Nothing precious (tools for the job)

Of course you want good quality tools. Definitely not the cheapest available. (These usually get in your way.) Probably not the most expensive. (These usually take you out of the 80/20 performance/price sweet-spot.) You want things that are highly functional: free from frills (or bells, or whistles) but still designed and executed in such a way that it they give…

Crossing the street: Seth Godin on monopolies

Every successful business has a monopoly—a monopoly on what it makes that someone else can’t make the way they make it. That leaves out commodity businesses—people who bring coal out of the ground. I don’t think of those businesses as particularly successful. I think of them as useful. I’m glad if I need a bag of coal someone’s doing it,…

A long queue

A long queue for what you’re selling is a good problem to have. It means people want what you have, and are willing to pay the price you’re asking and pay the additional time it takes them to queue to get it. It means that what you’re selling is scarce – you might even have a monopoly. The question is,…

Charles Koch on creating value for others and always getting better

The starting point is to understand what capabilities you have that others will value, that you can use to create value for others. And then to find the opportunities for those capabilities that will create the most opportunity for others and particularly those who will reward you for that value. So the ideal for business is to maximise the value…

What’s it worth? (2)

The way of thinking I described yesterday also applies to buying equipment, services and training in an organisation. The question isn’t simply “How much does this cost?” (which usually feels like a lot), but rather “How much is it worth it to us to have this problem solved?” The obvious thing to look for is the gain in productivity that…

What’s it worth? (1)

$50 for a pair of jeans.£100 for a pair of shoes.£250 for a smartphone – if you’re thrifty. The prices of these and many other things make me wince when I think about buying new ones, but they probably shouldn’t. Imagine there was a toll booth just inside your front door, and you had to put money in a box…