You are who your Customers are 0

This week was a milestone for the book, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison. It was released as a paperback. I want to take a moment and congratulate the authors and pass on a recommendation for the book.

This book has been one of my staples in the development of Lean Sales and Marketing and in particular on how I view creating demand. This week I will highlight this book’s thoughts along with how I apply the principles of the The Power of Pull.

John Seely Brown, Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation, argues setting up an organization where nothing leaks out, also means nothing can leak in. Moreover, industry ecosystems have balance and reciprocity, so being paranoid of taking part in the sharing of knowledge can be detriment to an organization. Brown also asks whether new types of institutional innovations can allow companies to build scale without mass.

I don’t remember the exact words, but one of the most memorable things that I have heard Eric Ries author of the The Lean Startup say was if your idea is so fragile that it cannot be prototyped or tested it really has little chance in the marketplace. Even though Apple has innovated in legendary secrecy, they understood their business much better than most. Startups and especially mature companies need to be in their customers market place sharing their knowledge. It is how ideas are developed.

The Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers that describes the use of the Business Model Canvas is the template I recommend to use for demonstrating this balance and reciprocity described in the video. It adequately portrays the unbalances that you have in your value proposition and other parts of your business model.

Sitting in a middle school orientation several years ago, I can remember the assistant principal saying that your son or daughter are who their friends are. Not to psychoanalyze that statement, I have found it true for organizations. If you are open and collaborate with your customers, it is typically reciprocated. Your organization is who your customers are. That is your brand.

This weeks podcast guest, Dave Gray discusses similar thoughts in his recent book, The Connected Company when he used Rational  Software (now part of IBM) as an example. From his book:

Rationales goal was very transparent to everyone in the company: “Make customers successful.”