More over Geoffrey Moore. John Hagel and his colleagues have a powerful new book out “The Power of Pull”.
HBR in its review of the book says “In a ferociously dynamic world, what happens if we can’t plan but can only adapt? We must move, say the authors, from push to pull. At the center of the pull strategy is an individual (not a corporation) who has access to knowledge flows, takes advantage of porous boundaries and serendipitous interactions, and occupies new creative spaces to achieve a novel order of performance.”
John’s research is not new – as he says, the book is based on trends they have been watching now for a decade. (correction - the research is new, the trend is not - see comment from John below) ) My question is how long will enterprises say all kinds of nice things about how right John and co. are, while continuing to resist the pull.
Three exhibits in technology:
- John has been citing Li and Fung for a while now – how it leverages a vast, scalable network of suppliers with deep specialization. In contrast in IT, in analysis for my upcoming book, The New Polymath, I found we spend over 50% of our budgets with the top 25 infotech and telecom vendors. The imbalance between buyer and vendor concentration is acute – top 25 buyers in contrast barely make up 5% of that same spend - and yet we persist with vendor consolidation and lock-in. Time to exploit more “exotic” and “arsonist” vendors I cite in my book in spades. Let them pull you to a better world
- John cites SAP as an example of benefiting from “pull” by leveraging its social networks and communities. No question, in its outreach to bloggers and “mentors” and SDN and other communities SAP has been a pioneer. I have complimented them several times for that. I would suggest, though, that SAP has primarily used these assets for marketing advantage – old school push thinking. There are so many ideas and recommendations SAP has heard from these groups – for years now - about how its ecosystem has been out of control, how low value its maintenance pricing is, how little of the innovation in its labs is making out to the field etc. Very little of that has been acted upon. We will get a chance to listen to the new management team at Sapphire next month, but I am betting it will be a sugar coated version of longing for the good old days – of push.
- Twitter announced yesterday “Promoted Tweets”. As Jeremiah blogged “Brands can now purchase CPM based ads to promote these popular tweets at the top of a Twitter search term –even in categories they aren’t well known in, influencing awareness”.
More push which vastly undermines the pull gold mine that Twitter should be. At a conference last year, I heard a lady from WalMart basically tell Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter
“I know you are searching for a business model. We may have one for you if you can help us analyze more finely Tweets that mention Walmart. Separate those that reflect customer sentiment from others triggered by a Walmart news item or other more casual mentions of our brand.”
Twitter is this generation’s much more expanded version of Nielsen ratings. It should be helping companies understand how world events, competitor and their own moves affect customer perceptions. It is a critical barometer of “pull” and yet they have come out with a revenue model meant to pander to the old marketer’s version of push.
John’s book cover has a great visual - iron filings forming a field around a magnet. Instead of fighting that law of physics, I have a feeling way too many companies will try to shield themselves with mu-metal to resist the pull.