Tag Archives: analytics

THE HIDDEN DANGER IN YOUR DATA

Howard Tullman B&Wby Howard Tullman

From the Journal of the Heartland Angels

Today, entrepreneurs have tools and technologies to collect, monitor, and document more data than ever before. You’re likely swimming in data, since customers leave a trail of it everywhere to be captured and analyzed in real time. As I’ve often said, in business, what gets measured (and acknowledged and rewarded) is what gets done. I haven’t changed my belief about that, but I have come to see that we are putting too much emphasis strictly on the numbers. Numbers don’t lie, but they never tell the whole story. They can only take you so far before they top out and you need something qualitative and experiential to get to the right conclusions.

Pie Chart Hesitation

Peter Drucker’s dictum “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has created a whole generation of leaders so focused on perfecting their company’s processes that they lose sight of the company’s purpose. I hear managers all the time talking about the need to get more work out of their people when they should be trying to get the best work out of them. Optimizing (not maximizing) the team’s output is what matters most to the ultimate success of a business. Working smarter and more effectively—not necessarily longer or harder—is how you ultimately move ahead of the competition.

You need to be exceedingly careful these days that you don’t let the ease of access and the ubiquity of massive amounts of quantitative performance data cause you to over-emphasize the math and measurements—and thereby lose sight of the far more important qualitative attributes of what’s going on. Not everything is easy to measure or quantify, but that doesn’t make these things less important; it just makes your job as manager tougher. But when you get so wrapped up in the measurement process that it becomes the goal itself, it loses its effectiveness. It’s easy to confuse movement with progress, but not all motion is forward. And lots of activities that run up the numbers aren’t remotely productive. Measuring is easy; measuring better is tough.

When you let the numbers drive the train, you give up two important advantages that are critical to your success. First, the goal isn’t to be the thermometer; it’s to be the thermostat. It’s not about measuring the heat; it’s about generating and controlling the heat. You don’t want the analytics to lead you; they’re a useful benchmark and a guide for course corrections, but it’s your job to set the direction and move the business forward. Second, when you get so focused on specific and concrete financial results (sales targets, growth rates, etc.) and you direct all your team’s energies toward getting as close to achieving those numbers as possible, you actually limit your ultimate upside because you lose the ability to think and see beyond those immediate goals. When a game-changing opportunity arises or a quantum shift occurs in your sales prospects, your team will likely be so heads-down chasing those numbers that someone else will come along and grab the new brass ring.

Black Hole of Data

Here are three principles that have helped me resist the temptation to get too caught up in the numbers—and focus on what truly matters at my company:

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Elaboration is a form of pollution

Tell your team to keep it simple. No one gets paid by the page, and shorter is almost always better. I’ve found that when people expand and extend their plans, proposals, and presentations, there’s a high degree of likelihood that they’re concerned about the value of their pitch, so they try to bury it in a boatload of facts, figures, charts, citations, and everything else that just hides the hard truth. It’s better for everyone when your people put things right out there—front and center—and take their medicine if that’s what’s called for. If you torture the numbers long enough, they’ll say whatever you like, but that’s not any way to get to the truth or the right result.

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Not everything is worth doing well

Tell your team that everyone’s always on the clock. There’s an opportunity cost associated with everything you do, so choosing what not to do (and how extensively to do the things you need to do) is critical in any startup which has scarce resources and time. Some things just don’t warrant the full-court press, and it’s important to make sure that everyone knows that that’s okay with you. Other things shouldn’t be done at all, and you should never try to do things cheaply that just aren’t worth doing. It’s never easy to turn people down or say, “No,” to marginal choices, but it’s part of the job.

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No one’s ever measured how much the heart can hold

Ultimately, the value of the critical connections your people make every day with your clients and customers can only be roughly approximated by even the best math. But it’s those daily personal and emotional interactions with your empowered employees that build crucial engagement as well as the lifetime value of those buyers for your business. You need to give your team permission to do what’s best for the customer in the moment that the opportunity arises. If they need to consult a rule book or have a calculator handy to do the math, they’ll lose the value of the moment every time. The best businesses don’t worry about the number or sheer volume of moments–they work to make each moment matter.

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Howard Tullman is a philosopher, investor, and Chicago entrepreneur.   For more from Howard, go to

http://tullman.blogspot.com

www.1871.com/

Read his bio: http://tullman.com/resume.asp

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This article appeared in the following publicatons:

News From Heartland  http://news.HeartlandAngels.com

INC Magazine  http://www.inc.com/

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Graphics: Getty Images, MS Office, H Tullman

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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THE RESUME IS DEAD

Funding Feeding Frenzy – Part 4

VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

FFF LogoLoop Lonagan here at FFF and we’re in for a treat. Mitch Schneider is pitching his new company, Kauzu. I like companies that do well by doin’ good fer people. And this one’s all about local jobs that keep people off the streets.

Say you got a business in an urban setting and need to hire an employee. You want somebody local. Hey, everbody wants local. Kauzu logoMcDonalds, Wal-Mart, Pace, Cook County—they want local people too. Local’s always better. Local employees stay longer and save the business alotta money.

Just by way of example, I’ll explain this from the point o’ view of a small guy—a shop or restaurant or somethin’.

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Da Old-Fashioned Way

You wanna put out feelers. But how you gonna do that? Monster? Whoa—they’re expensive and you get buried by applications from all over the place. So what else can you try? How about Craigs List? Usta be pretty good—my own daughter got a job thru them about five years back. But they’re still not as local as we’re talkin’. Then there’s the classifieds, but that’s expensive and in a city of millions, that’s not really local either. You can post a help-wanted sign in yer restaurant window, but then you gotta interview anybody comes in off the street, like my pal Big Bubba. Can’t picture him workin’ tables unless yer runnin’ a racket and need an enforcer or somethin’.

So those are all old-fashioned methods. If you decide to use one o’ those yer gonna get tons o’ applications to wade thru. Lots ‘n’ lotsa paper. Most o’ those’ll be the wrong people for the job. Ever try ‘n figure out which is best by lookin’ at paperwork? Good luck to you!  Far as I’m concerned you might as well throw darts.

Then after you pick a buncha people you think look good, you gotta interview ‘em. All of ‘em. There’s laws. Are you a professional in the use of modern interview techniques? Probably not. So yer wastin’ alota time and money. And it’s all happenin’ when yer short on help. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it.  What if we could dump the resume and the application too?

.The Resume is Dead

Da New Way

Now, when I’m picking a stock, I use modern filtering and modern analytics. Why not apply that technology to jobs? So where do you go to get that?

Tablet

Along comes Kauzu. Here’s what they do:

  1. A business posts a digital help-wanted sign on Kauzu’s website for next to nothing. Kauzu uses filters and analytics and automatically matches the right people with the right jobs. And you get to set the filters yerself. No need to study hundreds of resumes or interview scores o’ people.
  2. Job-seekers fill out profiles on the Kauzu site for free. One and done. They see the close-by jobs that fit them right on their cell phones.
  3. The result? Businesses save time and money. You only interview pre-screened local candidates that are more likely to stick. Job seekers get a hyper-local job search with fully mobile functionality. The resume is a thing of the past.

Text Feature

“But,” you say, “What about people that don’t have smartphones.” And that’s true for about 70% of the unemployed. But hey—you don’t need no smartphone. Text works just as good. Just input yer location ‘n’ it shows you the nearby jobs.

If you got one o’ them newfangled smartphones or tablets, it gets evenSmart Phone better. Geo-location shows you the jobs right on a map. Of course you can always go to the public library and use their computer fer free.

Pretty slick. I like it a lot. So do chambers of commerce and city colleges that are pushing Kauzu. The timing couldn’t be better. Check out this video. And there’s lots more on their site.

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Da Business

Mitch, Paul, & GlennThis Mitch Schneider guy is super smart.  I had lunch with him not too long back at One North.  When we got done four hours had blown by.  I guess I like talkin’ to intelligent people and I’m impressed with Mitch.  I think this guy’s got the know-how, the drive and the creativity to make any startup sit up and bark.

They’re asking $500K for a 30% equity stake and expect to break even in month 17 with a 10X multiple in five years.  Translation—they’re investable.  So far they’re bootstrapping, but along with Paul Cusimano, they already built a nice team, a great website, and they got a big advisory board that includes—get this—Glenn Gottfried.  So they got the management, the tools, the channels.  Now they’re raising the money.

Mitch Pitch

Da Judging

So how did the judges respond to a terrific offering like this? Yer not gonna believe it. They didn’t get it at all. Mitch got four o’ the dreaded GO FUND YOURSELF signs and one STILL FISHING. Not a single FUNDABLE. Strange—real strange. Why didn’t the judges get it? The audience sure did—no question. People watching the Q&A got so frustrated, they kept calling out answers to the judge’s questions. That’s against the FFF rules but hey, it was kinda like a revolt. And these judges are guys I respect, so I ain’t got it figured out.

So afterwards I ask Mitch about it and he seems strangely unconcerned about it all. Turns out he’s using a different pitch every time he presents. He videotapes every one o’ them and runs comparisons. What a terrific strategy. Like I said, this guy’s smart. So he found a pitch that connects with an audience but not judges. He won’t repeat that one, but it might be good advertising fodder.

Glenn Gottfried at Lunch

Glenn Gottfried at Lunch

So I go downstairs fer some lunch and ask Glenn Gottfried how come the audience understands it but the judges don’t. He’s got alota good ideas fer fixing it but no real answer to why it happened. Guess we’ll wait fer the video analysis.  I’m still scratching my head, but it is what it is. If any o’ you guys can offer a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment.

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Continue to Part 5

Go back to Part 1

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Da Contacts

Kauzu  www.kauzu.com

Funding Feeding Frenzy

www.facebook.com/FundingFeedingFrenzy

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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