The Magic of Disney – Innovation

Posted: 2014-08-21

True Innovation

When I think innovation, I think of Apple’s iPhone, Google’s X Lab and the Square credit card reader. I never thought about Disney – until my recent vacation. This marketing behemoth is on the cutting edge of technology, and most people don’t even notice. Their technology prowess make it even easier to separate me from my money. Thanks Mickey!
“I only hope we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started with a mouse.” – Walt Disney

Mickey to Mickey

The last 12 months have been ripe with discussions about Apple developing an iWatch. Concept photos and features are top search topics on the internet. Spoiler alert: there will NOT be a holographic image projected about the screen.

The Samsung Gear, the Pebble and the Moto 360 are available for consumers, but the “fashion factor” is noticeably low. Unless you are a technology columnist or blogger, you are probably not going to purchase them. Surprise! Disney has beat them all!

Two weeks before the trip, we received our Mickey bands in the mail. To say the packaging was Apple-like would be an understatement. Each person had chosen their own color for their band. They arrived with our names laser etched on the back. The bast part? These bands were the keys to the kingdom – literally!

Mickey to Mickey
  • Room Key - Hilton has a new app (iPhone and Android) that let’s guests check in up to one day before they arrive. The Mickey bands are used to gain access to your room and the various theme parks (i.e. – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Universal Studios and Animal Kingdom). When you check in at your resort, you are instructed to just “go Mickey to Mickey.” Simply tap the Mickey on your band to the Mickey on your door and gain access. Even my kids quickly understood the convenience of going “Mickey to Mickey.”
  • Purchase - When you want to buy merchandise, you simply go “Mickey to Mickey.” You can buy items in stores and have it shipped back to your room. When you are in the parks on a 94 degree day with no shade and you want to purchase ice cream, drinks or dinner, Disney employees (i.e. – cast members) have a device with a Mickey face on it. Simply tap your band to it and your meal is paid for. All purchases are connected to your credit card. The convenience is that you don’t have reach in your purse or wallet.
  • Stylish - Concepts of an iWatch have pictures of a curved glass band, rotating apps or a large traditional watch face. Therein lies the problem: existing tech watches are thick and clunky. The Mickey band is simple. It does a few things very well. It comes in a half-dozen color choices, but you can accessorize it with plastic jewels. I can even imagine a time when it would be customizable with multiple colors or company logos.

As innovative as the band is, it is clearly in the early stages. I can envision next steps as:

  • Health – Count your steps, distance walked and calories consumed per day. Mickey helps your heath.
  • Purchases – License the ability to purchase other company items using the band. View a monthly report.
  • Suggestions – When you return to the parks, the bands could recommend restaurants, new attractions, resorts and characters to meet. 

Watch out Apple and Samsung; Mickey is coming.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Next Week: The Magic of Disney – Customer Experience

The Right Attitude for Business Success?

Posted: 2014-08-07

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Every boss I ever had has told me the same thing, “Eric, your best quality is your attitude.” That used to annoy me! I wanted to be known as the smartest, the best educated or the most driven. As an entrepreneur, I can see that having the right attitude is one of the most valuable skills a person can possess. Athletes, politicians and world leaders have the right attitude for success. What does that look like for business and entrepreneurship? Is it important? Definitely!

Michael Jordan said, “My attitude is if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” Athletes understand the importance of the right attitude on the court, field or ice rink.

Jordan dunk

This recipe for success directly translates to the boardroom and office space. We have all been told success is:

  • Based on who you know, not what you know.
  • 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.
  • Location, location, location (let’s make this one thing).

In business and in life, your attitude affects your success in four ways:

  • RELATIONSHIPS: People like to be around positive people. If you are encouraging, supportive and hopeful, people will want to work with you. I worked with a man who was clearly smarter and more experienced than I. However, no one wanted him on a team or project. I was given key projects and responsibilities because people wanted to work with me. I created a fun and dynamic work environment. As a business owner, my company has tripled revenue in the last three years and built a successful training business because people like being around our trainers, not just because we are the smartest people in the room (frequently, we are not).
  • VISION: Most athletes will tell you, before they run a race, take a shot or start a game, they envision success. They picture themselves winning the race or making the basket. Before you meet with a prospective client, envision a successful and positive discussion. Before you speak, envision the audience enjoying your presentation. As you begin each day, envision accomplishing your goals. Believing you’ll win is the start of success.
  • FAILURE: Everyone fails sometimes. Every time a major client tells me no, it eats away at my belief in myself. My attitude (and my Faith) get me through. The first time someone told me no, I told my wife I was going to quit this business and “get a real job.” She said, “If you are going to get depressed every time someone tells you no, you might as well quit now.” That was harsh but true. Edison tried over 10,000 times to invent the light bulb before he got it right. Failure is a reality, but you should never quit trying.
  • HUSTLE:  I spoke to a business owner once who said he never hung his awards or mounted his trophies because it made him feel as if he had “made it.” He always wants to feel hungry for the next sale. Entrepreneur Peter Voogd is quoted as saying, “Think like a billionaire; hustle like you’re broke.” Your attitude should keep you always moving onward and upward. Work hard when things are going slow AND when they are going well.

Having a successful attitude will not cost you money, time or other resources. However, it is the first step to success. Everyone is going to get down sometimes. The key to success is how you recover from it and persevere.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.

It’s Not 1984 Anymore

Posted: 2014-08-01

I was awakened recently to some alarming news. Apple is partnering with IBM? Steve Jobs must be rolling over in his grave! The award winning, famous 1984 ad (the one that only ran one time on national television) is hereby debunked. However, that’s not the only thing changing with “The Big A” in Cupertino, CA. Let’s recap this year for Apple…

  1. March 2014: After 4 years of dragging it’s feet, Microsoft releases Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the iPad. Sure it costs $120 / year, but you can add it to 10 machines – 5 laptops and 5 mobile devices. Clearly, people do not need to by a Microsoft Surface, anymore. Team Ballmer-Gates must have been screaming!
  2. May 2014: In a deal that many people thought was media hype or a publicity stunt, Apple buys Beats for $3 Billion – the most they have ever paid for a company. Did they buy it for the headphones or the music service? Don’t worry; Apple has more than $150 billion (cash) to burn.
  3. July 2014: IBM (aka – Big Brother) partners with Apple on mobile solutions using the iPad. IBM consultants and employees will promote the iPad as a mobile solution to it’s massive database of enterprise level clients. Similarly, Apple and IBM will partner on the creation and development hundreds of apps for corporations interested in sophisticated, high level solutions.

Apple products have always been two things: exclusive and anti – PC. Now, the nation’s number one mobile tech device maker is partnering with the two companies commonly referred to as “The Evil Empire.” What gives? Clearly this is not Steve Jobs’ Apple anymore. Tim Cook is showing there is a new Sheriff in town. Is this good for consumers, businesses or both?

Apple and Big Blue

Apple and Big Blue

  • Apple and Microsoft: The iPad is one of the most popular and prolific tablets developed. The Microsoft Office suite is one of the most popular software programs for business and consumer use. This is a match made it heaven. Why? The iPad is a powerful and robust device for consuming and creating content. Adding these tools to the iPad arsenal of features enhances its functionality.
  • Apple and Beats: With this one, I have decided to put a lot more trust in what Apple is doing, and not rely on what I am seeing / reading / hearing. My hope is that Apple is bringing in fresh ideas for their music business. They need someone to bring a  new look to iTunes and make younger audiences want to subscribe to the service. Dr. Dre (Rapper) and Johnny Iovine (Producer), can bring a new face to iTunes. Is $3 billion too much to pay for a small headphones company? Maybe, but it they bought them before Google did.
  • Apple and IBM: Apple’s founder told people to “Think Different.” IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson lead the company under the motto “Think.” As surprising as this partnership is, it makes a lot of sense. IBM has been traditionally BIG BUSINESS. Apple is a leader in consumer electronics. Through this partnership, the two companies will develop apps for enterprise level clients – an area sorely needed for the iPad. IBM employees will actually promote and sell iPads to appropriate businesses. Holy Macintosh, Batman!

During Apple Keynote addresses, Craig Federighi (Senior VP of Software Engineering) has become the new face that leads and inspires audiences with his engaging style. Tim Cook (Apple CEO) is forging partnerships and relationships previously believed to be taboo. Although, the classic 1984 Mac commercial debuted more than 30 years ago, that era has come and gone. Clearly, Apple is forging ahead on a new path in a new era by a new leader. It’s the same company; they are just exercising their right to “Thinking Differently.”