Avoid Shark Fin Pitfalls


Throughout the last week I reflected on the decisions and structures that enable companies to live, breathe, and thrive…in other words, how do companies keep customers interested in what is being offered, or change gears to offer something new?  How do companies withstand the changing winds of consumer demands?  The HBR article (below) points out that innovations are penetrating the market faster than ever (shark fin of adoption). It is critical to think beyond tinkering with the customer user interface of an existing product, to the next disruption. 

 Here are some of the lessons cited about how to survive what’s hot today, gone tomorrow…

  1. Avoid the “one-hit wonder” trap of devoting all the resources to a single product.  Innovate quickly.

  2. Maintain a capital structure that optimizes flexibility for the second act.

  3. Don’t reassign the company visionaries to desk duty, a.k.a., restrictive management roles - let them run free.

  4. Don’t sell the company soul….

  5. Early explosive success can breed failure if companies fail to build on a big bang disruptive product – which in some cases turns out to have been a matter of accident or good fortune.

  6. Resorting to regulation as a counter-offense can be a desperate move by companies that diverts resources and stalls their own innovation.

  7. Sighhhh…all dressed up and nowhere to go.  Don’t commit all the resources to costumers on the back end of the bell curve – the ones who have already moved on to some other product (sorry - not yours).

I hope you will read the article for insight about positioning your company for its second act.  Avoid some common pitfalls and build a better strategy to sustain your enterprise.

Laura Neeson