Bowling alley

October 31, 2011

Those of you who have worked with me know that I’m a fan of the “Bowling Alley” strategy for growth.

Put simply, a business should focus on dominating its first market segment with its first product. Only after it is the “go to” organization for its product in its market segment should it look to grow a new product line or with the existing product line into a new market.

I adopted it from Geoffrey Moore’s book “Inside the Tornado“.

Brian Scudamore is one of BC’s leading entrepreneurs. He is the founder of 1-800-Got-Junk and has built that into a $100mm plus franchising business. His company faces lots of mom-and-pop competitors, but “Got-Junk” is by far the most dominant player.

He is now taking the expertise, relationships, systems and know-how that has turned Got-Junk into an international success story and applying them to a new market segment. 1-800-Wow-1-day promises to paint your house in one day.

Here’s an article taken from today’s National Post on 1-800-Wow-1-day: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/31/primed-for-growth/. I’m going to follow it with interest to see the Bowling Alley Strategy work its wonders!

UBC Student Entrepreneurs

October 25, 2011

As many of you know I was part of the team that formed entrepreneurship@UBC, an incubator, accelerator and start up venture fund owned and operated by the University of British Columbia.

I am very pleased to see that the entrepreneurship@UBC Fund has announced its first investment: Aeos Biomedical.

Colin O’Neill and Nick Seto co-founded Aeos to commercialize their “Target Tape” invention. Target tape is a disposable, adhesive sticker that assists surgeons to better target their incisions. This idea is something that surgeons immediately understand and appreciate. I think this company has great potential.

Colin and Nick are terrific examples of what can happen when engineering students are partnered with commerce students. They play to their strengths, complement one another and are already on a successful track.

I am very happy for them and for entrepreneurship@UBC for helping foster some great student entrepreneurs.

Elected office

October 18, 2011

Over time politicians have come to be poorly respected alongside less ethical used car salesman (I know an impeccably ethical used car salesman). So when I consider who I’m voting for one of the key considerations is whether I think they are straight shooters.

Jack Layton, Ronald Reagan, Tommy Douglas, Ralph Klein and George W. Bush were all straight shooting politicians. Whether you liked them or hated them, you knew where they stood.

The other criterion I use is whether I think they can execute. Being a successful elected politician requires a lot of different skill sets, but chief amongst them is the ability to get things done. Barack Obama and Gregor Robertson would be two examples of leaders that can’t execute.

My friend Christopher Gorman is running for elected office in Kelowna, British Columbia. I have served with Chris on the UBC Alumni Association board and have seen him in action. I have also been a colleague of his at UBC when I was forming UBC’s entrepreneurship@UBC initiative.

Chris is a professional, honest and capable executive. He is a community minded person and does a great job at whatever I have seen him do. If I lived in Kelowna I would vote for him in a second.

If you will be voting in the forthcoming Kelowna civic elections I highly recommend Chris for School Board.



October 18, 2011

This is well worth 8 minutes of time to see the power of teamwork.

I have a fascination with the forensics of plane crashes. I’m a big fan of National Geographic’s Air Crash Investigation television series.

Ric Elias’ five minute TED Talk was about the three things he learned as a passenger aboard the US Airways flight 1549 that was ditched in the Hudson River in 2009.

Enjoy this five minute vignette.

I had the honour of thanking Kim Campbell for a fireside chat hosted by the UBC Faculty of Law. Check out the video below for her speech. She’s funny, entertaining, well spoken and has had some great experiences since leaving Canadian government.