Break the Business Traditions

Customer is everything. Customer is always right. Customer is the reason why your business exists. Customer is your bread and butter. Customer is….Customer is…. Listening to customers is generally a good idea, but it is not the whole story.

For all the talk of customer-oriented innovation and allowing feedback from customers to help build a new product designs, another lesson from the trenches is that smart companies should sometimes ignore what the market says it wants today.

The iPod was ridiculed when it was launched in 2001, but Steve Jobs stuck by his instinct. Nintendo has done something similar with its popular motion-controlled video-game console, the Wii. Rather than designing a machine for existing gamers, it gambled that non-gamers represented an untapped market and devised a machine with far broader appeal.

The dynamic companies of today’s challenging and cut-throat era do business in a dynamic, tradition-less and vibrant manner. There are some unique and striking characteristics of such companies. They sometimes ignore the current state of the market when designing products. Second, they learn from failure rather than stigmatizing it. That sounds like a pretty different corporate culture than most companies.

The vibrant and dynamic companies learn from their follies. Companies like Apple doesn’t care much about failures, but always look forward despite of the magnitude of the blow. iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple’s original music phone, produced in conjunction with Motorola. Both times, Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again. The real lesson to extract from these companies is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it.

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