Shiny Doesn’t Last

Last week we talked about stable things on which to build your business. (Click here to read it.)
The kind of things you can count on working even though 2020 and 2021 have brought a lot of changes.

But that’s not where you stop.

It’s where you start, and if needed, hold while you get your feet under you.

However, once you have a solid foundation and you’re ready to run, how do you use technology and innovation to grow?

Well, here’s what not to do. Profitable innovation is not about using technology to figure out how to make the next great thing nobody’s ever seen before but won’t be able to live without. It’s not about trying to get ahead of the next big craze.

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” ― Jeff Bezos

Profitable innovation is about using technology to deliver the same things people have always wanted in new and better ways.

“It is difficult for us to imagine that ten years from now, customers will want higher prices, less selection, or slower delivery. Our belief in the durability of these pillars gives us the confidence required to invest in strengthening them.” ― Jeff Bezos

If you’re building a house, the walls can only go on top of the foundation. Likewise, you can only profitably innovate on the things your business is built around.

That’s why you have to start with the question, “For the business that I’m in, what will people always want?”

You then take the answer to that question and ask, “How can I deliver those things in new and better ways?”

And the answer to that question will change your world.

 – Zac Smith, VC