Thursday, October 27, 2005

Business Trip: Marc H. Meyer

The second speaker of today's business trip was Marc Meyer. The talks are given in a dark, basement room, so the first talk of the day left me a little daydreamy.

Then Meyer gets up and puts yet another S-curve diagram in a PowerPoint presentation up. My brain began switching to more pressing matters...that is, until he put M&M's on said S-curve chart. He turned out to be an excellent speaker.

I liked his style. Before introducing each segment, he said, "Here are four challenges. Here are five challenges." I like when speakers set things off clearly like that, rather than just talking.

My caveat: I wrote these up from my notebook while talking to Jeanne. Some things may be inconsistent. Let me know if you see any =)

Some highlights:
Market expansion challenge #1: Create a product line architecture based on scalable shared subsystems that hit a related set of market applications.
* An example is different soles on fishing boots. A $129 pair of fishing boots has interchangeable soles at $19.99 each for different terrains.
* In reference to transitioning from hiking boots to software: "The world lives in software."
* Challenge #2: Design appropriately for platforms.
* Much to the delight of Paul B and Kevin, our resident Ford employees, Honda was used as an example rather than Toyota.
* Is the platform the car or the engine? For Honda, the engine. Build the car around it.
* Focus common subsystems.
* Create scalable products which can result in scalable manufacturing.
* Funny moment: Meyer asked who liked to use power tools. Many hands raised. He responded, "That's the difference between MIT and Harvard."
* Mentioned that Ryobi is better than Black and Decker (had to put that in since my drill is Ryobi. I heart my drill) They execute better; Black and Decker outsourced production to China, then had a Chinese company create a strong competitor, taking much of their business
* Challenge #3: Organize appropriately for platform strategy
* IBM used to have poorly differentiated product. They now have separate silos. Hard part of doing platforms is organizing it.
* Good quote in response to MBA-type question: "I'm just a propeller head like most of you."
Second part of presentation: Leveraging Technology to New Markets--Applications for Enterprise Growth
* Many can leverage platforms but not many people can grow revenue.
* Challenge 1: Add related technology.
* Another funny moment: Meyer asked "Who owns a sailboat? Anybody? At Harvard, this would be completely the opposite."
* A winch on a sailboat is a windlass on powerboat. There are way more powerboats than sailboats.
* Example of PEG: Many uses for this, including colonoscopy, dialysis, and post menapausal competition. He called this "A product line targeted to the back end."
* Challenge #2: Do deep dives on target users, buyers, and channels.
* Build a safer mousetrap. Studied latent needs. Created plaastic mousetrap which costs $.10 vs wood and metal for $.25. Lower volume, higher margins.
* Challenge #3: Leveraging technology to new market applications
* Used Honda Element as example. "Animal House on wheels." Built for young, partying-type men. Fills in the single/extreme intersection on the single-family vs. extreme-settled chart.
* Honda used a shared powertrain technology. Has large effect on return on assets.
* Challenge #4: Empower multi-functional teams liberate from traditional gates.
* I loved this part. He put up a picture of the Red Sox jumping on each other after winning the World Series.
* Meyer does not like stagegate. He called this "Scoop and poop" on projects.
* Need to know how to build enthusiasm within your company.
* Like Red Sox championship chemistry, only not only 86 years.


Robbie Allen said...

Thanks for the notes!

Ilana said...

Get your butt over hear and take a listen for yourself, sir! ;) Bring Janet!