How working from home kills strategy

What exactly is wrong with working from home? From what I’ve been able to gather, many organisations are starting to ask this question.  It’s not a straight forward one, because the nature of the benefits and drawbacks aren’t symmetrical. The benefits are very direct and obvious.  Anyone can see them, and one hardly need make […]

Are we using AI backwards?

Before we begin, a word of warning: I know very little about AI. Because of this, some of my explanations below may be a bit off-base. Certainly don’t take my word on anything technical – and if you think I’ve got something wrong, feel free to email me back explaining how ignorant I am. However, […]

Going deep on strategy with the Hungry podcast

An exciting change of pace this week, where I’ll give you a break from the essays and point you instead to my recent appearance on the great podcast, Hungry. Hungry is a podcast for challenger food and drink brands which has featured the founders of many breakthrough brands, top thinkers such as Rory Sutherland, and […]

The secret process of expert thinkers

I’m going to level with you. It’s about how I work. And I’ll admit up front, it makes me look kinda lazy and unprofessional. But through this essay I hope to show that not only is there logic in the laziness – but that it’s actually the only way to do effective intellectual and creative work. First, […]

Want something? Then stop trying to get it.

All of us here have one thing in common: We’re trying to get things. Perhaps we’re trying to get more customers. Or a new listing. Or a better relationship. Or spiritual enlightenment. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter.  Because the way of getting something – anything – is always the same: Be the sort of business […]

Strategy is a mess – here’s how you tidy it up

One of the main reasons strategy is needlessly confusing, is because the word itself is used to describe multiple different “things”. Although when we use the term here we are typically talking about “business strategy” (the responsibility of founders and CEOs), it is often used to mean other forms of strategy which are deceptively similar, but differ […]

Don’t answer a need, create it

When all is said and done, there are only two methods of attracting customers. One of these is obvious, and everyone knows it. The other is secret, and almost nobody knows it. The obvious one represents the assumption that guides the vast majority of brands – probably including yours.  It’s the water they swim in, […]

One. Stupid. Thing.

Look, you might be very smart, but that’s not going to help you. The truth is that everyone’s smart.  Everyone who you’re in competition with anyway. In the founder game, and the strategy game, intelligence isn’t an edge: it’s a commodity.  It’s like being a footballer who’s fit, or an author who can write: sure […]

The “Thingness” of strategy: The mindset shift that changes everything

If there’s one part of my job that really sucks, it’s this: Nobody is shopping for what I’m selling. There are companies out there thinking “we need a lawyer”, so they go shopping for a law firm.  There are companies thinking “we need a new website”, so they go shopping for a web developer.  There […]

Product is nothing: How to see things the way your customers do

People – especially founders – are fond of saying “product is everything”.  Have a great product, and you’ll succeed.  Have a poor product, and you’ll fail.  That’s the general idea. It’s a nice sentiment, and true enough in a number of ways, but in a bigger way… it’s bullshit.  Not just bullshit, but dangerous bullshit, since it […]