Archive for January 2011

An Alliance and a Joint Venture – Pipeline Sharing   Leave a comment

A pipeline of business opportunities is the cornerstone of most sales initiatives, so pipeline sharing is the cornerstone of alliances, and of channel management.

The very fact of sharing a pipeline defines an alliance or channel relationship; what pipeline is shared and how tells a lot about the specifics of the relationship.
For instance, when one partner shares leads and the other shares pipeline opportunities, the second acts as channel; when two partners share opportunities that each generates, and cooperate on them, they are very much managing an alliance. Even more, the content of the pipeline they share literally defines what their alliance is about in practice.

The alliance I have focused on has a joint venture. Over the last few months, as we evolve and strengthen the role of this joint venture, one key area has been pipeline sharing.

There is more than one pipeline here – the shared alliance pipeline among all partners, the joint venture’s own internal one, and the two that the joint venture can share with each alliance partner separately. Sharing them is proving more powerful and enlightening than in standard alliances, as it helps us understand what the joint venture and the alliance really are and how they can make the most of each other.

What is so special?

First of all, pipeline sharing between the joint venture and each alliance partner instantly clarifies the role of the joint venture itself, proving that the alliance is broader than the joint venture, and how this is good for all partners.
Two practical findings put the matter to rest:  

  • the alliance pipeline includes opportunities that are out of the joint venture’s pipeline; they may be few, still they are significant for the alliance and each of the partners – some are among the most significant
  • even more importantly, the joint venture’s pipelines are overall more significant than what the two partners could possibly share between them and team on – and they all are by definition relevant for the alliance partners

Clearly the joint venture makes the alliance deeper and broader than it would otherwise be, and the alliance is still more than the joint venture itself.

In addition to this, differences between all these pipelines point to ways the alliance can evolve.

Each difference is an actual, live opportunity one or more organizations are working on. Each is a pointer to how the three organizations can work better with each other, either by teaming or by leaving the joint venture alone pursuing it for the benefit of all partners.

Posted January 25, 2011 by Gianluca Marcellino in Alliances

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An Alliance has a Joint Venture is an Alliance – What Here and Now?   Leave a comment

At the highest level, the strategic alliance I am focusing on stands out for having a joint venture, too.
In a very practical sense this alliance has also been that joint venture.

This has been the case for a very long time, in a growing if carefully selected number of countries.

Here, now, we are having a great opportunity to review thoroughly: what can the practical implications of this be?
Specifically: what can it mean for an ICT strategic alliance to have, possibly even be, a joint venture in one given country at a specific moment in time?

I look forward to contributing to a new practical implementation. 
Place is here, Italy. Time is now, say the month starting today.

Posted January 17, 2011 by Gianluca Marcellino in Alliances, Computer e Internet

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Focus Helps Effective Social Networking   Leave a comment

The world of alliances, more than a few other businesses, gives plenty of opportunity to obtain, then seek to cultivate, more and more contacts.
Add online social networking, and you may well find yourself on a slippery slope towards collecting contacts for the sake of contacts, like stamps or PEZ boxes.
Yes, I have been there, and there were many of us. I have moved on since, and quite a few have yet to do the same.

Months ago, Lou Dubois published this valuable summary of how to make your social networking effective. As all good summaries, it articulates in one convenient place many good known points.

Plus, I found one new, powerful tool for focused networking: its classification of contacts in five categories.
The five definitions are easy to apply, with tangible criteria that make immediate sense. Most importantly, mapping my contacts to these categories makes it very easy to see how to gauge what they mean, and what I likely mean for them.

This drives a strong case in favour of keeping your contact network streamlined. A welcome support of what I had earlier experimented with streamlining my LinkedIn network.

As chance would have it, my experience and this article were just two days apart, even as it took me until today (and a useful twit by @FrancineAllaire) to connect them.

International Alliances: Whatever You Do, Wherever You Work, Find a Better Phrase than “Developing Countries” – Now   Leave a comment

First, go watch this. And I say “watch” as in “look at it moving”… click the “play” button and see the world unfolding.

Oh, I do hope you were sitting. With any luck, “comfortably” will come back soon.

See the huge red ball fluttering around and literally bouncing hard on the floor between 1958 and 1961?
Now, that’s really the best part of this world by some very significant measures, as we all know- today, that is.

If you watch closely it bounces up much before hitting the bottom of the chart – mercifully.
I shiver to the thought of what must it have been like, and I do so watching this graph much more than when I read gut-wrenching accounts of that story over the last few decades.

International alliances are probably among the easiest varieties of international work, and the lesson that Professor Hans Rosling’s  Gapminder drives here feels like applying to many of the most complex kinds too, from trade and manufacturing, to cooperation, to aid, to finance and diplomacy.

I start from alliances for a very personal combination of reasons. For now, let’s just say

  1. it was a long time alliances colleague and friend pointing me to this,
  2. surely alliances must be across borders and so international, or what are they? 
  3. it looks like Gapminder can help us see the limits of some myths shaping how we act – internationally.

In his donation request, professor Rosling calls them “devastating myths”.
If you find this a bit too strong, go to the link here at the top and just watch the ball pinball around, bounce hard, then float up left. Safely, I am sure we all hope, since the vertical axis is labeled “life expectancy”. 

There’s plenty more myths where this comes from, and plenty more devastation. I so hope alliances, too, can help improve on some.

How Do You Say “Freedom of Speech” in Social Media-ese?   Leave a comment

The Economist’s “Babbage” blog just posted a great introduction to a thoughtful Foreign Affairs feature by Clay Shirky on The Political Power of Social Media.

Time matters. Freedom of speech on the Internet before social media is different from of speech on the internet with social media. Freedom of speech before Wikileaks published quite a few confidential comments by members of diplomacies is different from the same after those comments were published.
Ask Mr. Shirky, who does point to Wikileaks as one of the places where valuable political conversation and coordination happens, likely before the recent highly visible wave of leaks.

Luckily, this coincidence fully supports Mr. Shirky’s very point: to determine how the Internet helps freedom and civil rights, and to help this process, focus on long-term (“environmental”) actions and effects, rather than short-term (“instrumental”) pressure to fight individual censorship acts such as tracking and punishing bloggers, or blocking access to international news.

Much better to support access to conversation than access to information: it allows long term mutual education and sharing, and it enables networked coordination, independent from hierarchies. Freedom of speech here is more about building an environment for civil organization and collaboration than individual tools. Conversation (“debate”) in these environments is what historically has shifted the balance of power between civil society and governments.

I find this notion a very effective simplifying tool to assess the value of media, including social digital media, for building freedom. Do check out the original article for much deeper and richer insight.

Update: for a likely more sobering view, see the Economist’s review of Evgeny Morozov’s book “The Net Delusion“. Based on the review, the book appears to support Mr. Shirky’s recommendation  mostly by highlighting how much the Internet can actually help authoritarian regimes track and crush opposers.

According to the review: <<“The internet”, Mr Morozov argues, “has provided so many cheap and easily available entertainment fixes to those living under authoritarianism that it has become considerably harder to get people to care about politics at all.”>> Perhaps even more importantly for how democratic governments and communities can contribute: <<Authoritarian governments are assumed to be clueless about the internet, but they often understand its political uses far better than their Western counterparts do, Mr Morozov suggests.>>

Nuovo Cowo Milano/Romolo: quando talento e coworking si uniscono, il risultato è un fantastico “rebelòt”!   Leave a comment

Nuovo Cowo Milano/Romolo: quando talento e coworking si uniscono, il risultato è un fantastico “rebelòt”!
Coworking: a valuable bricks-and-clicks, atoms-and-bits social networking and collaboration tool.
Looks like a must for any freelance, and food for thought for any gun that’s hired already.

Most importantly for alliances, coworking must be one of the ways to generate alliances among small businesses.
In turn, SMB alliance development can benefit this particular town and country very much, I believe.

Posted January 4, 2011 by Gianluca Marcellino in Alliances, Social Networking

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