Amazon: working backwards and other stories

I’m late to the party on this, but I’ve just come across this very helpful technique for developing products and services, as used at Amazon. Essentially, you start by immediately writing a customer-facing press release for the finished product, and…

Some questions for making change happen

What’s the problem? What networks of people and things underlie the problem, and what context or environment are they embedded in? Who wins if you solve the problem? Who stands to lose? What’s in it for you? What else is…

Clayton Christensen: Jobs to be done (1)

Here’s a great insight from Clayton Christensen: people don’t buy a product or service because of abstract needs, but rather when they have a specific job to do. So people don’t use public transport, or cars, or taxis because they…

Resources: Steve Blank Playlist

If you’re not familiar with Steve Blank, start here: The Principles of Lean “No business plan survives first contact with customers.” On Acting on Customer Discovery If you’re going to go out and discover whether customers like your idea or…

Steve Blank: definition of a startup

I’m horrified to discover that I haven’t posted anything much focusing on Steve Blank’s work on Startups, customer discovery and iteration. His definition of a startup is a great place to start: A startup is a temporary organization formed to…

Resources: Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation

Clayton Christensen’s The Innovators Dilemma is a business classic, providing a framework for understanding how technological or business model innovations (or more usually, both) allow new businesses to gain a foothold in markets or to create new ones. It’s been…

Carl Sagan on starting from scratch

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Carl Sagan Starting from scratch is overrated (and impossible). Some better questions are: – Has someone else already made what I’m trying to make?…

Seeds (3): becoming Beatrix Potter

1866 Helen Beatrix Potter born in London. 1876 Beatrix Potter has already been doing a lot of drawing and painting. This watercolour is from 1876, a couple of months before her tenth birthday: 1883 Aged 17, she writes “I can’t…

Drucker on the theory of the business

The theory of the business must be known and understood throughout the organisation. This is easy in the organization’s early days. But as it becomes successful, an organization tends increasingly to take its theory for granted, becoming less and less…

Seeds (2): bikes, planes and automobiles

Many of the seeds of the automobile industry came from bicycle manufacturers (I touched on this in Use, Copy, Repair, Make), and on a visit to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu I learnt some more of the story. Karl…