Integrity
Write
Loading...
Nir Zicherman

Nir Zicherman

1 year ago

The Great Organizational Conundrum

More on Leadership

Greg Satell

Greg Satell

1 year ago

Focus: The Deadly Strategic Idea You've Never Heard Of (But Definitely Need To Know!

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Steve Jobs' initial mission at Apple in 1997 was to destroy. He killed the Newton PDA and Macintosh clones. Apple stopped trying to please everyone under Jobs.

Afterward, there were few highly targeted moves. First, the pink iMac. Modest success. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad made Apple the world's most valuable firm. Each maneuver changed the company's center of gravity and won.

That's the idea behind Schwerpunkt, a German military term meaning "focus." Jobs didn't need to win everywhere, just where it mattered, so he focused Apple's resources on a few key goods. Finding your Schwerpunkt is more important than charts and analysis for excellent strategy.

Comparison of Relative Strength and Relative Weakness

The iPod, Apple's first major hit after Jobs' return, didn't damage Microsoft and the PC, but instead focused Apple's emphasis on a fledgling, fragmented market that generated "sucky" products. Apple couldn't have taken on the computer titans at this stage, yet it beat them.

The move into music players used Apple's particular capabilities, especially its ability to build simple, easy-to-use interfaces. Jobs' charisma and stature, along his understanding of intellectual property rights from Pixar, helped him build up iTunes store, which was a quagmire at the time.

In Good Strategy | Bad Strategy, management researcher Richard Rumelt argues that good strategy uses relative strength to counter relative weakness. To discover your main point, determine your abilities and where to effectively use them.

Steve Jobs did that at Apple. Microsoft and Dell, who controlled the computer sector at the time, couldn't enter the music player business. Both sought to produce iPod competitors but failed. Apple's iPod was nobody else's focus.

Finding The Center of Attention

In a military engagement, leaders decide where to focus their efforts by assessing commanders intent, the situation on the ground, the topography, and the enemy's posture on that terrain. Officers spend their careers learning about schwerpunkt.

Business executives must assess internal strengths including personnel, technology, and information, market context, competitive environment, and external partner ecosystems. Steve Jobs was a master at analyzing forces when he returned to Apple.

He believed Apple could integrate technology and design for the iPod and that the digital music player industry sucked. By analyzing competitors' products, he was convinced he could produce a smash by putting 1000 tunes in my pocket.

The only difficulty was there wasn't the necessary technology. External ecosystems were needed. On a trip to Japan to meet with suppliers, a Toshiba engineer claimed the company had produced a tiny memory drive approximately the size of a silver dollar.

Jobs knew the memory drive was his focus. He wrote a $10 million cheque and acquired exclusive technical rights. For a time, none of his competitors would be able to recreate his iPod with the 1000 songs in my pocket.

How to Enter the OODA Loop

John Boyd invented the OODA loop as a pilot to better his own decision-making. First OBSERVE your surroundings, then ORIENT that information using previous knowledge and experiences. Then you DECIDE and ACT, which changes the circumstance you must observe, orient, decide, and act on.

Steve Jobs used the OODA loop to decide to give Toshiba $10 million for a technology it had no use for. He compared the new information with earlier observations about the digital music market.

Then something much more interesting happened. The iPod was an instant hit, changing competition. Other computer businesses that competed in laptops, desktops, and servers created digital music players. Microsoft's Zune came out in 2006, Dell's Digital Jukebox in 2004. Both flopped.

By then, Apple was poised to unveil the iPhone, which would cause its competitors to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Boyd named this OODA Loop infiltration. They couldn't gain the initiative by constantly reacting to Apple.

Microsoft and Dell were titans back then, but it's hard to recall. Apple went from near bankruptcy to crushing its competition via Schwerpunkt.

Rather than a destination, it is a journey

Trying to win everywhere is a strategic blunder. Win significant fights, not trivial skirmishes. Identifying a focal point to direct resources and efforts is the essence of Schwerpunkt.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, PC firms were competing, but he focused on digital music players, and the iPod made Apple a player. He launched the iPhone when his competitors were still reacting. When Steve Jobs said, "One more thing," at the end of a product presentation, he had a new focus.

Schwerpunkt isn't static; it's dynamic. Jobs' ability to observe, refocus, and modify the competitive backdrop allowed Apple to innovate consistently. His strategy was tailored to Apple's capabilities, customers, and ecosystem. Microsoft or Dell, better suited for the enterprise sector, couldn't succeed with a comparable approach.

There is no optimal strategy, only ones suited to a given environment, when relative strength might be used against relative weakness. Discovering the center of gravity where you can break through is more of a journey than a destination; it will become evident after you reach.

Al Anany

Al Anany

1 year ago

Because of this covert investment that Bezos made, Amazon became what it is today.

He kept it under wraps for years until he legally couldn’t.

Midjourney

His shirt is incomplete. I can’t stop thinking about this…

Actually, ignore the article. Look at it. JUST LOOK at it… It’s quite disturbing, isn’t it?

Ughh…

Me: “Hey, what up?” Friend: “All good, watching lord of the rings on amazon prime video.” Me: “Oh, do you know how Amazon grew and became famous?” Friend: “Geek alert…Can I just watch in peace?” Me: “But… Bezos?” Friend: “Let it go, just let it go…”

I can question you, the reader, and start answering instantly without his consent. This far.

Reader, how did Amazon succeed? You'll say, Of course, it was an internet bookstore, then it sold everything.

Mistaken. They moved from zero to one because of this. How did they get from one to thousand? AWS-some. Understand? It's geeky and lame. If not, I'll explain my geekiness.

Over an extended period of time, Amazon was not profitable.

Business basics. You want customers if you own a bakery, right?

Well, 100 clients per day order $5 cheesecakes (because cheesecakes are awesome.)

$5 x 100 consumers x 30 days Equals $15,000 monthly revenue. You proudly work here.

Now you have to pay the barista (unless ChatGPT is doing it haha? Nope..)

  • The barista is requesting $5000 a month.

  • Each cheesecake costs the cheesecake maker $2.5 ($2.5 × 100 x 30 = $7500).

  • The monthly cost of running your bakery, including power, is about $5000.

Assume no extra charges. Your operating costs are $17,500.

Just $15,000? You have income but no profit. You might make money selling coffee with your cheesecake next month.

Is losing money bad? You're broke. Losing money. It's bad for financial statements.

It's almost a business ultimatum. Most startups fail. Amazon took nine years.

I'm reading Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Creation of a Global Empire to comprehend how a company has a $1 trillion market cap.

Many things made Amazon big. The book claims that Bezos and Amazon kept a specific product secret for a long period.

Clouds above the bald head.

In 2006, Bezos started a cloud computing initiative. They believed many firms like Snapchat would pay for reliable servers.

In 2006, cloud computing was not what it is today. I'll simplify. 2006 had no iPhone.

Bezos invested in Amazon Web Services (AWS) without disclosing its revenue. That's permitted till a certain degree.

Google and Microsoft would realize Amazon is heavily investing in this market and worry.

Bezos anticipated high demand for this product. Microsoft built its cloud in 2010, and Google in 2008.

If you managed Google or Microsoft, you wouldn't know how much Amazon makes from their cloud computing service. It's enough. Yet, Amazon is an internet store, so they'll focus on that.

All but Bezos were wrong.

Time to come clean now.

They revealed AWS revenue in 2015. Two things were apparent:

  1. Bezos made the proper decision to bet on the cloud and keep it a secret.

  2. In this race, Amazon is in the lead.

Synergy Research Group

They continued. Let me list some AWS users today.

  • Netflix

  • Airbnb

  • Twitch

More. Amazon was unprofitable for nine years, remember? This article's main graph.

Visual Capitalist

AWS accounted for 74% of Amazon's profit in 2021. This 74% might not exist if they hadn't invested in AWS.

Bring this with you home.

Amazon predated AWS. Yet, it helped the giant reach $1 trillion. Bezos' secrecy? Perhaps, until a time machine is invented (they might host the time machine software on AWS, though.)

Without AWS, Amazon would have been profitable but unimpressive. They may have invested in anything else that would have returned more (like crypto? No? Ok.)

Bezos has business flaws. His success. His failures include:

  • introducing the Fire Phone and suffering a $170 million loss.

  • Amazon's failure in China In 2011, Amazon had a about 15% market share in China. 2019 saw a decrease of about 1%.

  • not offering a higher price to persuade the creator of Netflix to sell the company to him. He offered a rather reasonable $15 million in his proposal. But what if he had offered $30 million instead (Amazon had over $100 million in revenue at the time)? He might have owned Netflix, which has a $156 billion market valuation (and saved billions rather than invest in Amazon Prime Video).

Some he could control. Some were uncontrollable. Nonetheless, every action he made in the foregoing circumstances led him to invest in AWS.

Florian Wahl

Florian Wahl

1 year ago

An Approach to Product Strategy

I've been pondering product strategy and how to articulate it. Frameworks helped guide our thinking.

If your teams aren't working together or there's no clear path to victory, your product strategy may not be well-articulated or communicated (if you have one).

Before diving into a product strategy's details, it's important to understand its role in the bigger picture — the pieces that move your organization forward.

the overall picture

A product strategy is crucial, in my opinion. It's part of a successful product or business. It's the showpiece.

The Big Picture: Vision, Product Strategy, Goals, Roadmap

To simplify, we'll discuss four main components:

  1. Vision

  2. Product Management

  3. Goals

  4. Roadmap

Vision

Your company's mission? Your company/product in 35 years? Which headlines?

The vision defines everything your organization will do in the long term. It shows how your company impacted the world. It's your organization's rallying cry.

An ambitious but realistic vision is needed.

Without a clear vision, your product strategy may be inconsistent.

Product Management

Our main subject. Product strategy connects everything. It fulfills the vision.

In Part 2, we'll discuss product strategy.

Goals

This component can be goals, objectives, key results, targets, milestones, or whatever goal-tracking framework works best for your organization.

These product strategy metrics will help your team prioritize strategies and roadmaps.

Your company's goals should be unified. This fuels success.

Roadmap

The roadmap is your product strategy's timeline. It provides a prioritized view of your team's upcoming deliverables.

A roadmap is time-bound and includes measurable goals for your company. Your team's steps and capabilities for executing product strategy.

If your team has trouble prioritizing or defining a roadmap, your product strategy or vision is likely unclear.

Formulation of a Product Strategy

Now that we've discussed where your product strategy fits in the big picture, let's look at a framework.

Product Strategy Framework: Challenges, Decided Approach, Actions

A product strategy should include challenges, an approach, and actions.

Challenges

First, analyze the problems/situations you're solving. It can be customer- or company-focused.

The analysis should explain the problems and why they're important. Try to simplify the situation and identify critical aspects.

Some questions:

  • What issues are we attempting to resolve?

  • What obstacles—internal or otherwise—are we attempting to overcome?

  • What is the opportunity, and why should we pursue it, in your opinion?

Decided Method

Second, describe your approach. This can be a set of company policies for handling the challenge. It's the overall approach to the first part's analysis.

The approach can be your company's bets, the solutions you've found, or how you'll solve the problems you've identified.

Again, these questions can help:

  • What is the value that we hope to offer to our clients?

  • Which market are we focusing on first?

  • What makes us stand out? Our benefit over rivals?

Actions

Third, identify actions that result from your approach. Second-part actions should be these.

Coordinate these actions. You may need to add products or features to your roadmap, acquire new capabilities through partnerships, or launch new marketing campaigns. Whatever fits your challenges and strategy.

Final questions:

  • What skills do we need to develop or obtain?

  • What is the chosen remedy? What are the main outputs?

  • What else ought to be added to our road map?

Put everything together

… and iterate!

Strategy isn't one-and-done. Changes occur. Economies change. Competitors emerge. Customer expectations change.

One unexpected event can make strategies obsolete quickly. Muscle it. Review, evaluate, and course-correct your strategies with your teams. Quarterly works. In a new or unstable industry, more often.

You might also like

rekt

rekt

2 years ago

LCX is the latest CEX to have suffered a private key exploit.

The attack began around 10:30 PM +UTC on January 8th.

Peckshield spotted it first, then an official announcement came shortly after.

We’ve said it before; if established companies holding millions of dollars of users’ funds can’t manage their own hot wallet security, what purpose do they serve?

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of centralised finance grows smaller by the day.

The official incident report states that 7.94M USD were stolen in total, and that deposits and withdrawals to the platform have been paused.

LCX hot wallet: 0x4631018f63d5e31680fb53c11c9e1b11f1503e6f

Hacker’s wallet: 0x165402279f2c081c54b00f0e08812f3fd4560a05

Stolen funds:

  • 162.68 ETH (502,671 USD)
  • 3,437,783.23 USDC (3,437,783 USD)
  • 761,236.94 EURe (864,840 USD)
  • 101,249.71 SAND Token (485,995 USD)
  • 1,847.65 LINK (48,557 USD)
  • 17,251,192.30 LCX Token (2,466,558 USD)
  • 669.00 QNT (115,609 USD)
  • 4,819.74 ENJ (10,890 USD)
  • 4.76 MKR (9,885 USD)

**~$1M worth of $LCX remains in the address, along with 611k EURe which has been frozen by Monerium.

The rest, a total of 1891 ETH (~$6M) was sent to Tornado Cash.**

Why can’t they keep private keys private?

Is it really that difficult for a traditional corporate structure to maintain good practice?

CeFi hacks leave us with little to say - we can only go on what the team chooses to tell us.

Next time, they can write this article themselves.

See below for a template.

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 year ago

My Top 11 Tools For Building A Modern Startup, With A Free Plan

The best free tools are probably unknown to you.

Webflow

Modern startups are easy to build.

Start with free tools.

Let’s go.

Web development — Webflow

Code-free HTML, CSS, and JS.

Webflow isn't like Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify.

It's a super-fast no-code tool for professionals to construct complex, highly-responsive websites and landing pages.

Webflow can help you add animations like those on Apple's website to your own site.

I made the jump from WordPress a few years ago and it changed my life.

No damn plugins. No damn errors. No damn updates.

The best, you can get started on Webflow for free.

Data tracking — Airtable

Spreadsheet wings.

Airtable combines spreadsheet flexibility with database power without code.

  • Airtable is modern.

  • Airtable has modularity.

  • Scaling Airtable is simple.

Airtable, one of the most adaptable solutions on this list, is perfect for client data management.

Clients choose customized service packages. Airtable consolidates data so you can automate procedures like invoice management and focus on your strengths.

Airtable connects with so many tools that rarely creates headaches. Airtable scales when you do.

Airtable's flexibility makes it a potential backend database.

Design — Figma

Better, faster, easier user interface design.

Figma rocks!

  • It’s fast.

  • It's free.

  • It's adaptable

First, design in Figma.

Iterate.

Export development assets.

Figma lets you add more team members as your company grows to work on each iteration simultaneously.

Figma is web-based, so you don't need a powerful PC or Mac to start.

Task management — Trello

Unclock jobs.

Tacky and terrifying task management products abound. Trello isn’t.

Those that follow Marie Kondo will appreciate Trello.

  • Everything is clean.

  • Nothing is complicated.

  • Everything has a place.

Compared to other task management solutions, Trello is limited. And that’s good. Too many buttons lead to too many decisions lead to too many hours wasted.

Trello is a must for teamwork.

Domain email — Zoho

Free domain email hosting.

Professional email is essential for startups. People relied on monthly payments for too long. Nope.

Zoho offers 5 free professional emails.

It doesn't have Google's UI, but it works.

VPN — Proton VPN

Fast Swiss VPN protects your data and privacy.

Proton VPN is secure.

  • Proton doesn't record any data.

  • Proton is based in Switzerland.

Swiss privacy regulation is among the most strict in the world, therefore user data are protected. Switzerland isn't a 14 eye country.

Journalists and activists trust Proton to secure their identities while accessing and sharing information authoritarian governments don't want them to access.

Web host — Netlify

Free fast web hosting.

Netlify is a scalable platform that combines your favorite tools and APIs to develop high-performance sites, stores, and apps through GitHub.

Serverless functions and environment variables preserve API keys.

Netlify's free tier is unmissable.

  • 100GB of free monthly bandwidth.

  • Free 125k serverless operations per website each month.

Database — MongoDB

Create a fast, scalable database.

MongoDB is for small and large databases. It's a fast and inexpensive database.

  • Free for the first million reads.

  • Then, for each million reads, you must pay $0.10.

MongoDB's free plan has:

  • Encryption from end to end

  • Continual authentication

  • field-level client-side encryption

If you have a large database, you can easily connect MongoDB to Webflow to bypass CMS limits.

Automation — Zapier

Time-saving tip: automate repetitive chores.

Zapier simplifies life.

Zapier syncs and connects your favorite apps to do impossibly awesome things.

If your online store is connected to Zapier, a customer's purchase can trigger a number of automated actions, such as:

  1. The customer is being added to an email chain.

  2. Put the information in your Airtable.

  3. Send a pre-programmed postcard to the customer.

  4. Alexa, set the color of your smart lights to purple.

Zapier scales when you do.

Email & SMS marketing — Omnisend

Email and SMS marketing campaigns.

Omnisend

This is an excellent Mailchimp option for magical emails. Omnisend's processes simplify email automation.

I love the interface's cleanliness.

Omnisend's free tier includes web push notifications.

Send up to:

  • 500 emails per month

  • 60 maximum SMSs

  • 500 Web Push Maximum

Forms and surveys — Tally

Create flexible forms that people enjoy.

Typeform is clean but restricting. Sometimes you need to add many questions. Tally's needed sometimes.

Tally is flexible and cheaper than Typeform.

99% of Tally's features are free and unrestricted, including:

  • Unlimited forms

  • Countless submissions

  • Collect payments

  • File upload

Tally lets you examine what individuals contributed to forms before submitting them to see where they get stuck.

Airtable and Zapier connectors automate things further. If you pay, you can apply custom CSS to fit your brand.

See.

Free tools are the greatest.

Let's use them to launch a startup.

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

2 years ago

YouTube

This is a YouTube video: