Appetite for destruction April 8, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
(best blog post title ever!)
Watch: the below TED Talk by Clay Shirky from 2005 where he talks about the ideas that went on to coalesce in handy book form, disguised as his popular work Here Comes Everybody (or put it away for later and just keep reading, you’ll get the point).
Here’s the thing about disruption: it doesn’t happen by someone releasing a better product, it happens by someone releasing a simple product that caters to your least demanding customers (aka the people in the long tail, aka the wide open spaces). From there, it is easy to move up the tail a) as your product improves, and b) as people learn what features they can actually do without. This is why arguments like Google Docs isn’t as feature-rich as Word don’t work; the people using Google Docs aren’t playing on the field that makes Word a better choice.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the long tail is all well and good, but you need a strategy for the head because that is where the money is. And he is right. What Clay gets at in his talk though, and what I am proposing, is your strategy can be to work your way up the tail, co-creating with your audience to the point where you are impinging on the head.
Bet your ass you will have the attention of everyone in the room at that point.