Tag Archives: innovation

MedTech Innovations Now and Beyond

Artificial Intelligence Meets Radiology

Artificial Narrow Intelligence is becoming a thing of its own with natural language processing also emerging as tools in healthcare. While IBM Watson is largely a marketing property, other healthcare giants are putting a real stake in AI. And coming up with semi-workable technologies. Note that AI is plateauing at the moment. Some sunspots include a company called Arterys which has developed a deep learning algo for radiology. Knowing folks in the radiology field myself, I would say that this could augment their scale-ability IF they as radiologists embrace and trust the algo to search effective. There will be push back of course, especially if the technology is cumbersome, requires a login, has a poor quality interface, the usual guaranteed problems. The iPad of the 90s WAS the PalmPilot so execution is essential for Arterys.

Cyber Pills Make the Fantastic Voyage

Nanotechnology is allowing for digestable computers to enter the body orally. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the very first pill of this kind last year. The pill is called Abilify MyCite joining the ranks of pills with totally goofy pharma names. How about Track-O-Matic. Hmmm, maybe not… This pill has sensors that communicate with a wearable patch to confirm that the drug in the pill has been taken. That information is relayed to a smartphone for the forgetful patient or the family or team of clinicians taking care of the patient. In the event of a court order for, say, a man who is required to take medication as part of his or her sentencing, this sensor in a pill might come in handy. 

Medical ChatBots Are A Thing, Sort Of

AI chatbots like in the struggling Kik App are pretty terrible at the moment. In the next 5 years there might be more messaging capability but I would not recommend talking with a chatbot about your feelings just yet. The benefits of an effective chatbot with Artificial Narrow Intelligence is to engage people in need of a human therapist and can direct them accordingly. A company called Ada Health is providing this service in Europe as of 2017. It’s been tested by over 1.75 million people. Meanwhile in the UK, the National Health Service is using a chatbot app for providing medical advice thus drawing down the on call nurses. However, I can tell you that having a conversation with a real nurse over the phone when you’re having an asthma attack is the only way to go because they know which hospital to go to and can give you medically sound advice…expensive but valuable.

Virtual Reality in Health Care

Playing video games is one way to distract people from pain. It’s especially potent if the patient has never played a video game before. Cue the VR helmet and you have a great distraction. Of course, there are elderTech folks developing the sounds and environments of your grandparents youth: dust bowl, anyone? While there are over 100 million sufferers of chronic pain in the US and Oxycondin has terrible side-effects (and is a scourge on society), VR and video games have mild side-effects like the feeling that you want to crash your actual car after playing Grand Theft Auto for 5 hours straight. Look to see this technology applied more widely.

Roche and the Acquisitions of mySugr

mySugr is a diabetes management startup from the Alps (Austrian-side). They have already registered patients from all over the world. The acquisition was around $100 according to TechCrunch. The good news is that mySugr is now embedded in Roche giving that pharmaceutical giant a new competitive edge. Other pharmaceuticals will follow suit. Meanwhile competitors like Livongo and Glooko are likely to be emboldened to cash out at a higher price point. This tactic is a classic in pharma: buy instead of build. It’s not hard to predict that more such acquisitions will happen in 2018.

CRISPR and Gene-Editing Is Not a Fad

In 2016, experiments were conducted to demonstrate how to treat mice with muscular dystrophy using CRISPR techniques. Genome editing is a thing and probably is a path to curing cancer in my opinion. MIT is leading the way. Could this technology be used to manage potential mutations of fatal blood disorders through something called base editing? Yep. Meanwhile, China is also pushing forward on human testing with this technology in part due to less ethical approach to science. How do you feel about that?

Insurance companies want to give you better rates for wearing fitness wearables

Qualcomm and Xiaomi + other smartphone providers are signing up participants with a price of $1000 if the user meets their daily walking goals. Imagine being paid to be healthy? I wonder if there is a business model there? Certainly, I would like a tax deduction for my gym membership and a free pizza to balance the health benefits while I’m at it (kidding;-P) But seriously, instead of Stickk.com where you punish yourself for not meeting your target, how about a pool of funds to pay out to citizens who meet their person targets? Make the target hard to game of course. Insurance companies are all over this predictably, largely because, it’s not that interesting outside of the financial team in these firms. Make insurance marketing the greatest it always wasn’t:-)

 

China and Mobile Payments from the Wall Street Journal

The WeChat App is the one app that rules all interactions in China with Alipay increasingly falling behind. North Americans are afraid of bundled information. Everyone in China is purchasing with their information bundled for commercial interest and as well as the State. What is clear is that China is ahead of the Western world in mobile technology but then again so is Africa….

How to Bootstrap Your Startup

PRESENTS

By Paul Grant & Matt Arnot

Original set publish date: December, 2011

Paul Grant started coaching with events on topics like how to raise funding based on his experience as an entrepreneur having founded a London based company through private equity and debt finance. The company offered London-wide catering to the corporate and retail markets. He has since been involved in building a network of over 500 business angels at Capital Partners Private Equity Ltd and more recently at BA Capital Ltd, while assisting young businesses with fundraising and coaching. He has also the founder of “The Funding Game” seminar series which offers practical guidance and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking capital for early-stage and growing ventures. Paul’s passion is playing a part in helping other entrepreneurs launch and run their own successful businesses.

Matthew Arnot is blogger, business analyst, and ghostwriter living in London, England. He first became interested in startups after creating his own proofreading company based on his experience at the London School of Economics. Shortly thereafter, he worked in sales and then as a business analyst at Groupon UK which is arguably the fastest growing company in the history of the internet. He is now developing his own startup by building on his academic and work experiences. He writes a blog www.professornerdster.com and he has also ghostwritten Don’t Screw Up Your Bride’s Wedding Day.

Introduction

This How To Bootstrap A Start-Up guide is designed to help you avoid the most common pitfalls when creating a startup. If you take the time to quickly read this eBook, it will fast-track you towards business success, and it will save you countless hours of unnecessary work that startups commonly create for themselves. This eBook is built around the central idea that bootstrapping is the best way to create a functional, and thriving business.

Only after you have proof of concept as a bootstrapped company can you begin the process of seeking investment. The techniques, and real life advice contained in this eBook come from years of aggregated knowledge from expert literature in business, as well as the direct experience of Paul Grant at BA Capital Ltd, and his own startup experiences in the early 2000s.

Avoiding The 99%

Starting a business is an attractive path for ambitious, self-motivated, and hardworking people. After all, being an entrepreneur provides greater control of your life, as well as the freedom to think creatively, and to take on the responsibility for your own successes, and failures. The problem is that it is hard work, risky, and there are huge barriers to entry in today’s business environment. Most often, so-called entrepreneurs end up doing nothing more than doing the classic case of: buying yourselves a job (BYAJ). Since there are thousands of long established businesses already vying for market share, the challenge of creating a successful venture that is scalable is a rather daunting one. 

You will need to avoid the mentality of the 99% of entrepreneurs who have failed, and instead seek to be part of the 1% of entrepreneurs that convert their aspirations into successful scalable businesses.

Take the Blue Pill Or the Red Pill

Whether you are aware of not, every entrepreneur makes a choice between dealing with the reality of the challenge that awaits them, or sugarcoating their strategy with the cozy illusion of ‘common-sense-know-how.’ It is much easier to simply approach business as a game founded on the logic of common-sense-know-how rather than the extremely unstable work of startups. There is a low chance that you will raise equity with this Easy Root/Blue Pill strategy. As Paul Grant’s experience suggests, VC/Angel Groups will not be interested in a poorly conceived product.

In this eBook, we are asking you to make a serious choice. You could take the Blue Pill which is a primrose path to buying yourself a job. Or take the Red Pill which this eBook outlines. Many people take the Blue Pill which consists of following the conventional steps to getting a startup going; creating a detailed business plan that you will spend months creating, and then seeking out investors with your insistance that you have “the next big thing since Facebook.” Taking the Blue Pill will even include asking friends and family to fund and support, in order create an inflated sense of success in your entrepreneurial endeavour.

1%…typical success rate for start-ups that take the Blue Pill.

Why have so few entrepreneurs succeeded? You can follow the common-sense approach BUT this lower performance happens because they haven’t played the game well. In 99% of the startups, there is no proven revenues, and the product has not been tested. 1 out of 100 entrepreneurs actually acquire funding of + £250K from Venture Capital of otherwise.

These are Paul Grant, and VC/Angel Groups findings. In fact, the 1% figure is actually an optimistic reading considering how many startups are never recorded..

The 99% Approach….(Road to Buying Yourself A Job)

 Step 1    An entrepreneur has a great idea, and has the guts to see it through!


 Step 2    Sets out writing a detailed business plan: a robust business plan, which experts have been paid to ensure will work. Some entrepreneurs buy business plans, and end up spending a year working on a business plan. There are some people who spend £50,000 on business plans, and only get £5,000 back in investment. Everyone thinks it is all about the plan, but continually fine tuning this blue print for the business actually detracts from reaching your funding goal.


 Step 3    In Search of Capital: while people aren’t even keen he/she flies to Silicon Valley where they meet VCs who are disingenuous, and rarely say “no, thanks” for fear of passing up the next Zuckerberg. There is no margin for saying “no.” For the VCs, in other words, there is no reason to turn someone away completely, but instead they will spur on an entrepreneur and give the entrepreneur false hope about the possibilities of successful deal being made after further research. Plans are refined, and entrepreneurs then go back with a better business plan, and a bigger team, but it is a waste of time, and have to get salaried jobs.

 Step 4  Entrepreneur quits after a year of searching: they might have good team etc and they blame the business plan, or the company who wrote up the business plan for them, perhaps some interest occurs but disappears before any contract or commitment to investment occurs.

The Choice Is Yours

Yes, of course, there are UK-based entrepreneurs who have received millions of pounds in funding with a business plan no longer than just 10pages, and no revenue to show for his project. Random cases of such success are rare pre-2008 case, and in the end, almost all startups fail to couple equity capital with sustainable revenue growth. BUT they are not going about it the right way. Otherwise, instead of taking this Blue Pill for the easy road forward, we encourage you to take the more rewarding Red Pill which asks you to strategically assess the reality of your situation in. The Red Pill means thinking strategically about how to maximize your potential as an entrepreneur. Where you might find yourself conducting several pivots in your value proposition because of new information about what customers really want (whether they know it or not).

Choose:

Continue reading How to Bootstrap Your Startup

Lee Iacocca: Meet Customer Requirements, Don’t Compromise

For years, Chrysler had been building lousy cars, according to Iacocca, but it is in a company’s interest to catch problems at the factory, it would cost about $20 on hour to fix versus $30 when under warrantee. The designer has to 1) ensure the part is low weight since heaviness affects mileage, 2) ensure the part is low in cost, 3) and ensure that it is easy to manufacture: when an assembly line only does two pieces versus three it is better. Understanding what customers want is difficult because you don’t want to compromise on other things that were lost in innovations. Air conditioning is the classic Iacocca example, when you pay $700 more for air conditioning, you want your money’s worth. The problem is air conditioning has to work fast because most rides end within 30 minutes but at the same time you don’t want the car to be loud and noisy so that they customer can’t hear his radio. It’s a tough job but this matters to customers.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Triage Is Essential In Hard Times

1979 was a War-zone for Chrysler.

In business, you need to be like an Army surgeon. You might have 40 injured people, but you only have 3 hours to save them. You need to pick the ones who have the best chance of survival. At Chrysler, there was no time to study a marginally performing car plant, you have to axe it immediately.  You need to have discipline.

First, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler had to close plants in Lyons, Michigan and Dodge Main in Hamtramck, which was the Polish district of Detroit. There were major protests over these plant closures but Iacocca had no choice.

Next, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler had to reassure suppliers that they were going to be paid on time. They needed to demonstrate that Chrysler was not going into bankruptcy even though suppliers knew their business and Chrysler’s well.

Then, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler brought in just-in-time inventory delivery. The Japanese had been doing this for years but as far back as the 1920s, Ford’s River Rouge Plant had taken ore from the boats, converted it into steel and then turned that into engine blocks within 24 hours. Ford Motor Company had just in time but with the boom years fro 1945 to 1978, the US car industry fell into old habits and lethargy.

Next, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler designed the K-cars to be 176 inches long (14’ 8’’) so that they could fit into a standard freight car. Even the financial report for 1979 was printed on cheap document paper.

Then, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler sold all the dealership real-estate they owned to ABKO from Kansas. The cash came to $90 million, which was desperately needed (timing matters), then later Iacocca had to buy back half of that property at twice the original price!

Next, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler sold all their non-North American businesses. Peugeot bought their European operations for $230 million and a 15% stake in Peugeot. They sold their military tank operations for $348 million to General Dynamics. Interestingly, the union negotiations at the time forced workers to $17 per hour instead of $20 per hour, so General Dynamics got a cheaper labour force when the contract was signed between Chrysler and General Dynamics.

Then, there were major layoffs in waves from 1970 and then 1980, both blue and white collars. This saved Chrysler $500 million in annual costs. Iacocca admits that some of firings were tragic and mistakes. Firing people is never a positive experience.

Next, Iacocca’s team at Chrysler fired the staff who had integrated the work of the line managers into a workable system. These were the Harvard Business School graduates who had never run anything, but were now telling the line manager who had done the job for 30 years how it ought to be done. Iacocca always trusts people with a dedicated background in the industry over elite educated people.

Then, Iacocca went shopping for people to buy into Chrysler. This included Volkswagen which was a very serious discussion because Chrysler was dying. The stock jumped form $11 to $14 upon the news that Volkswagen would buy for $15 shares but this was a false story.

Finally, there was the big government bailout.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Use All Available Arguments To Justify Survival

Blame Government: Poor management had a lot to do with Chrysler’s situation in 1980, but government regulation was also used as justification for seeking a government loan guarantee for Chrysler. Government prevented the Big Three from coming together to develop more fuel-efficient cars or improve safety even though the Japanese took the opposite approach. It was illegal for GM and Chrysler to share their research according to Washington. In addition, Iacocca states that the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 protected motorists at a cost of $19 billion and the spread of that cost was over 5 million GM cars, 2.5 million Ford cars and only 1 million Chryslers. So, if GM’s research into seatbelts cost $1 million and sold 100,000 cars, each customer paid an extra $10. If Chryslers R&D into seatbelts was $1 million and sold 20,000 cars then the cost was $50 more for each customer. Then the cost of manufacturing was much worse for Chrysler since GM’s volumes were much higher. The EPA paperwork in 1978 was 228,000 pages!

Loan guarantees had already occurred at a total of $409 billion for chemical companies, railroads, farmers, electric companies, shipbuilders, college students, and airlines. So despite public outcry, Chrysler was just following what others had done. In August 1979, G. William Miller left as chairman of the FED to become secretary of the treasury. He supported government intervention in the Chrysler case. Iacocca argued that the other two big car companies were soon to be in trouble and loosing money and that this was a problem facing American industry.

Ideologically, Iacocca could understand why others were against supporting Chrysler since he had always been against much in the way of safety regulations: It was survival of the fittest, water seeks its own level, gov’t weakens the discipline of the marketplace, changing the rules in the middle of the game, etc. The basic view was that the market would work itself out, and Chrysler would have to go bankrupt and reorganize itself. BUT Iacocca disagreed….

Iacocca went to House Subcommittee on Economic Stabilization of the Committee of Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs to ask for a $1.5 Billion loan guarantee. The reasons to support the Chrysler Loan Guarantee “Government Bailout” were the following:

  1. Yes, Chrysler: a) should not have built products on speculation, b) should not have been in the used-car business, c) should have worked on quality rather than overseas expansion but the energy crisis, regulations and the recession were to blame.
  2. Government had regulated Chrysler into its current mess because the company was investing the bulk of its capital into meeting government regulations;
  3. The Chrysler bailout is not a new precedent since others had already occurred at a total of $406 billion dollars worth;
  4. Bankruptcy is not practical because it would likely lead to liquidation this is because the car servicing of Chrysler models would mean that re-sale values of models would drop, future warrantee coverage would lapse, orders would be cancelled so bankruptcy would be the end of Chrysler and was not a realistic alternative to a government bailout;
  5. Free-enterprise has adapted since the industrial revolution, it is flexible and organic and nobody is playing in a laissez-faire system;
  6. Competition would be weakened without Chrysler especially with Japanese manufacturers entering the US market, Chrysler could not build only small cars because the profit margin is too low at $700 each. Big gas guzzlers are like steaks and small cars are like hamburgers;
  7. The specific congressmen should know how a bankruptcy of Chrysler would effect their constituencies because 600,000 jobs were at stake and the unemployment rate was projected to sore costing unemployment insurance of $2.7 billion during the first year.

Chrysler won its bailout money in Congress with a 2 to 1 margin at 271 to 136. The Senate voted 53 to 44 for the bailout. So the loan guarantee was $1.5 billion. $400 million in new credit and $100 million in discounts on existing loans, and Chrysler had to sell $300 million in further assets. State and local governments had to provide $250 million, $50 million in new stock were issued, and non-union employees had to contribute $125 to pay cuts.

Chrysler was valued at $6 billion and at liquidation would be worth $2.5 billion in 1980 according to the US government.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Sacrifice Must Come From the Top Down

Lee Iacocca: Don’t Go Quietly, Address Criticism With Strong Responses 

During the government negotiations over a Chrysler bailout, K&E put ads together to emphasize that Chrysler was in trouble but that America would be worse off if Chrysler no longer existed. The goal was to restore faith in Chrysler directly to the public. People had questions about Chrysler’s future and these newspaper ads addressed those concerns.

Lee Iacocca: Sacrifice Comes From the Top Down

People are willing to accept pain if they know that everyone else is also accepting that pain. After getting the government loan guarantee, Iacocca reduced his salary to $1.00 per year because he believed that leaders should set an example. By doing so (for good pragmatic and cold reasons makes sense) Lee could say that he too was feeling the sacrifice at Chrysler.

With unions, Iacocca put it bluntly that he had “a shotgun to their heads”….there are either thousands of jobs at $17 an hour and none at $20. Over Chrysler, the average working person lost up to $10,000 per year. Meanwhile at GM, Roger Smith cut his own salary by ONLY $1,620 a year while the worker benefits dropped by $2.5 billion. During the downsizings, Iacocca would go to each plant and deliver a speech to those who were loosing their jobs. Chrysler employees made $2.00 less than Ford or GM employees as a result. Even with workers pay cuts of $2.00 an hour the retirees did not get a reduction in benefits because Chrysler could not renege on the pension plan therefore current workers had to suffer. Iacocca even brought Doug Fraser (who was a Union leader) onto the board at Chrysler even though he was a ‘fox in the henhouse’ ie he wanted to squeeze management and margins for worker compensation.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Banks Are There To Lend, If Possible

Chrysler Motor Company had traditionally been a heavily leveraged company and borrowed heavily from banks. When heavily leveraged, good times are amazing and bad times are suicidal. To dissuade banks from trying to support a bankruptcy, Jerry Greenwald made it clear that all loans would be tied up for 5 to 10 years before banks could access them again so the banks smartened up. Banks did not want to cooperate much because their survival did not rely on Chrysler. There were outstanding loans with low-interest rates of 9% and others ranging for 12% to 20% then back down to 11% when the loan agreement was finalized. According to Iacocca, ironically, whenever banks were in trouble in foreign countries, the bankers received bailouts without question because the FED is full of bankers itself. There is a double standard with banks that is totally unfair. To get the Canadian banks on side, Chrysler agreed to have Canadians as 11% of the North American Chrysler work force which was easy because the Chrysler New Yorker was being built in Canada.

Negotiating with banks was complicated but Steve Miller used charm and humour to disarm the banks: the result was a total of $660 million in interest deferrals and reductions with a 4 year extension of $4 billion worth of loans at 5.5%. BUT all the banks had to agree to cooperate so everyone got a raw deal. One small bank threatened to screw up the entire loan even though they only had a $75,000 loan with Chrysler. However, finally, all of the banks signed documents and those signatures had to be collected together through a conference call where all banks were present. Finally on June 24th, 1980 the first cheque for $500 million was chased. All of this occurred with Salomon Brothers taking their $13,250,000 off the top immediately leaving $486,750,000 for Chrysler.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Keep Suppliers Happy

Chrysler had big suppliers knocking on their door with accounts payable at $800 million per month. Chrysler couldn’t just say that they would be slow to pay their suppliers but they had to say they wanted more spend per month. If this starts to come undone, the suppliers get nervous and act in their own interests, which is a problem. The solution is to always keep suppliers happy.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Directly Pitch The Customer to Enhance Credibility

By the mid 1980s, Chrysler was in a strong position thanks in part to the build up of credibility that Iacocca had earned through his leadership. It also helps if you appear in TV commercials to get your message out. Iacocca did not want to do the ads at first because it would be time consuming. The logic of wheeling out the CEO was that a) Iacocca was well known, b) after you make the commercial, customers know you have to go back to work to improve the cars you just mentioned on air.

The best lines from the ads were: “If you can find a better car – buy it!” When the 1981 commercial came out, people thought that Iacocca was running for president because he was talking about Made in America, and the better days were ahead of us. Iacocca became a major celebrity and would be routinely stopped in the streets. Fame is fleeting for Iacocca. He spent a lot of time denying that he wanted to be president of the United States of America. Across the US, the television set was on an average of 42.7 hours per week. So committing to advertise on TV made huge sense for Chrysler.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Avoid Short-Termism & Expensive Labour Costs

In 1970, GM employees went on strike for 67 days in the US and 95 days in Canada, the 400,000 workers lost $760 million in wages,and GM failed to produce 1.5 million vehicles resulting in a loss of $5 billion in profits. When Chrysler had a 104-day strike in 1950, Ford was able to overtake Chrysler. Strikes were devastating. In 1914, Henry Ford famously paid his workers $5.00 in order to create a middle class that could afford his automobiles. Today, the issue between United Auto Workers and management is not wages but fringe benefits. According to Lee Iacocca, the fault lies with management at Ford, GM and Chrysler who focused on expediency, profits for the next quarter and earning large bonuses for themselves instead of worrying about the long-term impacts of unsustainable benefits for union workers. Regularly, when the UAW threatened to strike, they played management hard and convinced them to accept their demands for better benefits so that short-term management goals could still be maintained.

Management gave in on three areas that has effected the US auto-industry deeply. They gave in because they were focused on the short-term rather than the long-term objectives…

  1. The Cost-Of-Living Allowance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_living): COLA causes run-away inflation since millions of autoworkers and regular Americans benefit from it because it pins the worker’s salary to the Consumer Price Index. Ironically, it was Charlie Wilson of GM’s idea in response to inflation when government lifted price controls in 1946. When the US was booming in the 1950s and 1960s the COLA was not an issue BUT when inflation soared as productivity declined the real problem was revealed.
  2. Thirty And Out: early retirement takes away qualified specialists and then leave the Big 3 to pay their $800 per month pensions (1984 numbers) while they sit at home being unproductive. In reality, the retired guy would work as a cab driver illegally on the side. This results in the best electricians ending up driving cabs. The policy was an UAW driven idea to make way for younger people to take on new jobs but the reality was people live longer than thirty years these days.
  3. Medical Benefits: the Big 3 pay $3 billion per year for hospitals, medical, surgical and dental insurance. This cost means $600 per car sold at Chrysler per year. Iacocca believes that there is immense abuse of the system where a podiatrist had charged Chrysler workers a total of $400,000 a year. There were over 240,000 blood tests done for only 60,000 employees.

For Iacocca, reforming and clawing back on union power and management weakness is imperative for the future of the US auto-industry. UAW never fought automation because it was a way to be more productive.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Basic Management Tips

  • Play dumb when you have to: In December of 1960, McNamara pressured Henry Ford to promote Iacocca to head of the Ford Division, Lee was told to play it cool when being taken to Henry Ford’s office and when offered the position. The reason was that Ford II wanted to make the offer as though it was his own decision and surprise Iacocca.
  • Use common sense and experience in management: Iacocca relays this message about common sense that he picked up from Charlie Beacham (top sales guru) from Iacocca’s Chester, Pennsylvania days; “if you can’t tell the difference between a scope of horse crap and vanilla ice cream then there is no hope for you.” Common sense is something you have to be born with. Logical reasoning is a kind of common sense.
  • Be decisive as a manager: To act is the one key. The most important decision in a company is made by individuals and not by committees. Decisions by committee take dialogue, which is not what you need when you are trying to shoot a moving object like a duck, according to Iacocca. You need to look at the facts as far as you are able to outline them and make decisions accordingly. Too many MBAs will wait until they have 100% of the facts. The problem is that too much education leads managers to over analyze their courses of action. For Iacocca, timing is everything, getting the right decision at the right time is the difference between success and failure.
  • A leader takes a leap of faith: 1) even the right decision is wrong if it’s too late; 2) there is no such thing as certainty so stop trying to create it; 3) don’t be the little boy with the big dog that leads the boy wherever he wants.
  • Always be careful of those who may be jealous of your success: Iacocca had no real credentials when he was made head of the Ford Division. He was an ideas guy not a product guy, you need to have a major success in order to prove your worth, hence Iacocca spearheaded the development of the Mustang…
This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: The Japanese Obsession and Protecting Your Industrial Base

US states are being played off of one another in a competition for Japanese auto factories in the US. Iacocca believed in 1984 that the Japanese were outcompeting the US because of the close ties between management and government officials in Japan. Like China today, Japan according to Iacocca in 1984 was manipulating the yen by pegging it to the US dollar.

In 1984, Iacocca believed that the US was a free trade bastion and Japan had many restrictions for US trade. Japanese car prices fluctuate based on where they are being sold around the world for example in Paris a car would sell at $10,500, San Francisco at $7,200 and $9,000 in Frankfurt, there was no free trade policy in Japan in the 1980s. Iacocca advocates for economic nationalism and protectionism by restricting the number of Japanese cars sold in the US market (with the benefit going to Chrysler, of course). Iacocca believes in dependency theory when he asks: “Question: What do you call a country that exports raw materials and imports finished goods? Answer: A colony.”

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Government Is Self-Interested & Transfer R&D Where Squandered

By 1983, the operating profit of Chrysler was $925 million, which was the best performance in Chrysler history. A new stock offering of 12.5 million shares was made. Within the first hour, 26 million shares were sold with a market value of $432 million. Since any new issue of equity dilutes the existing outstanding shares the price typically dips but at $16.63 the shares then surged to $25 and then $35 per share.

Fortunately, Chrysler was in a position to repay its government loan guarantee that was made from 1980 in 1983 which was 7 years earlier then expected. Unfortunately, the government could force Chrysler to issue 14.4 million shares at $13 at anytime until 1990, this also includes the interest rates of 24%. When Iacocca asked the government to not impose this indecent profit that it had been privy to, the public outcry was massive. Chrysler ended up buying back the warrants at $350 million and the government used those funds not help laid off workers (which might have been appropriate) but rather towards the US deficit.

The final cherry on top for Chrysler was the production of the world’s first minivan. Hal Sperlich developed the Mini-Max at Ford with initial R&D of $500,000 in 1974. There were 3 rules for its creation. 1) the step up height had to be low, 2) the car to fit in a North American-style garage, 3) there had to be ‘nose’ with an engine up front to protect the occupants in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, Henry Ford shot the idea down because he did not want to experiment. So Chrysler released the mini-van in 1984 with major traction and Ford and GM quickly scrambled to develop their own minivans.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.

Lee Iacocca: Go Small Or Go Home

Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca had initiated the K-car series in 1977 with the intention of bringing these four cylinder, 25 miles per gallon vehicles into market. The Aries and the Reliant were genuine sellers for Chrysler. All new cars were derived from the K-car platform including the LeBaron, Chrysler E Class, the New Yorker, Dodge 600 etc. Instead of creating a car for the different price ranges in the 1980s every car was built on the same chassis to save money. Building a new car off of the old was common in Detroit, considering the Mustang was a retooled Falcon.


Initially, these K-cars were priced at $5,880 but with options that would hike the price up to $8,000 or $9,000. This triggered sticker-shock for consumers because too many Chryslers were released with multiple-options. Also, in 1980, the interest rates were as high as 18.5% and as low as 13.5%. And because the government loans came in 3 installments the publicity was bad every time a cheque was carved. For the last loan, Chrysler had to find more concessions from banks. The government even made Chrysler sell the private jets even though they were used to get a top manager from plant to plant quickly. The corporate jet was not a perk but rather a necessary tool for completing their work.

This is a synopsis & analysis based on Iacocca: An Autobiography and other miscellaneous research sources. Enjoy.