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Strategies for a discontinuous future.












Friday, September 26, 2003
 


Magnum PI returns.

"The proposed project also joins a growing list of upcoming flicks based on classic TV series, including the Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky and Hutch."

OK, let's get one thing straight: retro-cool is NOT a strategy. Especially not now that everyone is doing it. Strategy is about doing things differently and better than your competitors. It's about leveraging unique resources to create unique and compelling value propositions, which can then be used to extend and stretch resources for the future. It's about harnessing combinations of resources and capabilities to provide a mechanism for radical innovation and reshaping industry boundaries.

Strategy is NOT about being so creatively and analytically bankrupt that you have to reach back into your own vaults and send stale products back to the market. Especially when these stale products aren't based on unique resources. Every media conglomerate has a ton of shows just like Magnum PI.

Now looking at the historical and cultural elements that made these shows hits and trying to use those as innovation drivers would be strategically interesting. That's how revolutionaries created media that is radically innovative, like CSI, GTA Vice City, and Resident Evil. But watching Magnum pull up in a 70s Ferrari with a bad Hawaiian shirt and big fat stache is NOT that kind of recombination. It's just a braindead rehash. The firms that want to devote precious resources to this are going to pay the price - because the real innovators will walk away with the market.

Lesson: Retro-cool is usually the death of innovation under another name.

of course, you're gonna ask: how come the return of Doctor Who hasn't incurred my wrath? Because I'm confident the Beeb will produce an innovated, evolved Doctor Who. If he shows up in the same crap Tardis and fighting the same crap Daleks from the 70s, we'll know it was a retro-cash-in. And the Beeb will have MASSIVELY squandered a key part of a critical resource.

Then again, the Beeb doesn't have to worry about cashing in. That's why it can produce some of most innovative TV in the world consistently.

-- umair // 6:33 PM //


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