I'm now posting on my new blog titled Redmondista. You can get there at Redmondista.com or redmondista.blogspot.com. I'll be maintaining this blog as an archive of my earlier work both pre and post publication of my book, Asymmetric Marketing.
I'm now posting on my new blog titled Redmondista. You can get there at Redmondista.com or redmondista.blogspot.com. I'll be maintaining this blog as an archive of my earlier work both pre and post publication of my book, Asymmetric Marketing.
If this blog entry was a mockumentary film starring Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Borat' character, it would be titled "Cultural Learnings of Redmond for Make Benefit Glorious Future of ISVs". OK. You’re right. Less is more in a blog entry. How about we go with that classic Borat one-liner. 'Microsoft is dead.........NOT!'
Of course I'm referring here to the now ubiquitous Paul Graham piece titled “Microsoft is Dead”. After reading it, I had to ask myself is it possible that this obviously articulate and successful man also happens to be from Kazakhstan, and that his essay is really just a well-crafted Borat imitation? Or did I just miss the memo officially declaring that 'commentary' in the software industry has now been reduced to the kind of a-historical arguments and name-calling that one would expect to see at a UN General Assembly session discussing Israel?
While Microsoft's Don Dodge does a good job of defending the fact that Microsoft is actually quite alive and quite well, I have my own special reason for jumping in to this cage fight. And it has nothing to do with shamelessly scrounging up a little bit of philanthropy from the Gates foundation. My reason is this.
The “Microsoft is dead’ thing is just one more ‘thought leadership’ dead end for commercial ISVs. Why?
Because ISVs at every stage of development need to study and learn from the dominant market superpowers and natural monopolies like Microsoft. Learn what? How about the strategic discipline and best practices developed in their rise to the top. A little something I describe in my book as asymmetric marketing.
So let’s pull a few choice quotes from Graham’s blog to set up 3 simple points that support my argument that Microsoft and ‘Microsoft-ism’, aka asymmetric marketing, are more relevant to commercial ISVs than ever.
1. Graham Gets the History on Microsoft Dead Wrong
One aspect of Graham's thesis is based on his whopper-sized falsification of history. I quote. "I'm glad Microsoft is dead. They were like Nero or Commodus—evil in the way only inherited power (my emphasis) can make you. Because remember, the Microsoft monopoly didn't begin with Microsoft. They got it from IBM."
Sorry brother Paul. Microsoft did not 'inherit' its superpower status from IBM. Far from it. They creatively and stubbornly co-opted it through their own proven brand of competitive warfare, i.e. asymmetric marketing. Remember Paul, it was Microsoft, not IBM, that executed the marketing strategy behind the explosive 'clone' industry of the 80’s and 90’s, the basis for Microsoft’s future dominance.
And in point of fact, IBM has acknowledged this and openly demonstrated that they fumbled the strategic marketing ball by allowing their ‘non-strategic’ initiative in PCs to be co-opted by a small, outsourced software supplier from Redmond. IBM even vigorously sought to block and disrupt the rising market power of the asymmetric Redmondistas, first by changing the slot architecture of the PC in order to kill the cloners, and then via OS/2 to defeat Microsoft directly. But Microsoft successfully resisted IBM’s marketing countermeasures, and went on to leverage the market power they had co-opted from Big Blue into new markets.
And then they did what all customer-sanctioned natural monopolies in the software industry do. They leveraged their market power in one category into new categories, defeating market share leading ISVs like Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, Novell and Netscape. Absolutely zero inheritance there as well.
Today’s ISVs need to see these 'category regime change' campaigns carried out by Microsoft, and the successful cooptation of IBM’s market power as the stuff of real, not imagined, software industry marketing history. They need to study and integrate that history into their own marketing strategies.
By the way, if you embrace the logic inherent in Graham's “inheritance of monopoly” argument, Google also can be seen as having inherited its market power… from Yahoo, via their ‘powered by search services’ deal that ran from 2000-2003, before Yahoo gave them the boot. Google, a very tiny company at that time, did exactly what MS did to IBM. They out-maneuvered Yahoo by co-opting Yahoo’s market power from within, via the SaaS equivalent of an OEM relationship, the ‘powered by’ model.
You’d also have to lump Adobe in with the monopoly ‘inheritance’ crowd based on their leveraging of the Apple LaserWriter PDF project into an industry standard called Acrobat Reader. Here's a link to a prior blog on how the systematic cooptation of 'non-strategic’ deals by emerging ISVs make future cross-category superpowers like Microsoft, Google, Oracle and Adobe. Not inheritance. Nowhere in the same gladiator ring as inheritance.
2. Graham Gets It Wrong on Natural Monopoly & ISV Opportunity
After getting his history wrong, Graham demonstrates that he really doesn’t get the fact that today’s superpower-dominated, natural monopoly software market landscape is a great opportunity landscape for ISVs---Especially in contrast to the banker-driven landscape of the bubble years. I quote, “I know when we started Y Combinator (Graham’s company) we didn't worry about Microsoft as competition for the startups we funded. In fact, we've never even invited them to the demo days we organize for startups to present to investors. We invite Yahoo and Google and some other Internet companies, but we've never bothered to invite Microsoft.”
What Graham is really saying here is that he and his startups are not interested in targeting the lucrative, installed-base ecozone of the world’s most successful software company. Strange to pass on that opportunity, when today’s CIOs overwhelmingly prefer to buy Web 2.0 solutions from established vendors, and established vendors often do OEM and ‘powered by’ deals with emerging companies.
Don Dodge, in his rebuttal of Graham, points out MS has 80,000 partners, a none-too-shabby number. A significant percentage of these are small and emerging category ISVs. These ISVs, by practicing 'symbiosis' with MS, not disruptive technology innovation (the state religion of California) against them, stabilize and grow their own businesses. They target the installed base of Microsoft with complementary products and services. They embrace, extend and expropriate, to put my own asymmetric marketing spin on that phrase made famous by the world's leading asymmetric marketer, Bill Gates. But natural monopoly is not unique to Microsoft.
The Oracle database natural monopoly also benefits many ISVs, as does the Adobe Acrobat natural monopoly, and the SAP ERP natural monopoly. And so does the eBay natural monopoly provide opportunity for an emerging generation of web 2.o developers seeking to attach to the eBay commerce and community platform.
The basic reality of the software industry is this. Asymmetric marketers like Microsoft, Oracle, Google, eBay and Adobe drive software and web markets in the direction of jagged edge, natural monopoly landscapes, and this is a good thing for startup and emerging ISVs. Even the rising stars act this way. Do you really think that on demand poster child Salesforce.com wants anything less than a future natural monopoly in cross-category on-demand apps in when it strives to morph it's CRM business into a 'platform' and messages that 'You can be the next salesforce.com’.
3. Graham Doesn’t Really Understand the Culture of Microsoft
I quote, “Microsoft's biggest weakness is that they still don't realize how much they suck.” I say…NOT. Their whole history is about coming to terms with competitive vulnerability, coming to terms with ‘sucking’ in all its forms in order to become a self-correcting superpower.
How about the Bill Gates Internet Tidal Wave memo, in which he lays out his own mistakes, praises competitors like Yahoo, Netscape, Sun and others, and lays the foundation for the successful campaign called the ‘browser wars’ of the 90's.
You see Paul, here’s the thing. Unlike the 5000 dead companies of the bubble, Microsoft did not begin its entrepreneurial life with a term sheet scribbled by a VC on the back of a Palo Alto bar napkin. They did it the old-fashioned ‘tribal culture’ way. They bootstrapped themselves, aggressively sold their way to fame and fortune, and along the way co-opted the market power and market reach of giants like IBM to advance their own agenda. They engaged in brazen acts of asymmetric marketing warfare.
The end result. Microsoft created a disciplined, tribal go-to-market culture capable of incubating new markets organically (Xbox multiplayer gaming) or through acquisitions (from Hotmail to Groove to TellMe). By the way, on the subject of disciplined culture, Eric Schmidt of Google, under questioning from Andy Grove (that other 'only the paranoid survive' evil, asymmetric marketing natural monopolist at the top of my list of role models) admitted that the well-publicized Google 'culture' also embraces this same disciplined approach in sales, operations, finance, legal and more. Now that’s scary.
After this rant I'm starting to like my long headline even more. "Cultural Learnings of Redmond for Make Benefit Glorious Future of ISVs". But the glorious future thing only happens if you watch the Redmond movie from the beginning.
For those of you who asked for a little 'trialware' on my book, "Asymmetric Marketing: Tossing the Chasm in the Age of the Software Superpowers", I've now got two solutions.
1. It's now available, previewable and searchable on Google books.
2. Amazon.com has now enabled 'Search Inside this Book', so you can take a trial read on various ideas raised in the book, from the age of the superpowers itself, to my critique of Moore's 'chasm theory'.
"Every new paradigm needs a leader to articulate the industry’s guiding values and contribute the tools and platform to enable success. Microsoft and Intel stepped into a major leadership vacuum in the PC industry in the 80s. That was a critical step for the maturation of the technology industry. We are trying to do the same thing for multitenant on-demand services."
Mark Benioff, Interview with M.R. Rangaswami, Sand Hill Group
The idea of a 'platform' for 'multitenant on-demand services' is certainly appealing to thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of current and future SaaS ISVs. And who wouldn't want to leverage the investment in on-demand infrastructure made by SaaS pioneer Salesforce.com. After reading the Mark Benioff interview on SandHill.com, I made it my business to attend the Salesforce.com Apex platform launch seminar held on January 16 in San Francisco, an all-day event in which the company would be showcasing it's ongoing transition from on-demand CRM provider to on-demand 'platform' provider.
The marketing message from the keynote addresses by Mark Benioff and George Hu (Salesforce CMO) reverberated with the popular Web 2.0 message of 'you-ism', proclaiming that 'you can be the next Salesforce.com'. One slide showed logos from YouTube and other 'You-centric' consumer services, while another slide included the recent Time Magazine Person of the Year Issue (You of course). Another slide displayed the logos of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, who were referred to as part of 'the past'.
After the keynotes, and hearing Salesforce's classical 'disruptive technology innovator' messaging targeting incumbent market leaders, I decided to walk the expo floor, and then attend the partner breakout sessions, in order to validate for myself the core value proposition touted for the Apex platform, i.e. that "you can be the next Salesforce.com". Here's what I experienced.
Apex Platform Demos
As I went from booth to booth, demo to demo, to experience the range of partner applications built on top of Apex, I kept consistently noticing the same user experience, over and over again. Once one proceeded past the partner's start page I kept seeing the following two things:
1. The URL of all successive pages shown by Apex partners was "xxx.Salesforce.com", and
2. Salesforce branding occupies a relatively large portion of the upper right hand corner of every page.
As someone who was attempting to validate the core Apex platform value proposition of "you can be the next Salesforce.com", I have to say this was a dramatic disconnect. The persistence of the Salesforce URL told me that at least as far as the demos on the show floor were concerned, I was not seeing a true platform for 'multitenant on-demand services'.
And while I wouldn't take issue with the creative messaging of Salesforce.com CRM as the 'end of software', the industry as a whole has not reached the end of software nomenclature. So words like 'multitenant on-demand' platform still matter, especially in competitive positioning and messaging.
Additionally, the in-your-face persistence of the Saleforce branding was troubling to me, and I did not see how any SaaS ISV could really become the 'next Salesforce.com' in the future if the actual Salesforce.com in the present was staring their customers in the face at every mouse click. Hoping I was misreading what I was seeing, I decided that I would raise these issues with the executives leading the partner breakout sessions.
Partner Breakout Sessions
During the Q&A portion of the first partner breakout session that afternoon, I asked the presenter about what I was seeing down on the expo floor, and that I was at a loss to understand how any SaaS ISV could actually ever become the 'next Salesforce' if the Salesforce URL and branding were persistent during the partner's user experience.
I pointed out that my own conception of a 'multitenant on-demand platform' was more in line with an 'on-demand OEM' or 'powered by' approach that would enable the ISV partner to completely control user experience, brand identity and proprietary enhancements. I have yet to meet a marketing executive worth his or her salt that can afford to allow these key aspects of the user experience to be set by the platform provider.
To his credit, the Salesforce partner program exec did not dodge the question or in any way attempt to spin his answer. He candidly pointed out that Salesforce has "less than 10" on-demand ISVs using the Apex platform in the way I had suggested, but that in the future, it was expected that this number would increase. He clarified that in 2007, the partner focus would be on ISVs writing web services and composite apps that accessed customer data in the Salesforce.com CRM application, partners that were attempting to leverage Salesforce.com's current base of customers for their own market success. Fair enough.
So what did I conclude from my experience at the Apex platform launch event?
In 2007, You Can NOT Be the Next Salesforce.com
At this point in time, Apex is not in the main a general purpose multitenant on-demand platform designed for SaaS ISVs who want to control their own marketing destiny. And judging by the quality of streetsmart CEOs who approached me sharing similar concerns after I posed my question in the partner breakout session , I have to say that in 2007 Apex is more 'platformula' than general purpose on-demand platform. The capabilities and infrastructure may be in place under the hood, the roadmap is there, the formula for true native business web apps is there, but Salesforce has not 'popped the top' (a phrase used by Benioff in his keynote) off their CRM system if less than 10 on-demand ISVs are live. But on the other hand, there is a much larger question to ask and it is this.
If Apex is not platform but platformula, can one at least conclude that it is a 'platformula for success'? Based on the quality of their partners, I would have to conclude that it is absolutely a formula for success. But not really comparable to the Microsoft/Intel platform model referenced by Benioff in the Sand Hill interview.
Rather, Salesforce has provided a highly valuable, general purpose web services interface to their CRM system and the extremely valuable customers who use it, not unlike Amazon.com has done with its various web services initiatives that leverage both the Amazon commerce platform and Amazon-stored product and community data. And with 180,000 plus web services developers to its credit, Amazon is on track to make this approach pay off.
The upside. The current Apex 'story' is a messaging and positioning disconnect common in the software industry. It sells the 'hype cycle' when it should sell the 'virtuous cycle'. The quick fix? I'd urge the Salesforce executive team to get past the Microsoft/Oracle/SAP bashing, quit invoking the consumer 'You-marketing' crowd, and tweak their positioning and messaging around Apex to reflect the Amazon model, not the Microsoft/Intel model. In the age of the internet, the Amazon platform definition and model may actually turn out to be a better model for Salesforce to invoke, a model in which the 'platform' must include the real-time data to have value.
The downside. If I can raise the issue of platform vs. platformula (which used to go by the term vaporware prior to the dawn of the 'end of software' generation), so can the marketing organizations at Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, those cross-category, natural monopoly software superpowers who Salesforce believes live in the 'past'. As I point out in my book "Asymmetric Marketing: Tossing the 'Chasm' in the Age of the Software Superpowers", Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are all adept at coopting disruptive technology innovation, including open source, on-demand and Web 2.0. They in no way, shape or form 'live in the past'. They live in the competitive here and now.
So if the software superpowers do choose to make a big issue of Salesforce.com's 'multi-tenant on-demand platform' messaging, the marketing 'past' may once again become marketing prologue. Prologue to an on-demand future less kind to the marketing message of pioneer Salesforce.com.
Mark, George...Don't say I didn't warn you.
Friends and colleagues have asked me to provide the Glossary of marketing terminology contained in my book Asymmetric Marketing, Tossing the 'Chasm' in the Age of the Software Superpowers. Here it is.
Asymmetric Marketing: The winner-take-all marketing wisdom developed by the software superpowers over decades of market experience. A system of marketing that rejects disruptive technology innovation against the superpowers, in favor of the practice of effective symbiosis with incumbent market leaders. The application of asymmetric warfare thinking to software marketing across the full spectrum of the marketing challenge, including strategy, market development framework, products, sales approaches, customer lock-in, operating culture and brand messaging.
Bark-itecture: One of four aspects of asymmetric product shark-itecture. It refers to that aspect of an asymmetric offering that allows it to easily become "OEM-able" or 'powered-by'-able for inclusion in superpower and other incumbent leader offerings. The external 'bark' of the product tree may be another company's branding, user experience, etc., but the trunk of the tree is yours. This aspect of product strategy helps enable symbiotic cooptation of the market power of incumbent leaders.
Big Hat, No Cattle Syndrome: Grandiose marketing strategy (based on chasing the software fad-du-jour) coupled with anemic execution. A gap between strategy and execution in the superpower sandstorm based on cargo cult marketing addiction. Symptoms of Big Hat, No Cattle Syndrome include inability to identify a qualified sales prospect and leads falling through the organizational cracks.
Bubbleboy: A cargo cult marketer from the bubble period of history. A term shoplifted from the Seinfeld episode titled 'The Bubble Boy', loosely modeled on the experience of an individual raised in a germ-free, plastic bubble and protected from life's dangerous realities. Refers to marketers protected by, and dependent on, a cocoon of invested cash, and whose businesses never become self-sustaining due to their rejection of the best practices of the software superpowers, and their embrace of 'new rules for the new economy' in the context of the software fad-du-jour.
Cargo Cult Marketers: Marketers that are guided by delusional 'new rules' belief systems, and/or abstract market development models from the laissez-faire period of tech market development. Marketers that romanticize disruptive technology innovation (e.g. Geoffrey Moore's 'Chasm theory). Cargo cult marketing came to the fore in the bubble period during which 5000 'disruptive innovators' are estimated to have gone extinct. See 'cargo cult science'.
Cargo Cult Science: An expression coined by Nobel physicist Richard Feynman to describe those persons following the appearance of science, but not its substance. Term originates from Feynman's description of a tribe of tropical islanders who engaged in various imitative rituals designed to make cargo planes land. The rituals were unsuccessful.
Category Regime Change: The replacement of a category market share leader in an adjacent category by an asymmetric marketer possessing category-extensible market power. Example: Microsoft's defeat of WordPerfect and Lotus in desktop apps; Microsoft's defeat of Novell in network servers; Microsoft's defeat of Netscape in web browsers.
Cellularity: Underlying business biology of dotcomplexity-advantaged business. The natural end of a customer relationship. Customer churn as the normal state of affairs. Cells live, cells die, cells are created. Marketing apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Channel Colonization: The symbiotic relationship between a superpower and their loyal solutions partners. The state of the channel in the age of the software superpowers, resulting in the channel partner focus on superpower marketing agendas, and the abandoning of non-aligned vendors.
Cooptation: Creatively leveraging the market power of another through the practice of market symbiosis, in order to further one's own marketing agenda.
Culture Management System (CMS): Internal software platform designed to foster a sober, candid, self-organizing, ownership-driven asymmetric marketing organization. A mechanism to enable Marketing by Garage Values (MBGV). An asymmetric marketing tribal 'OS'. Can incorporates intranet, team weblog, conferencing, groupware, and Employee Incentive Management (EIM) capability.
Customer Barrier Management (CBM): The market-craft of locking in customers, and pre-emptively defeating parasitic competitors. The customer management strategy of asymmetric marketers. The conscious attempt by asymmetric marketers to make the law of path-dependent increasing returns operate in their favor, by implementing the best practices of the software superpowers.
Dark-itecture: One of four aspects of asymmetric product shark-itecture. The conscious incorporation of stealth into your product strategy. Dark-itecture is what you hold back in the form of undocumented features and APIs that can provide you with asymmetric advantage in follow-on markets.
Desertification: The over-cultivation of market landscapes. An important driver of the superpower sandstorm. Results from both the IT 'do more with less' agenda, and the no-fly-zone market behaviors of the superpowers.
Digital Political Correctness: Refusal to dominate customers, often rationalized in the name of 'customer power', 'openness', and the Bubbleboy 2.0 'Participation Age'. Often used by big companies to attack the growing market power of smaller, asymmetric competitors. A form of intellectual elitism that attempts to invalidate the lessons of the rise of the software superpowers.
Disruptive Technology Innovation: Technology that obsoletes a prevailing paradigm. The primary market religion of Silicon Valley technical and financial elites.
Dotcomplexity Advantage: The embedding of one or more native web effects into the fabric of an asymmetric offering. Can take multiple forms, e.g. update-ness effect (never-ending product approach popularized by Windows update), self-organizing effect (eBay marketplace and platform), visibility effect (ability to see how discrete customers use your SaaS or on-demand application, and thereby optimize offering for all customers and/or sets of customer), network effect (Skype client download), and more. Complexity science applied to real-time, networked markets.
Ecoregion: A subset of an ecozone. Superpower market geography defined by a specific product-centric customer lock-in, e.g. the Oracle database ecoregion, the Adobe Acrobat Reader ecoregion, the eBay PayPal ecoregion. Often presents as a product/partner/customer cluster, e.g. the Microsoft .NET developer ecoregion. Target of Asymmetric Opportunity (TAO) for marketers seeking to practice superpower symbiosis.
Ecozone: A well-demarcated opportunity landscape defined by the market footprint of the software superpower that dominates it. An installed base of locked-in natural monopoly customers. Target of Asymmetric Opportunity (TAO) for marketers seeking to practice superpower symbiosis.
Graphically Correct: Intentionally sarcastic expression used by this author to describe abstract, symmetrical market development models, e.g. Geoffrey Moore's 'chasm' theory.
ISV (Independent Software Vendor): Includes companies leveraging one or more software deployment models including conventional on-premises, web on-demand (also called SaaS-software as a service), appliance model, embedded, etc.
Inverse Selling: A selling model based on trialware. Use/sell vs. sell/use. The prospect invests human bandwidth to use the product, and conventional 'selling' is only done on the basis of a successful trial evaluation. Helps eliminate Big Hat, No Cattle Syndrome by providing tangible evidence of 'qualified' lead.
Law of Increasing Returns: Developed by Brian Arthur. That which is ahead gets further ahead. Complexity science applied to economics. The basic law governing software economics in the age of the natural monopoly superpowers.
Market Power: Ability to influence the behavior of a market to conform to your marketing agenda, up to and including the ability to progressively displace incumbent market share leaders. The end result of practicing asymmetric marketing across the full spectrum of marketing activities, including products, selling approaches, and customer management.
Market Share: Percentage of a defined market category using your product. In and of itself, not necessarily a reflection of asymmetric market power.
Marketing by Garage Values (MBGV): The kernel values of a culture of asymmetric marketing. Sobriety, candor, self-organizing across silos, shared ownership of the revenue objective. 'Garage' refers to the legacy of pre-bubble high technology bootstrapped entrepreneurism, and is no way designed to infringe on the well-deserved brand equity and market reputation associated with Guy Kawasaki's Garage Technology Ventures or Garage.com.
Marketing Defense-in-Depth: A layered customer barrier management (CBM) approach incorporating barriers to customer exit, barriers to competitive entry, and barriers to product imitation. See Customer Barrier Management (CBM)
Messaging Mashup: Composite 24/7 market conversation in the age of the software superpowers that provides a working framework to develop ISV brand messaging strategy. Comprised of 4 conversational threads, including the superpower(s) thread, the anti-monopoly-on-principle or 'monoculture' thread, the 'best of breed' ISV or pragmatic anti-superpower thread, and the symbiotic, complementary, asymmetric ISV thread.
Narc-itecture: One of four aspects of asymmetric product shark-itecture. Means systematically designing in dotcomplexity advantage in two forms. 1-Update-ness that increases customer dependency, and 2-Continuous feedback , user profiling and actionable business intelligence. Narc-itecture in action is Windows Update, Symantec anti-virus signature updates, Yahoo's MyWeb personal page, Google's 'search history' capability, etc.
Natural Monopoly: Software vendor possessing a customer-sanctioned market lock-in. Distinguished from government-sanctioned monopoly, e.g. original AT&T. That natural state of software markets in the 21st century software industry.
N-glish: An unorthodox model description language used to describe self-organizing, dotcomplexity-advantaged business. E.G. N-formation (a many-to-many market), N-stitution (stable vendor-controlled market community, the 2nd stage of an N-formation), N-duplicatability (a high level of customer barrier management-in order to overcome or commoditize an N-duplicatable business it is necessary to equal or surpass the associated 'N' or network effect.)
No-fly-zone Imperative: The natural marketing behaviors of the software superpowers designed to pre-empt parasitic competitive encroachment on their market territory. Includes strategic control of installed base ecozones, containment of emerging market threats, colonization of partner networks, creation of new markets, and collusion and contention with each other. Based on the military metaphor, 'no fly zone'. The no-fly-zone imperative of the superpowers is the primary marketing 'GPS' (geo-positioning system) used by asymmetric marketers to detect Targets of Asymmetric Opportunity. It is the working alternative to the TALC in an age of natural monopolies.
Path Dependence: The initial market 'groove-in' that determines what product and which ISV will benefit from the law of increasing returns. Example: Microsoft's groove-in as the IBM PC operating system vendor defined the natural 'path' along which PC clone markets (Windows platform), adjacent markets (desktop Office Suite), and derivative markets (web browsers) developed.
Powered-by Deal: The SaaS (or on-demand) equivalent of an OEM agreement. It enables the 'powered by' provider to capitalize on the momentum of its customer.
Quark-itecture: One of four aspects of asymmetric product shark-itecture. The smallest aspect of your overall offering designed to be adopted by the greatest number of users in the shortest amount of time to begin driving and/or expanding a customer groove-in. E.G. Adobe Acrobat Reader, Skype client, free trial subscriptions to on-demand applications (Webex, Salesforce.com.).
Reverse Tornado: The 'death spiral' effect that regularly occurs when a market share leader deficient in market power faces category regime change from one or more software superpowers.
Sandstorm (aka superpower sandstorm): A metaphor to describe the marketing challenge facing ISVs in the age of the software superpowers. Characterized by reduced market and revenue visibility, positional confusion within eroding categories, board/investor heat and/or intervention into day-to-day management affairs, and broken marketing machinery. Exacerbated by both the desertification of IT and the no-fly-zone imperative of the superpowers.
Shark-itecture: Key element of product strategy implemented by asymmetric marketers to maximize customer dependency and pre-empt competitive encroachment. The product strategy of the software superpowers developed over the life of their offerings that allows them to 'eat' their competitors and carry out category regime change. Sharkitecture is how the superpowers anchor and defend their ecoregions, migrate their installed base of customers to their new products, and achieve multi-generational, cross-category product dominance. Comprised of 4 components, quark-itecture, bark-itecture, narc-itecture, dark-tecture. See all.
Software Superpowers: Natural monopoly, asymmetric marketers with cross-category and category-extensible market power. The superpowers dominate their installed base customers, i.e. their ecozones and ecoregions, dramatically outpace VCs in software R&D investment, and define the 21st century software market landscape. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, SAP, Symantec, Adobe, Yahoo, eBay, and Google.
Sound Bite Sandstorm: Polarizing, values-driven media coverage of software superpower issues. E.G. Press frenzy around Google's business deal with Chinese government, Microsoft legal battles, pedophiles in Yahoo chat rooms, etc. A messaging opportunity for ISVs.
Superpower Symbiosis: The basic foundation of asymmetric marketing strategy, grounded in the natural sciences. Living together with the software superpowers. Can take multiple forms including mutualism (win/win), parasitism (win/lose), commensalism (win/neutral). Superpower symbiosis provides the conceptual framework for the development of marketing strategy, products, sales approaches, messaging, and more.
TAO (targets of asymmetric opportunity): The ecozones and ecoregions of the superpowers to which asymmetric marketers symbiotically attach their offerings. An approach to marketing strategy that shifts focus from 'end customer' markets to the locked-in ecoregions of the superpowers in order to capitalize on the momentum inherent in superpower (or incumbent leader) installed base dynamics. Microsoft's target of asymmetric opportunity was IBM. Google's target of asymmetric opportunity was Yahoo.
Tribal Chieftanship: The leadership style of asymmetric marketers. Hands on, lead by example, thought leadership-driven, individual value contributor/doer. Personal reputation equity-rich model which results in the 'street-cred' needed for rapid response to competitive threats and market opportunity.
2-Dimensional value proposition: An ISV value proposition that benefits the end customer and the ISV. A characteristic of many dead bubble companies that abandoned pre-existing value chains in favor of go-it-alone disruptive technology innovation, e.g. WebVan, Napster, GovWorks.
3-Dimensional value proposition: An ISV value proposition that benefits the end customer, the ISV, and the 'host' superpower or superpowers with which the ISV is practicing symbiosis. The value proposition of "Microsoft-the-startup" is a good example of a 3-D value prop. PC users received benefits, IBM received benefits, and Microsoft received benefits. An important aspect of both asymmetric products based on continuous technology innovation on top of superpower platforms, and asymmetric brand messaging that carries a 'complementary' storyline.