Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Easy, Peasy, Fast, and Cheesy

I once had a Director, early in my career, who if nothing else, taught me that, "if it was easy, everyone would do it."  It was a motivational statement for all the hard work we had to put into a product we were working on.  His message was that stuff that is worth it normally takes hard work.  If it's easy to do, likely consumers won't be willing to pay you or pay you much for it.  The reverse is true, as well: if something is free, it has no value.

Barrier to entry is one good barometer when you are thinking about new propositions.  If it's too easy for your competitors to do the same thing, then its only a temporary advantage and not strategic.  Getting there first has advantages some times, but sometimes, being a fast follower offers you perspective of what the first did wrong.

Most great new propositions has some key differentiation that distinguishes them from legacy and the competition.  The differentiation normally adds a lot of value to the consumer and makes it tough for them to switch and tough for competition to match.  Once in a while that differentiation is so good, it disenfranchises the way things have been done historically.  Those are the gems.

Next time you are burning the midnight oil on something important, think about whether you are just running ahead of competition on the same road, or building new roads that they have yet to find or traverse.

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