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A Definitive Guide to Building Revolutionary Products and Companies
on July 6, 2006
Revolutionary products and companies outperform their competitors by completely changing the way things are done -- not by doing the same thing better. Perhaps the best book on this subject is Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki.
The book is based on 3 principles:
1) Create like a god
"Develop revolutionary products and services by analyzing how to solve current problems."
First, Guy walks you through the 3-step revolutionary thought process that leads to breakthrough product creation. It's very practical, and if followed, will generate amazing ideas for your business.
Next, Guy introduces you to a concept he calls, "Don't Worry, Be Crappy." Simply put, don't worry about perfecting a product before sending it to market. Focus on getting your product quickly to the market, but be ready to make constant improvements based on user feedback. He says effective companies have a circular built-in system for continuous product perfection, rather than viewing the product life cycle as linear. It's not how good you can make your product the first time, but rather how quickly you can respond to feedback after it launches.
Finally, Guy explains DICEE -- a formula for creating great products. If you've ever wondered what makes Apple products so attractive, it would be beneficial for you to examine this formula and evaluate how it can be added to your own products.
2) Command like a king
"Take charge with strategic decisions that break down barriers of product adoption."
For any revolutionary product, there will be barriers to overcome. Here, Guy gives us 5 common ones: Ignorance, Inertia, Complexity, Channel, and Price. The revolutionary entrepreneur anticipates this, and uses one or more of the book's 6 "barrier busters."
Interestingly, after removing barriers to adoption it then becomes necessary to form new barriers to retain users. These "positive" barriers, if developed correctly, can also promote the creation of "customer evangelists" -- people that love your product so much they act as an unpaid sales force for you.
3) Work like a slave
"Relentlessly absorb information from your environment, then spread the knowledge you've gained."
The revolutionary keeps up to date by viewing the situation from different viewpoints, spending time with typical users, and then gaining information from those encounters. Businesspeople that stay (physically) close to their target customers are more likely to produce successful products.
Guy also reminds his readers that if a new concept will be an inevitable long-term success, the best strategy is to focus on gaining market share rather than reaping big profits initially. While obvious in concept, startup cashflow reality often makes companies do the opposite. He uses the example of Apple and Microsoft in the 80's -- Apple unwisely choose a fat profit margin at the expense of long-term market share.
For any entrepreneur wanting to make a difference, I would highly recommend Rules for Revolutionaries. The book is highly readable, and Guy Kawasaki's entrepreneurial experience at Apple Computer and later as CEO of seed capital firm garage.com is evident throughout.