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June 1, 2009

I am so glad I don't see things like you do!

"Listen, you just don't see the problem from my perspective"

My answer to this? "Great! Because from your perspective there is no solution!"

Solving problems is what we do. It is what compels clients to hire us, and our proficiency at it is what will compel them to give us repeat work. And to do that we cannot just offer them amplified versions of their own perspectives.

This is my fundamental problem with benchmarking and other imitating approaches. In the final analysis all you are doing is applying other peoples perspectives to the problem - which at best means you are just a marginally better (or worse, or just different) version of your competitors. Not the best way to get to market leadership...

The much-hyped BING from Microsoft is a classic example of this. Seth Godin  slammed their approach of being the next Google - but it goes further than that I feel.

The problem they see is search. They allowed Search to get away from them and Google have turned it into a multi billion dollar industry via Adwords and search advertising.

But the reality is that the battleground is not search at all... the battleground is organizing information! Search is just the way it is done today.

A way to organize information that is simple, easy to use, accurate and accessible is the battleground - not search; thats just the symptom.

So while Microsoft is developing a better search (remembering that value not functionality is what sells of course) Google has been hard at work developing the organizing platform.

Wiki notes for search results, the ability to post reviews on anything and everything, Google maps and the ability to perform local business searches, Google profiles, blogging, Feedburner, their Google Wave, and so on... they are already miles ahead on organizing information.

And thats what everyone wanted in the first place. Yahoo thought they had the answer to organizing information by dominating the portal market - turns out their visitors were actually looking for simpler approach than a directory.

Applying a different perspective can be as easy as correctly identifying the problem, or as complex as coming up with a whole new way of dealing with the issue.

The latest thinking on how to prevent Tigers from becoming extinct is to farm then and eat them. If you give them a commercial value then they are likely to be kept alive. Frightening? Maybe. Working? Appears to be...

One persons aggression is another persons debating style. One persons problem is another persons opportunity. Your goal is to come at the problem from a number of angles. Identify the real issues, which are often different from what people are struggling with, and look for new ways to deal with the issue simply, rapidly, and effectively.

Our role after all is to create, find and spread leading practices...

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