Guy Kawasaki. The art of asking simple questions

Original author: Guy Kawasaki
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I bring to your attention a translation of another article by the remarkable evangelist Guy Kawasaki: “The Art of Simple Questions: How Simple Questions Lead to Great Innovations” .

There is a myth that successful companies start with grandiose ambitions. It is understood that entrepreneurs must begin by striving for ambitious goals in order to succeed. Although it is possible to draw the exact opposite conclusion from my observations, all great companies began with simple things that answered simple questions.

Therefore, what?

This question arises when you notice or predict a trend and wonder about its effects.

Here's how it works: “Everyone will have a smartphone with a camera and Internet access.” Therefore, what? “Everyone can take pictures and share them.” Therefore, what? “We need to create an application that will allow people to upload their photos to the network, rate and comment on photos of others.” And voila, here's an Instagram.

Isn't that interesting?

The power of this method lies in intellectual curiosity and an accidental find. Ray Kroc was a simple seller of milk shake mixers, who noticed that a small restaurant was not clear where he ordered eight such mixers. Out of curiosity, he visited the restaurant, which impressed him with his success. Kroc was convinced that he could sell a lot of mixers to every similar restaurant that would be open, so he became a partner of the MacDonald brothers, and the rest is history.

Is there a better way?

Dissatisfaction with the current state is a hallmark of this path. Ferdinand Porsche once said: “At the very beginning, I looked around and, not finding my dream car, I decided to build it myself.”

Steve Wozniak developed Apple I only because he believed that it would be a better way to gain access to computers than working for the government, university or a large company.

Why not our company do this?

Dissatisfaction with the current employer is a catalytic force. You are familiar with customers in the market and their needs. You convince your management of the need to create a product that customers need, but your efforts go unnoticed. In the end, you give up and make the product yourself.

If possible, then why don't we do it?

Major innovation markets are rarely recognized in advance, so a similar path is characterized by the attitude “What the hell?” Why not." Back in the seventies, Motorola developed a portable phone, which was considered a useless toy. At that time, telephones were connected to places, not people. Nevertheless, Martin Cooper and other Motorola engineers did not stop, and asking themselves a similar question, they still created a prototype.

What is the weakness of market leaders?

Three conditions make market leaders vulnerable:
  1. The leader is committed to doing business.
    IBM has stopped developing by distributing computers through resellers, while Dell has taken the groundbreaking direct sales route.
  2. Leader's customers are unhappy.
    The need to drive to Blockbuster locations to pick up or return video has opened the door for Netflix.
  3. The market leader stops developing by exploiting the “cash cow”.
    The stagnation of Microsoft Office has led to the creation and prosperity of Google Docs.

Based on the above, the question: “How can we make a ton of money?” Is not one of these questions. The genesis of great companies does not imply a desire to become rich, but implies answers to the simplest questions that can change the world.

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