Business Strategy Monday: Microsoft’s New Strategy



(1) Implication: Things that become true because of something else.

The implications for an improving economy are probably more jobs and higher profits.

(2) To make a case for something: To argue something is true.

We made our case for expanding into Japan, now we need to see if they’ll accept our proposal.

(3) Default device: The device people will use when they’re unsure or don’t get to make a choice

The default device for calling people is still the phone, but it might become the computer.



1. What is Microsoft’s new strategy?

a. To make the best hardware in the world

b. To make the best software in the world

c. To make the software and hardware for their devices really good

2. What does it mean to leverage a relationship?

a. To use an existing relationship to do something else

b. To expand the relationship you have with someone

c. To begin a new partnership

3. How might Microsoft leverage its corporate relationships?

a. To sell tablets to corporations

b. To make tablets more entertaining

c. To sell tablets to the public

7 ________________________



Cartoon by

By Jeremy Schaar

In the previous two lessons, you learned what Microsoft’s strategy was and how it has changed. Today, you’ll learn about the implications for Microsoft’s strategy.

To quickly review, Microsoft’s previous strategy was to only sell software. Everyone wanted the same software, so they could charge high prices and everyone would pay. They didn’t make hardware because all the hardware was basically the same. It was a commodity and not very profitable.

Things changed for two reasons. First, hardware isn’t a commodity anymore. For example, there are significant differences between an iPhone and a Galaxy Note. Second, Google now gives away Android for free.

Therefore, Microsoft is now trying to copy Apple and make the best software/hardware bundle. They hope people will buy their devices because their hardware and software are so good.

Will this work?

It will be hard. Apple and Samsung are already great. But here’s a case for how Microsoft succeeds.

First, note that most people use their tablets for entertainment–not for work. Apple and Samsung understand this, so their tablets are designed for games and web browsing more than productivity. They don’t really try to sell tablets to corporations. The Microsoft tablet is different. Microsoft emphasizes that you can multitask with it, you can use Microsoft Office, and it has a nice stand and keyboard.

Imagine that the Microsoft tablet therefore becomes the default device for businesses. In fact, Microsoft is still very profitable because of its corporate accounts. (Many people download illegal versions of Microsoft Windows, but corporations still pay.) Microsoft can leverage those existing relationships to sell their tablets. Then, when office workers are all using their tablets, they’ll be able to expand to the general public.

With the strategy decided, it becomes a question of B2B marketing. It will be fascinating to watch how well Microsoft succeeds.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain Wednesday: Visualization



(1) A bit: A little

I’m a bit hungry. Let’s eat a snack.

(2) Nerve: The self-confidence to do something

I don’t have the nerve to ask my boss for a raise. I wish I was more brave.

(3) Metric: A way to measure something

The primary metric is sales numbers, but customer satisfaction surveys are also important.



1. Why is it a good idea to visualize your ideas?

a. They’ll be easier to understand

b. It gives you nerve

c. Both A and B

2. How can the Sherpa application help you?

a. You can perform better at meetings with better data

b. You can find metrics

c. You can visualize various metrics

3. Which sentence might you say to your boss?

a. We can do that, but here’s the impact.

b. If you do that, it will have a bad impact.

c. Show me a chart that lets me see the impact.

7 ________________________



1000 words By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog you’ll learn what it means to visualize ideas. You’ll also get some help understanding a cool blog. Finally, you’ll learn some real life expressions that you can use on the job.


To visualize an idea just means to create a picture that presents an idea. I might say that Company A sells oranges and apples to Company B, which uses all the apples for itself and sells half the organges to consumers and half to Company C. Or, I could visualize this idea like this:

visualized fruit


Over at, Lora Cecere talks about the need to visualize ideas.

Her discussion is in the context of “chutzpah”. Chutzpah means nerve. And nerve means the self-confidence to say or do something.

She says that at S&OP meetings, the commercial team will sometimes makes a crazy request. They use visualization software (Llamasoft’s mobile Sherpa application), to show the impacts in pictures. Everyone at the meeting can quickly see an image that shows metrics such as financials, logistics, service, sustainability, and risk.

Sentence You Can Use On The Job

“We can do that, but here is the impact.”

This is a friendly sentence. You’re letting the other person make the decision and just giving them the information. It’s a good sentence to use with your boss or another decision maker.

“This is all a bit complicated. Let’s take a look at a visual representation of this data.”

This is a good sentence for a presentation. After you’ve explained something in words, you can show a picture to make your ideas clear.

“Please find a way to visualize this. We need it to be clearer.”

This sentence is a strong sentence from a boss. You can request that your team make the information cleared by using some image or graph.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Global Marketing Tuesday: Chipotle And Persona



(1) Persona: The personality of your brand

Our brand’s persona gives people something to connect with. We want them to relate to our brand like they’re a person.

(2) Factory farm: A farm that is similar to a factory

I grew up on a farm, but it was nothing like today’s factory farms. We milked cows by hand and the cows were free to go wherever they wanted.

(3) Natural ingredients: Parts of food that aren’t changed with technology

Our carrots are all natural. They’re straight from the ground to the box to the store. We don’t use any chemicals at all.



1. Why does Chipotle use a movie like this?

a. To sell more burritos

b. To create a world that strengthen’s their brand’s persona

c. To create a bond with the customer

2. What persona does Guerlain have?

a. Expensive and difficult

b. Sexy and adventurous

c. Fun and healthy

3. What persona does Chipotle have?

a. Tasty and safe

b. Fast and efficient

c. Healthy and kind

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

“Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it…”

Two lessons ago, I presented the eight Ps of luxury marketing. Today, we’ll continue to look at how companies use those eight Ps. Not all of the companies in this series are luxury brands, but they all use elements of luxury branding. Today, we’ll look at Chipotle and Persona.

Chipotle is a Mexican fast food restaurant. They sell burritos and tacos and so on.

Persona is an idea used by lots of companies. Luxury brands often try to put their products in fantastic worlds filled with sex and adventure. Then, you buy that product because you like the sexy and adventurous persona. Compare this video from the Guerlain perfume house with the Chipotle’s video above.

Guerlain uses the video to set their perfume in a specific world and give their brand a specific persona. Chipotle does the same. They both give their brand a persona. In the case of Chipotle, they’re saying that the world is full of factory farms, but Chipotle is different. They use natural ingredients. They’re healthy and kind. Chipotle is a big business, but they want their brand to live in the world of local farmers and good food. It’s a wonderful world and persona for a food brand.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, B, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Business Strategy Monday: Ready For Growth?



(1) Proactive: To do something before you need to

I want you to be proactive. Don’t wait for me to tell you what to do.

(2) To align: To get people to feel the same way

We need to align the marketing and production teams.

(3) To harness: To use something for your advantage

We’ve harnessed our strong technical background to build a cool mobile application.



1. What is Booz and Company’s “Fit for Growth Index”?

a. The ways a company can align strategy

b. A score for how likely a company is to grow

c. The ways a company can grow

2. What’s the key point about spending?

a. Cut waste

b. Spend on underfunded areas

c. Spend on the stuff important for success

3. Why might alignment be important?

a. You need the right people

b. You need the right skills

c. You need people to work towards the same goals

7 ________________________




By Jeremy Schaar

In this lesson, you’ll learn some good vocabulary and how to tell if a company is ready for growth.

Have you heard about Booz and Company’s “Fit for Growth Index”?  They’ve identified three things that are important for growth. They also created a way to score those things so that companies can get a rating that’s easy to understand. You can think of it like a company taking a test. Their formula is a little complicated. You can click on the picture above or on this link to read all about it. (You’ll need to register at their site first.)

Here’s how they describe companies that are ready to grow:

First, they create clarity and coherence in their strategy, articulating the differentiating capabilities that they will need to win in the marketplace.

Said simply: A company should understand well why they will succeed.

Clarity means clear. Coherence means that there are no conflicts. To articulate is to say. A differentiating capability is something you can do better than your competitors.

Second, they put in place an optimized cost structure and approach to capital allocation, with continual investment in the capabilities critical to success, while proactively cutting costs in less-critical areas to fund these investments.

Said simply: They should spend their money wisely. This means cutting money in unimportant areas so they can spend on the stuff that’s really important for success.

Optimized means best possible. Cost structure is how much they’ll pay for things. Capital allocation is where they spend money. Continual investment means they’re always spending. Capabilities are things they can do. Critical to success means really important for success. Proactively means before it’s necessary.

Third, they build supportive organizations. They redesign their structures, incentives, decision rights, skill sets, and other organizational and cultural elements to more closely align their behavior to their strategy, and to harness the collective actions of their people.

Said simply: Employees should be able to do the company’s strategy. This means having the right people and motivating everyone to work well together.

Supportive means helpful. Incentives are the things that make us work well. To align means to get people to think the same way. To harness means to take advantage of, to use well.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, B, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain Wednesday: Lean Production and Poka-Yoke



(1) Lean: Without waste

It’s a very lean operation. They don’t have money for anything that’s not essential.

(2) Implement: To start using a process

We need to implement a new training program. The old one is terrible.

(3) To eliminate: To remove, delete, destroy, etc.

If we don’t eliminate the waste around here, we’ll all lose our jobs.



1. Why is lean manufacturing popular?

a. It adds value to products

b. It eliminates stuff that doesn’t add value to a product

c. Both A and B

2. Which one of these is an example of poka-yoke?

a. A rubber bar that prevents tall trucks from entering a warehouse

b. A manager that finds a faster way to process orders

c. A robot that brings the correct items to you

3. How might you explain poka-yoke to someone?

a. It’s things that reduce waste

b. It’s things that add value to a product

c. It’s things that stop us from making a mistake

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar


Today on the blog you’ll learn what lean manufacturing is. You’ll learn about a specific way to implement lean manufacturing and you’ll learn three sentences that you might use on the job.

Concept Lean manufacturing is when you try to make everything add value to the final product. If it doesn’t add value to the final product, then you don’t do it. You eliminate it.

Here’s a simple example: Imagine that your company packs and ships books. Every time you finish packing a box with books, you check to make sure everything is tight by shaking the box. However, you never repack the books. They’re always tight. You can eliminate the shaking. It’s not adding any value.

Lean manufacturing is always looking for ways to eliminate things that don’t add value.

Example Toyota is famous for lean manufacturing. They have many ways of making sure everything adds value to the final product. One way is called “poka-yoke”. It’s a Japanese term that basically means “avoiding mistakes”. The idea is to build things into the system that will stop mistakes that would subtract value.

Here are some examples of poka-yoke:

  • A safety on a gun, so you can’t fire it accidentally
  • A loud beeping sound when a truck moves backwards, so no one gets hit
  • A check-list that makes sure you’ve done all the tasks
  • A picture of what a completed item should look like

On The Job Here are some sentences you might use at your job

Starting a conversation: I was reading about this Japanese idea of poka-yoka. Do you know about it?

Explaining poka-yoke: Basically, it’s anything that prevents us from making mistakes

Making a suggestion: I was thinking there might be some easy ways for us implement poka-yoke and reduce errors around here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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