When the long-game is too long.

by | May 4, 2020

I tend to wince when I hear the word strategy. I know that a failure to plan is a plan to fail but the lack of a plan is a different problem than a “vision” that spans 7-15 years.

Because too often a strategy is loved because of the number of steps, rather than the accessible ones. Because we’re close to our babies and we think they can do anything. Because we employed the intellectual diligence to define a plan, but the cost of re-assessing any of our underlying assumptions might lead us to an untenable conclusion.

Honestly, I’ve seen entrepreneurs hide behind a long-game strategy and waffle on product market fit to defer the admission that no one cares about what they’re building. They’ll spend their money and their investors on something potentially disruptive at the expense of an immediate validation of the original hypothesis: “will someone care about this solution?”.

I feel this as a person who would make a terrible Jedi. “Never his mind on what he was doing” (Thanks for the admonition Yoda) I love what we might do with Scribworks, but I have to engage with today. I need to make the meeting happen. I have to assess whether I agree with my beta customer or not on some piece of UX. If we can just get to x customers, I’ll know we’ve got something special. If I can close this round, I can keep my team engaged. If I can boil down this feature to something these people care about, I can build on that. Strategy but not at the expense of the next step because it might be all you have.