Innovators Solution - Chapter 3 - Getting jobs done

 This books presents a new way of looking at if a new product will have a market or not as well as the segments it will address. The hypothesis is simple - People need certain jobs done in their life. They will buy something which will do these jobs better at a lower cost.  While this may seem simplistic, it challenges some fundamental notions. A product that is functionally similar may actually be doing two fundamentally different jobs. And for a particular job, the competitor for a product may be totally different category of product or even a service.  For instance consider a hypothetical product similar to a radio being introduced for the first time in a society that lacks any form of distant mass communication. Such a device could take on at lest three jobs - that of entertainment, news dissemination, and education. As a local entertainer, the competition would be against local entertainment groups. A radio will beats them in giving audience flexibility to choose when and where to

Innovators Solution - Chapter 2 - Disruptive Innovation

 Disruptive Innovation is a term that is used so commonly and probably everyone have their own definition of disruptive. But professor Christensen's definition is quite specific and is the crux of his innovation framework. He thinks of innovation as disruptive versus sustaining. Sustaining innovation is about improving the features of the existing solutions in the market. Whereas disruptive innovation will be a fundamentally new solution that either opens the solution to use by a completely new customer segment or brings a fundamentally new value proposition for an existing customer segment that would not be viable for existing players to match using their existing resources in the space. Let me illustrate with a simple example of offset printing. Sustaining innovation would continue to improve quality of printing and reduce cost of printing.   Now Inkjet printers can't compete for customers requiring large number of copies. However there are customers who require just a couple

Innovator's Solution Chapter 1 - The Importance of Categorization

Clayton Christenson's book Innovators' Solution  embarks on the analysis of how managers at companies can come up with the winning strategy required to grow at a pace market wants them to grow emphasizing the importance of characterization to understand the mechanics of what leads to growth. He starts with an interesting example of doctors randomly giving a tablet to a patient just because it cured the previous 2 patients. I would say that approach won't be totally wrong. After all that is how many of the traditional medicine systems worked. Thing that fundamentally improve the health of all humans can improve health of everyone - you know vitamin tablets and stuff. But for a targeted approach to cure a specific disease one needs to understand the patient's specific characteristics. This can again go to the other extreme of every individual is unique and evolving an unique treatment for every individual. This would take the whole process of medication away from the real

The Reptile Room

Well, it was not exactly a room. It was a whole sprawling campus infested with all manners of snakes, lizards, crocodiles, tortoises and what not. In a manner of speaking. The creatures did not really want to be there. Probably like the young software engineers who didn’t want to be in their boxed enclosures within the towers of glass that were called software development blocks. I should have been happy at not being subject to those constraints being a proud denizen of the bench. But no! I wanted a project. And eventually I got one. And  how it came! Imagine this reptile being starved to hasten its natural demise to extract its skin to make one of those fancy handbags made without killing any animals. Then one fine day there is a change of mind and the powers that be decided to chuck it into a frog pool. First thing that may come to your mind is that the poor critter will drown. Assume it is a water snake complete with gills and all. Not sure though if the skin of a water snake can be

A Bad Beginning?

Get up in the morning, walk up to office just down the street, have breakfast, then head to your computer to check e-mails, read through and resend funny forwards, head to the coffee machine and for some nice coffee, come back and play some computer games, then catch up with your roomie for a cigarette, then get back to your seat for some cubicle gossip, then lunch. After lunch, head home for a nap. Post nap, catch the bus to the city to catch the evening show of the latest movie, have dinner and head back home. Come weekend head to the wine shop to get a few bottles of cheap liquor to keep you company as you embark on a journey of discovery through life, the universe and everything with your room mates. And nothing like Biryani at the local Malayalee Muslim hotel to top off the weekend. Or should you say bottoms out? And the icing on top of the cake - you get paid to do this. Idyllic life, isn’t it? Well, not really. Not when you got to do all this with a sword hanging over your head.

Ikigai - The Search for Meaning

  I have had this tenuous relationship with self help books. I have read quite a few of them. Yet I view them with skepticism. My skepticism works similar to Douglas Adam's proof of non existence of  God. In Douglas Adam's book, there exists a miracle fish called Babel fish which when put into someone's ear can translate any alien language into their own tongue. Now something so useful could not have evolved without the intervention of an intelligent creator, could it have? Instead he goes on to use the very fact to prove the intelligent creator's non existence. How? This is how. Now most religions hold that the basis of God is faith and there cannot be any proof as proof defies faith. Now, the existence of Babel fish offers proof which makes the faith hypothesis collapse thus disproving the existence of God. Now I came up with a similar logic to say  self help books do not work based to the fact that they are the highest selling genre of books. My reasoning goes like t

Unraveling the Laws of Corporate Physics

One of my favorite activities is perusing books in a library or book shop - the one activity I really miss due to the Covid lock down. I mean not entirely. During the years I was still able to indulge in this luxury, I have managed to collect over 500 books - so I can carry out this activity within the safety of the four walls of my home. Only thing is you don't get any surprises. For having bought each one of them, I know all the books. One of the books I came across during a jaunt at a local library was titled ' Factory Physics '. That got me musing about what Physics has to do with factory management, I ended up realizing that laws of Physics are applicable to almost every activity in life. Today I thought I will write about how laws of Physics can be applied to one's corporate life. I can talk about various laws of physics and their applicability to the corporate world. But that would take an entire book. Maybe one day I will write that book. But today I want to tal