• Competitors / Industry
    • What is the competitor’s strategy?
      • What are they playing?
      • What is the overall strategy of your competitors?
      • What is your strategic play compared to your competitors?
    • What kind of bargaining advantage does this player haver over suppliers and customers?
      • How are we vulnerable?
    • What substitutes would make this competitor vulnerable?
      • How are we vulnerable?
    • What industry trends make this competitors vulnerable?
      • How are we vulnerable?
    • Who are the competitor’s enemies?
    • What are barriers that the industry has placed to prevent your product from coming in?
    • What are moats that the industry has?
    • What moats can the industry introduce to keep you out?
    • What is the current landscape?
      • Is it a zero-sum game to the bottom on price?
      • Is there differentiation among the different players?
    • Where is somewhere we can play that defines a Blue Ocean?
    • Will the competitors attack you? Is there potential for cartel power?
    • Would competeting result in a zero sum game?
    • What resources, people, jobs, positions do we need to compete effectively with where the competitor is going?
    • What defensive moves can we make against a competitor?
      • Can we deny them their success somehow?
    • Retaliation from Competitive Strategy
      • How likely is retaliation with a new offering?
      • How soon will the retaliation come?
      • How effective will retaliation potentially be?
      • How tough will the retaliation be?
      • Can retaliation be influenced?
    • What moves will the competitor not match?
    • What is the evolution of Industry? (Porter 1998, 164)
      • Long-run changes in growth
        • Changes in demographics
        • Trends in Needs: “Demand for and industry’s product is affected by changes in the lifestyle, tastes, philosophies, and social conditions of the buyer population which any society tends to experience over time.” (Porter 1998, 165)
          • How is the society changing that is affecting the industry and will affect the industry going forward?
        • Change in the relative position of substitutes
          • Need to figure out all substitute products that can replace the current product.
        • Changes in the positions of complementary products
          • Need to figure out what the change in products that are complementary to you are.
          • If you are reliant on an another industry you need to figure out if that industry is changing as well.
          • If that industry is changing then you will also be affected by the changes.
          • Should be looked at broadly such as cheap credit, leads to buying stuff on credit, etc.
        • Penetration of the Customer Group
          • Have you completely dominated your customer segment then you need to figure out how to make more money off of them
          • You also need to figure out how to get new customers but that may be hard if you have already gotten all of them.
        • Product innovation
          • If there is new products that can replace yours then it can affect your growth and you should be aware of those changes.s
      • Changes in buyer segments served
      • Buyer learning
      • Reduction of uncertainty
      • Diffusion of proprietary knowledge
      • Accumulation of experience
      • Expansion (or contraction) in scale
      • Changes in input and currency costs
      • Product innovation
      • Marketing innovation
      • Process innovation
      • Structural change in adjacent industries
      • Government policy change
      • Entries and exits
  • Partner
    • How can we partner with what our partners are releasing?
    • What industries are our partners entering that can allow us to also attach ourselves to the growth?
    • How can we create a moat for the partner so that they will stick with us?
    • How can we promote standardization that benefits both the supplier and us? And if standardized how can it help us switch to a new supplier if needed?
  • Customer Segments
    • What is preventing us from reaching this type of future customer?
      • What are the moats that they have?
      • How can we remove those moats?
    • What is the cost to enter this segment?
    • What would the profits be in this segment?
    • How can we create a moat that prevents buyers from moving away?
    • How can we promote standardization?
    • What are potential opportunities for new business?
    • What potential partners could be useful for standardizing the customer’s needs?
  • Economic
  • Society
  • Moral

Lean Canvas

  • This is the mission / hypothesis of the company.
    • Fill this out and each component needs to be validated once you fill it out.
  • The Lean Canvas gives the best representation of what needs to be done.

Key Partners

Key Activities

Key Resources

Value Proposition

Cost Structure

Customer Relationships


Customer Segments

Revenue Streams

Competitive Strategy

Companies can only focus on three things otherwise they get stuck in the middle which means they don’t do anything well.

Cost leadership

You have to be the lowest cost and have to simplify until you are. Think Southwest Airlines


Have to innovate so that you are different but this means you have to have some unique advantage. Apple


Own a market segment completely and really dive into doing one thing really well. Think Rolls-Royce with Airline Engines




Broad, Cost

Broad, Different


Focus, Cost

Focus, Differentiation


Lure them with bait, strike them with chaos. - Art of War
Instead of transporting slow-moving siege engines and heavy equipment with them, the Mongols carried a faster-moving engineer corps that could build whatever was needed on the spot from available materials.
Genghis Khan recognized that warfare was not a sporting contest or a mere match between rivals; it was a total commitment of one people against another. Victory did not come to the one who played by the rules; it came to the one who made the rules and imposed them on his enemy. By killing the aristocrats, the Mongols essentially decapitated the social system of their enemies and minimized future resistance. -Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it. - Shoe Dog
People love it when you give your secrets away, and sometimes, if you’re smart about it, they’ll reward you by buying the things you’re selling. - Steal Like an Artist
An organization is not, like an animal, an end in itself, and successful by the mere act of perpetuating the species. An organization is an organ of society and fulfills itself by the contribution it makes to the outside environment. And yet the bigger and apparently more successful an organization gets to be, the more will inside events tend to engage the interests, the energies, and the abilities of the executive to the exclusion of his real tasks and his real effectiveness in the outside. -Effective Executive
  • Focus on One Client a Day / Week
    • Don't try to work on multiple clients you won't get anything done. Just focus on one and work on them until you are finished.
    • This allows you to give the most energy and focus but also be the most detailed.
  • It is okay to be the master but delegate the rest
    • Do the high value stuff, but delegate the lower value / more detailed work to others who may be a better fit for it.
    • Value Creation
    • Value Delivery

Game Theory

One of the major things that needs to happen when designing the Business Model Canvas is that there needs to be a Strategy that is associated with each of the sections. How you go about each of the sections could induce certain strategic considerations.

This means we need to understand the strategy and response of our competition to each of the different aspects of the game we are trying to play. If we are going after a certain Value Proposition how are our competitors going to respond to that? How are certain Key Activities going to be competited against? What is the coopetition of Key Partners?

Every section has behavior that needs to be gamified against a response.

What game re they playing?

What game are you playing?

What would be their strategy based on information available?

What strategy would be good for partnering?

What strategy would be good for competing?

What do you have

• Game Theory Decision Making for competitors vs your strategy

• Use competitive strategy as well 

This is the most important aspect of the game of business is how you go after your market also requires a strategy that needs to you figure out if you are winning or not.

Self / Influence and Power / Game Theory

What is it that you want to get to?

How do your position the pieces so you get there?

How do you allow yourself energy to get there and allow yourself to get to that point?

Figure out exactly what I want and how to get there.

Get the appropriate capital that I need to get there.

What material things do I want?

What am I willing to give up?

What relationships do I need to develop?



• Where are you playing

• How are you executing?

• What is best outreach?

• Strategy should be grid. You vs others

• Show what the market looks like at the moment with a point system.

• Your strategy vs their strategy

• Strategy changes over time so only show the ones that are good over time that prefer you.

• Strategy that creates a blue ocean. 

Notes from Book: Play to Win

(This is copied verbatim)

  • What is a company's winning aspiration?
  • Where should the company play?
  • How should the company play to win?
  • What are company's core capabilities?
  • What are company's management systems that has to be leveraged?
  • Six strategy Traps
    • There is no perfect strategy---no algorithm that can guarantee sustainable competitive advantage in a given industry or business.
    • But there are signals that a company has a particular worrisome strategy. Here are six of the most common strategy traps:
    • The do-it-all strategy: failing to make choices, and making everything a priority. Remember, strategy is choice.
    • The Don Quixote strategy: attacking competitive “walled cities” or taking on the strongest competitor first, head-to-head. Remember, where to play is your choice. Pick somewhere you can have a chance to win.
    • The Waterloo strategy: starting wars on multiple fronts with multiple competitors at the same time. No company can do everything well. If you try to do so, you will do everything weakly.
    • The something-for-everyone strategy: attempting to capture all consumer or channel or geographic or category segments at once. Remember, to create real value, you have to choose to serve some constituents really well and not worry about the others.
    • The dreams-that-never-come-true-strategy: developing high-level aspirations and mission statements that never get translated into concrete where-to-play and how-to-win choices core capabilities, and management systems. Remember that aspirations are not strategy. Strategy is the answer to all five questions in the choice cascade.
    • The program-of-the-month strategy: settling for generic industry strategies, in which all competitors are chasing the same customers, geographies, and segments in the same way. The choice cascade and activity system that supports these choices should be distinctive. The more your choices look like those of your competitors, the less likely you will ever win.
  • These are strategic traps to be aware of as you craft a strategy for your organization. But there are also signs that you have found a winning and defensive strategy. Let’s look at these next.
  • Six Telltale Signs of a Winning Strategy
    • Because the world is so complex, it is hard to tell definitely which results are due to the strategy, which to macro factors, and which to luck. But, there are some common signs that a winning strategy is in place. Look for these, for your own business and among your competitors.
    • An activity system that looks different from any competitor’s system. It means you are attempting to deliver value in a distinctive way.
    • Customers who absolutely adore you and noncustomers who can’t see why anybody would buy from you. This means you have been choiceful.
    • Competitors who make a good profit doing what they are doing. It means your strategy has left where-to-play and how-to-win choices for competitors, who don’t need to attack the heart of your market to survive.
    • More resources to spend on an ongoing basis than competitors have. This means you are winning the value equation and have the biggest margin between price and costs and the best capacity to add spending to take advantage of an opportunity or defend your turf.
    • Competitors who attack one another, not you. It means that you look like the hardest target in the (broadly defined) industry to attack..
    • Customers who look first to you for innovations, new products, and service enhancement to make their lives better. This means that your customers believe that you are uniquely positioned to create value for them.
  • Even companies with these telltale signs shouldn’t rest, because no strategy lasts forever. All companies need to evolve their strategies—to improve, sharpen, and change to stay competitive and, ultimately, to win year after year. Ideally, companies should see strategy as a process rather than a result—adapting existing choices before business and financial results (which are always lagging indicators) start to turn down.
  • All strategy entails risk. But operating in a slow-growing, fast-changing, intensively competitive world without a strategy to guide you is far riskier. Leaders lead, and a good place to start leading is in strategy development for your business. Use the strategic choice cascade, the strategy logic flow, and reverse engineering of strategic choices to craft a winning strategy and sustainable competitive advantage for your organization. Play to win.
  • For your own company, ask (and honestly answer):
    • Have you defined winning, and are you crystal clear about your winning aspiration?
    • Have you decided where you play to win (and just as decisively where you will not play)?
    • Have you determined how, specifically, you will win where you choose to play?
    • Have you pinpointed and built your core capabilities in such a way that they are enable your where-to-play and how-to-win choices?
  • Do your management systems and key measures support your other four strategic choices?
  • The tools and frameworks in this books are designed to help you answer these five questions and to explore the possibilities for your organization. Again, for your organization, have you used the tools to help you think through your potential choices?
  • Have you used the strategy logic flow framework to understand the industry, channel, and customer values, your own relative capability and cost positions, and competitive reactions in a way that can underpin sustainable where-to-play and how-to-win choices?
  • Have you reverse engineered the strategic possibilities and asked what would have to be true to ensure that this possibility is the one that gives you the best chance to win?
  • The strategic choice cascade, the strategic logic flow, and the reverse-engineering process represent a strategic playbook for your organization. Rather than a simple, one way-path, the plays.

Product Creation

Every time a new feature or product was proposed, [Jeff Bezos] decreed that the narrative should take the shape of a mock press release. The goal was to get employees to distill a pitch into its purest essence, to start from something the customer might see—the public announcement—and work backward. Bezos didn’t believe anyone could make a good decision about a feature or a product without knowing precisely how it would be communicated to the world—and what the hallowed customer would make of it. -Everything Store

Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of an action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it.

If you are building a habit-forming product, write down the answers to these questions: What habits does your business model require? What problem are users turning to your product to solve? How do users currently solve that problem and why does it need a solution? How frequently do you expect users to engage with your product? What user behavior do you want to make into a habit?

- Hooked

  • The window of opportunity for tech is pretty small and getting shorter.
    • So need to figure out the waves as they happen. But also how to capture the waves to make money.
  • Beachhead. To find a market first you have to find a beachhead that you can own. Doing that is to simplify your offering and really focus on the one customer that has the most value.
    • You need to find opportunity and exploit that the opportunity
    • Focus on few things and do them well

Experiments / Narrative

  • Treat any project as an experiment.
    • It has a why you are running this experiment
    • What you need to do to do the tasks
    • The people doing the tasks have to define the how.
      • Usually want you want with the how is to figure out the minimum things that needs to be done to build the feature.
  • Experiments are a way to seek out new opportunities for your organization that it can do
    • Or it can be experiments that make things more efficient.
    • The goal of an experiment is for the future that leads to growth or evolution that leads to delivering higher value.
    • If an experiment is too risky or too big but can itself deliver high value then it should be moved to a mission team and that team executes the experiment with their own set of resources.
      • They need to be independent of the existing team and able to in effect compete with the existing company.
      • Think of how the Mac was developed independetly within Apple.

Narrative Essay

Before embarking on a project you must really think through it. Figure out if it is something that the world needs for you to invent and further if it is something that you need to build.

It defines in words what the project is supposed to do and how the project should behave. It should be a part of the business model. If it isn’t a new one should be created anew.

Write out a 6 page narrative that reads like. It was done like this…, now because of this I want to do…, and we are the best fit to solve this problem because…,we will make money doing the following…

This is not to say all of these are set in stone but a narrative written out deeply through an essay puts your thinking clearly and helps you think deeply about something. When doing something one of the key ways to expand your thinking is to ask Why 5 times. Furthermore, after doing this you should also answer the question is this something you want to pursue. 


A narrative brings out the entire project into existence by really diving deep into a problem and surfacing all assumptions. The benefit when thinking through this is that it creates a list of all the things and braindunped items that need to be consodered.

Further you should have it reviewed further and all questions really asked about what the nature of each of the project items are to get deeper into your thinking. One when you have exhausted your assumptions should you proceed with the project.

Writing a narrative prevents bikeshedding

It forces you to consider the problem.

Narrative Template

  • Press Release / Blog Post
  • Deep thinking
    • It happened like this
    • Something happened.
    • Now we need to do it like this
    • So the future might look like this
    • Other
      • It help our vision and mission because of this.
      • The market looks like this
      • There may be problems associated with this which are.
  • FAQ
  • Appendix
    • Data to support decision

Product Market Fit

  1. How would you feel if you could no longer use <App>?
    1. Very disappointed
    2. Somewhat disappointed
    3.  Not disappointed
  2. What type of people do you think would benefit most from <App>?
  3. What is the main benefit you receive from <App>?
  4. How can we improve <App> for you?

Only care about Very disappointed and somewhat disappointed for customers.

(From Superhuman)

Press Release

  • The coming launch of your product or service
  • Casting calls for early adopters
  • Announcing the closing of a round of funding
  • Announcing a new round of funding (comply with general soliciation and Title II of the JOBS Act)
  • Raising awarenes of a crowdfunding campaign
  • Highlighting notable additions to your development or executive team, or board members
  • Live events
  • Your founding story
  • Accomplishment of major milestones
  • How your product or service is solving a trend or need.

(Crowdfunding book)

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