Only the creative survive.

You’ve probably seen the images.
Hundreds of climbers queued in line.
Pushing and shoving.
Stepping over dead bodies.
To reach the summit of Mount Everest.
And take selfies.
How did scaling the world’s highest mountain turn from a daring adventure?
One that landed a handful of mountaineers in history books.
Into recreational tourism for the Instagram crowd?
An unrestrained dance of desires.
Adventure-seeking climbers.
Dollar-seeking Nepalese.
And every entrepreneurial facilitator in between.
29,029 feet of free market capitalism.
And a perfect metaphor.
For what every entrepreneur and enterprise is going to face.
Because as soon as you create something of value.
Innovators and imitators will show up in short order.
And crowd the mountain.
It has happened in just about every category.
From consumer products and professional services.
To retail and information technology.
Even creative endeavors.
Like books, paintings, music and movies.
And so, now what?
In the late 80s, one of Intel’s founders wrote, “Only the Paranoid Survive.”
A best-selling management book on how to bridge the narrow line.
Between catastrophe and opportunity.
In his book, Andrew Grove wrote:
“Businesses fail either because they leave their customers,
or because their customers leave them!”
Pretty simple, huh?
Grove defined a two-step approach to making strategic decisions.
And preventing that loss.
Step one is to identify what he called strategic inflection points, or SlPs.
An order-of-magnitude change in a company's “environment.”
Competitors, suppliers, customers, potential competitors, providers of substitutes, complementors.
A change to any of these parameters is a change to the environment.
Which, in turn, are opportunities.
To go way up!
Or… to go way down.
We are living in an age of SIPs.
If you can’t see it, you are asleep.
Going through the motions.
Hoping and praying that you will, somehow… survive.
Grove’s second step is to make a decision.
To consider that your business could be done a different way.
And then to be brave enough to do it!
Jeff Bezos, the poster child for innovation in the 21st century, said:
“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”
Do you see?
There’s no need to be paranoid today.
Because change isn’t a possibility to fear.
It’s a reality to embrace.
One in which…
Only the creative survive.

Tom Asacker