30 Apr

One line that really struck me from Porter’s reading “What is Strategy” was:

“Commonly, the threats to strategy are seen to emanate from outside a company because of changes in technology or the behavior of competitors. Although external changes can be the problem, the greater threat to strategy often comes from within.”

It seems basic, but it fits in exactly to what we were discussing in tech class this week. What is the MINIMUM you need to provide your customers to differentiate? The technologists that came in from Control Group warned us all to beware of “Feature Creep,” which I call the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…!?” issue. We’ve all seen countless examples of companies chasing technology for its own sake, adding feature after feature, and imitating competitors. As an employee of a big company, I frequently get frustrated at the pace it takes to adopt new technology, or do interesting things our competitors are doing. But it’s about strategy. Don’t chase. Don’t compete where you don’t have to. The line “Newly empowered employees, who are urged to seek every possible source of improvement, often lack a vision of the whole and the perspective to recognize trade-offs” is all too true.

In any case, to figure out the key features I need to build for a prototype, I need to make key strategic decisions. I can’t focus on what I *could* do or on what others are doing, but focus on the product I *need* to create to get initial customers.

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