Author Archives: mike

Competence Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

I stumbled across a 10+ year old article from Seth Godin about getting too competent in your work. It’s a great reminder that getting really good at something can stop you from changing into what you need to be.

Do you work for a competent company? A company in which people are hired because they’ve done a certain job before, in which the upward path is slow and the sideways path is nonexistent? Such companies are especially frustrating to the internal (or the external) change agent.

Market Disruptions, Apple Style

Apple Insider has a thoughtful article on market disruption in the context of Apple products. Most interesting to me was how they broke down market disrupting products into 3 categories:

  • New Market Disruption: create a new product that no one knew they needed
  • Better Product: disrupts the high end of the marketplace by bringing new features that drive customers to upgrade
  • Lower Cost: disrupts the low end by decreasing the cost for customers who are already serviced in the marketplace

Their observation is that grabbing the low end is easier, but not necessarily more valuable. Apple has succeeded when they take new markets and make better products, then fill in the low end eventually.

Winners Keep Winning

The Harvard Business Review had a commentary on why winners keep winning. The gist of it is that a good win gives you access to things that make the next one easier. These can be broken up into a few groups

  • It feels good to win: your mood’s better, you better mood causes you to interact with people more, and you’re less defensive so you evaluate what you can do better more critically
  • You’re left alone to do better: when you’re winning, you get less interruptions to do the next thing. This is from yourself with negative self-talk, and then peers and bosses who intervene at moments of doubt.