Field Notes

Last updated: 14 Feb 2021

On Customer Empathy

Nicole Westman - The Verge

  • As a user, the system I use should work for me instead of me having to work the system.
  • A great recent example is techies and volunteers banding up to create easy to use websites that scrape COVID vaccination appointments from multiple locations into one place.
  • Their efforts made it easier, especially for older folk, to find appointments and sign up for them.
  • Examples - New York, California, Massachusetts.
  • Follow on reading Normcore Tech, NYTimes.

Why Product Strategy Fails

Freek Vermeulen - HBR

  • Real strategy is a clear set of choices - what we’re going to do and what not going to do
  • Many so called ‘strategies’ are in fact goals or priorities (increase revenue in X)
  • Clear strategy - (1) we’re going to address X (2) for Y (3) so that they can do Z
  • Everyone is aligned - imagine your team is wildly successful in 3 years. What does that look like?
  • Empower the team to create bottom up initiatives within the purview of these choices (instead of pushing top down)
  • Also see Julie Zhou’s excellent How to be Strategic and this LinkedIn post

Unglue Your Strategy

Rita Gunther McGrath - HBR

  • Competitive advantage is transient
  • Abandon the idea that stability in business is the norm
  • Embrace continuous change, avoid rigidity
  • Strategy should be fluid, customer centric, less industry bound

Target Market Roulette

Marc Gruber, Sharon Tal - WhereToPlay

  • A real life case study to evaluate market opportunities, target market and first move
  • Also see Steve Blank’s explainer

Four Types of Markets

Steve Blank - WSJ

  • There are 4 types of markets - Existing, Resegmented, New, Clone
  • Know the market you are in - it is important
  • Strategy and tactics for one market type seldom work for another
  • Tools like customer discovery prove vital