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Old 01-04-2013, 10:38 PM   #61
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You should hear all the calls on sports talk radio for heads to roll when our local teams don't win!
As I suspected. The evidence says that rolling heads doesn't help teams win. So the owners are probably doing it to appease fans.

As for whether B&N replacing their experienced hard-working managers with newbies would help any more than firing baseball managers, I don't have a link for that one. I just think it would stink.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:04 PM   #62
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As I suspected. The evidence says that rolling heads doesn't help teams win. So the owners are probably doing it to appease fans.

As for whether B&N replacing their experienced hard-working managers with newbies would help any more than firing baseball managers, I don't have a link for that one. I just think it would stink.
Where is the study that has the GMs? Where is the study beyond just a few sports, and specifically one that covers baseball?

Even if it were true that the owners do it just to appease fans, then that at least would keep up attendance and revenues. But I believe in many cases, especially in sports that I've followed, changing GMs/managers/coaches can make a big difference on the field as well.

Also, who said anything about replacing B&N executives with "newbies?" To the contrary, I would replace them with only experienced people. And of course replacing/firing people stinks. But it stinks worse to have a whole product line fail and put even more people out of work!

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #63
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But I do agree when you say that they their ecosystem is poor. And after several years, no signs of important improvement has been made. If you're locked into one, at least give a strong one to your customer.
They can't make an improvement.
And building a strong app marketplace isn't like books where a single distributor and a handful of publisher reps can bring you hundreds of thousands of books; rather it is more like dealing with ten thousand indie publishers. And we're talking about ten thousand developers that are at most slightly interested in getting onto their platform. So it is going to take time and effort to draw those apps in.

As you said, B&N's business is selling books and they act like it.
In book selling, they are big shots; important players.
In android apps they are an afterthought that thinks it is important.

Remember, their store only runs on *their* hardware on *their* terms. The only thing they stock is what they sign a deal for. And most developers have more pressing business than spend time dealing with them for access to a 1% slice of the market.

That is why after two years their appstore is barely 8000 deep while Amazon's is well past 50,000. (And the FIRE lets you install apps from other sources.)

My position is that if their locked ecosystem can't (and won't any time soon) offer the apps the users need, then their locked ecosystem is a failure and their choices are to either open up and let the hardware shine or continue to cripple the hardware and see the hardware stay unsold in warehouses.

There is no other realistic choice.
The hardware is good but it's not *that* good.
And they may want to make their money selling content but they're not going to sell any content if they don't sell the hardware first.

It's a chicken and egg problem that starts with a strangled chicken.

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:28 PM   #64
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Also, who said anything about replacing B&N executives with "newbies?" To the contrary, I would replace them with only experienced people. And of course replacing/firing people stinks. But it stinks worse to have a whole product line fail and put even more people out of work!

--Pat
One can make the case that since Nook is a technology company, it is the B&N executives trying to run it like a book-selling business that are the newbies that need replacing with experienced tech industry veterans.
Which some of us, me included, are saying: keep the staff, fire the owners.

It isn't about firing program managers and coders and low-level staff.
If anything, the evidence is that those guys are doing their assigned jobs properly and competently. The people that need firing are the people at the top that set the direction of the company, that assign budgets and resources to designing and maintaining their websites; to customer service, to the app store. The idiots who set policies that require direct human interaction and mutiple levels of supervisor evaluation to return one frakking, *defective* ebook.

The whiny arrogant fools who pick a fight with Time Warner over a handful of temporarily exclusive comic books. Who are so obsessed with Amazon they don't even pay attention to where they are driving their own business. (Hint: there's a cliff right ahead.)

Nook's failings start at the top and any fix needs to start at the very top. They need new policies, a clear focus, and a narrow mission. And they're not going to get it from the current B&N ownership.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:38 PM   #65
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Where is the study that has the GMs? Where is the study beyond just a few sports, and specifically one that covers baseball?
So even though you've been working your tail off and haven't done anything unprofessional, you're fired, because just maybe your industry is different from related industies? Would you want to work for that kind of organization? Maybe you would. Maybe you already do. If so, you have my condolences.

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Also, who said anything about replacing B&N executives with "newbies?" To the contrary, I would replace them with only experienced people.
Why would any first-rate experienced person want to work in a declining industry under those conditions?

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But it stinks worse to have a whole product line fail and put even more people out of work!
The eBook revolution is putting people out of work. In broad outline, it is the creative destruction of capitalism and can't be helped. But for an old-line company to have even a chance of being the exception, it will need risk-taking managers. And if firing is uppermost in their mind, they'll play it the company way. Yea, they'll stick lose their job when the firm goes bankrupt, but not as quickly.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:53 PM   #66
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keep the staff, fire the owners.
Is B&N in the S&P500? If so, I think that would include me

I guess you really mean that the Board of Directors should fire the CEO, and people right under him or her. This of course happens a lot. They can always find an impressive-seeming replacement CEO, given the salaries. But how different is this from the sports scenario? Here's a Harvard Business School paper saying the the Board of Directors are often giving in to stockholder pressure when they pull the plug on the CEO. It sounds a lot like the revolving door sports coach situation.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:57 PM   #67
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So even though you've been working your tail off and haven't done anything unprofessional, you're fired, because just maybe your industry is different from related industies? Would you want to work for that kind of organization? Maybe you would. Maybe you already do. If so, you have my condolences.
Everyplace I've ever worked, simply working hard was not enough to keep a job . You also had to do a good job. Those who consistently under-performed, were fired. And, AFAIK, most jobs in America are like that. Not all. But most of them.

I don't know what profession you work in, but it sounds pretty cushy.


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Why would any first-rate experienced person want to work in a declining industry under those conditions?
The conditions I'm talking about are the norm in this country. We saw it with Apple. The guy heading the maps app did a poor job. He got fired. So as long as the pay is competitive, why wouldn't anyone not want to work for B&N? Declining industry or not, it's still a good company to work for, I would think.


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The eBook revolution is putting people out of work. In broad outline, it is the creative destruction of capitalism and can't be helped. But for an old-line company to have even a chance of being the exception, it will need risk-taking managers. And if firing is uppermost in their mind, they'll play it the company way. Yea, they'll stick lose their job when the firm goes bankrupt, but not as quickly.
I'm not sure why you seem so convinced the people currently in charge of setting the direction for various aspects of the Nook tablet are the right people for that job. The risk is betting that a tightly locked down tablet without a rich ecosystem can work. Maybe in this case they need someone to think more in line with where the current market is at. Someone to think more traditionally! Or at least more sensibly.

--Pat
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:04 AM   #68
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Disagree.

Lock model has worked for other companies.

They sell books, no hardware.

Their problem is bad service, haven't expand ebook business international, prices not competitive.

Open the UI won't make them sell more ebooks if their titles are more expensive then Amazon.

But I do agree when you say that they their ecosystem is poor. And after several years, no signs of important improvement has been made. If you're locked into one, at least give a strong one to your customer.
Had the Nook been more open, I would have bought one. Had I gotten a Nook, I would have looked at their book and app offerings. It's a foot in the door. Would it be enough to keep them afloat? I don't know.

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Did I say I'm not a sports fan?
I'm willing to say that I am not a sports fan. If I were...I might be tempted to say that B&N needs to give 110%. That they just need to play their game. Not let their opponents get into their heads. That defense wins games. That the best defense is a good offense.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:11 AM   #69
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One can make the case that since Nook is a technology company, it is the B&N executives trying to run it like a book-selling business that are the newbies that need replacing with experienced tech industry veterans.
Which some of us, me included, are saying: keep the staff, fire the owners.

It isn't about firing program managers and coders and low-level staff.
If anything, the evidence is that those guys are doing their assigned jobs properly and competently. The people that need firing are the people at the top that set the direction of the company, that assign budgets and resources to designing and maintaining their websites; to customer service, to the app store. The idiots who set policies that require direct human interaction and mutiple levels of supervisor evaluation to return one frakking, *defective* ebook.

The whiny arrogant fools who pick a fight with Time Warner over a handful of temporarily exclusive comic books. Who are so obsessed with Amazon they don't even pay attention to where they are driving their own business. (Hint: there's a cliff right ahead.)

Nook's failings start at the top and any fix needs to start at the very top. They need new policies, a clear focus, and a narrow mission. And they're not going to get it from the current B&N ownership.
Don't misrepresent what I've said. I've never said they should fire coders or low-level staff. I said nothing of the sort.

I said they should fire anyone who was in charge of making primary decisions regarding the Nook tablet, specifically in regards to the app store, the tablets' design (exterior) and the locked down nature of the the device. I mentioned the product manager, but it could also mean his/her boss and many others up and down the food chain from the product manager. Obviously, that would exclude any low level staff and coders. But it could include any and all execs up to and including the CEO.

As for the owners, you can't fire them, lol. Or rather, they won't fire themselves. If you are suggesting the owners should sell the whole shebang, that is a different discussion. I'm really just concentrating on the Nook tablet and don't want to get into the whole B&N business including their B&M stores.

--Pat
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:57 AM   #70
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I'm not sure why anyone would want to keep people on who are directly responsible for a product which failed.



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They can't fire Amazon. Or Apple.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:01 AM   #71
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Don't misrepresent what I've said. I've never said they should fire coders or low-level staff. I said nothing of the sort.
--Pat
Sorry if I wasn't clear.
I thought I was agreeing with you that the problem isn't the staff and expanding on why. Wasn't looking to debate you but reinforce you.

And yes, I do think the top execs need to (let) go. Remember B&N is publicly held; the shareholders have the power to fire the top execs even if some of the top execs are owners.

B&N is already under pressure from stockholders who see Nook valued at more than the combined company and want to see a spin-off and IPO but the Riggio family refuses. It is a classic case of the parts being worth more than the whole, compounded by both parts' performance suffering from trying to keep the two together.

At some point even Riggio is going to have to let go and sooner will be better than later. If they enter next holiday season with the same policies and same strategies as the last two... Well, "If you keep on doing what you've been doing, you'll keep on getting what you're getting."

I do think we're in agreement that current management isn't going to magically change the way they see the world and instantly evolve a whole new set of customer-focused policies and strategies, right?

I think that you need different people who are not vested in the current policies and strategies and will whole-heartedly pursue new directions, not because the old ones failed and they need to throw a dart in a different direction, but because they really believe in the new approach.

And time is a constraint; they only have 9 months to diagnose the problem, identify a new approach, and implement it. All while strapped for cash, choked by unsold hardware, and trying to defend their past decisions? Oh, and trying to expand internationally. Against a changing market? That requires people used to working on internet time. That is, tech industry veterans.

And that is just for Nook.

On the B&N side they need to refocus on B&M retail.
Two entirely different missions. For the same set of top managers?
I don't think so: This crisis demands a divorce.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:17 AM   #72
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They can't fire Amazon. Or Apple.
Is it Amazon's fault they haven't built-up their app store?
Or that they keep introducing new readers in the spring and head into the primary selling season with "old" product?
Or that they keep trying to compete on price when they can't afford the losses?
Or that they routinely build more product than they can sell? (How long was the original Nook still for sale as "new"? Three years?)
Or, on the B&M front, that their long-term customers are upset at pbooks beingg de-emphasized at the storefronts? (If true, that. I see a lot of annecdotes but I'm not sure Shatzkin is right on that.)

It's a hard, competitive environment, yes; but a lot if not all of B&N's wounds are sell-inflicted, mistakes.

Instead of B&N and Nook firing on all cylinders and simply being outperformed, they are being beaten because they are underperforming their own potential. By their own admssion they are failing to meet expectations. Year after year. That argues that the problem is the expectations, not the product; the management, not the competition. They don't really understand the business they're in.

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Old 01-05-2013, 09:45 AM   #73
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Everyplace I've ever worked, simply working hard was not enough to keep a job . You also had to do a good job.
You should have to do a great job -- but only at those things which are reasonably within your control. Fire the coach for having injured players play? Sure. Fire the coach because he had an above-average number of injuries this year, and other teams less? No.

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I'm not sure why you seem so convinced the people currently in charge of setting the direction for various aspects of the Nook tablet are the right people for that job.
I'm not convinced of that. I am convinced that internet pressure to fire people more often is not the way to a more prosperous, much less more humane, society.

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They can't fire Amazon. Or Apple.

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:37 AM   #74
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The Kindle(s) are not open , in some regard :-) ... and sell like hot cakes. But you can find any type of book at extremely good prices. Actually, B&N tablets allow you to side load books via SD Card. You have no SD slot in Kindle(s)

Tablets and ereaders are now pretty much the same, Vey good quality overall. With few exceptions, you get similar hardware among companies. What really makes a difference, in my opinion, is App Store and the tablet or ereader price.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:40 AM   #75
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Sorry if I wasn't clear.
I thought I was agreeing with you that the problem isn't the staff and expanding on why. Wasn't looking to debate you but reinforce you.

And yes, I do think the top execs need to (let) go. Remember B&N is publicly held; the shareholders have the power to fire the top execs even if some of the top execs are owners.

B&N is already under pressure from stockholders who see Nook valued at more than the combined company and want to see a spin-off and IPO but the Riggio family refuses. It is a classic case of the parts being worth more than the whole, compounded by both parts' performance suffering from trying to keep the two together.

At some point even Riggio is going to have to let go and sooner will be better than later. If they enter next holiday season with the same policies and same strategies as the last two... Well, "If you keep on doing what you've been doing, you'll keep on getting what you're getting."

I do think we're in agreement that current management isn't going to magically change the way they see the world and instantly evolve a whole new set of customer-focused policies and strategies, right?

I think that you need different people who are not vested in the current policies and strategies and will whole-heartedly pursue new directions, not because the old ones failed and they need to throw a dart in a different direction, but because they really believe in the new approach.

And time is a constraint; they only have 9 months to diagnose the problem, identify a new approach, and implement it. All while strapped for cash, choked by unsold hardware, and trying to defend their past decisions? Oh, and trying to expand internationally. Against a changing market? That requires people used to working on internet time. That is, tech industry veterans.

And that is just for Nook.

On the B&N side they need to refocus on B&M retail.
Two entirely different missions. For the same set of top managers?
I don't think so: This crisis demands a divorce.
Now that I've read through your original reply a second time over a fresh cup of coffee, I can see that you were agreeing with me. It was late last night and I misread your post, so my apologies.

We do see eye to eye that something needs to be done with those at the top. I am in complete agreement with you that just sticking to the same old strategy that hasn't worked for two years is a death sentence. It may already be too late. And, yes, Riggio needs to go or be marginalized. He is too close to the old thinking at B&N. Maybe they should look to hire away some of the people who were responsible for producing the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7.

The reason I said I wanted to concentrate on the Nook tablet is because it's less to chew on. The problem of solving the B&M stores is a huge one with no easy answers. I hope the stores survive in some way, shape or form, but what that iteration will look like in the future is anyone's guess. But, as you say, they need to do something because just doing the same old things will result in the same old failures.

--Pat
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