Project and Business defensibility

Using Guy Kawasaki’s primer, analysing a major project I’m associated with yields:

  1. “We know that there are no ‘magic bullets’ that provide defensibility.” We know that there is not a single shield that we can raise that can make our proposition impermeable.
  2. “We have filed for patents, but we know that we cannot depend on patents as a major component of defensibility.” We are re-commercialising intellectual property assets that have been developed in the marketplace over the last 6 years.
  3. “We have an x month head start […], and what we’re doing is hard. We know we have, at best, a temporary lead. It’s so hard that few established companies would defocus themselves by trying to do what we’re doing.” We have about a 9 to 12 month head start, on what is usually a difficult and expensive arena to break into. We are using our Laboratory results to generate tangible digital objects. It’s not so hard that it’s impossible for competitors to simulate, but it would significantly defocus our contemporaries’ stated business plans to do so.
  4. “We’ve built similar businesses before.” We have built two enterprises like this before, both of which are still viable market propositions.
  5. “We’ve amassed a ton of relevant domain expertise because our founders sold to these customers before.” We have been selling to the same type of customers for a number of years, and they are meta-customers at this stage of the development.
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Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir

Would you buy a Toyota Prius from this woman?

Would you like to buy a Toyota Prius from Rebekka?

Via a random series of “waves” I was washed up on Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir’s flickr post.

The visual grammar of (this) European advertising and marketing makes the entire experience of participating in the campaign seem utterly desirable.

Setting about emulating this type of architecture/visual diegesis…

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir

Blog post with the full suite of images:

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir » Blog Archive » holy crap…

ECI Telecom consortium to push for next-gen DSL

Om Malik wrote some editorial a few days ago about the recent announcement by ECI Telecom.

Mostly though, he does a profile of Professor John Cioffi. And although his track record is impressive, the world has not suddenly been delivered a magic bullet for hyperspeed broadband access.

ECI noted that:

DSM [Dynamic Spectrum Management] is a promising technology expected to provide reliable, fiber-optic-like rates over the existing copper infrastructure. DSM is expected to have a significant impact on the market, as the DSL industry is looking for solutions beyond VDSL2 to increase subscriber broadband rates.

The establishment of this multi-disciplinary consortium, funded for three years, and effectively underwritten by the Israeli Government stands the commercial development of the technologies in very good stead; rather than remaining “slideware”, a commitment has been made to push for new FTTC-based last mile platforms and in a very public way. ECI presented a discussion on DSM and the partnership at Broadband World Forum in Paris, the proceedings of which I have not yet seen released.

Integrating three tertiary institutions into a commercial consortium will be no mean feat. Many a telco research initiative in this country between universities and businesses has hit structural roadblocks, and technologies commercialised out of university research make a big bang at press release time, but fade into unrecognisable-by-the-public consolidation. In 2000, I watched as Radiata took USD$295m from Cisco and have been waiting ever since to see the “leading semiconductor technology” reappear proudly as Powered By Radiata (TM).

So why do we often latch onto The Next Great Thing and the Way Of The Future technology or innovation? I believe it’s human nature to engage with the fruits of clever endeavour, but it could be a result of a disbelief in scientific principles. That is, if we have a problem today, never fear: the solution is “Coming Soon!”; physics can be beaten into submission by new technologies via science.

I hear very similar comments The Next Greatest Thing made by broadband and telco companies in Australia, but they are usually referring to one or more of:

  • New vendor product release that bests the industry leader by “blah” percent
  • ADSL 2, 2+, VDSL2, or acronym-next access technology
  • Proprietary, patent-pending, announced today solution to worldwide problem

Yes, the emerging and developing technologies of “soon” can help new business become viable: but shouldn’t genuinely-sturdy propositions for customers be able to be deployed on “Network Any”?