The Lead: Google’s Leadership Summit, Soaring Tech Startup Funding

Google’s Leadership Summit for Publishers

Google recently held a leadership summit with attendees from Vice Media, the New York Times, Business Insider, Vox Media, Wall Street Journal-parent News Corp, and many other publishing companies. At this summit they announced a new range of Google features and tools that are designed to help publishers increase revenue from their content. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, plans to help publishers through the utilization of both a subscription model and an ad model.

Our View: Effective collaboration between Google and publishers will be mutually beneficial for both of their marketing strategies. Successful marketing leaders maximize the value creation gleaned from meeting their customers’ needs and their company’s needs. Further Reading

Soaring Tech Startup Funding

Investors are funding early stage technology startups at an increasing rate. The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer tracks the business conditions for U.S.-based private technology companies, and it just reached a record high that’s up 44% from last year.

Our View: The fundamentals of funding any venture includes understanding the mindset of your investor. Whether you are a leader seeking funding for a project or a company, take the time to understand your investor’s goals and assumptions. Also, consider the nonfinancial value your investors can add, such as their network and experience. Further Reading

Netflix Price Increase

Netflix is increasing the prices on their subscription products, and many analysts predict that the price hikes won’t lose Netflix many customers because the service provides great value at what is still considered a low monthly cost. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. consumers are expected to increase their spending on streaming services by 17% this year to $9.6 billion and another 13% next year to $10.9 billion.

Our View: Leaders who adapt their pricing strategy for customers must also adjust their sales team’s compensation plans to reflect the right incentives to sell at higher prices. Aligning compensation plans with corporate priorities and customer value helps manage the change resistance that inevitably joins a price increase. Further Reading

Chocolate Giant Ferrero Develops Innovation Center on Cornell’s Campus

The Italian chocolate giant Ferrero International S.A. is developing an innovation center at Cornell University’s technology campus in New York City. Ferrero will gain access to new technologies developed by Cornell students and better opportunities to recruit graduates. Ferrero’s expenditures in research and development go beyond college campuses, and in June, the company opened a Ferrero Innovation Center in Singapore.

Our View: An analysis of successful R&D leaders showed that they tend to excel at technical insight, global awareness, and the ability to create an innovative culture, but they often fall short on some people management skills, including the ability to manage conflict and engage effectively with upper management. Like all leaders, R&D leaders can benefit from continuously assessing and improving their people management and conflict resolution skills. Further Reading

 Sharing Economy Expands with Shoe Rentals

Special occasion shoes are often just worn once by their buyer, and the discount shoe retailer DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) announced that it will be adding a shoe rental service to get more customers into its stores. While bowling alley shoes have been rented to customers for decades, retail consultants have expressed concerns about the logistics and sustainability of DSW’s shoe rental experiment.

Our View: Leaders who experiment and adapt over time in a continuous process yield better strategic outcomes than those who are more rigid. Adaptive experimentation leaders set objectives, create a culture of innovation (supported by technology and reward systems), design experiments, and implement the experiments with controls and regulations. Finally, they analyze their results and use lessons learned in the development of the next series of experiments. Further Reading



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