Book Review - Entrepreneur Journeys v.3: Positioning: How To Test, Validate, And Bring Your Idea To Market by Sramana Mitra
I've enjoyed volumes 1 and 2 of Sramana Mitra's Entrepreneur Journeys series. Learning what works and doesn't work from people who have been in the trenches is an excellent way to avoid making the same mistakes yourself. She's now back with a third volume in the series titled Entrepreneur Journeys v.3: Positioning: How To Test, Validate, And Bring Your Idea To Market. In here, you'll find out what it takes to position your company and your product to target a specific market niche. This is vitally important in today's economy, as there's not an abundance of money floating around to throw at ideas to see which one(s) might make it. Mitra's interviews look at entrepreneurs who have successfully positioned their offering and are making an impact in business.
Going Vertical: Web 3.0 - Under Construction (Siva Kumar - TheFind, Venky Harinarayan - Kosmix, Mattias Miksche - Stardoll); Bootstrapped Web 3.0 (Samir Arora - Glam Media)
Cloud Computing: Deconstructing the Cloud (Ken Rudin - LucidEra, Mike Cordano - Fabrik, Kent Plunkett - Salary.com); India, Inc., Beware (Umberto Milletti - InsideView, Steve Adams - Sabrix); SaaS-ing Back at the Economy (Jim Heegar - PayCycle, Brian Jacobs - Emergence Capital); Saas on a Shoestring
Collaboration: Kill the Business Trip (Sharat Sharan - ON24, D. D. Ganguly - DimDim)
Content Publishing: Lost Talent Found Online (Kevin Weiss - iUniverse, Jeff Housenbold - Shutterfly); Gaming the Recession (John Welch - PlayFirst)
Epilogue; Appendix - Clarify Your Story
When first starting out, it's tempting to want to try and hit all the different market niches you can so that at least one of them will pay off. But by doing that, Mitra shows that the odds of failure increase dramatically. The company's offering gets diluted by trying to be all things to all people, and as such nobody wants the product or service. It's either too much for one niche or not enough for another. A good (successful) example is the Shutterfly story. They were one of the first online digital photo sharing sites, but by and large they were not differentiated from any other offering in that space. It's only once they focused on their digital press capabilities that they found their stride. They don't aim to compete with Flickr for showing millions of photos online. Instead, they are targeting the consumers and businesses who want to turn their pictures into a book that can be shared with others. These small-run digital books are perfect for creating ties and bonds, and through positioning they've established their product as the leader in that field.
I enjoy the way that Mitra has structured the books in this series. The interview style allows for the personality of each company and owner to come through, and it seems to work much better than a structured analysis of her thoughts and theories. Hearing the successes and failures coming straight from those who lived them adds a human element to the information that is often lacking from other business books. It also allows the interviewees to share little pearls of wisdom that they were given as they grew up. For instance, D. D. Ganguly of DimDim once asked his father a question, to which he got a response, "Men can do what men have done." In other words, if someone else has done it before you, there's no reason you can't do it also. It stuck with him from that point forward, and it's been gnawing away at me all day also...
Before you get too far down the line with your "next big idea", a reading of Positioning might do wonders to help you narrow your focus and improve your chances of success.
Obtained From: Publisher