“No, Really, I am the Swiss Army Knife of XYZ”

TEDxBayArea May 2010
Image by ttnk via Flickr

Because of a twitter exchange, a CEO of a company sent me their website link and asked me to check it out. After a minute of arriving, I left. I couldn’t tell who it was for, I couldn’t even tell what it was. Rather than ignoring this email, I wrote back with some advice to the CEO — make it easy to know who you serve and why it matters.

It’s the easiest advice to give of course — know who you will serve and why you stand out. But each entrepreneur I know tries to skip this point. So let me just share that “we serve everyone who could possibly use xyz” is not a valid answer.
And, yet, you might ask… does it really matter? I mean, what if the product really does have scale across many segments and it’s agnostic to size of company? What if it is really the swiss-army knife an solves tons of problems? Then, can the company avoid segmentation or individual positioning? Really, isn’t it better to position towards a big space than a small space?

Well, that depends.

Nilofer Merchant is easy on the eyes but hard on the brain [that’s her on the right in the photo above], and I was lucky to know her during my time at Apple. Most of the time, however, she makes my head hurt with posts like this — I hate it when she makes me think so much!

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper — she’s definitely one to follow…

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