Businesses no longer exist in a vacuum – My Comments at Hot Topics


From my Interview with Hot Topics

I had an opportunity to talk with Hot Topics. I’m really encouraged by all of the interest in learning innovations. They also shot a nice video. Enjoy!

“I think that if you are just looking at English when you are talking about a corporation- you need to look much wider to really realize your ecosystem of competition.”

“If you see the acquisition of Lynda by LinkedIn, this is a recruitment organization getting into content, so that they can actually plug in with a learning equipment service value chain…I’m looking at the overall ecosystem and I could almost say that LinkedIn and Lynda…could be competitors, knowing that their English offering is not as strong as what we propose right now. But there could be disruption in the future.”

Read the entire post, How is English language learning within corporates being disrupted?, at Hot Topics.


EdTech Europe Coverage – “digitalisation is not the final end game”

edtech europe

Last week I spoke at EdTech Europe, and was quoted in Education Investor.

Salanon said tech could help forge tie-ups with industry, but stressed “digitalisation is not the final end game but about the value created for customers”.

“What are people learning for? They are learning to get a job, they are learning to find their next opportunity,” she said.

“Like any disruption, whoever brings us most value is going to be most successful.

Read the entire article,  Ed tech promises ‘gigantic wave of change  at Education Investor.

My session was also mentioned at Forbes: Edtech Europe 2015 Throws Up More Than Enough Questions and Answers To Pass The Test (I’m wearing the bright yellow jacket on the left of the stage in the page image below).

EdTech Forbes


More coverage continues to come in. Here is a mention at EdSurge: The 20 Edtech Startups Changing Education in Europe

New Post at TechCrunch: ‘Turnaround Management: Does Your Company Need A New Captain?’

Turnaround Management

Turnaround Management

I’m very excited that my first article as a TechCrunch contributor was posted yesterday.

Please click here to read the entire post.

From Turnaround Management: Does Your Company Need A New Captain?

When thinking of business “turnaround,” names like McDonald’s and Samsung come to mind as they struggle to navigate the changing market and waning consumer interest. Yet, a business at any stage of growth may require a turnaround, or ‘pivot’ on its core strategy. This is a concept with which many startup founders are familiar.

I am all too familiar with the turnaround concept. I left a comfortable role at Microsoft and chose to take on the challenge of becoming the CEO of a newly acquired business within a larger corporation. Within 18 months I managed to turn around its decline into double-digit growth.

During this time I had to decide which role I would take as the leader of a troubled company. I found that I had to be both a doctor and captain, and that there are five key steps that led to turnaround success for my team, our customers and myself.


The first challenge I faced was deciding whether to speak first with unhappy or happy customers. As a rule of thumb I follow an 80/20 rule, focusing my energy on the happy customers; I find it’s easier to do more of the good to turn this to greatness than focus your energy on the negative. As a leader, this is the time when you need to listen, listen, listen. To obtain the most pertinent information, I asked a few key questions: What are we doing well? What should we prioritize to fix?

I then focused my attention on the organization’s key influencers to ask them the same questions. Instead of selecting this group from company performance rankings and HR records, I spoke to the individuals who I heard had the largest influence and credibility from across the group — making sure I had representation from across marketing, sales, operations, product, support etc. I wanted to begin to build a trusted network of advisors and influencers. From this initial group I then asked them to name two further individuals they held in high regard. Here I had to analyze the various company ailments.

Then I reviewed the wider market and major trends at play that would impact future business decisions, noting any recurring themes that required more attention. For example, I found that we excelled in the level of service provided to customers — something that we would need to maintain, and also use to our advantage, through PR, awards and case studies.

Read the entire post: Turnaround Management: Does Your Company Need A New Captain? here.


Vive Le Petit Pot

Le Petit PotI was at a recent French American Business Awards, sponsored by the French Chamber of Commerce and I got very excited listening to Pierre Coeurdeuil of Petit Pot. His company makes gourmet puddings. That’s right, puddings! The business is so impressive with its 3-digit growth in 2014 and so far in 2015 that the French Chamber of Commerce named them Start-up of the Year, or as we say, Start-up de l’année.

Every business is a learning experience. Pierre has a great perspective on entrepreneurship. He sees it as a personal quest. If you don’t see it as a quest, then you will get frustrated by the ups-and-downs. He sees the tough times, and the good, as part of the journey. You have to keep your eye on what you want to achieve and navigate your way to that goal.

He shared that he was able to pay his first payroll recently, but he wasn’t sure he would be able to pay the next one.

The boundary between success and bankruptcy is a very fine line for start-ups. – Pierre Coeurdeuil

After college Pierre worked as a food engineer for chocolate manufacturer Valrhona in France, which is where the best chocolate comes from.  He helped the company expand its chocolate factory. And then Pierre shifted jobs completely, deciding to build solar and wind farms. Pierre then met his wife just as she was planning to move to San Francisco. Pierre followed her.

While Pierre was in college, his current business partner Max Pouvreau learned to cook at his village’s bakery. After traveling the world for a bit, Max ended up working at Le Meurice. And then Max followed a girl to San Francisco. He became a pastry chef at Coi and mastered California cuisine.

It was in San Francisco that this unlikely pair of French ex-patriots found each other, and shared a passion for French cuisine with a California influence. They founded Petit Pot and the rest is history in the making.

I wish you could all hear Pierre tell his story. I was so inspired to become an even more passionate leader, and I think, to eat a little pudding.