Start from Scratch PDF Print E-mail
Written by Graydon   
Sunday, 13 August 2006
Sometimes it is best to start from scratch.
 
I don't necessarily mean start from nothing... but start with a blank sheet and really think about what it is YOU will be solving for the customer.
 
Too often I see new companies chasing after existing companies with some incremental improvement and believiing (more like betting) that by being incrementally better, they will gain all the users / customers / advertisers that they need to become profitable. 
 
Some talking examples...
 
Flickr - arguably the market leader in sharing digital images amongst the world (I define the world and it means that most of the people I know, recognize Flickr vs other brands)... so, we see companies coming out with incremental improvents in sharing and socially sorting digital images.  One offers better tagging, one offers more space, one offers zooming capabilities, one offers recognition services... but they are all chasing the leader(s) in the basic idea of "hey, I have a digital image and want to share with the online world".
 
Auto industry - Every year, we get the same basic designs with incremental improvements (sometimes just changes) in design, horsepower, fuel economy, color, etc...)  When Ford comes up with a retro success, Chevy onboards their own retro program.
 
No matter the industry, you'll find businesses that are banking on being incrementally better than the competitor....
 
So, what's wrong with this?  Incremental changes don't equal revolutionary changes. 
 
You want a revolutionary change?  Then put aside (don't throw away) all of the current offerings and get down to the basics of the customer problem.
 
When the customer uses company / service A, what are they accomplishing, why would they do it?   Then ask.. "But, what else do they want to do, what would they do, how do they otherwise do this, what else do they do to that?"  Really get down to the basics... you'll see where many current companies are actually only servicing one of the customer's needs.
 
Look at servicing all of the customer needs and you might be a hit.
 
Sorry, after coming back and re-reading that last line, I decided that wasn't what I wanted to say...
 
The point in as few as words as I can... after you've been using something for a while, your needs, desires for what you want to do changes.  So, if a company only makes incremental changes to a service that you are ready to move beyond, then, they aren't helping you.
 
However, when a company starts back over and says "hey, they know how to do that and now are ready for this or need to be able to do this also..."  That's a keeper. 

 
 
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 August 2006 )
 
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