Sunday, January 15, 2012

Your Unfair Advantage

In his recent blog post on pitching to potential investors, Guy Kawasaki argues that a startup needs an unfair competitive advantage. He states "That’s why they are called unfair advantages...If everyone had them, the field was level, and everyone was created equal, then they would be called fair advantages, which is an oxymoron.Whereas pitching to investors is important, it is vastly more important for a startup to actually execute its unfair advantage. Unfulfilled promises to investors do not leave anyone very happy.

My experience has convinced me that the primary unfair advantage of any  startup is an ability for rapid decision making. I am not just referring to the early days when a startup must be opportunistic and meet the needs of any customers that it finds. Later, as a startup attempts to break out to become a successful mid-size company, it must also leverage its ability to quickly make correct decisions. Success requires an organization that combines three essential elements:
1) the right team,
2) clear objectives,
3) and a constant focus on rapid execution.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

We Are Living in Exponential Times

The world is changing more rapidly than ever before and that rate of change is accelerating.

This YouTube video about the rapid progression of information technology was shown at a Sony executive conference last year. Here are some excepts:
  • The first text message was sent in 1992. Today, the number of messages sent every day exceeds the number of people on Earth.
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people, TV 13 years, the Internet 4 years, the iPod 3 years, and Facebook 2 years.
  • The number of internet devices in 1984 was one thousand, in 1992 one million, in 2008 one billion.
  • 4 exabytes (4 x 10^19) of unique information will be generated this year: more that the previous 5,000 years combined.
  • The amount of technical information is doubling every year.
  • The most in-demand jobs of 2010 did not exist in 2004.