The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life
Browsing Thought Leadership

it more than connecting dots

July23

I’m feeling on top of my game, today. this despite only using Google-centric products. this includes:

Chrome, a Chromebox, Airdroid, (very slick and polished – especially for an Android/ Chrome App) Gmail, an Android device, and an Nexus 7 (tablet).

one of the best parts of my own “job” is connecting best-of-class people.

this morning I had a Gartner executive tell me recently that my rolodex is worth $1B. while I’m skeptical, myself, I’ll warrant the number could be relevant depending on what part of the globe the sun happens to be setting on a particular moment.

this afternoon I had a coaching client report in last night after I had connected him with a past executive coaching client. My response to him was:

“You both breathe ‘rare air’. Bad-asses have their own radar. The Laws of Natural Selection create the right kind of pack.”

one of the best things I ever heard my Grandad say was,

“if you’re going to judge a man, do it by those around him”.

Let’s be part of the Solution.

brian patrick cork

apples are good for you by design

November21

why, you, that collective you, ask, do I, the infinitely singular me, love Apple products so dearly?

it’s not as simple as being an “Apple Fanboy”. while its an apt first impression that’s shallow thinking, on both sides. however, coming to a point of appreciation for a company like Apple, its people, and products, takes time. there must needs be a process that tracks experience, acumen, and perspective. some people understand that a reason to deeply love a Porsche is because of the unique “paper-tearing” aspect of sound generated by the power-plant (engine [or “motor” if yer English]), or the smooth if not hypnotic motion realized by the hands sweeping around a Rolex watch.

there is no mystery, thus no surprise, that the United States favors the iPhone, while the masses that surround us must accept an Android device. while we may not always be the smartest people by grade point average, we do amass the most wealth, and evidently insist on a higher product standard. we also appreciate beautiful and well-crafted things. no… we insist on such quality.

consider the spot, called “Pencil”, beautifully written and art directed. it has Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White of “Breaking Bad”, the hottest (by demand, and less so appearance) actor on the planet, doing the voice-over. and, it has a killer demo to visualize just how thin the new iPad really is. a genuine marvel of technology enhanced by the aesthetic that compels utilization.

innovation + technology + beauty + desire + utilization +  utilization = productivity.

I made that up, but it’s an undeniable formula for success.

for most of this 60-second ad, this cleverly photographed commercial focuses on that classic tool of artists, writers and composers – the everyday No. 2 yellow pencil. Cranston goes on about how this simple object can be a powerful tool that transforms how we work and share, as the camera zooms in on a pencil sitting horizontally against various backdrops. that is, until the big reveal – a hand (almost akin to a Davinci painting) comes in the last couple of seconds to pull something obscured by the pencil – Apple’s new iPad Air.

the clever “Pencil” ad points to the various ways that the iPad has become an enabler of content creation. like the yellow pencil, it “can be used to start a poem, or finish a symphony,” Cranston’s narration says.

“It has transformed the way we work, learn, create, share,” he intones. “It used to illustrate things, solve things, and think of new things. It’s used by scientists and artists, scholars and students. It’s been to classrooms, boardrooms, expeditions, even to space.” And we can’t wait to see where you’ll take it next.”

just beautiful, graceful language.

Apple always understood that coolness is an appeal to our imagination and passions, defining who we are and who we want to be. its greatest ads were always poetic, and aspirational. I uses aspirational instead of inspirational because the ads compel us to take action that can make us better tomorrow than we are today.

action creates activity. activity becomes defined by creativity and ingenuity. its all sublime within its symmetry.

Apple ads at their best connect with us viscerally because of their optimism, and appeal to our self-esteem. They encourage us to dream and pursue, and not just follow, our dreams. What can be cooler than technology enabling the possibility of creativity and innovation.

“Apple has over four hundred (400) of the world’s highest grossing stores, while Samsung has succeeded in large part by spending $4.2 billion a year on advertising – four times that of Apple.”

by comparison, Google’s Motorola (that reads odd in the context of how we have always known Motorola, eh) has announced it’s selling a down market discount model, the Moto G, for what reviewers call the “ludicrously cheap price tag” of $179 without a contract, certain to accelerate what Steve Jobs derided as “race to the bottom pricing.”

meanwhile Apple is designing, delighting and pricing its way to the top. Apple’s latest cell phone introduction proved that the company’s core customers are frantic to buy its most expensive model – the 5S, while demonstrating ambivalence toward its less expensive 5C. this is not the “glass half full or a simple opinion. this is a demonstration of genuine power to move people to identify with excellence.

the gold 5S has been a massive, worldwide product phenomenon, flying out of stores largely on design and appearances. some Wall Street analysts call this high margin sales surge a failure, noting that Apple is losing market share in developing markets by failing to sell a cheap phone. they’ve got it backwards. when customers clamor for your top line product everywhere that’s a good thing. let someone else sell more compact cars if you can dominate the world market for BMWs or Teslas.

Michael Welsh But low end companies have a much easier time moving into the premium space than premium brands have moving down to gain market share.

Brian Patrick Cork I can’t speak for the company, but I’m reasonably certain Apple does not equate market share with profit. A smaller number of people can buy their products and generate more revenue than competitors.

aesthetics and design is the new digital divide. most techies, analysts and bloggers simply can’t fathom why Apple soaked up 56 percent of the profit in the world’s mobile markets during the last quarter. sure, Apple boasts a rich, diverse ecosystem (phones, tablets, laptops, content, software, etc.) and powerful and versatile chips, but that’s not what’s driving extraordinary sales. design is what is winning over Apple cohorts – that subtle combination of materials, weight, lines, and how it feels in your hand.

it’s the same elusive quality that gets women to blithely pay $5,000 for a Prada handbag or a man to gladly fork over $6,000 for a Breitling watch.

finally… Apple’s biggest innovation by far has been magically transforming everyday digital devices into iconic things we desire on a deep, primitive human level.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

discovering Ben Franklin

July8

this dissertation on Benjamin Franklin is insightful.

me? I now have a renewed and insatiable appetite for learning everything I can about this man and how he came to influence.

 Enrolled in the Boston Latin School at the age of eight his father had to withdraw him after the first year. The Boston Latin School was well known for many of the famous Puritan divines, a future Franklin apparently did not want to follow. One author stated that while a youth he was reported not as pious or faithful, but as “skeptical, puckish . . . irreverent.”(1) He went to another school but soon educated himself from the age 10 and on.

its another demonstration as to how brilliant and unique our founding fathers were. imagine being eight years old and having that much situational awareness. then being able to self educate himself from the age of ten into the leader and international influencer he became.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

Riding the Waves of Business

April6

business is like a glassy-fronted wave. you need to know how to approach it and enjoy the ride as opposed to killing yourself working against the wrong currents.

metaphors are great at cocktail parties. but, they are awesome if you understand them, and know how to leverage their foundation.

I recently described the state of our economy to several of my clients through the following analogy:

“Everyone has been wondering when the economy would kick-back-in. However, it’s official, we are in crazy business mode across most of the country. What made the difference? Well… I think someone bought some foreclosure property, and while repairing their landscaping discovered a hidden lever (probably by the saline pool box). They pulled it and the lights came on everywhere. Now its a mad rush to get into the action. Welcome back everyone. Let’s build empires, shall we.”

that got a lot of attention and it went viral. I fielded some radio host chatter, and might get some national sound-bite opportunities.

more importantly, it’s true and evident. and, that’s great news for everyone, providing you, “play your cards right”, or depending on the “wave you ride”, and if you can view business like a chess board (I do). neither has to be a gamble those words imply. however, gambits provide opportunities. NOTE: gambits require information and understanding. experience certainly helps.

in any event, see below for a quick Linkedin exchange I had late in the week with the emphatic Rick Stengard.

Rick StengardRick Stengard Well said. It’s also true that corporations have been quietly cutting expenses and leaning out operations over the past 5 years. Everyone’s ready to get back to making money. We have one big road block left. The Federal and State Governments are now faced with a similar challenge to cut the fat. Have no doubt that will be a painful process but will benefit everyone in the end.

Brian Patrick CorkBrian Patrick Cork I don’t agree that corporate cut-backs have been “quiet” in nature. But, the pain is certainly evident. Meanwhile, we as a business community simply and collectively have decided it’s time to go back to work. Historically, government does not track to the commercial sectors. Instead of running parallel, they are often contrary to one another. But, look for the media’s hand in much of the signaling. Once they decide to write great news it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other hand, this is simply how commerce works in terms commoditized business.

To wit… When one industry flags, others prosper. That said, the guys that own the Atlanta Ferrari and Maserati dealerships will tell you that cars are flying off their lots. Guess whom is buying them? Minority government contractors. More on that later. I bet I get a call from Mayor Kasim Reed as this comment is likely ignite the potential for a fire-storm. But, it’s accurate information. And, it offers insight into “how things work”.

Business is like a glassy-fronted wave. You need to know how to approach it and enjoy the ride as opposed to killing yourself working against the wrong currents.

oedipus rescued from tragedybeyond my correspondence with Rick I always find references to our government relative to business (and the economy) curious. while our current government has no clue how to stimulate the economy, the notion of government work is generally a oxymoron. but, here is the best part of this post, and I’m curious to see if people pick-up on this… when government expenditures and productivity flag, that is when they start bringing in high-powered and expensive consultants to bring everything back-online. and, in that regard, they behave just like corporate America (and, global commerce, for that matter). look for staffing and consulting companies to be exploding. that’s always a great indicator that the light have come-on and people are dashing about madly pulling levers and pushing buttons.

Ernst & Young is forecasting a growth in it’s own revenues of over $3 Billion dollars over the next twenty-four to thirty-six months.

“Over the next two decades, rising per capita wealth in rapid-growth markets will generate a significant growth opportunity for multinational companies. Understanding this market, and developing products and services that meet its needs, will become a strategic priority that cannot be ignored.”

that comes from one of my guys at E&Y on the innovative task force.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

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"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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