Wednesday, February 6

MIT Seniority

Bill Aulet gave a great talk on how to approach a new market as an entrepreneur, with practical examples through a case study and insights into what problems a new venture faces with new opportunities. It was interesting to see how even a great new business can fail if they don’t approach new markets in the right way, keep up with market transitions and come to market at the right time.

Like all the talks so far, there was a huge amount gained from the session with Bill. Some of the main lessons were the importance to focus on particular markets, rather than trying for a conquer all strategy. The most successful companies are able to deselect markets, and dominate a good place in the market they are in. The DNA (vision) of a company is set by the founders and it can't be changing all the time if the company is to be successful. An interesting thing to note is a market pull company will move towards a tech company over time, and a tech company will move towards a marketing company. This should be realized and decisions based on this such as hiring staff.
There are three main areas that a company can compete on, price, innovation and intimacy (customer service) and you shouldn’t try to compete on all three areas. It’s also not a fun experience to only compete on price.
You should be aware in your marketing strategy what customers you are selling to at a particular time, such as early adopters compared to late majority. There are different kinds of sales and support that need to be provided for each customer.
The company should be built from the customer out, not the technology out and it’s not all about the effort, it’s about being at the right market at the right time.

The case study was an interesting read, but as the first Harvard case study I had approached, I was taken by surprise how much I was expected to know from the case study, and the depth of that knowledge. It was certainly a great learning experience to follow through in detail how the company unfolded.

Bill's session was very interesting, and he was able to articulate how important other aspects to a new venture are such as market positioning and sales are for a new business. This was a great expansion on other talks we’ve had so far. The learning experince just keeps on getting better and better.

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