TECH TALK: Good Books: The Strategy Paradox (Part 4)

As I started reading the book (and am still doing so), I related it to some of my own decisions over the past few years. What Michael Raynor says in The Strategy Paradox made sense and could even perhaps account for some of the failures that I have experienced over my fifteen years as an entrepreneur. I like to make bets about the future and think of blue oceans that I see as potentially uncontested marketspaces.

In making these bets, I construct a vision of tomorrows world. And perhaps, that is the problem — a vision. If I am too early or if that future does not pan out, one has to face failure. Perhaps, I should look at some hedging of bets going ahead. In an entrepreneurial venture, this is also not easy because they are multiple constraints.

A recent example from Netcore can help illustrate the importance of the need to create multiple scenarios for the future. A year ago, we were only focused on the mobile Internet and even created a mobile portal. But usage has been low for multiple reasons the low activations of GPRS in India, the need to pay higher charges to go outside operator walled gardens, the lack of awareness about our portal, and so on.

At the same time, a group within Netcore decided to also focus on various interactive SMS services. I wasnt that excited about these services given the limitations of SMS. But I let the development continue and we proceeded to launch many of these services late last year. As it turned out, we have seen rapid growth in these services contrary to my initial expectations. In fact, we are now also seeing these services help drive the growth of the mobile portal.

While we did not follow Raynors framework and made decisions more based on instinct, I can now see the usefulness of bringing in some of the ideas described in his book in my mental models. Big bold bets definitely need to be made, but also thinking through (and perhaps creating solutions for) some alternate scenarios may be the smarter approach going forward.

Next Week: Good Books (continued)

TECH TALK Good Books+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.