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April 27, 2007

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Well, those of us who have been around longer have seen (search,portal) companies come and go. Googly is sticky, but hey still might go. (Think p2p-search, distributed computing)

This post, though well intentioned, depending on the resources and maturity of the management team, could be poor advice. As Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, posited earlier this year in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (March 27, 2007, pg. B1), while it remains conventional to intone, "only the paranoid survive", the paranoid actually die because the paranoid deem all threats as serious and get very distracted and enervated. Far better for management teams to attempt to develop a set of criteria (e.g. attractiveness of the end market, business model, etc.) for a screen against which to assess threats and related probabilities. This screen won't always be right, but it's one way of allocating a scare resouce (i.e. management's attention) against a seemingly unbounded set of threats that doesn't lead to exhaustion.

I don't agree you have to be paranoid. I do believe you have to be acutely aware of what is happening in the market but also be prepared to listen to feedback from your customers and innovative ideas from the shop floor. Ideas plus excellent execution. We are all in a game without rules and we have to make it up as we go along.

You can choose to see that as a constant threat or you can see change as a positive way to move forward. Yes its scary sometimes but you won't just learn about your business - you will learn much more about yourself.

Jerry/Katie,

Thank you for stopping by. I think both of you make great points. Paranoid is probably a hot, over the top, word, Katie, you did a good job articulating the point.

>R<

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