If You See a Problem, Fix It

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fixing my broken heart
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“If you see a problem, fix it,” said Peter Diamandis, X-Prize Foundation Founder and serial entrepreneur said last month in Wired.

Diamandis responded to the very common belief in Murphy’s Law that if something can go wrong, it will.

This attitude of fixing problems makes for the heart and soul of the best business and marketing strategies. It’s no coincidence that Diamandis is a successful serial entrepreneur.

Understanding a market landscape — customer interests and needs, competitors, your strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities — empowers your strategy team to see possible problems that a company or organization can resolve.

Products and services should fulfill that opportunity. Marketing can help inform strategy through deep listening and comprehension, and then serve the market with the corresponding offering.

Look at the issues that cable TV created for the market, a monopoly situation that seemed to doom consumers to high prices for content they didn’t want. Using the Internet, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Apple (with AppleTV,) and Roku have handed it back to the cable companies. These offerings are not new; they’ve been around for a few years in some form, but succeeded through persistence and dedicated marketing.

Another groundbreaking technology taking off is Square, co-founded by Jack Dorsey. Square was started in 2009 to make mobile payments much easier. Now competitors like PayPal are offering competing solutions rather than lose market share.

Applied to Our Conversation

Resolving the problem creates a breakthrough strategy that wins markets. Acknowledging the problem can be a starting point, but it can eventually simply exacerbates the issue.

It’s one of my primary beefs with the current negative groupthink about the social media marketing blogosphere. While this general meme seems to think it’s countering bubbledom, in reality it just adds to the problem, adding more frustration to the mix.

No one wants to listen to a broken record.

Accepting the status quo, both for and against, creates an easy path.

It’s much harder to add to the equation by providing solutions, consistently over a significant period of time so that they become accepted by a marketplace.

“You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution. Stop being part of the problem,” Diamandis opined. Given he resolved private space travel, ways to clean up oil faster, and a multitude of other issues, I’m inclined to agree with him.

Your turn. Do you accept the status quo, find new answers, or think differently?

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  • Susan Cellura

    Hi Geoff, good post (as always)! I like to think I try to find new answers, which sometimes means thinking differently. (I see those two as very integrated.) Yet as we all know, bringing in new solutions, ideas, etc., can cause mistrust because so many people are afraid of change. They like their status quo. It’s those who push ahead anyway – with a strong business case and lots of research – that give us new visions and products (sometimes called toys).

    Disclaimer: I am a fan of Apple products. I love to research how each product or update evolves and how it may or may not help me in both a professional and personal manner. I do wonder what’s going to happen now that Jobs is gone. Did he lay such a strong base that innovation will continue? Or, will they eventually coast on their laurels for too long?

    (Side note:  Does anyone else find it ironic that Michael Phelps got the silver in the butterfly doing exactly what the guy who got silver in Beijing did – coast to the end?)

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

       Thanks, Susan.  I agree, it really takes courage to be the change agent because you’re not going to be loved by the many initially and perhaps for a good long period. But in the end, that’s what makes greatness, and what separates people from the pack.

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