The Poor State of Business Journalism (From a Strategy Perspective)

As a consultant, marketer, and now business owner, I’ve always relied on the business press for much of my information on markets, trends, and competitors.  I’ve never been fully satisfied with the results, but after putting some more thought into it, I’ve decided that business journalism is in many ways a very poor source of information for business analysts.  A lot of journalistic conventions are counterproductive for real business analysis.  Considering that the entire field of news and journalism is changing radically these days, I wonder if it’s also time for a clean break and a rethinking of business journalism. Continue reading The Poor State of Business Journalism (From a Strategy Perspective)

Quick Cisco Update

Yesterday, I wrote about how Cisco, despite strong strategy and execution, wasn’t seeing the rewards in the stock market.  Coincidentally, the company chose the same day to announce a product that was going to “change the Internet forever,” which turned out to be a faster router.  While this is a great way to address the need for ever-greater bandwidth, as exemplified by AT&T getting continually pounded by the iPhone’s massive data traffic, it’s not revolutionary.  It’s likely another industry-leading product from Cisco on a well-defined trajectory, but it doesn’t change the overall playing field.  As such, it doesn’t do much to change my earlier analysis.  Here’s more detail from Information Week.

Cisco's Great Execution Goes Unrewarded

Cisco is a fascinating case study in company strategy and a bit of a puzzle.  The networking equipment giant is known for being phenomenally well-run and dominates many of the markets in which it competes.  In the 1990’s, Cisco advised many companies not just on networking equipment, but also on how to use the Internet in general for business purposes.  Recently, they have been expanding into diverse areas including the smart grid, set-top boxes, and even server hardware, and they are becoming known as a leader in online collaboration.  Yet the stock has gone sideways since 2001, not even taking into account the huge drop after the dot-com bust.  Part of that is simply bad timing, but Cisco is also struggling against the age-old problems of extremely successful companies – maturing markets, the law of large numbers (the difficulty of maintaining growth rates as a company gets bigger, not to be confused with the statistical law), and maintaining adaptability as an ever-larger organization.  Is Cisco’s strategy really all that great, and if so, will it be recognized by the market? Continue reading Cisco’s Great Execution Goes Unrewarded