Saul Flores—Chief Strategy Officer at DT—chats today about business strategy, the myths of innovation and what he’s learned through some of his crazy jobs in management. Saul has a Master’s Degree and is also a Stanford Business School graduate, and he shares his wealth of knowledge from these endeavours. We also talk about how he’s done so well in his short career, how to optimise for the best business outcomes and what it means to be a “highly trained logical-cynic with pragmatic-idealism”.
Links and resources:
- Executive Education at Stanford Business School
- Behavioural economics (economics) vs. consumer behaviour (psychology)
- Utils, the theoretical unit measuring satisfaction in economics.
- McMaster-Carr, the family-owned multi-billion dollar industrial supplies company, which is (almost-) perfectly optimised and has a crazy attitude towards excellence.
- Lean Six Sigma, the manufacturing/enterprise performance improvement methodology.
- Company reviews of McMaster-Carr on Glassdoor
- Impostor syndrome, the term referring to high-achieving individuals who have trouble internalising their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
- Sabbatical, a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.
- A list of Thomas Edison’s most famous inventions
- The Gutenberg Printing Press, an innovation which spread literature (and knowledge) to the masses for the first time in an efficient, durable way.
- See the enormous size of Edison’s workshop in this historical photo (more photos in this gallery):
- Popular wisdom is a lie, Henry Ford did not invent the automobile.
- Design thinking involves starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of looking to solve a specific problem.
- Does the first-mover advantage really exist?
- In 2012, R/GA won a shitload of awards at Cannes for Nike+ FuelBand.
- In 2014, just two years later, Nike quietly shut down FuelBand and moved away from its Nike+ strategy.
- How the Nike Flyknit revolutionised the age-old craft of shoemaking
- “Getting the job a McMaster-Carr was turning point number one [in my career]. Stanford was [the second] big turning point for me.” ~ Saul Flores
- MATE: “Do you experience impostor syndrome?” SF: “Constantly. I think that’s been a factor in every new job I’ve ever had.”
- “I was 27 when [DT’s CEO] Brian reached out to me, 28 when I started at DT and still 28 when I started as Strategy Director.” ~ Saul Flores
- MATE: “Looking back at your career, and education, do you have an ‘I made it’ moment?” SF: “Not really. I think the more I’ve worked the more I’ve realised there’s more to do.”
- “You’re a highly trained logical-cynic, and a value you have is pragmatic-idealism. What the fuck does that mean?!” ~ Adam Jaffrey
- “Innovation is solving a problem that hasn’t been solved before, or a different way of solving the same problem, in a way that you get value from it in a marketplace.” ~ Saul Flores
- “Innovation is mostly iterative, it’s mostly collaborative, and it’s rarely some brand-new invention the world’s never seen before.” ~ Saul Flores
- “The reality of it is, there’s no one silver bullet that makes you innovative. It’s an organisational design process. There’s culture, there’s resourcing, there’s structures, there’s technologies, there’s tools, and … there’s a commitment. The most important ingredient is failure. You just have to fail a bunch if you want to try something new.” ~ Saul Flores
- “I think ‘fast-mover’ [instead of first-mover] is important. So, when you know a move is a good move to make, get there quickly. You don’t have to be the first one. If you’re optimising for first, you’re not optimising for a lot of other things, like: do it well, do it cheaply, server a real need, etc.” ~ Saul Flores
- “I don’t like to predict the future, I really try not to. I hate writing a 3-year roadmap for a client because I’m just making it up at that point, and they’re never going to follow it anyway.” ~ Saul Flores
- The guest on this episode: Saul Flores, Chief Strategy Officer at DT.
- Podcast logo cover artwork by Courtney Carman
- Music from “Ghosts I–IV” by Nine Inch Nails, used under a Creative Commons licence.
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MATE podcast is a digital radio show about Marketing, Advertising, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Adam Jaffrey: Digital Strategist and Entrepreneur. Made with love in Melbourne, Australia.