Monday, October 01, 2007
Research Note: Suspended in Strategy Decay, or Why Open Beats Closed
FT to go semi-open. Highly recommended - read it.
Let me add a quick disclaimer before I begin: look, I <3 the FT. I think their journalism is great, I think the world would be a much poorer place without an FT.
So...is this move profound or banal?
Unfortunately, for the FT, it's profound - but not in a good way.
Why? Let's start by noting that it's a perfect example of first-order thinking.
How? Consider. The FT's argument rests on the premise that the casual reader consumes <= 30 articles per month...now.
Let's assume the move works, and the drawing up of iron curtains amplify FT consumption. But, of course, that also means that the 30 articles per casual reader must start to rise.
In other words, the "average" consumer's consumption is always rising at the margin, for the FT (which is exactly what we want in markets, networks, and communities) - until openness forces an equilibrium.
The FT will face enormous structural pressure to raise the iron curtains even further. And on, and on.
It's pretty cool, in a voyeuristic kind of way - the FT is suspended in strategy decay, like a fly fighting the amber that will ultimately trap it.
But let's go deeper. The FT's real mistake is the assumptions behind the strategy. The big assumptions is one meant for thinking strategically about creaking, rusting industrial era strategy: to treat consumers as averages.
One of the most explosive opportunities offered by the edgeconomy is to unbundle (economic) stuff. Market "segments" are a prime example of that economic "stuff".
And segments of consumers, when unbundled, and treated as humans, people, individuals, can co-create absolutely astonishing amounts of value (just ask Google).
Brilliant post. Fine example of why the textbooks need to be re-written.