

As an example, in my recent book, Worm on a Chopstick: Understanding Today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives , I compared Google and GM’s mission statements. First, here is GM’s:

“G.M. is a multinational corporation engaged in socially responsible operations, worldwide. It is dedicated to provide products and services of such quality that our customers will receive superior value while our employees and business partners will share in our success and our stock-holders will receive a sustained superior return on their investment.”

Now here is Google’s mission statement:

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and  useful.”

It sure looks like Google is reaching for the stars here.

And the results? Google, founded in 1998 by two Stanford University students, started as a basic search engine, ramped up sales to about $17 billion in 2007, and achieved a market cap of about $220 billion. Compare that to General Motors, started in 1908, led sales for seventy-seven consecutive years from 1931 to 2007, and valued at less than $20 billion in late 2007, less than 10  percent of Google. Even after a $50 billion government bailout in 2009, today, GM’s market cap is only about $51 billion, less than one third of  Google’s $173 billion.

You can argue I selected a dramatic example here. You may also argue that Google “was in the right place at the right time,” at the cusp of the Internet revolution, while GM is stuck in a tough, mature business, automobile manufacturing, with nowhere to go but fight for global market.

I consider this traditional thinking that really doesn’t work well with markets and technologies morphing, emerging global players, and intense competition from non-traditional players. Looking deeper, like many major traditional companies, we learn GM had opportunities to improve competitive positioning but did not pursue them for various reasons.

To succeed today, what’s needed is ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ driving mission statements and all facets of a company’s business, whether you manage a startup entrepreneurial company or a large traditional company like GM.

When you and your team leave the conference room after creating your company’s new mission statement, you may be excited that you are now on track to create the next “Google”. Maybe, but I expect it is more likely you now have a strategic roadmap that will drive your company’s operations at all levels, send a coherent message to all, and help you grow the company and create value.


If you want to learn more about the the author’s perspectives on new developments, trends, insights, management tools and tips that can help you grow your business, sign up now for a FREE Subscription to the Global Entrepreneurship Forum Newsletter.

Paul B. Silverman is the author of a new entrepreneurial management strategy book Worm on a Chopstick: Understanding today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives; serves as CEO of Sante Corporation creating a new vision for personal health care management; and is an Adjunct Professor in the Center For Entrepreneurial Excellence in the School of Business at George Washington University.

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