Monday, August 10, 2015

Google Promises Become a Lesson for Young CEOs


From a public relations perspective, Google is in deep trouble. After digital security researchers discovered and publicized what they called a “major flaw” in the Android OS, consumers are rethinking their smartphone choices. After all, nobody wants to carry around a dire security risk in their pocket.

According to researchers, hackers could actually gain control of an Android-equipped smartphone with a simple text message. Yes, seriously. Google’s response is less than reassuring. They told NPR and other news agencies they were “working on the problem” with phone manufacturers. The goal, of course, is to fix the bug. Two problems with that:

First, in the meantime, everyone who owns an Android equipped phone “may” be walking around with a security time bomb in their pocket. Who knows, right? Not the most secure feeling in the world.

Second, zeroing in on a single flaw is terrific. But what about other potential flaws? Who’s working on that, and what’s the timetable for true security. Imagine what you would do if your alarm company said, “well, we have cameras and sensors on five or six windows and two doors, but we’re not sure if the other windows and doors are quite secure yet … here’s your bill.”

The application for young CEOs is simple but vital. You grew up in a world where digital wireless communication was “normal” and “safe.” You probably have locks on your doors, a security system in your office and keep your cash in a safe, insured bank account … but have you ever really considered the security risks of the computer in your pocket?

Beyond that application, how are your business practices sending a similar message to your customers? Are you taking their concerns or questions seriously enough? Have you considered your operations from their perspective? If not, you may have a flaw in your program that’s costing you money you never realized was being lost. It may not be possible to quantify how much cash a loose grasp on your customers’ experience or assumptions about your business costs you … but it is possible to close those gaps and make that problem disappear.

Gennady Barsky is a real estate mogul from New York City.

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