It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent death of Gordon Edge. These are some of my memories of a great technology innovator and business leader.
For a period of almost three years, during the 1980s, I was privileged to work at PA Technology, near Cambridge. This was a great place to be and formed part of what became known as the “Cambridge Phenomenon”.
Populated by a bunch of bright mavericks, it was led by its founder and chief maverick, Gordon Edge. Dressed immaculately, he spoke quietly, using few words, and what words!
Selling innovative products
If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.
Resistance from existing distributors
For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.
But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
Training wheels don’t work
If you have a young child who will learn to ride a bike sometime soon, you probably have recollections of the bike that you learnt on, and the awkwardness of bikes with stabilisers (also known as: training wheels). Recently, I came across this article about training wheels and balance bikes and it reminded me of the very different experience with my youngest son.
Balance bikes are much better
Balance bikes are great, as this video (not of my child) shows!
In my experience, they are obviously a better way to learn to ride a bike and it’s very surprising that anyone buys bikes with stabilisers (training wheels) any more. On a more professional note, this is also one of the best examples that I have encountered of innovation applied to learning by choosing different disclosure sequences, but that is a much bigger story.
How it started Read more…
Understanding “innovation” relationships
With so much current interest in innovation, and with there being so many differences of view on what innovation is, one way to organise one’s thinking on the topic is to describe its relationship to other topics.
… with “marketing”!
The relationship between innovation and marketing is a particularly important, and this led to an article on several aspects of that pairing.
While strategy and tactics are important topics, which are frequently confused, the role of innovation provides a key to distinguishing them.
This led to an article, focussed on the innovation aspects of strategy, which is intended to separate the two more clearly by describing their relationship, and putting tactics in their place!