Seth Godin on Survival Is Not Enough, Part 9

In his book, Survival Is Not Enough: Why Smart Companies Abandon Worry and Embrace Change, Seth Godin discusses how innovative organizations and individuals can apply prudent strategies in adapting and positioning themselves for the constant changes.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 9, Why It Works Now: Fast Feedback and Cheap Projects

In this chapter, Seth discusses how we can leverage a low-cost, rapid product development approach to zoom and evolve. He offers the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

  • Most experiments will receive objections from people. We can take the obligating question approach to determine whether the objections are accurate. “If we are able to deliver x, y, and z at the price you’ve discussed, are you prepared to go ahead and buy our product today?” The conclusion leads us to this analogy, “Managing your product line based on the objections of people who aren’t yet your customers is a dangerous policy.”
  • Fast feedback loops are the tactic that will enable the zooming organization. Technology makes quick feedback loops possible by turning data into information and giving us early warnings of successes (or failures).
  • When we experiment, we gain insights into how something is used. Those types of understanding can drive our company to success. Suddenly, the cost of knowing is dwarfed by the cost of not knowing.
  • Prototyping is the best method for organizations to conduct experiments. Almost no product or service is made by a company that cannot be made into a prototype before building the factory or hiring the people.
  • While experiments generate a great deal of data, we need to be mindful that data is not information. Unless there is a bias toward fast feedback loops, the data is worthless. But when we start testing and trying to understand the data generated by the tests, we can learn to extract actual knowledge from the data.
  • While feedback loops are critical for zooming, the timeliness of the feedback review is just as important. Another pitfall is where people in the organizations avoid the source of feedback because they view it as criticism and unwelcome. Hotwash is one example of a feedback loop that forces the organization to capture feedback adequately and ensures that the loops do not break.

In summary:

“Technology enables zooming and evolution because it allows us to create fast and inexpensive projects, and lets us know right away if they’re working.”