Forget Doing Something Better, Do Something Different

I have a tendency of really latching onto very simple ideas. Typically these ideas don’t require complex engineering to make them happen. This is not to say the engineering is not important, but more so that it is some variation of engineering feats that have been done before. The reason I tend to like these over more complex engineering that really makes something better is that making something better is typically a marginal improvement. When it’s a marginal improvement it’s a lot harder to sell.

With marginal improvements you have to:

  1. Convince the customer it’s not good enough today
  2. Convince the customer that you’re better
  3. Convince the customer you’re worth the headache of changing

While a lot of companies focus solely on taking an existing problem and solving it better than someone else has, I have my doubts about how reproducible this model is. If I’m a large company with lots of resources I’m going to keep iterating and improving myself, which means a smaller company really has to have some magic bullet that will displace me.

In contrast if I address a problem that hasn’t been solved my life instantly becomes a lot easier. I no longer have an argument of something not being good enough today, it becomes a question of value and how much its worth to solve the problem. Haggling over price is a conversation I’d rather have than trying to justify value and convince a customer they’ve been wrong in their choice for so many years.

Over the coming days I’m going to be posting a few of these examples/ideas and why I like them. Many of them are still being thought through, and while as I sort them out, I’m generally happy to publish high points about them. The even bigger key here is that success is typically in the execution and less so in the idea, though even then I’d prefer to execute on something that has less battles than something that from the onset has more. By doing something that is being done today you get no advantages of penetrating the market.