To build products or services that last, we need to develop a new belief system (a new kind of truth) or reframe the existing ones’ that fundamentally change how we think about specific things in life.
Some stories from the past to understand how it worked for some well-known organizations,
- Ford convinced that people need cars to travel faster and built an innovative manufacturing technique (assembly line) to deliver as many cars as possible in a short period.
- Apple convinced that people could be creative with internet-enabled devices and created a suite of products to get them started.
- Amazon convinced people that they could buy things online and built an excellent operations mechanism to fulfill orders with efficiency and speed.
If not, we are building solutions on existing belief systems, which means we’re merely competing and not creating any difference.
Relying on an existing belief system works if you undoubtedly know that enough people don’t have access to it. In this case, your job is not to reinvent the wheel but to make it accessible to as many people as you can before the competition begins.
But creating a new belief system eliminates all the competition and gives you a first and a last mover of the value advantage. It’s not easy or straightforward to build a new belief system. To do so, it’s a must to understand (w.r.t first principles) market dynamics, trends, customer behaviors, and belief systems that already exist and respond invariably.
This thought process, I believe, will naturally make you good at building products and services that last long and have a significant impact. At some point, they make you feel like it’s impossible to function without them (just like the internet, mobiles, cars, etc.)
Creating a belief system like this also changes how we think about the stakeholders of the business. For example, when working on a new belief system,
- The marketing teams’ job is to help people discover this new belief system.
- The sales teams’ job is to educate people about this new belief system.
- The product teams’ job is to give people the tools to navigate through this new belief system.
The bottom line is, you can be successful either way, with or without disrupting beliefs. However, you can only avoid competition, uncertainty by building something new or by giving a new meaning to something that already exits. You should be passionate about the change in both cases, and as William Pollard said, “Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”