Friday, August 27, 2010

Step One: Charge Blindly Forward

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Step One: Charge Blindly Forward. Netflix is awesome. When the company was started, the founders were probably thinking "Dude, Blockbuster is too far from the house and too damn expensive. Wouldn't it be awesome if DVDs magically showed up at our house? Is that even possible? Let's find out!" I love companies that build something new from scratch, and Netflix's is a perfect example with their home delivery DVD rental service.

Step Two: Figure It Out. Alright, so you've just founded Netflix and now you have to mail DVDs to and from pretty much everywhere. How do you mail DVDs reliably and profitably? You have a team work on envelope R&D. There's no instruction manual when you're starting out. I bet Netflix rented a bunch of DVDs from Blockbuster, bought a bunch of different types of envelopes, and then mailed all those DVDs to themselves just to see what would happen. It took several years and over a dozen envelope designs, but now they've got an awesome envelope that works like a charm and doesn't break the bank.

Step Three: Cannibalize Your Own Competitive Advantage (i.e. Repeat Steps One & Two) A few years ago, I bet some Netflix person was sitting around and thinking, "Dude, DVDs aren't going to be around forever. You know what we should do next? We should stream movies over the Internet! How do we do that? Let's find out!" Netflix approached every entertainment studio to discuss distribution rights over the Internet. Netflix approached anyone and everyone who builds any sort of doodad that connects to a screen suitable for showing movies. Fast forward to today. You can watch Netflix content on a phone, an iPad, a gaming console, TVs, computers, etc. While the less innovative Blockbuster is trying to survive by weakly copying the Netflix model, some person at Netflix is probably thinking "Dude, I wonder if it's possible to inject movies directly into your brain..."

I wrote this post because this week I've been stressing about not knowing everything about how to get where I am going. From time to time I need to do is remember that there is no formula for where I'm going. In 2002 I was saying "Dude, how do I find a better job?" I charged blindly forward and figured it out. In 2010 I'm a damn good recruiter and getting better all the time. In another 8 years (or less!) I plan to be running a an empire devoted to helping employers and job seekers find each other. There are so many obstacles in my way its ridiculous. How will I become successful? Charge blindly forward and figure it out (and do my best to keep self induced stress to a minimum).

1 comment:

  1. The cartoons are getting better and better! Terrific addition to your posts.

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