EP# 025: OTC: Improve Yourself

EP# 025: OTC: Improve Yourself

I am a scientist and require data and evidence when creating new products or developing new businesses. However, I also believe in some of the touchy-feely self-help side of life; the self-improvement stuff that most people do not associate with science or business.

But I believe you not only need to develop key business skills such as market research, creative and critical thinking, decision making and problem solving, but you also must have the mindset to achieve the impossible and never stop working toward improving yourself, your organization, and your community.

This episode will review five helpful books to improve your soft skills.

EP# 024: Henry Ford: My Life and Work

EP# 024: Henry Ford: My Life and Work

A great book to expand your business knowledge is, My Life and Work by Henry Ford. Yes, the founder and namesake of the world-famous automobile empire. The book was originally published in 1922 and is a brief autobiography as well as Ford’s ideas on business and life.

My Life and Work takes you inside the mind of a person who managed to change the world, yet who lived in obscurity for the first 40 years of his life. This was a long time to develop skills, both personal and mechanical, which laid the foundation for a massive enterprise.

EP# 023: The Mongol Business Model

EP# 023: The Mongol Business Model

The Mongol Empire was founded by Chinggis Khan (aka Genghis Khan) and became the largest contiguous empire in history stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Mediterranean Sea and the Carpathian Mountains. In the 13th century the Mongols redrew world boundaries, consolidating smaller countries into larger ones. Mongols still controlled India in 1857 and the last ruling descendant, Alim Khaim, emir of Bukhara, was still in power in Uzbekistan in 1920.

So why are we talking about the Mongols on a business podcast about strategy and innovation? Well, the Mongols were some of the most innovative societies ever. Mongol leaders ruled the world with an iron fist but created amazing innovations in military, economic, and social life. As business professionals, we can all learn and be motivated by the amazing changes the Mongols brought to the world and their ability to adapt and change based on different circumstances. Also, their strategies and tactics can be incorporated into business to allow you and your organization to become a leader in your market.

EP# 022: OTC: Sell Those Ideas

EP# 022: OTC: Sell Those Ideas

As product managers we need many tools in our quiver to excel at our jobs. From the ability to develop creative ideas, to the use of systematic research techniques to understand competitors and customers, to strong analytical skills to evaluate market data, these are all critical business skills. But an often overlooked skill is selling. As product managers we often have a love-hate relationship with salespeople. But no matter how we feel about selling, we all need to excel at this critical skill.

EP# 021: Edwin Land and Polaroid

EP# 021: Edwin Land and Polaroid

Edwin Land was a Harvard dropout, a tech genius with a relentless drive for perfection. Before there was a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg, a Silicon Valley type story was created in and around Boston Massachusetts. Land was a tech genius with amazing ideas, who was relentless and obsessive, and cwho hanged the world.

He was a modern pioneer who ran Polaroid for over 50 years, longer than Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and George Eastman ran their famous companies. The company was a truly innovative tech and marketing company. Polaroid and Land also worked with famous artists and musicians such as Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorp, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne from The Talking Heads, Ansel Adams, and Lady Gaga. Polaroid supplied them with film for photos and technical feedback, as well as the publicity the connections created.

As any great inventor, Land would note:

“You must expect failure after failure after failure before you succeed”

EP# 020: OTC: Recap - Episodes 1-19

EP# 020: OTC: Recap - Episodes 1-19

This episode is a recap of the previous 19 episodes. Past episodes focused on key themes such as creativity, lifelong learning, strategy, continuous improvement, and the importance of never giving up. 

From amazing historical figures from business and military such as Sun Tzu, W. Edwards Deming, Peter Drucker and Col. John Boyd, The Business Fanatic podcast focuses on sharing stories to help you succeed in business and life. Sharing military and business examples that are not often taught in business or engineering schools, these incredible people and the companies they created provide important lessons to change yourself and the world.

EP# 019: The Japanese Motorcycle Industry

EP# 019: The Japanese Motorcycle Industry

The Japanese motorcycle industry is one of Japan’s most profitable and leading industries today. From over 200 motorcycle manufacturers in 1955 to only four by 1973, the Japanese motorcycle industry has gone through massive changes. This episode reviews how this industry started, grew, and went from hundreds of manufacturers to only four in less than 20 years.

EP# 018: The History of Toyota (Part II)

EP# 018: The History of Toyota (Part II)

Toyota influenced many organizations around the world and created the foundation of modern manufacturing. Toyota is the world’s most valuable automaker with a market cap of $200 billion and $50 billion in cash.

Part II of this two-part episode focuses on the Toyota Production System and its key elements. The Toyota Production System is based on continuous improvement and identifying problem areas first-hand. In addition, the Toyota Production System is the basis for current lean manufacturing. Also known as the Thinking People System, the Toyota Production System is about empowering every employee, at every level of the organization to continually improve themselves and the organization.

EP# 017: The History of Toyota (Part I)

EP# 017: The History of Toyota (Part I)

Toyota influenced many organizations around the world and created the foundation of modern manufacturing. Toyota is the world’s most valuable automaker with a market cap of $200 billion and $50 billion in cash.

Part I of this two-part episode focuses on the origins of the company from its founder Sakichi Toyoda, to the founder of the motor company, his eldest son Kiichiro Toyoda, a review of the Toyota Motor Co., and the father of the Toyota Production System, Taiichi Ohno.

EP# 016: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part II)

EP# 016: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part II)

Part II continues the amazing story of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic. If his early life was not incredible enough, the start of WWII puts the company and Matsushita in uncharted territory as the Japanese Imperial Army puts incredible pressure on the company to support the war effort.

Matsushita’s experiences during WWII led him on a spiritual journey to change the world and help humanity. His never ending creativity and innovation to transform society to help all of mankind moved him beyond business to help Japan overcome massive changes and ensure a great future for his country and the world. Well into his 80s, Matsushita was still innovating and working hard to improve society.

EP# 015: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part I)

EP# 015: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part I)

This episode’s topic is on Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic. Also known as KM, the following quote epitomized his philosophy on business and life.

 “An enterprise as a whole is as good or bad as the abilities of the individuals who comprise it. The development of the individual therefore, becomes of critical importance to an organization”

KM was one of the most amazing businessmen and philanthropists that most people have never heard of. He was the founder of the massive electrical firm Matsushita Electronics (or MEI), known today as Panasonic. He built one of the world’s largest and most prosperous electrical companies. He was born into a comfortable, wealthy family but soon his world was upended and his family was driven into poverty.

He had minimal formal schooling, lost the majority of family to tuberculosis, and was hampered by poor health that kept him bedridden for long periods of time. However, he continually developed new ideas to innovate his business. As he aged he maintained a youthful outlook on life that continually grew the business, while focusing on improving society.

EP# 014: OTC: Deception and Surprise

EP# 014: OTC: Deception and Surprise

Military theorists, most notably Sun Tzu focused on the benefits of deception to shock and surprise your opponent. Unfortunately, most business leaders ignore this technique as the daily requirements of Wall St. requires a short-term perspective and pressure to share to plans publicly. Unfortunately, this short-term mindset prevents leaders from using many effective ways to outmaneuver competitors.

Sun Tzu and his Art of War is a great resource for military and business strategists. Sun Tzu noted that all warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable, when using our forces, we must seem inactive, when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away, when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

This episode will review four key military campaigns that demonstrate the effectiveness of deception and surprise. These examples are great models for business leaders to adapt similar strategies and tactics to outmaneuver competitors and continually wow customers.

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

The ultimate game changer in the history of making copies was xerography, developed by a quiet, unassuming man who was sick of being bent over a desk for hours at a time making copies by hand. This man, Chester Carlson who grew up under unimaginable poverty, never stopped dreaming of inventing a machine to automatically make copies.

As an assistant to a patent attorney and later as a law school student, the nearsighted Carlson spent hours bent over his desk. With his muscles cramping and his back aching, he dreamed of a better way to make copies. He was never interested in money. He wanted to help society with an invention that would change the world.

EP# 012: OTC: Rekindle Your Creative Thinking Skills

EP# 012: OTC: Rekindle Your Creative Thinking Skills

As we grow older, our creative thinking skills atrophy based on conforming to societal norms (e.g., education, religion, business organizations). Unfortunately, our communities and businesses are in desperate need of new, creative ideas to solve complex problems. As businesses struggle, the environment changes rapidly, educational systems are failing the youth, and crumbling infrastructure is putting lives at risk, the world is desperate for new ideas and ways to improve the world.

Don't worry. All of us are born creative, we just need to rekindle those dormant skills. By understanding that creativity is an attitude, supported by skills, anyone can improve their creativity. It just takes some work and practice.

EP# 011: Momo-san: The Inventor of Instant Noodles

EP# 011: Momo-san: The Inventor of Instant Noodles

This week’s topic is about the incredible story behind instant ramen and the man who made it a worldwide source of tasty, inexpensive food. One man had a dream to provide low-cost, healthy food to ensure Japan’s citizens were able to recover from the destruction of the war.

The man was Momofuku Ando and the company he created was Nissin Food Products. Ando-san, better known as Momo-san, created the revolutionary product of instant noodles and later CUPNOODLES. His products and continuous innovations helped Japan be recognized around the world as a source of innovation.

EP# 010: Colonel John Boyd

EP# 010: Colonel John Boyd

This week’s topic is on Air Force Colonel John Boyd, a military strategist considered the modern Sun Tzu. Colonel Boyd made extensive contributions to fighter tactics, aircraft design, and the theory of air combat than any man in Air Force history. He is most famous for developing the OODA Loop.

In the same vein as Sun Tzu, Musashi, Liddell Hart, Napolean, Genghis Khan, and Mao Tse Tung, you can effectively apply his teachings to business. Business is not war, but you can apply the similar principles to outmaneuver your competition and continually surprise and wow customers. Just be a bit more PC than Boyd if you want to get your ideas accepted. It might take longer but you will have more friends than enemies and less stress.

EP# 009: The History of John Deere

EP# 009: The History of John Deere

What’s happening Fanatics. Welcome back to The Business Fanatic podcast; your weekly business podcast of all things strategy and innovation. I’m your host Dr. O and this week’s topic is John Deere and the history of Deere & Co.

What is more iconic than seeing a green tractor or combine in the middle of massive field of corn? Well, those green farm machines are probably Deere & Co. vehicles. And that iconic leaping deer logo that we all recognize has been used by the company for over 150 years.

John Deere created an iconic global company that helped transform America. The development of Deere’s iconic “singing” plow helped farmers conquer the Midwest and created America’s breadbasket. With the help of Deere’s products, farm output doubled from 1840 to 1860 and then tripled from 1860 to 1890.

Allowing for the settlement of the American Midwest and the ability to feed the growing population of America, Deere was instrumental in the growth of America in the 1800s. 

The story of John Deere and the history of Deere & Co. is a great example of creativity, ingenuity, and an entrepreneurial mindset that never stopped inventing and innovating. John Deere and his son Charles are synonymous with American ingenuity and entrepreneurship and their story is another great example of how a single idea can transform individuals, groups, communities, and countries.

EP# 008: OTC: The Five Elements of Parallel Thinking

EP# 008: OTC: The Five Elements of Parallel Thinking

Developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, parallel thinking is a powerful method to make decisions, develop new ideas, or improve processes. Working together rather than against one another, parallel thinking allows teams to collaborate successfully for a high probability of success.

In an unscripted episode of "Off the Cuff", Dr. O provides an overview of what leaders can do to help their organizations become more successful by adopting parallel thinking.



EP# 006: OTC: Market Research 101

You don't often hear business gurus or professors at top level universities talk about market research. What you will hear most often is sexy musings regarding strategy and innovation, or the wonders of finance. But if an organization does not know what is going on in the market, their competitors will pass them and customers will not return.

Dr. O outlines 8 points to consider to ensure market research is the cornerstone of your success.

Show notes (with time stamps)

Introduction: 00:00 – 02:44

Train Yourself & Everyone Else: 02:47 – 8:18

Train Every Department: 08:22 – 13:32

Genchi Genbutsu: 13:36 – 18:06

Quantitative Data: 18:10 – 22:34

Qualitative Data: 22:39 – 30:43

Primary Research: 30:47 – 33:17

Secondary Research: 33:21 – 36:32

Technology: 36:36 – 43:22

Summary: 43: 27

Music

Artist: Scott Holmes

Album: Road Trip

Track: Indie Rock