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Editorial

Google’s Sundar Pichai has failed the ultimate leadership test

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard about the Google Memo drama that the company is going through right now.

The memo, written by former Google employee James Damore in pseudo-troll fashion attempts to explain why 80 percent of Google’s tech employees are male.

It points to large cultural biases but also suggests a potential genetic component by illustrating some of the ways the distribution of qualities differs across male and female populations.

Now I have actually read the memo several times. This is very important because most of the critics who are responding to this memo clearly haven’t read it.

The author was extremely meticulous about the way in which he made his points and the use of supporting data.

And yes, I do understand that this memo has become something of a rorschach test – people seeing what they want to. You could see it as a sexist dog whistle and you could see it as thoughtful discourse – I get that.

While I am not going to discuss the conclusions of the memo itself here, I will say this – the sloppy manner in which Google CEO Sundar Pichai has handled this has exposed serious problems both in Google and the valley in general.

The firing of James Damore

Just a few days after Mr. Damore’s memo came to light, he was fired.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai had sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” When Google representatives were asked about the dismissal, they referred to Pichai’s memo.

The quick firing of James Damore was absolutely the worst move Google could have made in a situation like this.

To understand why, you actually have to read the memo.

First of all, (once again) the author was meticulous about the points he made and they weren’t made flippantly or overtly disrespectfully.

Second, the author was careful to avoid drawing broad based conclusions but to basically throw out (in many cases) factually accurate data and start a conversation.

James Damore was fired because he wasn’t politically correct and “fake offended” Google and the PC valley’s sensibilities.

The hypocrisy of Google and the valley

The irony here is that most people skip over one of the reasons the memo was written in the first place.

“former Google employee James Damore in pseudo-troll fashion attempts to explain why 80 percent of Google’s tech employees are male

James Damore didn’t do that, Google and the valley did. While these companies in silicon valley talk the talk, you have to understand that they (in most cases) don’t walk the walk.

How do I know this? Oh maybe because I have lived in the bay area and worked in the valley before.

The bay area is one of the most racist and sexist parts of the United States. The really sad part is that it is racist and sexist in large part organically. They really don’t do it on purpose.

The chai-latte drinking, Tesla driving, stock option and IPO loving group are quick to jump on the James Damores of the world but he’s not the problem, he just exposed a much bigger one.

You see Damore is like the uncle at the family reunion who wants to ask about a rape everyone else would rather not talk about. Yes Uncle Bucky isn’t the most sensitive and it’s probably not the right time and place for the discussion but the rape actually happened.

Unfortunately it’s always easier to shoot the messenger.

What should the Google CEO have done?

This memo was actually a massive opportunity for Google.

Their CEO had the perfect opportunity to make this a teachable moment. He should have held a townhall meeting with all executives and streamed it live to the internet.

  • He should have acknowledged the existence and popularity of the memo and then using facts, ideas and science-based thinking, presented Google’s counterpoints.
  • He should then have made it clear that while Google is open to ideas from all idealogical parts of the spectrum, this memo came dangerously close to crossing the line and explained what that line was and why.
  • He should also have acknowledged that sexism in Google and the valley was a real problem and then, point by point, outlined what Google was doing to change things.

The bottom line is, he should have faced this head on – like a strong leader.

Rather, he chose the cowards way out, huddling with lawyers and HR and choosing to shoot the messenger. Disappointing.

The bottom line

At a recent Alphabet shareholder meeting, a shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the company. Apparently, executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.

“The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”

This seems like total bullshit today.

Like it or not, with this firing, Google has made it abundantly clear that they only want to hear from employees who agree with their group think. What’s even worse is, they have shown that they don’t have the tools and capacity to thoughtfully deal with employees that don’t.

That is unfortunate.

P.S. This whole conversation is a conversation you should only partake in if you read the memo completely. To not do so and continue to opine anyway is just ignorant.

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

1 Comment
  • James Freeland

    I couldn’t agree more! Well written! Unless you’re a lefty who loves Obama, Google doesn’t want to hear from you!

Editorial

Who approved never get Hulu as an ad slogan?

I’ve seen some DUMB ad campaigns in my life but Never Get Hulu is by far the worst one I have ever seen in my life.

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Never get Hulu

I was watching the Emmys last week and then an ad came on.

It had a ton of celebrities who were serious and telling me to listen and pay attention.

They start to talk somewhat comedically about a bunch of things I should never do – never fly first class, never get a king size bed, never get a walk in closet etc etc.

At this point, there are hints of comedy creeping in…

Until the final punch line “..and most importantly Never Get Hulu”.

My wife and I are marketing professionals and immediately looked at each other thinking the same exact thing.

Who at Hulu gave the green light to this ad?

Why would you get people’s attention and use the words “Never” and your brand name in the same sentence? From a marketing perspective this seems extremely stupid.

Yes, it gets people like me writing about this and talking about it and sharing the ad. Got it.

HOWEVER, it imprints very negative keywords next to your brand name into people’s psyche’s forever.

Never Get Hulu.

I absolutely don’t get it but hey what do I know, maybe they know something I don’t so I should probably take their advice.

I DEFINITELY won’t get Hulu.

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Digital Marketing Training

13 Steps To Building A Profitable High Traffic Technology Blog – Part Three – the baby business plan

This is part three of my blueprint that will help you begin the process of building a high traffic profitable technology blog.

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Baby business plan

This is the third post in the series.

In part one, I talked about some of my experiences with some of the successful high traffic websites I actually built.

In part two, I shared a little about my belly of the whale strategy, a methodology I use to identify potential software niches to get into.

This is part three of my blueprint that will help you begin the process of building a high traffic profitable technology blog.

Today I want to share with you the importance of creating a business plan but not a regular business plan.

I call this…

The Baby Business Plan

Anyone who has written a business plan knows that to do it properly, it’s exhausting and requires a certain level of expertise and sophistication.

There are businesses and vendors who specialize in helping entrepreneurs write business plans. They are that complex.

Here’s the problem.

For most online entrepreneurs, at this stage in the process, that’s too much work. It just doesn’t make sense.

IMPORTANT – I’m not trying to say that entrepreneurs don’t need a plan, I’m saying at this stage, digital entrepreneurs don’t need the formal rigor of an exhaustive business plan.

You need a baby business plan.

What is a Baby Business Plan?

A baby business plan is a scaled down vision of your plans for your business. Simply put, you need to think about how this website or web based app will make money.

This is different from a real business plan because at this point you simply don’t need all that complexity.

So, let’s get to the meat and bones.

What are the elements of a Baby Business Plan?

A Baby Business Plan has 9 elements:

  • Business name ( and URL)
  • Business concept (Full description)
  • Technology components (list and price)
  • Labor costs to start
  • Ongoing labor
  • Marketing plan
  • Marketing costs
  • Monetization plan
  • Maintenance costs

Like I said, this is a scaled down version that you can put together real quickly.

Let’s do a quick example. Let’s do a Baby Business Plan for a fake domain – http://myloveofstamps.com/.

So if I was the entrepreneur, I would create a plan that looked roughly like this.

  • Business name: My Love Of Stamps (http://myloveofstamps.com/)
  • Business concept (A website that will bring together fans and stamp collectors all around the world. We will have forums, lists and …..)
  • Technology components:
    • Hosting: WP Engine
    • WordPress
    • Thrive Themes
    • etc. etc.
  • Labor costs to start:
    • 99 Designs web design – $899
    • Web Development to build – $500
    • Outsourced SEO – $200
    • 100 articles writer: $1000
    • etc. etc.
  • Ongoing labor:
    • Monthly writer – $400
    • Monthly SEO – $50
    • etc. etc.
  • Marketing Plan:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
    • etc. etc.
  • Marketing costs
    • Facebook ads $50/month
    • Twitter Promo: $20/month
    • etc. etc.
  • Monetization plan:
    • Adsense on site
    • Stamp ebook that we will develop
    • Amazon ads
    • Stamps.com affiliate
    • etc. etc.
  • Maintenance costs
    • WP Engine $35/month
    • Clicky Analytics $9/month
    • etc. etc.

And so on and so forth…

Baby Business Plan – The format

Real simple. Word or Excel file. No presentation no graphics nothing too formal.

At this point you just want to have something that is a living document that you can continue to update as needed.

Why is this step critical?

Simple.

Because a lot of online tools are free or cheap and easy to use, it’s really easy to get started on an idea and build a proof of concept that can turn into a real site quickly.

This step helps you avoid two critical mistakes:

  1. Overspending on an idea that you have. Once you have all these costs listed you can start to plan and make sure you actually have the money to support this business.
  2. Validation – sometimes an idea sounds good in theory but when you actually write it out you start to see that it makes no business sense or requires too much money to be a viable business.

This step is a good step to keep you disciplined and focused. You need to write down you plan and start to internalize and share it with friends or people you respect so they can pick it apart and criticize it.

Better for an idea to die here than after you have spent lots of hours and lots of $$$ on it.

In the next installment in the series, I’ll show you how to quickly get a logo done.

Let me know if you think I missed anything here.

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Editorial

A Failure of imagination – Apple release new iPhone XR iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

Apple have taken the easy way out, avoided innovation and are dependent on incremental upgrades

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Apple iPhone XS

I have an iPhone and I love it so I absolutely hate to be THAT guy.

I hate to be the guy who’s going against the grain, who seems to be contrarian where others celebrate but unfortunately, this is one of those articles.

Apple released their new iPhones today.

They released three new models – the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

The new iPhone XS and XS Max are priced at $999 and $1,099 and start shipping out at the end of this month. The iPhone XR starts at $749 and begins shipping out in October.

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS (Image Credit – The Verge)

The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436 x 1125 resolution. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch OLED display with a 2688 x 1242 resolution. The iPhone XR, which you can basically think of as this year’s lower-end offering, has a 6.1-inch LCD display with a 1792 x 828 resolution.

At the end of the day, the screen size is the main difference between these three new models.

  • The XS is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but the screen is as big as the screen on the 8 Plus.
  • The iPhone XS Max is as big as the iPhone 8 Plus, and its screen is larger.
  • The iPhone XR has a larger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, while its overall size is just slightly smaller.

The iPhone XS and XS Max have dual rear 12-megapixel cameras and improved True Tone flash, and a front 7-megapixel camera. The iPhone XR, as the more budget option, has one 12-megapixel camera on the back, with True Tone flash.

All the new phones are powered by a new seven-nanometer A12 Bionic chip which can handle 512GB of storage. The iPhone XS and XS Max also have faster Face ID, True Tone display, and 3D Touch. They have support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 video.

The iPhone XS and XS Plus come in gold, silver, or space gray. The iPhone XS starts at $999 for the 64GB option, and has 256GB and 512GB options as well. The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099, with the same storage options. The 512GB option goes for $1,449.

The Apple iPhone XS Promo Video

My opinion

Unfortunately, this is just more of the same.

Apple have made a larger phone, added more storage and made the camera better. The phone OS will be improved as well but that is really all that happened.

As someone who has an iPhone 7 Plus, I will upgrade at some point but the truth is there is STILL no rush.

I have been waiting for a compelling upgrade from Apple that would force me to head to the store and/or pre-order a new phone and the truth is, this isn’t the one.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 seems way more exciting from a consumer point of view because of the screen, the pen and the TONS of innovative new features they bring to the table.

When Steve Jobs died, there was a fervent argument among the faithful that innovation at the worlds most valuable company would start to slow.

Unfortunately I fear this is the case.

The most exciting features of the iPhone (IMHO) are FaceID and the upcoming multi-user FaceTime. Beyond those two features, it seems like Apple is just keeping up with the competition.

Let’s be really clear, these are REALLY GOOD PHONES.

But unfortunately, Apple is in a Michael Jackson type situation where they seem to be unable to do anything better than their greatest hit.

Apple continues to live in Steve Job’s shadow and unfortunately, his genius is really the anchor against which the company’s level of innovation will be measured. Using that yardstick, the company fails to measure up.

Preorders for both phones begin on September 14 and ship on September 21st in select countries, with rollout in other countries to follow.

What do you think? Will you buy an iPhone XS?

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