Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Being Distinctive

Please go to the archive. Look for an article on the need to be distinct that I posted on 21 October 2008.

I strongly believe that one should be distinctive (in a positive sense) or distinguished rather that trying to be excellent in whatever you do.

I am not talking about leaving the red ocean to be in the so called blue ocean. There may well be sharks down there waiting for you. Probably you should swim to the purple ocean instead. A Malaysian coined this term recently. Hmm, quite interesting (find out more). Perhaps you want to look at the concept of "white wave" as posited by Dato Seri Idris Jusoh during the recent IEF Conference in Kuala Lumpur. Something interesting to be pondered. The concept of "Jariah" in entrepreneurship.

There are many new ideas floating around. Ideas by the practitioners. Some are narrated in less known  books. But they are based on real life experiences.

Text books are good for their own purposes. Some carry mundane information and stale examples. Some talk about case studies of the so called winning companies of the yesteryears. Some of them have gone burst now. What good are case studies then? To understand the failed ventures, yes.

Remember creative destruction and disruptive innovation? These are powerful theories to explain why organisations and their products and services failed to survive. Now that we have a bitter fight between Apple and Samsung. Each one is creatively destructing the other. They have creatively destructed their competitors like Nokia, Motorolla,  etc., but they might not be aware that other smart phone companies with their distinctive products are  coming in strong into the market slowly but surely. HUWEI is an example of an up and coming company.

After observing these, my vote goes to that smart boy from Sekinchan, Selangor who invented the NAND Flash that goes into almost every electronic gadgets. Yes he and his Phison partners started to produce thumb drives. But they are smart enough to leave the products for others to keep on producing while they control the softwares and chips. This is what I call being distinctive. They are not bothered with trying to be the best developer of the drives because they understand fully well on the theory of creative destruction. If they do, they will be long gone, I guess. But they choose to be distinctive.

Yes Mr S K Phua and his merrymen are smart. Name any digital products and you will find their NAND Flash embeded in them! Clever Malaysian!

On another note, people are obsessed in trying to become excellent and start to preach on the so called good or best practices. I do not believe in these good or best practices as they are only good in their environments. Read the book by Shaphiro entitled "Good Practices are Stupid"and you will understand what I mean.

I might be wrong. But I still believe in being distinctive rather that pretending to be excellent.

What say you?

Pak Din

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