Keys To Success

I love great graphs and this is a great graph:

h/t IA.

This reminds me of one of the best posts I’ve ever read:

using intimate knowledge of an industry and the specific pain points within an industry is a perfectly legal unfair advantage for a startup.

Here’s a real-world example of how this advantage manifests. Adriana has been a psychiatrist for 10 years; she understands the ins and outs of that business. During a lull in her practice she got a serendipitous opportunity to shift gears completely and ended up leading software product development teams.  (Turns out that for big-business project management it’s more valuable to be a sensible thinker and counselor than to be an expert in debugging legacy C++ code.)

Now Adriana has an epiphany: Traditional practice-management software for psychiatrists totally sucks; she knows both the pain points and the existing software first-hand. But now she has the vision and ability to design her own software, capitalizing on modern trends (e.g. a web application instead of cumbersome installed applications) and new interpretations of HIPPA regulation (which allows web-based applications to store medical records like patient histories).

Adriana holds a unique position: Expert in the industry, able to “geek out” with her target customer, yet capable of leading a product team. Even if someone else saw Adriana’s product after the fact, it’s almost impossible to find a person — or even assemble a team — who has more integrated knowledge. At best, they could copy. Of course by then Adriana has moved on to version two.

Everyone has awesome information about something. Mix it with other awesome information in a unique way and you’ve got yourself a competitive advantage.

One thought on “Keys To Success

  1. Thanks for the kind words.

    It’s a great point that everyone is unique “enough” to bring something differentiated to the world. It’s not just nice, it’s good business.

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