AnhHung made his point in his article Start-ups 2.0: one, or no one?
Seeing that his point is interesting, I want to bring this on a larger scale.
Take half step back and see
First thing first, not all efforts pay off.
Why? Because you never know till you try.
Experiments make way for innovation, and pave the path to success
“Innovation lesson: experiment a lot, fail often, and fail early.”
Some spread efforts too thin
Hung argues that some Vietnamese start-ups spread their efforts too thin by make and maintaining so many products: VCCorp, VON, Tinhvan
Just a quick note, while it’s true that VCCorp does have many products, they also have their focus: dantri the cashcow.
Here, from a business perspective, I think I can give some justifications why this approach might make sense.
Why it’s sensible
1. You never know till you try
Simple enough to understand from a Product Manager’s perspective.
2. Market segment
Take one example, VCCorp has 3 e-commerce products running simultaneously: muare, rongbay, enbac. A valid question can be raised: do they overlap one another?
My impression by looking at these 3 products is: muare might map to a market, rongbay might map to a store, enbac might map to a small plaza (ebay might map to a hypermarket by the way). What’s more, enbac differentiates itself from the rest as it’s B2C.
For one area, different customers from different market segments require different features and it’s sensible to satisfy this need.
3. Vietnam market is hard to predict
And while it’s hard to predict, why don’t shouldn’t we try?
In other words, it’s venture by nature.
How to tackle challenges
Obviously, while I point out that spreading the efforts might be sensible, it faces challenges.
Where there are challenges, they are solutions.
Development efforts can be cut off by using open-source systems. Quick and painlessful.
If the company decides to maintain different products, they have to get best at shifting and cross-training their resources through multiple products.
Another thing is to reduce mid-level management overhead where appropriate.
Managing efforts for career planning
The lessons from managing efforts for several products can also be used for one’s career planning.
Whether to focus, or to experiment?
Most importantly, it is omnipresently advised that focus works best. Pick one thing, be good at it.
However, as one starts his/her career, experimenting through different fields is not a bad idea since it’s hard to know enough about the industry while at college.
Additionally, having different skill sets is becoming crucial in difficult times. If the sector one is most proficient with goes slow, s/he can choose to utilize other skills to go for other industries.
But all in all, eventually one has to needs to determine what to invest most efforts on.
Simply put, it might to be the best way to spread the efforts, but there are reasons why it’s sensible to do so at certain stages.
What do you think?