Friday, September 24, 2004

Life and a grueling hike

Business Times p.B1
Thursday, September 24, 2004

By Moje Ramos Aquino
Life and a grueling hike

AS WE go on with our Journey on Entrepreneurship, let us derive lessons from mountain climbing that apply to life and business.

One energetic climber is 12-year-old Christina Eugenio de Guia, a.k.a. Chrissie, daughter of Vicky and Art de Guia and a Grade 7 pupil at Paref Woodrose. “The hike in Mount Makiling is like our hike in life. While I was hiking, I felt that the hike was really long.

Like the hike, I feel that life is so long, but in fact, it’s really short, and I take it all for granted. Also as I took one step at a time toward the peak of Makiling, it is like I was taking one step at a time toward my goal in life.

“Just like the limatik [leeches] along the way and the steep slopes in Makiling, there are also things which I fear of going through in life. But I always remember that I have my family and friends to fall back on if something bad happens, just like I could always rely on my group mates to watch my back during the hike. As the pathway gets steeper, the hike gets more exciting. My life is more exciting with challenges. The difference between life and the hike is that in life, I can never go back, albeit, I can only move on. In the hike I can take a turn here or there or turn back altogether, but in life, we can’t take things for granted because one day they might not be there anymore.”

In life as in business, Paul Newby, design team leader of TiVo Inc., said it succinctly, “Success is about maintaining the vision even through the most grueling details.”

Scott Kirsner, Fast Co. contributing editor, adds, “And yet TiVo has geneuine strengths. The company’s executive team, led by CEO Mike Ramsay, has been quick to change course in response to changes in the market and on Wall Street. The company continues to innovate on virtually every facet of the viewing experience—even on elements as mundane as the remote control. Earlier this year, TiVo abandoned ubiquity as an objective and decided to concentrate on one retailer.”

Chrissie continues, “People may think that it’s wrong that how come they should believe in what a 12-year-old has to say, that life really isn’t like that, that we never really achieve our goals and maybe even that one can never really acquire real friends who will always be there for them. But they’re wrong because people tend to overlook what’s in front of them. Instead, they look at things which they’re not capable of seeing and in the end, they’re never satisfied.

What we are looking for can be found right in front of us. We should just get on with our hike or our life.

After a while, the hike got really exciting because the pathways were getting steeper. That’s a lesson I learned from writing this essay.”

Kirsner explains that TiVo is a giant hard drive in a box that hooks up to your TV, a cable or satellite feed and, a phone line. TiVo can help you select shows that you like to record up to 60 hours of programming and watch later or put a live show “on pause” while you do something else—and return to it without missing a thing. TiVo can track what types of shows you watch frequently and suggest others that you might enjoy.

TiVo president Morgan Gunther concedes, “There are lots of cautionary tales where the inflection point came, the technology went mainstream, and the company that was there first couldn’t take advantage of it.

We know that we have to focus on execution if we want to stay on top of the market that we created. What does it take to take to get the mass market to adopt this technology?”

In life as in a hike, let’s heed this three guiding principles of TiVo: cut through the complexity; iterate, iterate, iterate; and the genius is in the details.

(Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., facilitates Strategic Thinking & Planning with Balanced Scorecard initiatives. Her e-mail address is innovation

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