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mindcrime · 2020-02-06 · Original thread
This starts as a pet project which was an excuse to keep in touch, experiment with new technologies and most importantly have fun.

Given that, it sounds like you've already won, no matter what happens next.

As far as advice goes, I'll just leave a couple of book recommendations.

mindcrime · 2019-04-29 · Original thread
Probably not, unless you have some real "secret sauce" that lets you operate at greatly lower cost than the original. Otherwise you just create a "race to the bottom" scenario where, at best, you (and your competitor) will wind up with a profit margin of like 0.000001% or something. Why bother?

If you're going to clone something and engage the "fast follower strategy"[1], I'd still try to choose some other dimension to compete on. See The Discipline of Market Leaders[2] for more.



mindcrime · 2014-12-12 · Original thread
We try to be pretty transparent in most things at Fogbeam. We actually consider our small size a selling point, and it dovetails with our strategy vis-a-vis The Discipline of Market Leaders[1], which is to focus on customer intimacy.

When I talk to prospects, I emphasize that, since we're small, we will be very responsive to their needs, and that they get access to the highest levels of the company in a way they never would with, say, IBM or Oracle.

"With us, you'll have the CEO's personal cellphone number, and you can call and wake me up at 2:00am if you need to. I hope you don't need to, but you'll have that option if need be. And you won't get that from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, etc."

As far as burn rate and financial data... we don't actively disclose that to the world, because there doesn't appear (at first blush) to be an value in it. But we do disclose a lot of stuff (sales leads, prospects, product roadmap details, etc.) to our advisory board members, and a group of 20-30 or so people (investors, potential partners, etc.) who have expressed at least some interest in knowing what we're up to.


mindcrime · 2014-06-24 · Original thread
Wow, lots of good recommendations in this thread already... I skimmed them, but apologies in advance for any dupes:

I'd suggest some general "business strategy" works that will help you understand the context of how/why the very highest level business decisions are made, as well as some works that deal with tying together strategy and tactical execution (which includes technical initiatives).

1. Understanding Michael Porter - John Magretta.

Porter's framework is VERY influential in the business world, and having at least a passing familiarity with his work is important at the higher levels. Going straight to the primary sources (Porter's books) can be a bit daunting as they are big, dry, and academic and not exactly what you'd call "page turners". This book is a fairly solid overview of the key elements of Porter's approach, and a good read before diving into the meat of Porter's works.

2. Competitive Strategy - Michael Porter.

3. Competitive Advantage - Michael Porter.

4. On Competition - Michael Porter.

5. Good Strategy, Bad Strategy - Richard Rumelt.

6. Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim, Renee Mauborgne. This book has its critics, but I think it's a worthwhile read. Some people argue against the whole idea of a "blu e ocean" market, but even if the authors aren't 100% right about everything, I think the lines of thinking this book fosters are valuable in a general sense.

7. The Discipline of Market Leaders. I think very highly of this book and the author's approach to strategy. It's not radically different from the Porterian approach in some ways, but I'd say it's narrower in focus and simpler. The big takeway is the idea (which should be obvious, but often isn't) that "you can't be everything to everyone". The authors push a model of choosing a market discipline to appeal to a certain type of customer, and making that discipline the core of your business.

8. The Machine That Changed The World. Have you ever wondered what this "lean" stuff is all about? Or why Toyota is so revered by business leaders? Here's a good place to find the answer to those questions.

9. Working Knowledge- Davenport and Prusak. Perhaps the seminal book on Knowledge Management, or at least one of them. If you want to understand the importance of knowledge in an organization, this is a very valuable read.

10. Outside Innovation - Patricia Seybold.

11. The Future of Competition.

12. The Balanced Scorecard.

13. Strategy Maps.

14. The Strategy Focused Organization.

15. If Only We Knew What We Know. Another seminal title in the Knowledge Management world.

16. Common Knowledge - Nancy Dixon. Another seminal title in the Knowledge Management world.

17. Winning The Knowledge Transfer Race.

mindcrime · 2014-05-08 · Original thread
The key point to all of this, to me, is understanding the idea that "You can't be everything to everybody". So you have competitors, and they're even "stealing" your features... fine. They have (implicitly or explicitly) a value discipline of some sort... figure out what the value discipline of your competitors is, and then figure out what you want your value discipline to be. Once you have that, you know how you're going to compete in the market... by having the lowest price, by having the best product, or by having better "customer intimacy".

This is all explained very well in The Discipline of Market Leaders.[1]


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