Blue Ocean Strategy is all about “hitting ‘em where they ain’t”, in old baseball lingo. In other words, rather than competing in an overcrowded space where all participants suffer from reduced market share and profits, why not move into the “blue ocean” and build a new business where none currently exist? It sounds much simpler than it is, of course, but it still caused me to stop and think. I love this quote:
To fundamentally shift the strategy canvas of an industry, you must begin by reorienting your strategic focus from competitors to alternatives, and from customers to non-customers.
Read that again. In just about any business out there it’s accurate to say the number of non-customers far exceeds the number of customers. What can you do to convert those non-customers? What sort of new product would lure them in? Most of your non-customers don’t even know you exist, so you not only have to create a completely new, exciting product, but you’ve got to figure out how to raise awareness. If you think about great new product developments of the past I’ll bet most of them weren’t created so much to beat a competitor as they were to establish a new industry.
One final (great) quote from this one:
Non-customers tend to offer far more insight into how to unlock and grow a blue ocean than do relatively content existing customers.
Hot Property’s subtitle is The Stealing of Ideas in an Age of Globalization. It talks not only about the IP theft that’s so widespread today and how the U.S. is “the world’s most zealous intellectual property cop”, but also how the U.S. “owes its Industrial Revolution to some astonishing instances of industrial espionage.” One of the excerpts notes that “Hamilton and Congress wanted to rapidly industrialize the United States…by whatever means necessary…America thus became the world’s premier legal sanctuary for industrial pirates.” Very interesting.