The crisis test

Do customers flood you with support calls when your service is down? Or is it more or less quiet?

If it’s the latter, you have a problem. Because then all indications are that your product doesn’t really mean much to your customers; they can easily do without it. Maybe they don’t even realize it’s not there anymore.

If on the other hand it’s the first, congratulations. Not on having issues but in having created something important enough for customers to register when it’s not there anymore and even complain about.

It is probably one of the best indications that you have achieved Product-Market Fit.

Of course you can’t rest on the laurels when you’re in a situation, where you product is not performing as it should. But while your struggling to get it back up and working again at least take some comfort from the fact that you have achieved something:

You have created something that matters to someone outside your immediate circle of family and friends.

Congratulations.

And now get it back up and working again.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Control the effort

The world is such a complex place with a gazillion moving parts that you cannot ever claim that you have got things under control.

Because how things turn out will per definition be outside of your control and sometimes for the most odd reasons.

This makes your job as the one who has to get things moving, get customers, secure sales and drive the business forward super, super hard.

Much harder than actually building the thing, which is a much more controllable process based on having the necessary skills and experience.

So in the absence of control out there, what can you ‘control’?

The effort.

What you put in.

Quick example: If you know that making one sale happen takes about 10 meetings with different leads, you can totally control that you get those 10 meetings set up, and that you get there on time and pitch the living **** out of it.

Same with partnerships, recruitment and everything else; put the required effort in and your chance for success vastly increases.

But don’t just do a lot of random stuff. Have an approach, a system of some sorts, based on always learning and adapting. Refine your approach. Plan ahead. Think it through – but don’t overthink it.

No matter what people might say having a well thought through plan and approach and spending the time on improving it over time will serve you well.

Combine that with putting in the effort, and you might get where you aspire to go.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Better is better than cheaper

It is always interesting reading the newsletter of Benedict Evans, former Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Especially his essays.

One of the latest, ‘News by the ton’, about the challenges of legacy media has an enlightened graph based on Google Trends that shows that over time, internet searches has moved from looking for ‘cheaper’ towards increasingly looking for ‘better’.

It is significant in more ways than one.

On a banal level it shows precisely why traditional advertising as a model is f*****. The value of the message of ‘Get it with 20% off over here’ is just fast eroding and is close to zero. Traditional advertising has reached junk bond status.

On a more strategic level it shows that gunning for ‘better’ is more inline with the expectations and needs of your customers than gunning for ‘cheaper’.

Of course there will always be scavengers looking for a bargain, but as long as you deliver value above and beyond what you charge, you’re in a fundamentally good place.

And more importantly you’re in a more sustainable place business wise. Because you made the commitment towards being ‘better’ and always push for that – and not just prostitute yourself on the cheap.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

What’s your Easter Egg?

Easter is upon us (if you subscribe to that religious belief) and with that also the hunt for Easter eggs.

If you have got any time off, now may be a good time to spend some time away from it all and contemplate what the Easter egg of your business is; that hidden gem that – when exposed – delights and fascinates your customers.

What do you have buried somewhere that you can surface just about now and put your business into another gear after Easter. A gear that will help you get through all of this?

Since you’re not going to any Easter celebrations in these lockdown times anyway, spending time pondering and getting clear on that is time very well spent.

Happy Easter!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Corona thoughts, part 5

Jeffrey Katzenbergs new mobile streaming service meant for the commute, Quibi, has finally launched. And is getting killed by the reviewers. You can be excused for thinking that the timing couldn’t be worse when no-one is commuting right now, but in general the service seems to be a product looking for a problem, where there is none.

The fate of Quibi might suggest that now is the time for ‘The Great Sanity Check‘; the time where you look hard at what you do and use the opportunity to really ask yourself the hard question: All fanfare forgotten, does what I am trying to build really make any sense at all?

Can you see a path to a real business? Or – perhaps better yet – can you see an accelerated path to becoming a real business utilizing what you now know from the corona outbreak as things to factor into your plan? Can you adjust to life post-corona and come out on top? It is worth spending some serious time thinking about because in all probability it is going to be your reality, whether you want it or not.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Corona thoughts, part 3

It seems to me that a lot of the people who are starting to advocate economic considerations ahead of health-related ones during this pandemic, are some of the same people who were the least prepared for a sudden halt in economic activity. I don’t blame them for wanting to get back to normal ASAP – we all want that to happen.

However, I still think we need to spend time after this is over on the things, we have learned from this. Maybe we should consider whether some of the business school books should be reviewed and refined. Overly complex supply chains, ‘Just in time’-principles and over-optimization of the daily business operations managing cash on a shoestring suddenly seem like brilliant ideas now than they seemed to be just a month ago, right?

I continue to find it shocking (and then, not really for the above reasons, ed.) that otherwise successful and well-run companies can crumble within a week or two. It seems like a lot of businesses were already in essence on major life support as it were, and if the corona pandemic hadn’t pushed to the very edge of the cliff, it was a matter of time before something else would.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Privacy is the new luxury

Forget all the bling bling of this world. The newest luxury item – and a valuable one – is going to be privacy. Just ask Jeff Bezos.

With face recognition being unleashed in the public space and all the continued discussion around tracking of people and our data, there is going to be huge potential in a new market that helps give consumers – well off consumers – control of their own privacy back.

When that happens it will likely be one of the most defining moments for truly separating people in the ‘have’ and ‘have not’ buckets in societies rampant on tracking.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Check out ‘Pivot’

It is not that often that I recommend stuff. And in fact I have never recommended a podcast before. But lo and behold, there is a first time for everything.

Today, my very first podcast recommendation goes to the brilliant ‘Pivot’ podcast from Vox Media Network starring Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. You should really check it out if you are into everything in the intersection between business and tech. It is twice a week now, and it is pure gold.

Especially professor Galloway – who also has his own blog – calls them like he sees them. He is razor sharp in his analysis, and good fun to listen to as well. If for nothing else, hearing him read the sponsorship messages is worth the entire experience in itself. Go, go, GO and check it out.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)