Articles: Strategy

The Six Centers

All individuals and groups have finite attentional resources. These attentional limits constrain what organizations can do, including their efficiency, ambitiousness, insightfulness, and success. As I’ve said elsewhere: “In his wonderful and occasionally heady book The Ecology of Attention, Yves Citton writes that ‘we never have the means to pay enough attention’ and so we end up paying attention to what preoccupies others. Limited attention leads to groupthink: we pay attention to what others in the group pay…

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Scaling a small business

It’s very easy these days to start a small business. It’s very difficult these days to scale a small business. In my earlier post “Becoming #1,” I used a crude model to talk about the competitive environment and growth trajectory for all organizations:     I noted that every organization, at every level of scale, must become either the market leader or the thought leader for their niche or category. And I was almost but not-quite explicit…

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The Three Machines: Nonprofit Edition

In an earlier post, I shared a model, adapted from Brad Feld, that describes all contemporary organizations as having “three machines.”   Each of these machines is in fact a funnel—moving clients along a journey, turning interested parties into brand advocates and dollars into sustainable strategic advantage.   With a few nomenclature tweaks and clarifications, this model works not just for private sector organizations, but for nonprofits, too. The Programs machine Though some nonprofits sell products, most…

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Growing up

Note: This article is the concluding post in a four-part series about growth.   Following World War II, the United States enjoyed unprecedented economic success as a victor of the war and the only major nation that did not suffer homeland infrastructure losses. In the US, the post-War period included an expansion of worker rights but hit a turning point in roughly 1968 which began the dismantling of those same rights. We now refer to the dominant…

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Hypergrowth basics

Note: This article is part three in an ongoing series about growth.   The past twelve years have seen major changes in how Silicon Valley startups talk and think about growth. Around the time of the 2007-2008 financial crash, a set of integrated technologies (mobile, wifi, cloud, open source, HTML 5) reached what Carlota Perez calls the Deployment phase of maturity, sparking a new, long boom of technological innovation and VC investment. The FANGA companies and their…

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