The Systems Blog

Machines, Speed, and Scale

Written by Matthew Russo in General | 0 comments

Machines, Speed, and Scale

Lately there has been a bit of chatter that computers (machines) are getting better and better at serving relevant content and advertisement to us (consumers) based on the context of what we are doing/reading. Some pundits say their ability to track our history and habits create privacy concerns. Others say the more data we can gather about consumers, the better we can stimulate the economy. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty of the business system that today’s search engines have built for themselves. Google Built the Pond If you want a fighting shot at running a successful business today, you need to fish where the fish are. Search engines gained an incredible advantage during the early days of the Internet when they centralized the web’s content and became THE starting point for nearly all web actions. But creating a hub for web transactions was only one component of the system that enabled these companies to flourish. Companies like Lycos, Yahoo, and Excite had an early advantage because of three important elements: a nearly infinite audience (reach), context behind what the audience wants/needs (intent), and a frictionless, instantaneous way...

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What Is a System?

Written by Matthew Russo in General | 0 comments

What Is a System?

Systems are everywhere once you know how to identify them. But before we dive into why systems are important and how to hack them to optimize their results, it helps to understand what a system is and how they function. So what is a system? In its simplest form, a systems is comprised of three components. “A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something.” Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems We’ll break down the first two components individually. But I first want to start with the end in mind and with what I believe is the most important part of this definition:  a system is established to serve a specific function or accomplish a goal. Without this purpose, a system is simply a well-organized group of elements, a collection. People who are disappointed by lackluster results are often disappointed not because they failed to execute (create the “elements” or cross off to-do’s) or establish a strategy (“coherently organize them”), but because their outcome was unclear – or undefined – from the start. Step 1: Define what you want to achieve. Perhaps a more important question is, why do you want to...

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Growth Starts Somewhere

Written by Matthew Russo in General | 0 comments

Growth Starts Somewhere

Confession: I did not start this blog as a road map to success. Quite the opposite, it will serve as a starting point for my journey. Growth starts somewhere. Here. While I am intrinsically familiar with the concept of systems (both through my observations of the world and through some of my formal training), I am by no means an expert – yet. Instead, I have only recently identified systems (also referred to as systems thinking and systems dynamics) as way to better organize and explain the outcomes in our businesses, neighborhoods, relationships, and lives. It is here that my journey to better understand their inner-workings begins. Why This Blog? It is easy to lose the forest for the trees. In the world of digital marketing and social media, for example, many people – myself included – often become obsessed with changes on the micro level. We become so wrapped up in tactics (the optimal time to post a Facebook update, the best tool to organize my emails, the latest change in an algorithm, the momentum behind a new buzzword) that we fail to consider the systems that already exist and produce results. Put simply: we all focus on the wrong things from...

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