The discussions of the last three posts, while important to all organizations of any size, are probably most important for startups. The big guys can more easily survive a misstep in these areas.
A case in point: Microsoft has taken a decade to slowly drop in esteem amongst business as well as end users, and still has the ability to turn this around because they have both massive resources upon which to continue living upon, and because they are the entrenched, accepted platform for most business computing.
When every company is using your applications (Office) and your OS (Windows), it’s both easier to forget to listen to your customers (and vendors, and developers), but also to stay alive long enough to change course. Microsoft has forgotten, but no one is yet saying they’re a has-been company. Although with current competition from Apple, Linux and Google…and practically ceding the mobile market…well, we’ll see.
Apple is another case. They slowly lost market share and business over a decade, but survived, largely because Microsoft needed competition to differentiate them in the marketplace. Now, of course, Apple is bigger than Microsoft.
Alas, the startup has no such “too big to fail (slowly)” net. Unless you a) are the dominant player in a market, and b) have massive resources at your disposal, you cannot afford to lose sight of these three areas: Customer Intimacy, Simplicity, and the Cost of a Dollar.
An illustration of the especial need for customer intimacy: Startups usually don’t have the massive data that an entrenched company has built up over years. Likewise, Continue reading