Thursday, January 29, 2009

Strategy and the game of Battleship

So often we speak to "strategy" as a high level, time based, roadmap of technology and products forecasting years into the future.

Has anyone ever built a successful business implementing such plans?  Not I.  I prefer to craft my strategies using the game of Battleship method.  The original game rules (PDF) for those too young or too old to have played.

Here's my simplistic model:
  1. You have to get in the game. You must field a prototype of your product and aggressively gather feedback and market intelligence.  
  2. Apply the product feedback and intelligence to adapt your product plans.  Some shots will be misses, but the hits can blossom into entire product lines.
I have no fundamental argument against the traditional approach of mapping SAM, TAM, competitors, SWOT or even executives with "Strategic" in their title.....but please don't call the output of this method a strategy until you have waded into the market and started to map your hits and misses.

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