Philip Sheldrake

Menu Close

Category: Euler (page 1 of 2)

The meaning of business

open for business

Why do firms exist? Strangely, no-one appears to have asked this question until a 27 year-old economist did so in 1937.

Ronald Coase published his answer in The Nature of the Firm, now considered a seminal text. He studied the circumstances that led entrepreneurs to hire people as employees instead of simply contracting jobs out to traders and came up with the answer we now simply refer to as transaction costs. People are hired when the various associated costs are lower than they would be otherwise.

Here's a similar sounding question, but one that is actually fundamentally different. What is the meaning / the purpose of business?

Coase needed to look no further than economics to explain why firms exist. Their existence is a binary thing. But any question seeking to address meaning and purpose encompasses philosophy, sociology, and politics.

Unavoidably, any answer is framed in terms of ... What's best? What's optimum? Why? How? And for whom?

Euler Partners sense Summer 2016 - the meaning of business

The answer was in fact framed economically for a long time in terms known as shareholder value, and perhaps Coase's question and answer influenced this blinkered perspective. But we've found and are still finding that a different answer can lead to superior economics, and not just in terms of profitability but in terms of the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.

Euler Partners' just published its sense Summer 2016 report, The meaning of business. Available here as PDF and also on Medium.com. If you're frustrated with today's typical responses to this question, and / or if you want to build sustainable business, you'll find the report provoking.


Image credit: By Leo Reynolds, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Social media are the eggs in the social business cake

A thrill of working in a fast changing market is the opportunity to innovate. A burden of working in a fast changing market is the need to bend existing language to new concepts. And of course, evoking existing language evokes existing meaning ... both an advantage and disadvantage.

So, we've been working with social media for the past decade; as if all preceding media was anti-social. And during the past couple of years, we've been tasking our tongue to the topic of social business; as if business previously attracted loners.

Well I for one consider social business to be quite distinct from social media. Others use the terms synonymously. The lexicon battle is underway and it will be some years hence before the dictionaries document the victory. For now then, allow me the airtime to support the assertion ... social media are the eggs in the social business cake.

The video here is my take on social business.

Influence Crowd becomes Euler Partners

Euler Partners

When George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term in January 2005, no one uploaded a video to YouTube.

When Italy beat France to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, fans didn’t Tweet. Not once. No one in Europe mentioned it on Facebook. No one captured Fabio Grosso scoring the winner on an iPhone. No one jumped on Gmail to commiserate with French friends. No one used BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) to celebrate with Italian friends.

Social media have progressed incredibly quickly and organizations have had to grapple with the challenges and identify and pursue the opportunities.

But things began to get serious during 2009 as it became increasingly apparent that social web and related technologies could transform the way organizations go about their business beyond the domains of marketing, public relations and customer service. It might even redefine what it means to be in business. And that’s when we founded the consultancy Influence Crowd.

By September 2011, when I had the opportunity to address the executive summit at Dreamforce (the annual Salesforce.com conference), this radical landscape had been labelled with a distinct call to action – socialize the enterprise.

Read more

Influence – the use and abuse of the word in social media

The AMEC European Summit is taking place this week in Dublin. It's a really vibrant event, a credit to AMEC's Barry Leggetter and the delegates' enthusiasm. (Actually, perhaps it's a little less vibrant this morning after the visit last night to the Guiness brewery!)

I'm here representing the CIPR in a couple of sessions, and this morning I'm speaking in my own capacity... my slidestack is embedded above.

It's an old theme of mine, the misrepresentation of the idea of influence, and the stack I presented on the topic back in March 2010 has now been viewed some thirteen and a half thousand times – Influence, the bullshit, best practice and promise. It's now 2012 and I feel that we're starting to make some progress towards addressing the complexity of the business of influence. Onwards and upwards.

Q&A with Influencer Marketing Review

Influencer Marketing Review

[Originally published by Influencer Marketing Review.]

This is the third installment of our ‘Q&A with the Review’ series in which we talk with prominent members of the influencer marketing community about their work and thoughts on the industry. Amanda Maksymiw and Duncan Brown helped us get the series started, and now we’re grateful that Philip Sheldrake, author of The Business of Influence, is joining us for our third Q&A. 

IMR: Thanks so much for joining us, Philip. And congratulations on the book. We know that’s no easy feat.

Philip: Thanks for the invitation to chat here. And thanks for having my book cover on IMR’s homepage :-)

IMR: Oh yeah. It’s probably about time we change the image, huh.  

You’ve stated in the book and elsewhere that “the business of influence is broken.” What do you mean by that exactly? Some might think there wasn’t much of a “business of influence” in the first place. 

Philip: A definition of influence: you have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought. There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it doesn’t do, and yet despite this we often apportion responsibility for influence to marketing and PR departments. The 2012 organization looks incredibly similar to the 1992 organization, which is crazy when you consider the impact of social media and related information technologies.

Read more

The Business of Influence for REALLY BIG Digital Impact

Here's my slidestack for PRSA Digital Impact Conference (#PRSADiConf) today.

I hope it goes without saying that I'm happy to answer any questions this stack or my presentation today may raise, or just have a chat in general. Always my pleasure. My contact details are always easy to find on philipsheldrake.com.

Thanks of course to the PRSA team for the opportunity.

 

The complexity of influence is a challenge – and an opportunity

[Originally written for The Guardian Media Network.]

Guardian Media Network

If media is interesting because it facilitates communication, whether that communication is mediated or disintermediated, then communication is most interesting when it facilitates influence.

You have been influenced when you think something you wouldn't otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn't otherwise have done. Simple as, although you wouldn't think it now that influence is the hot word.

The capacity to change hearts, minds and deeds is considered the mark of the great communicator, the compelling personality, the charismatic politician, and ultimately no one wants to communicate without influence; that wouldn't be a good use of the communicator's time and energy, or indeed that of those on the receiving end.

The focus on making sure you're influenced back is vital too. Individuals (and organisations) that best absorb the zeitgeist are heuristically more able to respond in ways their audiences (stakeholders) might well appreciate.

Influence is complex, and I mean that in the full "complexity science" sense of the word. Complexity is the phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects. The interacting objects could be molecules of air and the phenomenon the weather. It could be vehicles and the phenomenon the traffic. Read more

The Influence View of Content – seeking something more useful than ‘paid, owned, earned’

[Version 0.1 << work in progress needing your critical feedback. Also available as a PDF if that suits you better.]

Précis

Categorising media as Paid, Owned and Earned isn’t particularly useful. In fact, it simply appears to reinforce increasingly irrelevant functional silos.

The Influence View of Content aims to establish something more useful. It’s a perspective that seeks to help influence professionals think about how influence goes around and comes around in line with the Influence Scorecard framework.

Definition: Influence – you have been influenced when you think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done.

Definition: The Influence Scorecard – serves as both the methodology for defining influence strategy and the tool for executing it.

Paid Owned Earned

With the proliferation of what used to be known as “new media”, it was natural to attempt some sort of descriptive taxonomy: Read more

The UK takes a step closer to Streams Banks – your personal data nirvana

A year ago, to the week, I was writing Chapter 8 of The Business of Influence about the future trends each and every influence professional would have to grasp. In particular, I wrote:

I consider the data and information I create directly or indirectly through my use of products and services to be private and mine by default. I may choose to make any part of it accessible to specified others and maintain my ownership, or relinquish some ownership rights, or all rights.

Should I consider entering a contract with the purchase of a product or service that entails some variation to this default – perhaps simply because delivery of the product or service is meaningless without such variation – the nature of this variation must be made explicitly clear to me in plain language, and it is then my choice whether or not to agree to those terms, which may entail my negotiating different terms or choosing not to buy that specific product or service.

To me, a future where so much data is collected about me and owned by others is nothing short of dystopia. Of course, the situation I describe above is far from where we find ourselves today and I make the case that influence professionals should be helping to lead the charge toward empowering the customer – past, present and future. As such, the chapter continues to lay out a potential privacy framework, introducing Streams Banks:

It’s the moniker I’ve given the service with the primary purpose of collecting all your digital detritus, all your so-called life streams of data, in one place on your behalf and giving you the power to analyse and visualize it all.

A streams bank archives the minutiae of your life, if you so wish. The service may offer suggestions or advice in decision-making, and perhaps it may even be relied upon to make certain decisions for you autonomously.

What on Earth could catalyse this transformation?..

Imagine that you’re a mobile telephone network operator. Right now, you own the data describing the customer’s use of your network. What competitive advantage might be had by reversing that situation, by transferring ownership to the customer – on the condition of service of course that you can have access to their data in order to determine billing and associated aspects of your service provision? And what if you gave the customer the tools to learn about her data, to download it and share it with whomever she wished. What might she learn about herself and her family? How might this data be mashed up? How much easier would it be to source the perfect tariff for the next year given the opportunity to share last year’s data? If you think that sounds bad for business you’re effectively saying that opacity is good. History has shown that walled gardens and other protective practices eventually crumble in competitive telephony markets.

Well, it seems this day is dawning. Read more

Influence: Socializing the Enterprise – my presentation at Dreamforce 2011

Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff is excited that there are 45,000 delegates registed for this week's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. It sure is one helluva a show (and I particularly appreciated the Metallica and Will.i.am gig last night!)

The theme for this year's conference is the socialization of the enterprise and the reason for my invitation to present to the Executive Summit yesterday and delegates at large today. [Disclosure: Salesforce.com is paying me to be here.]

There can be no doubt that Salesforce.com is on a mission to help its customers make the social transition with as much emphasis placed on increasing the social exchange with employees and partners as customers and prospects, and this mission entailed the acquisition of Radian6 earlier this year.

When I spoke at the Radian6 Social2011 conference in April, I felt the excitement at the opportunity to meld the Radian6 and Salesforce.com worlds, but I hadn't appreciated how fast this integration would take place. Simply gobsmacking. Read more