Tag Archives: Innovation

Sunday Rant: Dear $Vendor, your marketing pitch sucks

In my day job I get exposed to Vendor marketing pitches a fair bit. It can be in person one on one or at a conference, or it can be through marketing reading material; but there appears to be one common theme: they all, almost without exception, focus on the product they’re trying to sell, and its features.

In other words, they are dumping on me a solution, while doing almost nothing to help me to understand whether the problem they’re addressing is relevant to us and our customers. The included obligatory “problem statements”, almost without exception, are too high-level unspecific and do not answer this. And this is just wrong.

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Innovator’s guide to “purple cow” breeding, Part 2

(This is Part 2 of the series. See Part 1 by clicking here)

What sucks about the traditional innovation methods?

In the last post, I briefly touched on the traditional innovation methods, without going into too many specifics around them. Let’s have a closer look at what are the most common methods and what are their shortcomings, and then we’ll see how the methodology I am talking about addresses them.
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Innovator’s guide to “purple cow” breeding, Part 1

Fascination with “purple cows”

As far as I know, the term “purple cow” was coined by Seth Godin, who has a book by the same name. Essentially, it is about achieving success by being exceptional, outstanding, a “purple cow”. During early 2000s, I lived through Ethernet’s meteoric rise to dominance; first as Metro and later as Carrier Ethernet, demolishing everything in its path. A clear example, in my mind, of a true “purple cow”, a major disruption.

Since then, I got increasingly intrigued an fascinated by a process of coming up with a “purple cow” type of idea, spending uncountable hours thinking about it, trying to work it out. (Somewhat disappointingly, Seth’s book didn’t provide any workable pointers to just how one gets themselves one of those cows. It simply says that if you get one, good things are bound to happen. Oh, well.)

You might ask, “what’s wrong with the traditional innovation methods”? Well, for a start, they tend to produce too few “purple cows”, and too many square pegs for what turns out to be round holes. I have strong aversion to waste, and thus just couldn’t accept that there isn’t a way other than “try, fail, tweak, try again”. Yes, I like certainty.

To cut the long story short, it turned out that somebody did come up with a method to breed those “purple cows”, after all. With certainty. In this series of blog posts I will talk about it.

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On square pegs and round holes

Brad Casemore wrote an excellent post about the raising tension between the traditional networking vendors and the ONF, or rather between the “traditional” and “new” ways of doing things in networking, i.e. “distributed” vs. “software-defined”. In this blog post, I would like to take a stab at the questions of “what might have contributed to this?” and “what are the some of implications to mid-market Service Providers and Enterprises?“.

Would you like to miss your boat? Here’s how to do it.

While there would inevitably be many constituents, I am of an opinion that the best way to miss an upcoming disruption is to listen to your best customers. They are largely happy with your products (or they would have walked), and in most cases, when confronted with changes, will inevitably frame their wishes and desires for improving things around the ways they have done things traditionally. This is the very case of the quote that is attributed to H. Ford, where he allegedly says that if he asked his customers what they wanted, they would have told him it was a faster horse.

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