From The Get-go

A former colleague of mine is an investor in the tech industry. Here is a pattern he sees all the time:

Most CEOs focus on making their company solve a problem better than anybody else. For them, it’s all about the product. So, they put all their energy, attention, and resources into building the best product possible. They become expert at their product. They know it inside out, until they know too much about it and get cursed with knowledge. So when it comes to driving adoption, they’re lost in the details and struggle to tell why their product matter.

Indeed, what drives the diffusion of innovation is not just the product. Your product won't sell by itself.

What drives adoption is also context.

The job of the CEO is to frame the context inside and outside the company.

This way:

  • Everyone on the team works coherently.
  • Customers understand why they should change their habits and adopt the new product.

And to frame this context, there is a common assumption that as a CEO, you're supposed to tell a good story.

But what story exactly? And when to start telling it?

1 - There is not A story to tell. You have to architect a system of many stories that form a narrative–the beliefs that change the way people think and mobilize them to adopt your new product. If you keep telling A story, you risk telling the same as everyone else. And that's not helping you innovate and differentiate.

2 - The narrative comes first, often before the product even exists. Build your narrative in symbiosis with everything else you do in your company. And that starts with how you invent and build your product.

Don't just tell a good product story. Instead, own the narrative; from the get-go.

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