Ben Perreira

My head's dropbox.

Month: July, 2012

Severability

Anyone who has read the last page of a contract has seen a section that looks something like this:

If a provision of this Agreement is or becomes illegal, invalid or unenforceable in any jurisdiction, that shall not affect:

  1. the validity or enforceability in that jurisdiction of any other provision of this Agreement; or
  2. the validity or enforceability in other jurisdictions of that or any other provision of this Agreement.

This is called severability, and it means that one voided clause doesn’t cause the entire contract to lose its validity. This is convenient to the lawyer who drafts it as well as any lawyer who needs to later use it. It leaves room for error.

Brands do not have the same luxury with their customers. Customers sign the implied (perhaps not legal) contract when they make a purchase and they expect specific characteristics in exchange for their currency. Anything less and the brand has breached it’s part of the contract. No severability. 

Options C through ZZ

Last year I took a course called “Negotiation Strategy in International Business” with Professor Gustavo Demoner. Gustavo had us get into groups to negotiate a deal in which one group (mine) was looking to license a technology to three different car manufacturers, represented by three groups of four people.

The negotiations got intense, almost Lord of The Flies-esque. At one point, Gustavo stepped in and reminded us not to get lost the two options he gave us. 

“When I’m shown options A and B, I look for options C, D, E…”

I think this is important to remember. Most decisions we make are not like choosing Coke or Pepsi. There are people, emotions, money and time on the line. Options are endless. Create one wisely. 

Stimulus Collage

I did my undergraduate work at UC Santa Barbara and my first upper division course of my major, sociology, was called “Socialization” and taught by Professor John Baldwin. The course covered the panoply of human behavior in a six week summer session.

Baldwin described a concept for developing creativity called the “stimulus collage.” The idea is simple and incredibly useful: the more stimuli we have in our minds, the greater our chances for creativity.

The more things we see then more new things we are able to create. The iPhone was not created in a vacuum – it took robust mobile connectivity, emerging 3G networks, pervasive Internet usage, touch screen technology, and many more things to exist before someone could connect the dots to create the device. 

As we add more arrows to our quivers, we become better at knowing which one to use in what situation, or when it’s time to make our own arrows. 

Give A Shit

Is anything harder than getting someone to give a shit? 

Imagine you’re working on an important project. You have a talented team of well-paid people from a variety of backgrounds. Success is in the palm of your hand. But no one else gives a shit. It’s a brick in the wall for them.

It’s ain’t easy to motivate people. Carrots and sticks don’t always work as easily as they should.

And then… when does your “not giving a shit” get in someone else’s way?

All a matter of perspective and motivation. I suppose we all need both.