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Day June 27, 2013

Sponsor: Tokens for Mac

Tokens is a Mac app for managing App Store promo codes

Tokens gets promo codes from iTunes Connect, creates shareable URLs for each code and notifies you once they’re redeemed.

The first step to getting your app noticed is inviting bloggers to try it. Promo codes let you give away free copies of your app, but unfortunately they’re laborious to create, awkward to redeem and impossible to track.

With Tokens you create a code with one click and bloggers can redeem it just as easily. By naming the token you can tell who has tried your app and follow up with them. You can also reuse any unredeemed codes before they expire.

Tokens is available now at usetokens.com/syndicate. Asymco readers get a special 20% discount until July using this link.

Sponsorship by The Syndicate

The end of the projector

After having “taken the show on the road” and spending an inordinate amount of time giving presentations during the last year I came to the conclusion that what remains less than good enough for presentations is the variable quality of projectors.

The problem is not just quality of image but also the unpredictable size of screen, how far it is from the audience, how poor the contrast or color reproduction might be and to what degree there is support for wireless connections.

When presenting detailed, information dense graphs, these quality issues become presentation killers and not only do they result in poor retention for the audience but decrease the confidence of the presenter, leading to a vicious cycle.

The answer is not to lug around your own projector because many times the venue will not accept it, other times the image “throw” is not matched to the screen and it’s a pain to set up and transport.

What I think needs to happen is that the projector needs to be disrupted.

This is where the iPad and Perspective come into play. When presenting using Perspective we have the ability to “airshow” or present directly to the (iOS) devices that the audience has with them.

This way not only the presenter’s screen is “mirrored locally” but also the direct manipulation and choreography of the data reveal is instantly visible. You can see a fragment of how it works in this test:

This is the technique we use at the Airshow event and it has proven to work well even with large audiences. To see it in action (and to learn how to develop presentations into cinematic experiences) join us at the next Airshow in Chicago.

The Critical Path #90: The Praetorian Guard

Horace investigates asymmetric organization structure, and how Apple’s functional vision of careers and jobs differ from most tech companies.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #90: The Praetorian Guard.

Preempting the Praetorian Guard

The functional organizational structure may be causal to successful disruption. Although this hypothesis needs much more research and testing, there are correlations in the anecdotal evidence. One of the principles of this theory is that functional organizations are less prone to “political infighting” where a powerful division can disable a self-disruption through the wielding of the power of the Profit/Loss statement.

Under the divisional structure the modus operandi is that once an internal threat is detected, the incumbent division unleashes antibodies to destroy the smaller and less powerful opponent. This is possible because as soon as the threat is perceived, a threat response kicks in and the power to deflect the threat is abundant in the reward and incentive structure. This response mechanism is so common and well understood that it forms the basis of the Innovator’s Dilemma.

My hypothesis is that in the absence of product/divisional level power bases, the threat is not felt and the political power to respond is not available. In a functional organization there is no “business leadership”, where the P/L “belongs” to one person. Only the CEO has life-and-death power over products and their decision is “purchased” through discussion with functional heads who stand to benefit as much as to lose from disruptive change.

This functional organization decision process is typical if not universal in small companies and atypical if not unheard of in large companies. It’s one of the reasons small companies are inherently more disruptive. The challenge for a growing company is that functional organizations don’t scale well. There are very few and all depend on vigilant, almost maniacal defense of the structure. Divisional organizations are “natural” at scale and the preservation of functional structures is like fighting entropy.

The organizations which seem to preserve functionality at scale are militaries. This is why I’ve been thinking about it takes to manage such organizations and preserve their apolitical status.

As it turns out, militaries are also not immune from the corrosive effects of political power. In fact, the slide into corruption begins with the formation of elite divisions. The rationale is simple: elite soldiers whose loyalty and skill are most valuable are chosen for special roles and status. They begin by usually acting as bodyguards to the leadership or the state.