Business Advice | Milan Rao, Jim McKelvey, and Liz Miller on DisrupTV with Ray Wang & Vala Afshar

Key Takeaways

  • Responding to the COVID pandemic is a 3-step process:
    • 1) Protect your employees and customers
    • 2) Seek ways to resume business in a safe manner
    • 3) Find ways to emerge stronger
  • “Everything is going to go virtual” – Milan Rao
    • “The digital transformation glass ceiling has been broken by the pandemic”
  • Copying is the ultimate solution for solving an existing problem, but it can’t be used to solve a new problem
  • Square gave away the smaller version of their credit card swiper which didn’t work as well but got people’s attention because of how small it was
    • “I had this thing that was somehow a conversation starter and I was damned if I’m gonna sacrifice it just for 20-percent better read fidelity”Jim McKelvey
  • Being an expert won’t help in doing something that has not ever been done before
    • “You can’t be an expert in new”Jim McKelvey
  • This pandemic is a test for companies to see if they’ll maintain their brand and keep their core values
    • “What happens to your brand when the customer finds out that you left the back door open?” – Liz Miller 

Intro

Books Mentioned

How Businesses Adapt To COVID

  • Milan Rao is the President of Wipro, the company employees over 185,000 people
    • The first priority for Wipro during the pandemic was the safety of their employees and customers
      • To help employees work safely from home, the company shipped over 40,000 computers and 30,000 wi-fi dongles
        • They even converted one of their campuses into a temporary COVID hospital 
  • Responding to the COVID pandemic is a 3-step process:
    • 1) Protect your employees and customers
    • 2) Seek ways to resume business in a safe manner
    • 3) Find ways to emerge stronger
  • If you’re a business, you need to ask yourself, how can I make my customers feel safe?
    • If you’re a restaurant, offer food delivery drop-offs
    • If you’re a retail store, offer curbside pick-up 
      • Reimagine the user journey and how that journey can be digitally enabled whether it’s through AI, robotics, 5G, etc.
        • What are the megatrends that will happen going forward?
  • “Everything is going to go virtual” – Milan Rao
    • “The digital transformation glass ceiling has been broken by the pandemic”
      • All the naysayers and skeptics of digital technology are gone
  • If you have a positive attitude and stay resilient, you will emerge stronger from this crisis

Lessons From Square’s Co-founder

  • Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and author of The Innovation Stack 
  • Amazon attacked Square when the company was only 4 years old
    • “Amazon copied our product, undercut our price, and was just gonna kill us and when Amazon does this to a startup, the startup always dies. Except in one case and that was Square.” – Jim McKelvey
      • Copying is the ultimate solution for solving an existing problem, but it can’t be used to solve a new problem
        • Amazon spent their time copying Square but Square spent their time creating new solutions 
          • Square basically created a new market 
  • Entrepreneurship isn’t cool until it works
    • Being an entrepreneur is brutal and has a high chance of failing
  • Square gave away the smaller version of their credit card swiper which didn’t work as well but got people’s attention because of how small it was
    • “I had this thing that was somehow a conversation starter and I was damned if I’m gonna sacrifice it just for 20-percent better read fidelity” Jim McKelvey
  • Being an expert won’t help in doing something that has not ever been done before
    • “You can’t be an expert in new”Jim McKelvey
      • Don’t disqualify yourself from doing something new, no one has the credentials for something that has never been done before
        • When you’re doing something new, there will be a ton of negative reinforcement. Don’t pay too much attention to it.

Maintaining Your Brand During COVID

  • Liz Miller is the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research 
  • This pandemic is a test for companies to see if they’ll maintain their brand and keep their core values
    • “What happens to your brand when the customer finds out that you left the back door open?” – Liz Miller 
      • That could break a customer’s trust forever
        • It’s not just about the loss in revenue, but the permanent loss of trust and security
          • You can recover profits, but it’s much harder to recover customer trust
  • CMOs are translators: They translate the voice of their customers into what their company should become
  • “What people buy is the promise you deliver through your branded messaging” – Liz Miller 
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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