Machiavelli, The Prince

I have just finished this book. So many people recommend The Art of War as an excellent reference for learning about the strategic and tactician principles. This book makes something similar at leadership and management point of view.

As human behavior has really not changed so much on some basic behaviors, these lessons are still valid.


To block or not block search indexing, this is the question

Enable Google to index your pages can be good or can be bad. The immediate answer is “good”, but I will try to put an example where the answer is “bad”.

You look at the web traveler agencies that are investing millions dollars for being the first result on Google enabling the search index.

After that, you find Google has “Flights” section on their page, and the quality of this information is very accurate: they give you more options, less advertisement, and they route you directly to purchase the tickets on the flight company web.

Why do you want to pay a travel agency if Google is giving it to me for free?

By this reason, for instance Facebook, does not enable Google to index their content since years.

Poor web travel agencies, they are being beaten in the same way the physical travel agencies were beaten some years ago.

The sequence is as follows:

  1. Physical market.
  2. Web market (if you are here, analyze how much time the market is going to exist).
  3. Google market, Amazon market, Alibaba market,….

Customer facing processes

Before the trends were defined by the companies,

Now the trends are defined by the customers, they are not unique, the value of the experience is more and more relevant.

ACME-trendThis is happening in almost all industries: retail, automotive, tourism, telecommunications, media.

The purchase process has changed, people look on-line, visit physical stores, buy on-line, buy on a physical store….

The expectations are high in all channels. To retrieve all these individual trends is not easy. Marketing teams have so much work to do.

The symtom, the desease and the cure

Identify the symptom is useful for understanding the problem and setting priorities to overcome it.

The disease focuses the attention on the underlying causes of the problem.

The cure focuses on the actions to remove the cause and also take into account negative collateral effects.

The lack of understanding of these three concepts is making the execution of a six sigma project to be more complicated than expected.

Why? people are limiting their actions to removing the symptoms.

Non successful SharePoint implementations

I have been seeing during the last 3 years major companies investing millions of dollars on SharePoint farms, SharePoint migration projects, tonnes of effort to go… where?

Do you know any major SharePoint implementation where the end users and CIO are happy?

If you do, please let me know! I’m interested on it.

I have seen successful mid-size implementations, and small farms for a bunch of users. The point is that for these type of implementations the investment per user is so high and you cannot take advantage of the economy of scale.

Organizational charts

Every time a new organizational chart arrives to your e-mail, you take your time to read, understand the political moves, the roles identified on it and the evolution of the people within that organization. For me this is the main use of this communication tool, the rest is secondary.

Well, secondary? from the political savvy yes, but from other aspects it’s important. I started to work on an account without a clear organizational chart. The result?

  • Team leads have a vague idea about where their teams are working within the account.
  • Sales do not understand the team organization and when they want to build a solution they are proposing delivery models that do not fit with the reality.
  • HR is not able to understand the role of the people with respect the rest of the team.
  • Account manager knows the weaknesses of her team, but is unable to transmit these weaknesses with respect the whole thing.
  • Everyone builds their own idea of the organization, and they learn day by day new parts of the team, the learning curve is slow.
  • People which relevant skills do not know each other, the other day one guy told me: I’m looking for a freelance Tibco architect; why? there is one in our team based in UK!!
  • Only some people know the whole picture, and they are tired of explaining it.

Now that I am doing a Six Sigma training, the only thing I see is waste, so much waste of time on communication.

Hey guys, why you do not do a simple organizational chart?


(Estatua del Cid en Sevilla, tapizada con un colorido croché)

Herberts coating trades

I was writing about Herberts coatings in the past, and news I got during these days made me to pay attention of the story of owners of Herberts coatings.herberts

I have listed the data by event, so you can see how Herberts is changing of owner for time to time.

This is the sequence of events:

1.- Otto Louis Herberts founded Herberts in 1866.

2.- DuPont bought Herberts to KKR in 1998, for 1,89 billion $, it is part of DuPont´s portfolio under the name: DuPont Performance Coatings. DuPont integrated Herberts into their holistic organization, providing a broader channel for selling and distribution channels. In addition they can access to titanium dioxide, a core element of the coatings.

3.- Carlyle bought Herberts to DuPont in 2012, for 4,9 billion $, it is part of Carlyle’s portfolio under the name: Axalta. Carlyle thought Herberts was able to operate with better results alone, reducing the whole of amount of operational expenses charged by central services.

4.- Akzo Nobel interested to buy Herberts in 2014, for 7 billion $.

5.- Berkshire Hathaway buys 20 million shares of Axalta from Carlyle Group for $560 million, or $28 per share.

The story has not ended,