Playmaker’s Blog


Poison Play? Labels Can Backfire

September 30, 2015

As Apple brings its second-try streaming business online, incumbents Spotify and Pandora seem eager to dismiss the gorilla-sized insurgent. According to Quartz, Pandora’s marketing chief sees Apple Music as a wanna-be brand.  Musing on the premise that Pandora and his legacy rival, Spotify, are called the Coke and Pepsi of music streaming, Simon Fleming-Wood recently ran a Label, joking that […]

How Strategy Does (and Doesn’t) Explain Influence

September 25, 2015

Looking for a good review of traditional strategy and its evolution?  Look no further than What is Strategy, Again? by Harvard Business Review’s Andrea Ovans.  From Drucker to Porter to so many offspring theories, she covers the bases for managers whose work centers on the moves and makeup of tangibles, whether of battle ships or potato chips. But what […]

How Software Will Eat Strategy. It’s a Little Like Lava

September 18, 2015

In the 1990s, before founding, Mark Benioff (below), explained to me, “Software is like a slow-moving bed of lava. You can’t stop it. Eventually, it eats everything in its path.” Nothing, he boasted, is safe from clever programmers and their tools. Never mind that Benioff soon made his famous declaration, “Software is Dead.” This was a play to […]

How Bezos and Bernie Quelled Critics: They Ran the Crazy Ivan

September 16, 2015

When someone’s coming for you, what do you do? In business and politics, the defaults are to run or rationalize.  Influence strategies like the Pass, Pause, Deflect, Red Herring and Recast are the go-to plays for people and organizations who’d rather not face the music or who simply lack the mastery or buy-in to confront and fight it. But […]

Warning Label: Combo Burger is a Combo Play

August 26, 2015

Fast food giant Burger King this week issued a tongue-in-cheek plea of peace to its rival McDonalds. The idea: To sell for charity a love-child burger…what amounts to the best of both worlds in the fast food business: The McWhopper. Like the tactic, the influence strategy is also two-fold: A Peacock to drive novelty and thus publicity, and […]