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Killing the cash cow

It's tough dropping old presentations from my oeeuvre. They are like old shoes - comfortable, familiar, reliable, and still of value since I update each talk every time I give it. But I euthanized a few this weekend*.

Guy Kawasaki makes sense when he advises:

Kill the cash cows. This is the only acceptable perspective for both intrapreneurs and their upper management. Cash cows are wonderful—but they should be milked and killed, not sustained until—no pun intended—the cows come home. Truly brave companies understand that if they don’t kill their cash cows, two guys/gals in a garage will do it for them. Macintosh killed the Apple II: Do you think Apple would be around today if it tried to “protect” the Apple II cash cow ad infinitum? The true purpose of cash cows is to fund new calves.

He's right, but boy o boy it's hard to kill your cow if you've named her Bossie. Or The Indispensable Librarian or The Technology? Skills Everyone Needs. No one would believe just how much fun it's been giving these talks and how lovely it is to bask in the glow of the head-swelling comments that follow.

But old Indispensable has been around since about 1996 and Tech? Skills for almost that long. There is probably not one slide or statistic in either presentation today that was a part of the original talk, but I need to re-fresh my own thinking, my own mission, and my own discomfort level. I would estimate that since I started speaking for beer money professionally in the mid-90s I've given over 1200 talks and workshops to over 160 organizations. I still get nervous before each talk, for sure, but am I nervous enough?

My areas of interest, my levels of expertise, my experiences, and even some of my basic philosophies change each year. Shouldn't my presentations and workshops? Shouldn't what we all teach grow, be pruned and change direction every year?  If we aren't stretching ourselves, are we truly stretching others?

And what's the fun in going on only the safe rides anyway?

*I'd forgotten how difficult it is to get things done with a 16 month old around the house! First time Grandpa and Grandma had the boy overnight all by himself. He's very, very busy.

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Reader Comments (1)

Nice Post. Interesting perspectives!

August 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramit

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