Business Bifurcation

The Hard Part Was Knowing What Business We Were Actually In.

Another Gaping Void nails it. Full piece here, though they don’t use the phrase 'business bifurcation'.

For a long time, it has been clear that business is bifurcating. The two models are either;

  • the 'pile-em-high-and-sell-em-cheap' model to borrow from Tesco's Jack Cohen's business strategy
  • the 'totally-high-end-special-and-niche' model - think $20 dollar pints of beer, $300 bottles of wine, handcrafted artisan wafers ...

Gaping Void's piece brings you right up to date with stories form Saville Row - a set of businesses you might expect to fail in thelight of (say) Brookes Brothers collapse. But no - business bifurcation.

To be fair - those high-end examples aren't the only way to be in that niche space. Business that scale and deliver low price, do so at the cost of service, value, the personal touch, sometimes quality ...

If you are a small business - don’t wonder how to compete with Amazon ... work out how to differentiate from Amazon. What worked 20, 30 years ago - still works. It's just that the 'what' is different.

And the first 'what' is 'what business are you in'. It might not be what you think. The business you are in is your 'core'. Everything else is context. (To borrow from my 'old' friend Geoffrey Moore.)


Professional Creators

We are either teaching our children to be creators... or we're throwing them off a cliff.

Read More From Gaping Void.

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Corporate Hierarchy

It's arguably too true to be funny, but not why I am sharing. Rather because in the accompanying post (here), reference is made to a post by Ribbon Farm's Venkatesh Rao. (This post specifically.)

The Gervais Principle (I wonder where he got that name from) also introduces us to The MacLeod Life Cycle, which seems to be very closely modelled on Sakar's life cycle.

You see - it is all connected.

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The Harder We Work

The harder I work, the sooner I get to be king! the harder he works, the longer I get to be king!

Chess is a metaphor. It is a complex game of strategy and execution. The game provides a useful mental model for the complex world of organizations. Are you a Knight, Rook, or Queen? Do you need to move straight in or tack to achieve the successful delivery of your project?  We know that the most effective people are able to be pawns to kings, depending upon the context.

Gaping Void - Chess Pieces For Business

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There’s A Gap

Over here I share a lot of Gaping Void's work. Hugh Macleod more often than not nails it. But this one needed a comment.

Boom! That’s the way it works, for anyone in the innovation or creative business. History decides what is 'art', history decides what is 'important' ...

Meanwhile, you’re just doing your job, you’re just showing up, trying to be a pro, you’re just trying to be a grownup, you’re just trying to get paid.

Hugh Mcleod - Gaping Void

Whilst I don’t disagree that 'history' decides what is important - Hugh of all people knows that 'history' is not neutral. An example would be that 'History' for the longest time did not recognize art that came from (say) Africa, because we 'superior' Westerners were writing off thousands and thousands of years of 'art' - because it didn't fit into our Western sensibilities and so classified the art into Natural History Museums.

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Language – One Of The Eight Pillars

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Since the beginning, 'language' has been a core pillar of People First. I've written about it from time to time, but was not intending to get into the meat for a while. Then - after last week's newsletter, I received an email that resonated in so many ways, that this week's newsletter morphed into riff on .... Language.

And then this morning, I was just browsing through some of my draft posts deciding what to publish next - and up pops this from Hugh Macleod and Gaping Void.

Why Words Do Matter

In other words, successful CEOS tend to 'get' the culture idea that language is the foundation of culture.

Hugh Macleod

Talk about the universe working in mysterious ways. Needless to say, we agree.

Now we just need to ensure that the corporates don’t takeover the language of culture as they have changed our day to day language, with their militaristic business jargon.

People First
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And Neither Are People

Do you remember The Prisoner?

If you are old enough and you were living in the UK in the 60s, I am sure the answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

I am well aware the TV series was also shown in Canada and the US, but I think it's one of those peculiarly English productions that didn't translate too well. For those of you not old enough (most of you I am guessing), this is a key line from the show that always struck me: "I am not a number—I am a free man!"

Prescient, when you realize, to quote Wikipedia that ...

a major theme of the series is individualism, as represented by Number Six, versus collectivism, as represented by Number Two.... McGoohan [the co-creator of the show], stated that the series aimed to demonstrate a balance between the two points.

Now if that is not a "discussion for our times," I'm not sure what is! And as you can see, this debate has been occupying me for some time. Then, along comes Gaping Void to point out something similar.

innovation is not a number