Think Like a Startup

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University • April 2012

Change agent. Virginia Tech Associate Dean Brian Mathews' white paper contemplates the future of academic librarianship in a world where change is the only constant. Mathews notes that startup ventures are nimble, flexible and willing to learn from failure—characteristics that will be essential to libraries' survival in the coming reconfiguration of higher education.

I read all the selected articles in this week's edition but ran out of time for a full commentary. So these are presented in suggested reading order with the briefest possible comment in the spirit of the NYTimes one-page Sunday Magazine mini-reviews. ( Michalko)

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

Harvard Business Review • April 2012

Focus your energy. The Steve Jobs Story has been fodder for dozens of articles since his death last year. Check out biographer Walter Isaacson's article highlighting Jobs' strategic leadership skills and how his embrace of both science and humanities—along with laser-like focus and some personality quirks—helped mold Apple into the phenomenon it is today.

Credible substitute for reading the book. ( Michalko)

How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By

The New York Times • April 14, 2012

Get organized. This profile of former tech leader Sony Corp. offers a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to do too many things with too little strategic coordination. The company that once wowed us with Walkman is struggling to regain its footing, and its story is "a tale of lost opportunities and disastrous infighting."

Schadenfreude. ( Michalko)

Compete on Know-Why, Not Know-How

HBR Blog Network • April 12, 2012

Concentrate on the core. Marketing strategist Adam Richardson uses the example of Toyota's Prius marketing campaign to offer three core insights that can help steer innovation strategy. By asking "why" instead of "how," you can avoid incremental thinking that fails to differentiate your brand. In Richardson's words: "…(D)eep, relevant insights help you stay one step ahead of competitors who may try to imitate your creations. If they can't replicate the thinking driving your innovations, they'll be doomed to 'me too' status."

It's all in the title. ( Michalko)

Three Simple Rules to Ensure Humiliating Failure

The Economist • March 31, 2012

New Coke, anyone? From Hollywood to Coca Cola, the road to innovation is littered with flops—yet at some point, these ideas were deemed worthy. Read on for the secret formula to mega-failure, plus some examples of products that defied those "rules."

Not that much of a secret. ( Michalko)

Co-Creation and the New Web of Things

Digital Tonto • April 11, 2012

The smart revolution. The next few years will see organizations scramble to build co-creative relationships with customers newly empowered by smarter than ever smartphones, smart homes, smart cars and smart retail. As open technology and sophisticated apps fuel the transition from the Internet of Things to the Web of Things, consumers will demand more from their suppliers, and will hack any system that tries to maintain the status quo.

We need new words for all the various ways in which the word "hack" is now used. ( Michalko)

Why E-books Cost So Much

CNET News • April 11, 2012

Value gap. CNET social media manager Nathan Bransford's brief analysis of the economics of publishing and selling e-books helps explain some of the confusion surrounding the publishers' search for a viable e-book business model.

You know but this is what the non-professional believes. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, it is riskier to do nothing and become irrelevant to our user communities than to do what?

Get the answer.