I recently came across an interesting, and apparently fairly popular, article on Lean and Japanese management called The Myth of Japanese Companies and Management.
In the article, the author Joseph Paris argues that there is a major disconnect between Lean Six Sigma events and other strategy and finance events in that in the former, a Japanese style of management is seen as something superb, whereas in the latter, mentions of Japanese management hardly make an appearance.
He goes on to argue that most companies have now implemented the tools and methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma into their own continuous improvement programs, and as such, these no longer provide a competitive advantage.
The article does a fine job illustrating its points, but its fundamental misconceptions about Lean do an even better job at illustrating how poorly Lean is understood in the West at large.
Continue reading “If Lean is so great, why are Japanese companies not doing better?”
I have been blogging for a good while now as I started this blog in July 2011. However, while I enjoy reading and writing, I have to admit that home-created video has reached a prominent place in recent years, especially in video games, but also in a business context.
Therefore, even though I am a bit late to the party, I finally ventured into streaming and video production on low-cost basis, and I have to say that I am surprised how good the freely available tools are nowadays.
In this post, I will tell you about my setup and maybe there is a small Lean Startup lesson within as well.
Continue reading “Getting started with streaming and Youtube”
Technology is often seen as the answer to improve operations and processes. This viewpoint also applies in HR, where there is even a blooming series of conferences built around telling people how technology is the answer to better HR.
In a blog post titled Technology is the Foundation for Strategic HR, Marc Coleman refers to the September 2015 Cranet report on HR as a confirmation that the use of technology is a foundation for increased strategic HR leadership.
Now, with a claim as tangible and strong as that one, it warrants a bit deeper look. Is technology a foundation for strategic HR?
Continue reading “Is technology a foundation for strategic HR?”
The New York Times published an interesting article yesterday titled The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead. In the article, the author Alexandra Alter paints a picture of a publishing world where an ebook apocalypse had been coming for years, but now the fear has subsided and print is gaining a stronger position again.
However, not all the claims made in the article are ready to stand up to scrutiny. Let’s take a closer look at the market situation and the strategic choices made by major publishing houses.
Continue reading “Has the ebook disruption been cancelled?”
So, IKEA did it again – an excellent parody of the latest Apple launch (The Apple Pencil stylus). This is not the first time IKEA has used Apple parody in its advertisement, either, as last year they had a similar idea with the IKEA catalog launch, the Bookbook – i.e. just an ordinary book – the many virtues of which were elaborated on a spectacular video commercial.
In addition to the fun, there is a deep Lean lesson involved. And hey, given the context of this blog, that’s what I’m really interested in, so let’s take a look.
Continue reading “On IKEA Pencil and the Lean lesson within”
A peculiar misconception seems quite common when it comes to Valve’s Dota 2: the belief that Dota 2 is not well-monetized, perhaps because as it brings in people to the Steam platform, Valve simply does not care about monetizing it.
When we look at the actual figures though, this conception is heavily challenged. Let’s dive in!
Continue reading “The secret sauce of Dota 2: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding”
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games have rapidly risen to amongst the most popular online games – so much so, that they are predicated to become the largest category of online games this year.
In a MOBA, two teams of players (typically 5 vs 5) attempt to destroy the base of the opposing team. Each player controls a single character, who grows in power as the match progresses (progress is wiped between matches) and teamwork is the key to victory.
The market leader is Riot Games’ League of Legends, followed by the clear number 2, Valve’s Dota 2. Other successful games in the genre include Hi-Rez’s Smite and Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.
In this post, I examine how MOBA games are monetized given that all of them are free-to-play titles. There might also be something interesting to learn on the crowdsourcing front here.
Continue reading “MOBA monetization and the power of the crowd”
With digital collectible card games becoming a “dominant category” (according to SuperData research), it is no wonder that more companies want their share of the pie. One of the more recent newcomers is Wargaming’s World of Tanks Generals, which is currently in open beta.
What makes World of Tanks Generals interesting from a business perspective is that it uses a radically different monetization model than the usual random pack model used in most collectible card games. Coupled with this is a different progression loop model.
Sounds interesting, so let’s take a deeper look.
Continue reading “World of Tanks Generals: a different take on card game monetization”
Collectible card games became an instant hit upon the creation of Magic the Gathering by Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast in 1993. Magic has went through some changing fortunes over the past 20 years (including WotC being acquired by Hasbro in 1999) and faced some successful competition in the form of card games based on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon, but Magic is now bigger than ever.
However, dark clouds loom on the horizon, as a digital disruption is taking the collectible card game genre by storm. In this post, I will examine the current situation and take a closer look at two key players: Hasbro’s Magic the Gathering and Blizzard’s Hearthstone.
Continue reading “Card games going digital: Can Magic the Gathering compete with Hearthstone?”
Online games have largely moved to a free-to-play model where the monetization is achieved through microtransactions instead of traditional box sales or subscription fees. According to data from Superdataresearch, the worldwide MMO games market was split between $7.5 billion for free-to-play games and $2.8 billion for pay-to-play games in 2014 with free-to-play on the rise and pay-to-play on the decline.
Within this market, World of Tanks is a particularly interesting title. According to data from Superdataresearch, the average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) of World of Tanks is the best in the world at $4.51. World of Tanks also sports a superb conversion rate (share of users who pay) of over 25%, which is also sky-high in this industry. Together, these figures amount to over $500 million of annual revenue for Wargaming, the creator of World of Tanks.
Therefore, taking a look at what Wargaming has done with World of Tanks is of particular interest.
Continue reading “Free-to-play (F2P) MMO monetization: World of Tanks”