Product, platform, process

I’ve amassed enough experience doing editorial work to realise that a product cannot easily be detached from the platform it is released upon. Specifically, it’s no good writing cracking prose if I’m not also considering the construction of a solid platform from which to get it in front of an audience. Add in another factor that sits between the two—process, how the prose is made—and I’m left with three disparate elements—product, platform and process—that mirror John Hagel and Marc Singer’s three way business split. In Unbundling the Corporation they break a business down into three parts.

Product Innovation: “Conceive of attractive new products and services and commercialise them.”
Customer Relationship Management: “Identify, attract, and build relationships with customers.”
Infrastructure Management: “Build and manage facilities for high-volume, repetitive operational tasks.”

The businesses we try to build, like the world we try to build them in, are complex—relationships between elements, scale and higher order effects are what matters. The parts that make them up can be considered in isolation, as segments divorced from the whole, but it is a costly, inefficient practice. Better to see, think and act with systems and ecologies in mind.

This combination of related-but-different aspects of a business went unnoticed to me, both as a creator in my own right and as a hired gun for others, for an embarrassing amount of time. Thankfully, it has been remedied.