The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg exhibit by Takashi Murakami At the Vancouver Art Gallery.
What started out as a bedroom and master bathroom renovation turned into a whole-house renovation that took a year to complete. Our home was stripped down to the studs and structurally rebuilt to turn a compartmentalized home built in the seventies into an open concept contemporary home.
We took a short trip to Tulum, Mexico, to see the ruins. Tulum was one of the last cities of the Mayan people.
We spent two weeks in Turkey, including the city of Istanbul. Istanbul is historically one of the most exciting cities to visit as Byzantine, Greek, Roman, Persian, Egyptian and Arabic architecture collides together within the city.
Business models come in all shapes and designs, boasting their own lingo from SaaS, freemium, B2B, B2C, and so on. But, ultimately, business frameworks can be derived from three simple archetypes. Ash Maurya succinctly boils down business models to the following:
Multisided Business Models
Multisided business models generally work to deliver value to users and, in turn, work with customers to monetize. Take Yahoo as an example, where users may come to Yahoo to participate in fantasy sports. The user exchanges their time and attention consuming Yahoo content. In turn, Yahoo turns around and sells a derivative currency which in this example may be advertising impressions on a page or cookie data to advertisers. Yahoo is not charging the user directly, but rather the content is being paid for by advertisers trying to reach targeted shoppers online.
Examples of Multisided, Ad-based, Big Data, and not-for-profits
Direct Business Models
Direct businesses are the most common and straightforward businesses around. These types of businesses provide value in exchange for currency. As long as the customer has greater value than the product or service cost, you have a happy customer.
Examples of Direct Models: Software as a Service (SaaS), physical goods, retailers, service provider, and retail store
Marketplace Business Models
Marketplaces are the hardest type of business to pull off. Like a multisided business, they work with multiple segments of buyers and sellers. In a Multisided model, the entrepreneur can tackle and solve for one side of the model (in Facebook’s case, first building up users then eventually addressing monetization). However, unlike multisided businesses, the marketplace model must simultaneously address both the buyer and seller to be successful. Think of a business like Uber, which would not have been successful if it had not built the driver base and customer base at the same time.
Strategy is choosing to win and increases your chance of success (or de-risks the overall effort). Conversely, companies without winning strategies eventually will fade away. Roger Martin, author of Playing to Win: How Strategy Works, defined the five common mistakes that lead to a poor strategy.
Five Traps of a Poor Strategy
Do It All Strategy – Doing everything and failing to make any choices. Strategy is about making choices, and such a strategy is absent of choices.
Don Quixote Strategy – Taking on the strongest competitor first head to head or choosing to initially attack an opponent’s stronghold as part of an opening strategy.
Waterloo Strategy – Taking on multiple fronts at the same time fighting multiple opponents (and doing so weakly)
Dream That Never Comes True – Building high-level aspirations that never translate into a strategy
Program of the Month – Buying into a generic strategy that looks very similar to your competitors. Chasing the same goals in similar ways is a recipe for failure.
Understanding the five traps of poor strategy is a good start to knowing when you are not making the right kind of strategic choices. I was surprised how strategy is misunderstood in the corporate world. So many organizations believe they have a strategy when they do not. Some companies chase what is en vogue at the moment, constantly shifting their direction. Other businesses try to be all things to everyone avoiding making choices.
Developing a strategy does not have to be complicated. Willingness to define where you want to take your business and what choices and trade-offs you are willing to take. Roger Martin has a blog that makes strategy straightforward and accessible that I recommend reading.
Living as an adult for two years in Canada was a refreshing change. I spent part of my childhood in the suburbs of Toronto but did not remember much. Studying and living in the city gave me a new perspective and an appreciation for California (my home).
I moved to Toronto to pursue my MBA at the University of Toronto. My apartment was a 5-minute subway ride to campus located in the heart of Toronto