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Ralph Donofrio

For the past four weeks, a special family moment keeps replaying in my mind. While spending time with my again parents in Italy, I made it a priority to visit my ailing Godfather Uncle Ralph.

Standing next to his hospital bed, we briefly reminisced about the old times, the great Italian card games, the many toasts to a healthy future, the family reunions in his favorite place in the mountains, and the mutual immigrant journeys on multiple continents.

At one point in the conversation, my frail Godfather reached for my hand.  Abruptly words melted into silence. Holding hands, we stared into each other's eyes and I started stroking his arm.  Our simple handshake was now speaking volumes.  Silently, my Godfather was saying goodbye to a lifetime of enduring mutual experiences.   

Sadness engulfed our family as less than two weeks later my Godfather passed away.

The somber news led to reflections on five key exemplary lessons of "Greatness" from the celebrated life of my Godfather, Raffaele D'Onofrio. 

 

In an attempt to be closer to one of the global centers of technology innovation, a growing number of retailers are investing in Silicon Valley. Couple examples from the more than a half dozen retail companies making the IT move to California and the innovation gold they are Mind of a Shoppertrying to mine:

In February, Walmart opened its second technology center in Silicon Valley. "These centers are tasked with app development and digital coupon projects as well as creating seamless shopping experiences for consumers using online, mobile, social and stores."   In May 2013, Target opened a tech lab in San Francisco.  In this center, Target is focusing on mobile apps, online search and social media development, all as foundation to ecommerce expansion. 

The growing trend of retailers shaping their own technology development journey is not limited to California:

 

Welcome to the Twitter Generation  

Go Ahead Make My Day "A tagline is a slogan that succinctly, memorably, and descriptively sums up a company or product.  The art of crafting one is quite complex....A well-constructed slogan can endure in the minds of consumers for years; some taglines have actually outlived their products."

From headlines to taglines, great messaging is composed of exiguous creative words that transcend time. Combining key words into memorable lines started in literature, and then transitioned to other media such as newspapers, radio, movies, and television. The advertising industry turned taglines into a business.

Can you name the company represented by these advertising taglines?

 

Throughout history, retail technology has evolved in waves.  With the industrial revolution and mass manufacturing, the mom & pop store transitioned to theInternet of Things supermarket.  The massive amount of data on shipping trends, i.e. what's selling, placed the manufacturers at the center of controlling the information to drive retail sales. 

Bar code scanning in the 1970s transitioned the knowledge power base to the retailer.  The planogram, i.e. what to actually place on the shelf for sale, was now a retailer decision.  

As discussed in a previous post, we are currently in the middle of the next major evolutionary technology wave re-shaping the retail industry.  The foundational elements driving the new retail megatrends include: 

 

"Too many people think they know how to lead, not fully understanding what that really means.  Foundational elements of great leadership includeMichael Anthony D'Onofrio willingness to work with others, readiness to cooperate, achieving common success goals, and building strong teams.  Poor leaders want the position for the power.  Exceptional leadership derives from confidence in yourself, knowing who you are, building on your strengths, and leveraging team members to mitigate your weaknesses.  Leadership is a team sport." -- Michael D'Onofrio

A Poem on Leadership from guest blogger, my son, Michael Anthony D'Onofrio

 

Lessons from the Google Acquisition of Nest Technologies

In January, the Economist published a special report on the evolution of technology which they titled "A Cambrian Moment".  The premiseStart a Business of the special report is that "cheap and ubiquitous building blocks for digital products and services have caused an explosion in (tech) start-ups."  The magazine compares the current convergence of technology trends to the "Cambrian explosion" 540 million years ago when life forms began to multiply.

 

NRF 2014 Big ShowEvery year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade event in New York seems to get bigger and more global.  2014 did not disappoint with over 30,000 retail professionals listening to 300+ industry experts and visiting a record 200,000 square feet of exhibit space showcasing the latest technologies.  Brazil had once again the largest contingent of attendees outside the United States.

NRF is a great stage on which to reflect the " Big Ideas " that are reshaping retail.  The top 10 from NRF 2014 include:

 

... And Why Three Others Really Matter for a Prosperous New Year

At the start of the New Year, two amazingly confluent appreciable elements came together:Top 10 Swiss Rules

In the German speaking part of Switzerland, 10 Rules of "How to Work Better" painted on a wall in English. A University that provided the world 12 Nobel Prize laureates.

For the past 12 months, on my regular commute to Neuhausen Am Rheinfall I've struggled from the train to read the "How to Work Better" rules painted on a grey building north of Zurich. Most days could only discern the top 3.

 

It is that time of the year to look forward at the top 10 key trends that will drive technology adoption in 2014:

2014 Technology PredictionsSuccessful technology deployments focus on strengthening the brand

According to Deloitte, brand value declined in 2013, for the third year in a row. To win in 2014, companies will need to go back to basics by selectively deploying technologies that protect and grow global brand value.

 

$19 Billion Market Opportunity by 2018

Have recently become fascinated by the early market examples of wearable technologies and their future possibilities for improved Next Tech Waveprofessional and personal productivity. Leading the pack:

Google has an entire web site dedicated to Google Glass. In a highly graphical fashion, Google asks you to imagine that next bike ride, creating that perfect meal, instant visual language translations, picking the ideal golf club for the distance, and composing that perfect song.