Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Edge Competencies

Why do I talk about edge competencies? Am I trying to make simple things complicated?

No. It's a straightforwardconcept: deep sets of learning at the edges of value chains or value chain segments, which let innovators sustainably leverage cheap coordination strategically. That is, into new markets, new domains, or new industries - reshaping their economics and arbitraging older, less efficient players.

The canonical example, at this point, is Google attempting to move into print ads. It can do this because it has learned how to makes both ads and content plastic. Google's print ads initiative is moving slowly; soon, we'll find out just how deep Google's learning is.

Conversely, whether or not Google succeeds - it's current failure has as much to do with the media industry resisting Google's we-will-qwn-you approach as anything else - it's also clear that print advertising can be made hyperefficient.

So players in all media markets should be investing much more heavily in edge competencies, by making media liquid, plastic, microchunking it, building knowledge pools about it, letting it self-organize - rather than continuing to invest in decayed strategies and dead business models which deliver the same old inert media through fatter pipes.

-- umair // 11:10 AM // 2 comments


I had an interesting conversation with someone yesterday. When we are growing up, we try to hide the fact that we are basically an anomoly. Once you reach a certain level of maturity, you recognize that your "anomoly-ness" is your value.

What we believe to be our core-value is all of the content and specific skills we have amassed. But the true value is the more-or-less invariant perspective that accompanies all of that other stuff.

In this light, the name of the game changes from "job security" (lots of hiding), to "serial obsolescence" (lots of sharing). Edge competencies are those pieces that we recognize have become commodities and that we empower others to use by tearing down the gate and inviting the masses in. The new core competency becomes management my context.

- David
// Anonymous Anonymous // 10:21 PM

That is a very interesting comment, thanks.
// Blogger umair // 11:22 PM

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